What is a hormonal imbalance?
Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted into the blood by the endocrine system. They are carried to different parts of the body to tell the organs and tissues what to do. There are many different types of hormones with different functions. Even very small changes in the levels of individual hormones can cause major changes within the body. Hormone levels fluctuate naturally, such as during puberty and menopause, but when a hormone level rises or decreases outside of its natural levels, problems arise. Poor eating habits, overabundance of toxins or heavy metals in the body or certain prescription medications cause hormone imbalances and lead to conditions such as thyroid or adrenal disorders, hypogonadism (low testosterone), painful PMS, peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms.
We believe that there is no reason for women to lose their vitality as they enter peri-menopause or menopause. There is also no reason to risk breast cancer, heart disease, stroke or blood clots from using synthetic hormones. We strive to keep women feeling like themselves through menopause and after, with virtually no side effects.
What is menopausal syndrome?
Menopause is a natural event that normally occurs between the ages of 45 and 55. While in some women, menstrual flow comes to a sudden halt, it typically slows over time – a transition known as perimenopause. During perimenopause, menstrual periods generally become either more closely or more widely spaced. This irregularity may last for one to three years before menstruation finally ends completely.
Menopausal syndrome refers to the symptoms experienced by women once their period has ceased for at least 12 months. It is during this transition period in a woman’s life when her ovaries stop producing eggs, her body produces less estrogen and progesterone, and menstruation becomes less frequent, eventually stopping altogether. Other hormones such as testosterone, DHEA and pregnenolone may also decline during this phase of life.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
The symptoms of menopause and their severity can vary greatly. Some women find their symptoms mild and short-lived and do not require treatment. Others are faced with severe and on-going symptoms that disrupt their lives and relationships. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Skin flushing
- Hair loss
- Poor sleep (insomnia)
- Decreased interest in sex, possibly decreased response to sexual stimulation
- Forgetfulness (in some women)
- Mood swings including irritability, depression and anxiety
- Frequent urination or urine leakage
- Vaginal dryness and painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal infections
- Joint aches and pains
- Irregular heartbeat
What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that typically begin about a week to 10 days before a woman gets her monthly menstrual period. For most women, these symptoms are mild and do not require treatment. However, about 3-8% of women experience long-lasting and severe symptoms.
While the causes of PMS in not entirely known, it is believed that a change in hormone levels and chemical changes in the brain are mainly to blame. Other possible causes include low levels of vitamins and minerals, eating too much salt and excessive alcohol and caffeine.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
Symptoms range from woman to woman and may include:
- Breast tenderness
- Pain in the lower belly or back
- Fluid retention
- Sleep problems
- Feelings of tiredness, irritability, sadness, insecurity or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating
How is PMS treated?
Traditionally, severe PMS is treated with medication- either selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants or birth control pills. These drugs have their own set of side effects, including increased risk of blood clots, dizziness, reduced sexual desire, insomnia, drowsiness, weight gain or loss, headache, nervousness, agitation and more.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we strive to find the root cause of these symptoms, rather than simply masking them. As with all of our treatments, we start with a complete evaluation to find out exactly where this imbalance is originating. We evaluate hormone levels and take steps to rectify any imbalances of DHEA, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, using bio-identical hormone therapy and various botanicals and nutraceuticals. This is a safer, more natural and more effective form of hormone replacement therapy.
We test for potential allergies/sensitivities to hormones, as some women have a sensitivity to their own progesterone, which can lead to PMS-related migraines and other symptoms. If this type of sensitivity is present, we use sublingual desensitization—orally administered drops made with bioidentical progesterone—to train the body to tolerate the hormone.
We also utilize homeopathic treatments and nutritional supplementation to help alleviate symptoms and restore optimal health. We take the time to analyze each patient’s lifestyle and nutritional status and work with her to make changes that reduce symptoms and improve quality of life—all month long.
- While it is mainly thought of as the ‘male hormone’, women also produce testosterone but in much smaller quantities than men. In men, testosterone is produced mainly by the testes. It stimulates sperm production and the male sex drive, plays a role in the deepening of the voice and the growth of facial and pubic hair, and helps to build muscle and bone mass. Testosterone is also important for energy production and healthy brain and cardiac function. As men age, testosterone production decreases and this can cause a range of symptoms if levels dip too low. Low testosterone (hypogonadism), also known as “Low T” is diagnosed with levels fall below the normal range of 300-1000 ng/dL.What are the symptoms of Low T?
- Low libido
- Decreased energy
- Decreased strength
- Less pleasure in sex
- Decreased ejaculate
- Shrinking testicles
Traditionally, hormone imbalances have been treated with synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and/or medication to help with specific symptoms (such as sleeping pills for insomnia, etc.) Synthetic HRT is highly controversial because of the health risks associated with taking synthetic hormones. These hormones are a synthetic form of estrogen and progesterone, most often medroxyprogesterone acetate and conjugated estrogens which have never been seen in the body before, and therefore act very differently than their bio-identical counterparts. These synthetic hormones are not identical to those that the body naturally produces, are broken down into potentially harmful metabolites, and are associated with health risks such as:
- Heart attack
- Breast cancer
- Gall bladder disease
The medications prescribed to help alleviate individual symptoms also have their own set of side effects and risks.
At the Magaziner Center for Wellness, we do a thorough analysis of dozens of hormones and their metabolites using blood and urine testing. We frequently find that imbalances exist and replace the deficiencies with natural remedies and/or bio-identical hormone (BHRT) that is, with the same chemical structure as the human body produces rather than an altered or adulterated form of the hormone. As a result, symptoms are often alleviated quite effectively and we find this to be much safer.
We frequently find that various vitamins and minerals may be necessary to assist in hormone metabolism while neurotransmitters and botanicals can also be very helpful. Various environmental chemicals, known as endocrine disruptors, have been shown to interfere with hormone production and metabolism and an investigation to total body burden may be recommended.