Female Hormones – Naturally Restoring The Delicate Balance
In my early career as a doctor I was frustrated that I didn’t have the answer for women with hormone imbalance. Ladies would complain of obvious hormone issues including depression and anxiety, mood swings, fatigue, migraines, insomnia, loss of memory and libido, hot flashes, weight gain, fluid retention, aging skin, and hair loss. But, I was not comfortable with the safety of pharmaceutical artificial hormone replacement and studies have now shown the multiple risks that they can cause.
It only makes sense that the natural hormones your body produces are safe and work best. These are the hormones that your body creates and the cells and organs in your body naturally respond to. This is what bio-identical hormones are.
Hormone balance in women is not just about progesterone and estrogen. There are three major estrogens – estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Each has unique properties and functions. Estrogens only work best in concert with other major hormones such as progesterone, testosterone, and adrenal hormones such as cortisol and DHEA (dehydroepiandosterone). Of course thyroid problems are common and play a major role.
Hormones and the role they play in the female body
- Progesterone – most of the receptors for progesterone are in your brain. It has a natural antidepressant effect and lowers anxiety. It improves sleep, libido, and mood swings. It reduces pain and inflammation, is a natural diuretic, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and improves bone density.
- Estrogens– every cell in your body has receptors for estrogen and the effects are profound. In premenopausal women excess estrogen in relationship to progesterone can cause breast swelling and tenderness, premenstrual syndrome, and heavy painful periods. In menopause the lack of estrogen can cause fatigue, depression, poor memory and libido. You can get hot flashes, vaginal dryness, recurrent urinary tract infections, and joint pain. Estrogen can also affect the health of your skin, hair, and digestive tract.
- Testosterone– yes, this hormone is also important in women. We associate it most with libido; however it also helps you to maintain muscle, reduce body fat, and improves memory and the feeling of well being, confidence, and assertiveness.
- DHEA– this adrenal hormone promotes weight loss and helps maintain and repair body tissues such as muscle and bone. It helps with stress, memory, and libido. It supports our immune system. Low DHEA levels are associated with heart disease and macular degeneration.
- Cortisol-is an adrenal hormone that affects weight control, blood sugar, mood, and sleep. It can be too high in response to acute stress and it can become too low if our adrenals are fatigued from chronic stress. It has to be balanced for appropriate immune response and thyroid function.
- Thyroid– thyroid disorders are very common. As many as 25% of people over the age of 65 have a thyroid problem. This is the primary hormone that sets your metabolic rate or energy level. I’m very aggressive in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid deficiency and prefer to use natural thyroid replacement.