Dr. Zen’s Daily Tip: As women, our hormones vary not only throughout the month but also they vary depending on our age. This can make it difficult to know exactly what we should be doing to help promote our body’s natural ability to regulate and balance our hormones. First off, it is important to know that I am not just talking about estrogen and progesterone but all the other hormones we have, including hormones from our thyroid, adrenal glands, pituitary, ovaries, and pancreas. Each of these hormones plays a critical role in creating balance in our bodies. This is why treating the WHOLE PERSON is really the only way to see lasting results. Hormones are like anything else in our body, they do not work in a stand-alone fashion, instead, they work together to create the beautiful healthy person you are today. But, when your hormones go out of wack, you feel out of wack.
So how do you know if the way you are feeling is actually related to hormonal imbalances? I’m glad you asked. Below, I will explain what common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances to look for as well as what test you should be asking your doctor about.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalances include:
- Recent changes in weight (either recent weight gain or weight loss)
- Anxiety, depression, Irritability
- Irregular menstrual cycles or inferility
- Low libido
- Changes in appetite
- Digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea or indigestion
- Thinning of hair or nails
Do these above symptoms sound familiar to you? If so, your symptoms may be due to hormonal imbalances. So how do you know which hormones are being affected? As a Naturopathic Doctor, I always work with my patients to help find the root cause of their symptoms. When it comes to hormones, blood work really becomes critical. I make sure to evaulate all hormones I believe may be contributing to their symptoms. For example, when evaluating a patient’s thyroid, (which is conventionally only evaluated using TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) testing), I instead use more comprehensive testing. TSH only evaluates one part of your thyroid function, the other aspects that should be evaluated include Free and Total T3, Free and Total T4, Reverse T3, as well as Thyroid Antibodies. This is something I evaluate on all of my patients with possible hormonal imbalance, creating a much more direct treatment plan that actually works. When you are provided the whole hormonal picture, you are able to treat hormone imbalances more effectively. Some of the other testing I often recommend include:
- Estradiol, FSH, LH, Prolactin, Progesterone, 17- αOH Progesterone, DHEA, DHEA-S, Pregnenolone, Total and Free Testosterone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG).
Stay tuned for more info about ways to regulate your hormones naturally.