Bioidentical Hormones For Women’s Health
Menopause Specialist of Charlotte, North Carolina, Scott Shapiro, MD. knows that hormonal variations occur for women at different ages, and while some women can experience a loss of hormonal production as early as the 30’s, other women may not have decreased hormone production until their 50’s. Perimenopause is usually the time during which the ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone, and it occurs around three to seven years before menopause. During perimenopause, women can begin to feel slightly unlike themselves, and they may notice weight gain, fatigue, heavier periods, migraines, irregular periods, and a loss of interest in their partners. Eventually, periods stop all together, and after twelve consecutive months without a menstrual period, menopause begins.
A dramatic drop in hormones usually occurs during menopause because the ovaries are no longer able to produce adequate amounts of estrogen and progesterone. Ideally, the adrenal glands are supposed to take over the production of vital hormones; however, most women do not have fully functioning adrenal glands by the time they reach the 40’s and 50’s. Stress, overwork, a lack of exercise, and improper nutrition all wear down the adrenal glands. For this reason, many women experience the negative effects of hormonal decline, and women going through menopause usually experience depression, vaginal dryness, low libido, anxiety, muscle atrophy, fatigue, a poor memory, and hair loss.
Important Bioidentical Hormones
While estrogen and progesterone are the primary female sex hormones, other important hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, and testosterone can also be affected they fall out of balance. Therefore, it is important to consider the levels of these hormones as well. Because each hormone maintains numerous functions in the body, when even one of them falls out of balance, women can experience unpleasant effects. Some of the symptoms of these hormonal imbalances can include:
Estrogen is important for countless functions in the body, as it helps women to appear feminine, maintain brain health, regulate sleep, and control body temperature. Many of the signs that occur during menopause are due to estrogen imbalances, and some of the symptoms of imbalances can include dry hair, skin, and nails, thinning bones, wrinkling skin, insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and lower libido.
Progesterone is the second primary female sex hormone, and it helps to balance estrogen to reduce the chances of becoming estrogen dominant, which can increase the risks for breast and uterine cancer. Progesterone governs the menstrual cycle, and imbalances in progesterone can cause women to experience irregular periods, acne, increased PMS symptoms, heavy periods, infertility, anovulation, and mood swings.
Testosterone is usually thought to be primarily a male hormone; however, women need testosterone for several reasons. First of all, it helps women to maintain energy levels and build muscle. Testosterone also helps women to maintain libido, sexual function, and vitality. Women suffering from testosterone imbalances may experience fatigue, lower libido, muscle atrophy, weight gain around the abdomen, and poor workout performances.
DHEA is a precursor for the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, and if it is deficient, the body is unable to make adequate sex hormones. DHEA also helps women to decrease allergies, increase immunity, and reduce fat stores. Women with a DHEA deficiency will usually have deficiencies of estrogen and testosterone and experience a hypo functioning immune system.
Cortisol is released to counteract the effects of stress, and it helps to take care of many necessary activities in the body. Cortisol is known to help balance blood sugar, improve sleep, control weight, help sleep, and improve moods and emotions. Cortisol is the only hormone that increases with age, and if it is in the body in excessive amounts, it can eat away at zinc, vitamins, and potassium.
Menopause Specialist of Charlotte, North Carolina, Scott Shapiro, MD. can help women to balances their hormones and reduce or eliminate the symptoms that come along with hormonal decline. Many women have been able to reduce symptoms and increase their overall wellness.