Hormone Balancing

Hormone-Balancing

What is a Hormone Imbalance?

Hormones are the chemical messengers that travel the bloodstream to the tissues and organs. Hormones are made from the endocrine glands including the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries and testes. They affect many different processes including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction and even mood.  Many health problems may be related to hormonal imbalances including hormone excesses and deficiencies. Optimal hormone balance is essential to our physical and emotional well-being as well as long-term protection against age-related concerns such as breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of a hormone imbalance may include (but are not limited to): weight gain; headaches / dizziness / foggy thinking; fatigue; wrinkly skin; water retention/ bloating; loss of libido (sex drive); decrease in muscle mass; irritability/ anxiety; depression; mood swings; prostate problems/ decreased flow; and thinning hair.

Causes of hormone imbalances may include: adrenal fatigue/ exhaustion; hypoglycemia; a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and coffee; excess stress; nutrient deficiencies; thyroid imbalances; surgical menopause; stress (emotional and physical); lack of exercise; and environmental toxicities.

What are the hormones?

Estrogen

Estrogen is a hormone synthesized by the ovaries, adrenal glands and fat tissue in women and by the testes, adrenal and pituitary glands in men. There are 3 types of estrogen – estrone, estradiol, estriol.

What does estrogen do?

In women estrogen stimulates growth and development of sexual characteristics; produces breast changes in adolescence and pregnancy; prepares the body for pregnancy; improves bone density and reduces the risk for osteoporosis; and boosts libido.

In men estrogen produces chest and facial hair growth; muscle development; deepening of the voice; improves bone density and reduces the risk for osteoporosis; assists in growth and maturity of sperm; and boosts libido.

Symptoms of estrogen deficiency: Hot flashes, shortness of breath, night sweats, sleep disorders, vaginal dryness, dry skin, anxiety, mood swings, headaches, depression, memory loss, heart palpitations, yeast infections, vaginal atrophy, painful intercourse, inability to reach orgasm and lack of menstruation.

Symptoms of excess estrogen: Water retention, fatigue, breast swelling, fibrocystic breasts, premenstrual-like mood swings, loss of sex drive, heavy or irregular menses, uterine fibroids, cravings for sweets and weight gain.

Progesterone

Progesterone is a hormone made from cholesterol that is essential for making other hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, estrogen and cortisol.  It is secreted by the ovaries, testes, adrenal glands and brain cells.

What does progesterone do?

Progesterone regulates blood sugar; develops intelligence; builds bone; regulates brain activity; converts fat to energy; regulates thyroid hormone production; increases libido; acts as a natural antidepressant; aids in normalizing blood clotting; initiates sleep; acts as a natural diuretic; produces a calming effect by activating the GABA receptor sites; and boosts the immune system.

Symptoms of progesterone deficiency: Headache, low libido, anxiety, swollen breasts, moodiness, fuzzy thinking, depression, food cravings, irritability, insomnia, cramps, emotional swings, painful breasts, weight gain, bloating, inability to concentrate, early menstruation, painful joints, asthma and acne.

Testosterone

Symptoms of testosterone deficiency: Decreased libido; inability to build and maintain muscle mass; weight gain; hair loss; breast enlargement (in men); depression; fatigue; mood swings and irritability; hot flashes and night sweats.

On the other hand, optimal levels of testosterone improves bone density, builds lean muscle mass, helps people lose weight, increases libido, reduce hot flashes and night sweats and improves memory and cognitive function.

DHEA

DHEA is often referred to as th e “mother of all hormones.” It is known as dehydroepiandrosterone and is secreted by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor hormone for male and female sex hormones. DHEA levels begin to decrease after the age of 30 which leads to the “aging process.”

Symptoms of Low DHEA: Fatigue, loss of strength and muscle mass, depression, aching joints, decreased libido, reduced immune function.

On the other hand, healthy DHEA levels increase testosterone levels, restore muscle mass, improve body fat ratio, improve memory, boost immune function, promote flexibility, increase endurance and can help with auto-immune conditions, obesity, dementia, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.

