Not too much or too little, but just the right amount of hormonesBottom Highlights, Commentary, Latest Issue Thursday, March 2nd, 2017
Commentary: Guest Commentary
As with most everything in life, balance is key. And if your hormones are out of sync, then your body can become completely out of whack. Having either too much or too little of an essential hormone throws things off kilter and can lead to a disaster either way (just like having too much or too little money, sunshine or even chocolate). However, finding out what’s really going on inside your body can sometimes be tricky.
Like Goldilocks having to try three different bowls of porridge to find the perfect bowl that was “neither too hot nor too cold, but just right,” your hormones must be in just the right balance. Your hormones interact with each other and each must be at optimal levels or your body cannot function optimally. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter a cell’s chemical reactions. So if something is “off” in your body an in depth analysis of your hormone levels can reveal the imbalance.
• Are you tired of being tired?
• Trouble sleeping?
• Prefer to watch a movie rather than be intimate?
• Do you have difficulty reaching climax?
• Can’t lose weight even with diet and exercise?
• Do you have hot flashes, pain during sex, or vaginal dryness?
• Forget why you walked into a room or what you were doing?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you are probably experiencing hormonal imbalance. These are just a few symptoms that people experience when their hormones are not optimized.
Which hormones can be affected? There are many, but here are a few of the most important ones:
Estrogen – composed of three hormones: Estriol, Estradiol and Estrone. Estradiol is the most important form for both men and women; however, women require higher circulating levels. Women need it for breast development, vaginal lubrication, soft and smooth skin and mood balance. Both men and women, however, can have too much estrogen. For example for men it can lead to low libido, enlarged breast tissue (gynecomastia), and prostate growth. In women, it can be weight gain, premenstrual cycle symptoms, acne, breast pain and more. One can obtain excess estrogen from the environment, use of hormones (both synthetic and natural) and certain foods.
Testosterone – an androgenic hormone found in both men and women. Levels are highest in men – accounting for male secondary sex characteristics such as muscle mass, facial hair and aggression (thus the term “androgenic”). But, testosterone plays an important role in women as well.
Progesterone – thought to be a female hormone; however, men produce progesterone in smaller amounts. Optimal levels are necessary to balance estradiol in the tissues, including the breasts and uterus. Progesterone helps us feel calm, patient and happier, which allows our mind (aka the largest sexual organ) to be ready and willing for sexual activity.
Start by speaking with a doctor specializing in hormone optimization therapy and do a comprehensive hormone evaluation through saliva, urine or blood. It is important to first get to the root cause of your issue, so other tests may be added based on your consultation and initial results. Sleep quality, adrenal health, nutrition, blood sugar control, cardiovascular and emotional health all support optimal hormonal function. Your treatment plan may involve a combination of natural hormone replacement, herbal, nutritional and prescription hormonal support, diet and lifestyle changes. Each person is unique and requires an individualized treatment plan for the best result. If you want optimal results in the gym and you want to lose fat and build muscle, then you need optimal nutrition, sleep, stress reduction, exercise and optimal hormones.
If you’ve downgraded your definition of a good night’s sleep to four hours, if you claim “the devil made you do it” when you break out in a hot flash and shout obscenities at the top of your lungs, or if you feel like doom and gloom have become your new best friends, then you should consider getting your hormones checked out so you can truly get the “just right” balance back in your life.
For more information on hormone replacement therapy, visit manageyourage.com.
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