How many of these symptoms can you identify with?
- Irregular periods: Changes in your period are often the first signal that your sex hormones are beginning to shift in perimenopause.]
- Sleep difficulties: Do you toss and turn as you try to sleep or wake up regularly in the middle of the night. Progesterone deficiency can cause sleep difficulties.
- Weight gain: Have you noticed changes to your weight or the shape of your body?
- Even if you’ve never had a weight problem before, shifting hormones communicate that it should store extra fat in the abdominal area.
- Fatigue/loss of energy: Not getting enough sleep may make you feel tired, but fatigue can occur even when you get enough sleep, leaving you feeling physically and emotionally drained.
- Forgetfulness or foggy-brained thinking: One of the most alarming symptoms for many women is memory changes. Don’t fret; it’s not uncommon.
- Thinning hair or hair loss: You may not realize that imbalances between estrogen and testosterone can cause thinning hair. Many women start to notice clumps of hair in their shower drains during menopause or perimenopause.
- Vaginal dryness: It can be a difficult symptom to discuss, but 50% of women in perimenopause and menopause experience it, with dryness, itching and pain that affect their sex lives, activities and even the clothes they wear.
- Low libido: While vaginal dryness can cause low libido, a drop in progesterone or a testosterone deficiency by itself can also leave you without a sex drive.
- Joint discomfort /stiffness: Joint pain or stiffness in the back, knee or hip may be a surprise symptom caused by fluctuating estrogen levels. Hard to believe but true!
- Food cravings: You may find the cravings you had with PMS are getting worse.This may be due to your body’s increased needs for valuable micronutrients, or to the “crash cycle” pattern of fatigue-carbohydrates-fatigue that so many of us fall into with hormonal imbalance.
- Digestive discomfort: During perimenopause and menopause, diarrhea, gas and constipation can all increase.
- Anxiety and/or sadness: Stress hormones affect the production and balance of other hormones.
- Irritability and/or moodiness: Snapping at family, friends, your kids? Feeling angry a lot? Swings in mood and sudden outbursts are often the first signs women notice during perimenopause.
- PMS-like symptoms: Stronger cramps, more bloating, frequent headaches and mood swings might seem like your PMS symptoms have worsened, but these symptoms are often a sign of perimenopause.
- Feeling overwhelmed: What seems like too much to handle, just might be. Perimenopause and menopause can compound existing stress levels; it’s likely you’ll feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with anything.
If you have been identifying with these symptoms, it may be time to call your doctor; your body is asking you to respond, and it’s probably your hormones talking. They might even be begging, or pleading, or having a down-right-full-blown-tantrum.
What you need to know:
Functions of Women’s Sex Hormones
There are three types of Estrogen: Estrone (E1), Estradiol(E2), and Estradiol (E3). Each are responsible for different things. Estrone (E1) is made post-menopausally and if over-produced can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer. Estradiol (E2) provides over 400 functions in the body like metabolism, insulin sensitivity, prevention of muscle damage, and regulation body temperature. E2 improves sleep, increases blood flow, decreases artery plaque, maintains skin’s collagen, reduces cataracts, etc. The least potent and most beneficial estrogen is Estradiol(E3). It helps with proper pH of the vagina, benefits the vaginal linings, helps maintain pregnancy and protects against breast cancer.
Progesterone and Testosterone are equally as important to keep the concert of hormones playing beautifully. Progesterone like estrogen, is made in the ovaries and acts as a precursor of other sex hormones. Progesterone maintains secretory endometrium, protects against breast fibrocysts, acts as a natural diuretic, helps use fat for energy, acts as a natural antidepressant, helps thyroid hormone action, normalizes blood clotting, restores libido, restores proper cell oxygen levels, protects against endometrial cancer and breast cancer, and it promotes cortisone synthesis as a precursor in the adrenal cortex.
Testosterone plays an important role in a woman’s normal physiology. Women produce a small amount of testosterone, which is critical to the healthy functioning of most of the tissues in the body. It is responsible for a sense of well-being, sexual libido, and vital energy.
How do I restore balance to my body?
There has been a lot of talk about the latest in hormone therapy known as Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy. You may be thinking, yeah, I’ve heard about this.
So what is Bioidentical Hormone Therapy?
Let’s get some of your questions answered. Bioidentical hormones are different from the synthetic hormone replacement treatments you might associate with generations past. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is plant based and specifically formulated to identically match the molecular structure of human hormones. After you read this article and visit with Dr. Caruth, you will visit a lab where simple blood testing will done; based upon the results, if your hormones are out of balance, bioidentical hormones will be compounded and matched exactly and molecularly to replenish your body’s particular deficiencies.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy treats men, too, for symptoms of low testosterone.
Once the hormones are formulated, the hormones (in the form of pellets) are placed subcutaneously underneath the skin, typically in the hip with local anesthesia. This usually takes less than five minutes. Once administered, a slow steady dose of molecularly matched hormones flow into the blood stream. This treatment for women last approximately 3-5 months. For men, about 4-6 months.
The pellets used are synthesized from soybeans. Other than a small amount of stearic acid as is common in pharmaceuticals, there are no other ingredients in them — besides of course the hormones themselves. The pellets dissolve completely. It is unlikely soy sensitive individuals will have problem tolerating them.
A very informative interview conducted by Fox News discusses the benefits and answers many questions concerning this kind of hormone replacement therapy. Watch more here.
Also, Doctor Oz and Oprah have talked on several, with a lot of enthusiasm, about bioidentical hormone therapy.You can watch more on the subject below.