What is Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?

Molecule by molecule, bio-identical hormones are exactly the same as the hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, DHEA) present in the human body. They are derived from naturally occurring substances such as soy and yams. The hormones are compounded into creams, gels, pills and pellets to help your body absorb them more easily.

How does BHRT differ from conventional hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

Synthetic hormones do not match the body’s natural hormones. Synthetic hormones are molecularly different that the body recognizes as being foreign. In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative revealed that postmenopausal women who used a combination of synthetic estrogen and progestin had a higher risk of breast cancer, coronary artery disease, stroke and blood clots. Many physicians recommended that patients stop synthetic HRT and the following year breast cancer rates dropped 7% and estrogen-sensitive cancers among women 50-69 fell 12%.

Is BHRT safe?

Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy is more appealing when dealing with conditions of menopause and andropause as they are naturally derived and our bodies can metabolize them properly. It is not a one-size-fits all approach to symptom relief as conventional HRT. There is a large body of evidence that BHRT is safer and more effective than synthetic HRT. Studies have shown they can help relieve hot flashes and vaginal dryness, but as yet, few large studies have investigated the differences among the various hormones and methods of administration. More research is needed to further understand these differences and compare the risks and benefits.

Benefits of Bio-Identical Hormones

  • Reduced osteoporosis and increased bone strength
  • Reduced hot flashes and vaginal dryness
  • Increased strength and muscle mass
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Reduced risk of endometrial and breast cancer
  • Improved sleep
  • Better mood, concentration and memory
  • Improved libido
  • Reduced risk of chronic disease

Side Effects of BHRT

Reaching optimal hormone levels is a balancing act that takes time to get right! Your hormones may need to be tested a few times and dosages adjusted over time to find the ideal dose for you! Side effects may include: headaches, irritability, mood swings, increased acne, difficulty sleeping, breast tenderness and itching at the application site for topical applications.

Checking Your Hormone Levels

At our office we offer salivary hormone kits to test the following hormones:

  • Estradiol
  • Estrone
  • Estriol
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  • DHEA-S
  • Cortisol x 4 (to evaluate adrenal function)

In addition, we recommend a thyroid panel, complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, lipid panel, C-reactive protein, vitamin D levels and ferritin levels to access overall hormone and metabolic function.

The Process

1. Complete the Hormone Health Questionnaire. Click here to download a PDF version.

2. Once the questionnaire is received, we schedule a comprehensive wellness consultation. At this visit, we will order testing (if necessary).

3. At the next visit, your practitioner will create an individualized plan that may include a hormone balancing diet, exercise recommendations, stress management, nutritional supplements, herbal medicine and low dose non-prescription bio-identical hormones if a hormone imbalance has been identified.

4. The next appointment will be scheduled in 6-8 weeks to assess response to the healing plan.

5. Follow-up appointments are then scheduled every 3 months for the first year and then every 6 months.

Costs

Comprehensive Hormone Consultation: $185.00

Salivary Test Kit (if necessary): $225.00 (to be paid at the initial consult)

Follow-up appointments: $75.00 – $115.00

Cost does not include the cost of supplements or bio-identical hormones. (Note: Only low dose non-prescription bio-identical hormones in oral or topical form are available through this office. The emphasis of hormone balancing will be on proper nutrition, exercise, lifestyle choices, nutritional supplementation and low-dose non-prescription bioidentical hormones (if needed). If you do not experience improvement or higher doses of bio-identical hormones are needed, you will be referred to another practitioner.)

About Us

Here at Vitality Natural Health and Wellness Center we are dedicated to promoting health and wellness through enhancement of the mind, body, and spirit. We are committed to supporting the body’s inherent ability to heal using natural therapies to restore health.

Contact Us

Vitality Natural Health and
Wellness Center

570 Washington Street
Meadville, PA 16335
Phone: (814) 720.4825
Fax: (814) 601.0930

Hours of Operation

Monday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Wednesday: 9:00 – 5:00pm
Thursday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 2:00pm
Sunday: Closed
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