Perfect Hormone Balance: You Can Have It!
Women in ever-increasing numbers are seeking alternatives to traditional healthcare—and for good reason. Imagine a woman between 35 and 60. A spare tire is developing around her middle, bags have made unwelcome appearances beneath her eyes, hot flashes come and go throughout the day, and night sweats interrupt her sleep. She is exhausted, can’t seem to concentrate, and alternates between depression and flying off the handle.
Upset and anxious, she seeks help for the unpleasant physical and emotional changes that are crowding the good times out of her life. After a physical exam and a few questions, to her dismay, her medical provider suggests that what she’s going through is perfectly normal — menopause — and the disagreeable symptoms she is experiencing are part of getting older, which of course is not what she wants to hear.
So…How Do Hormones Tip out of Balance?
Hormones are essential to life. They are chemical connectors to the brain, muscles, sex organs, and virtually every part of the body. If you were suddenly without the intricate communication conducted via hormones, you would quickly die. As it is, a missed message, a broken connection, or unclear communication from one hormone to another can cause an imbalance, upsetting the whole system. As early as a woman’s mid-30s, a drop in estrogen or progesterone, or a break in the ovulation cycle, can cause the domino effect of mood instability, weight gain, skin problems, and many other changes. Even though just about every woman knows she will eventually experience menopause; these changes can come as an unpleasant surprise. Diet, stress, sleep patterns, environmental toxins, and genetics can create hormone chaos that will leave you feeling terrible for years to come.
Hormonal Highs and Lows
So, something happens, whether it’s stress, diet, or medications — or a genetic predisposition — and your hormones either revert to a normal state or they don’t. The key is to take care of yourself so you’re not as susceptible to inevitable hormone fluctuations. Even though much of what happens in life is beyond your power, you can control what you eat, how much you exercise, how many hours you sleep, and whether you use vitamin and herbal supplements. In menopause, (or early menopause) some women adjust to the chronically low levels and some (most) do not.
Why Test Your Hormones?
Hormone testing is the best way to establish a baseline. Although the “normal” values may change for each patient, testing still provides a guideline from which the treatment plan is created and tested in the future. Fortunately, information about hormone testing is getting out and women are asking for it. As a result, more and more medical providers are learning how to test and interpret hormone levels so women can take control of their symptoms.
Individuality is the name of the game with women’s hormone testing and treatment. Even though women may have similar complaints, each has her own hormone profile, unique responses to treatment, and a singular lifestyle to which the program must be adapted. I have learned that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t apply. Women often come to my office with their lives broken into fragments. We work as partners to fit the pieces back together, so they eventually see their physical and emotional sides merge as a harmonious whole.
If you have obvious hormone changes and have not been able to find the right solutions, consider visiting us at OnePeak Medical to get on the path to excellent hormone balance!
Originally published March 2020 in North Gilham Living