You’ve probably seen commercials and other advertisements for “Low T” and “PMS” and “Menopausal Symptoms” and others problems. A lot of these symptoms come from Hormone Imbalances.
Mostly, it’s been a female issue because women usually speak up and talk about things that don’t feel right. Men usually push through and just get resigned to their decreased functioning. Recent studies are showing that men’s hormones are just as messed up as women’s, so pharmaceutical companies have put on the full court press to include men in their commercials.
For men, the main problem is Low Testosterone. This usually manifests as Fatigue, Irritability and Depression, Loss of Vitality, Increase in Belly Fat, Sluggishness and ultimately Loss of Libido and Erectile Dysfunction. Usually, the last two are what bring men in for help. Along with this, DHEA can be low, Estrogen can be high and other hormones can be disturbed. Every day, when I test hormones, I am amazed at how low Testosterone is getting, even in young men. The vast majority of men I test are in the lowest part of the range or completely out in the low area. Some have none at all.
Other common problems for men are High Estrogen and Low DHEA. These can also be tested easily by a blood draw.
For women, the majority pattern I see is High Estrogen and Low Testosterone and Low Progesterone. Women usually complain of Hot Flushes, Night Sweats, Mood Changes, Weight Gain, Poor Sleep, Depression and Anxiety. It usually progresses to Loss of Libido and inability to have an orgasm in extreme cases. Also, certain Estrogens like 16-hydroxy Estradiol are being implicated in Breast Cancer and there are ways to decrease the Estrogen or change it into a more favorable Estrogen if it is high.
For the most part, Synthetic Artificial Hormones are used by pharmaceutical companies. You see, Bioidentical Hormones, those that mimic the natural ones in our bodies, are cheap and the profit is too low for a large drug company to put resources into. You can’t get a patent on something that is natural, so pharmaceutical companies have to come up with a similar looking molecule in the lab that is “close to” the real thing but no one else has patented yet. Some have now been linked to Breast Cancer, Heart Disease and other problems. So I recommend anyone getting Hormone Replacement Therapy or other Hormone Supplementation to work with a health care provider that can obtain Bioidentical Hormones. It’s cheaper and, in my opinion, less risky. Natural and Bioidentical Hormones have not been linked to these problems.
Saliva testing is the most accurate, but urine and blood testing are available also. Each has it’s pros and cons and each can be effective in the hands of a provider that is trained to use that method.
Follow up testing is always done, because hormones change over time. Some good hormones can turn into bad ones or cause other symptoms not present before. Usually a cream rubbed into the abdomen or back while dressing in the morning is the most consistent way to fix hormones, but some can be done by injection or by other ways.
If you think you want your hormones checked or just want a consult to discuss your particular case, you can call The Maine Center for Functional Medicine at (207)941-0080.