How Hormones Affect Women’s Health
Women’s hormones are a vast network of chemical messengers that include the adrenals, thyroid, insulin, and women’s sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone that work together to maintain homeostasis.
Effects of Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances are very common throughout a women’s life and contribute to an increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, dyslipidemia, immune dysfunction, and hormone dependent cancer. Many women wonder if they can be helped naturally, without medications and while medications may be necessary for some women to maintain their quality of life, what is most important is determining and addressing the underlying imbalances leading to your symptoms.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Common symptoms associated with hormone imbalance whether during adolescence, reproductive age, perimenopause, or menopause may include:
- Mood swings
- Menstrual cramps
- Muscle loss
- Hair loss
- Poor sleep
- Tender or enlarged breasts
- Uterine fibroids
- Food cravings
- Night sweats
- Irregular cycles
- Hot flashes
- Breast cysts or lumps
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulties with memory or concentration
- Loss of sex drive
- Weight gain around the middle
- Facial hair
To evaluate hormone levels, Dr. Carlson routinely recommends combined urine and blood testing. She also assesses adrenal function, thyroid hormones, blood sugar and insulin, inflammatory markers, vitamin D and omega-3 fat levels.
Hormonal problems are most commonly due to the poor lifestyle habits that many of us fall into as we rush through our busy days. It is important to consider what we eat and drink, how much movement and activity we get daily and adequate time to rest and sleep when addressing the root cause. She also considers environmental factors from pesticides and plastics.
Many women benefit from decreasing sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, as well as removing dairy and gluten, which trigger inflammation and hormonal imbalances, while increasing foods such as cruciferous veggies, healthy fats, and non-GMO fermented soy from miso and tempeh. Dr. Carlson helps you establish a routine in which you able to manage stress, exercise consistently, and get more quality sleep. She recommends natural medicines and specific herbal blends to help you feel better.
From time to time, Dr. Carlson will refer to a prescribing physician if it’s determined that you would benefit from bioidentical hormone replacement. Risk factors including smoking status, history of clotting, family history, and estrogen metabolism will be considered before making a referral.
- Irregular Menses
- Mood problems
- PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
- Uterine fibroids