I thought I’d talk this month about some hormone issues that come up quite often when I do a hormone consultation. Sleep disturbance is one of the symptoms that many women are concerned with. The other symptom that is mentioned quite a bit is weight gain, particularly in the waist and hips. These are symptoms of hormone imbalance. We can try to segregate symptoms into categories of excess or deficiency of specific sex hormones, but there is some overlapping of symptoms. There are also other factors to be considered, including the thyroid hormone and cortisol—the hormone secreted by the adrenal gland. Insulin resistance must also be considered because it is so prevalent in our society and can cause its own set of symptoms, some of which are the same as sex hormone imbalance symptoms.
Confining my comments only to the sex hormones, let’s consider first the state of estrogen/progesterone deficiency. The symptoms suffered can include hot flashes, night sweats, foggy thinking, depression, headaches and sleep disturbances. If we look at excess estrogen/progesterone deficiency, the symptoms include decreased libido, weight gain, sugar cravings, sleep disturbances, fibrocystic breasts and mood swings. If we consider androgen (testosterone and DHEA) excess, we’ll see ovarian cysts, oily skin, acne, loss of scalp hair and weight gain. On the other hand, androgen deficiency symptoms include thinning hair, fibromyalgia, sleep disturbances, fatigue and decreased libido. As you can see, sleep disturbances and weight gain can be caused by different hormone deficiency states. So what to do?
One of the best things you can do is to have your hormone levels checked. We prefer working with Saliva Test results because they are a better indicator of the hormone levels in the tissues. Blood levels may or may not give a true indication of how much hormone is available to the tissues. Another good option is to fill out a history and symptom questionnaire, and schedule a consultation with a health care professional.
The best option is to combine the previous two options and get a complete workup. My best advice is to educate yourself. You are in charge of your body. Read, do research and attend seminars such as a bio-identical hormone seminar. For more information on the next bio-identical hormone seminar, call VanMol Pharmacy at (318) 443-7073.