What Are the Signs You Might Need Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy?
Treatment will vary depending on your age, symptoms, and the results of any tests you take. While treatment varies by the individual, though, there are some very common symptoms of a hormone imbalance that can signal a problem. We will go over some of these symptoms as they manifest in women and then in men.
Symptoms in Women
insomnia is one of the earliest signs of menopause and a common symptom of a hormone imbalance. One of the key hormones for women is estrogen, and estrogen allows women to drift off easily to sleep and stay asleep through the night. When estrogen levels fall, poor sleep can be the result. You may find yourself staying up later, waking up frequently during the night, and feeling fatigued all day long.
You probably don’t need us to even mention mood swings, since these are tightly associated with hormonal changes in women both in menopause and during their monthly periods. These mood swings are very real, and they’re not something most women can just “suck it up and control.” They are the result of dramatic changes in hormones.
For women, estrogen can be a problem here again. Estrogen also regulates the production of key “feel-good” hormones in women: serotonin and endorphins. When levels of these two hormones are high, we feel happy and relaxed. When they drop, we feel increasingly sad and anxious. Hormone replacement therapy can even out these drops so that mood swings are not such a big problem.
Painful, Unusual Periods
As women grow older and approach menopause, it becomes very common to experience painful periods. Periods may also become erratic and unusually heavy. The most common reason for this issue is an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. During normal menstruation, estrogen signals to the uterus to contract. Progesterone signals to the uterus to relax. Both are needed.
If estrogen levels are too high or progesterone levels are too low, there can be too many contractions and a great deal of pain. Both of these hormones are also responsible for thickening the endometrium, which then sheds and bleeds. When these two hormones are being produced at irregular levels, the lining of the endometrium can grow thicker than it should, and periods become irregular and heavy.
Weight gain can be an issue for anyone at any age, and it is most often a problem because of overeating or a poor diet. However, if you have not changed your diet and exercise routine, yet you simply cannot seem to keep off the weight, especially around the middle of the body, a hormone imbalance could be the issue.
Estrogen has a direct effect on a woman’s metabolism, and when estrogen levels are erratic, the body does not burn fat the way that it should.
This is not a symptom that many women talk about, but it can be both common and irritating. Women in menopause and perimenopause often experience dryness that can cause discomfort and even pain. It can be difficult to have intercourse because of this dryness.
Once again, estrogen levels are the issue. Estrogen gives the vaginal muscles, strength and elasticity and also promotes natural lubrication.
When we think of hormones, estrogen is most commonly associated with women and testosterone with men. However, women do need some testosterone, just as men need some estrogen. When a woman’s testosterone levels are too low or simply out of sync with estrogen and progesterone levels, a woman’s interest in sex may simply disappear.
This can happen at any age, and it is one of the biggest signs of a hormone imbalance. Some of the other effects of hormone imbalance, such as mood swings, can also cause a woman to become uninterested in sex. This is a serious issue because it has such an impact on relationships and emotions.
Most of us exit adolescence thrilled with the thought that we will no longer have to worry about acne breakouts. Unfortunately, adult acne is a real issue and often a sign of low estrogen or progesterone levels. When these hormones drop in women, it can lead to inflammation and greater levels of sebum in the skin.
Even worse, when we were young and dealing with acne, our skin was at its strongest and most resilient. As we get older, hormonal changes also change the integrity of our skin, meaning that we don’t respond as well to acne medications as we did when younger. The way to tackle the problem is with bio-identical hormone therapy rather than topical creams.
Estrogen helps to keep inflammation at bay. This allows the joints to function smoothly and without discomfort. If you don’t have arthritis, but your joints are often stiff and painful, a hormone imbalance could be the issue. The knees and hips are especially prone to this sort of pain.
Symptoms in Men
Cultural norms are hard on everyone. These norms often force on men an unnatural requirement to be “tough” and never show emotion. Those same norms often overexaggerate the symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women, which is attributed to some sort of “natural weakness” of the sex. The truth is that both men and women can suffer due to hormonal imbalances, but men are uniquely unlikely to get the treatment they need because of these cultural norms.
There’s another issue at play here, too, and that’s the fact that many of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men overlap with other issues or can be dismissed as “natural” aging. Here are some symptoms to watch for that indicate a man may need bio-identical hormone therapy:
Men can experience this just as women can, and for the same reason: a drop in testosterone which leads to higher levels of estrogen in the body.
This can put a serious strain on relationships, and, unfortunately, many men assume that this is simply the natural result of dealing with all the stresses of life, like raising children, caring for aging parents, paying off mortgages, and trying to advance a career. In many cases, hormone therapy can fix the issue and take the pressure off relationships.
Change in Body Composition
When a man finds it harder to keep muscle or keep off fat, he very often attributes it to unhealthy lifestyle habits. It is true that a bad diet and lack of exercise will result in weight gain and muscle loss, but hormones should not be overlooked.
Testosterone is essential for forming and keeping muscle, and muscles burn more calories than fat. As you lose muscle, you burn fewer calories doing anything, even sleeping, which means that even if you continue with your normal diet, you will see weight gain. While you may need to make some dietary or lifestyle changes, evening out testosterone levels can make it much easier to keep to those lifestyle changes and see real results.
Women are the ones who usually get mocked for their hormonal mood swings, but men actually suffer from the same thing when testosterone levels drop.
In women, a lack of estrogen means a lack of “feel-good” hormones, which most commonly manifests as sadness, depression, and anxiety; but in men, a lack of testosterone means an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. For men, moodiness commonly manifests in anger and hostility, though men can also feel anxious, depressed, and lacking in motivation if hormone problems or to blame.
Talk to Us About Therapy
According to professional estimates, as much as 80% of the adult population is dealing with a hormone imbalance at any time. If you’re noticing any of the symptoms above, and especially if you recognize several of them in yourself, know that you don’t have to suffer. Relief is possible with bio-identical hormone therapy. Talk to us at Optimal Health and Wellness in Pasadena, CA today to get back to feeling like yourself!