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BHRT for Women

Benefits of Bioidentical Hormones in General:

  • Restores optimal hormonal balance to the body 
  • May help regain vitality
  • More effective for some than synthetic hormone replacement therapy 
  • Able to be used optimally and safely
  • Absorbed through the skin slowly 
  • Fewer interactive problems when taking other medications
  • Restorative sleep 
  • Less dangerous than synthetic hormone replacement therapy which is known to cause cancers
  • Custom compounded: Option to have your hormones individually matched and tailored to your blood chemistry and hormones levels 
  • Body is able to recognize the hormones as its own and uses them as nature intended
  • Slows down the aging process!  
Definitions of Menopause Symptoms

Hot Flashes - are a very common symptom for women as they enter menopause. They can be experienced during the day and/or at night.  The estrogen levels produced by the ovaries decrease during this time and the surging waves of heat in the daytime cause flushed red skin. Hot flashes during the night can result in sudden rushes of heat waves causing intense sweating.

Night Sweats - are usually more intense than hot flashes and women can experience symptoms ranging from severe to mild all with varied duration periods. Depending on the intensity night sweats can be accompanied by chills, nausea, headaches or an irregular heartbeat causing disruption in sleep patterns.

Insomnia - is a symptom and is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep for a long enough time to feel rested and rejuvenated. Night sweats or other accompanied symptoms of menopause such as bizarre dreams, or incontinence can contribute to the insomnia.

Low Libido - is the decrease in the desire to be sexually active. The drop in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels can lead to lower energy and decreased sex drive.  Arousal and orgasm are still possible, yet the hormonal imbalance that occurs during this shift into menopause can cause the vaginal wall to become dry and irritated further exacerbating the lack of desire to be sexual which can have a psychological impact as well.

Fatigue - is a common symptom due to the decrease in hormone levels which affect the quality of sleep. Estrogen is responsible for the REM stage during which rapid eye movement occurs. During this stage of sleep one gains the most restoration. As the levels of estrogen decrease the time spent in REM or restorative sleep also decreases causing one to feel fatigued. Progesterone is another hormone that helps women feel sleepy and as progesterone decreases, so does the ability to fall asleep.

Vaginal Dryness - Estrogen is the hormone that helps create an environment in the vagina that is moist and the vaginal wall is thick and elastic. During menopause the level of estrogen decreases which causes thinning of the vaginal walls resulting in less lubrication and elasticity. This can increase irritation, itching and pain resulting in a decreased desire to engage in intercourse.

PMS - is a significant factor in relation to menopause due to the fact that women who experience stronger symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome such as mood swings, food cravings, irritability, bloating, tender breasts and depression, have a more difficult time during menopause.

Mood Swings - are a result of an intense imbalance of hormones greatly affecting the level of Serotonin in the brain which is responsible for the stability of emotions.  Estrogen has direct influence on the amount of serotonin produced. Mood swings and depression can be experienced due to the drops in estrogen levels that are responsible for production of serotonin, the mood regulating hormone, in the brain. It causes a state of sadness, foggy thinking, fluctuation of appetite, loss of sleep and feelings that produce thoughts of suicide.  

Endometriosis - when endometrial tissue forms in places other than the uterus such as surrounding the ovaries, it hardens and causes cysts and blood stagnation resulting in premenstrual pain.

Fibrosis - abnormal growth of tissue surrounding an organ or smooth muscle after an injury. It's characterized by a rubbery, thin mass that is a pale color. Fibrosis inhibits normal function of the organ or body system and in the uterus it can cause sharp pain in the pelvic area and profuse bleeding. Fibroids in the uterus develop due to the amount of estrogen and progesterone that help prepare the uterine lining for pregnancy during a normal menstrual cycle. Most hysterectomies are given due to fibroids.

Foggy Memory - is a common symptom of menopause due to the shift in estrogen levels, which are responsible for the stimulation of neurotransmitters in the brain. This Estrogen chemical helps cells communicate as well as increasing blood flow and dilating the blood vessels resulting in greater brain function. When this chemical is low, short-term memory loss can be experienced.

Irregular Periods - occur around the age of 35 and are common in the peri-menopause stage of menopause where a woman’s body makes a transition from regular periods to the completion of ovulation entirely.  This stage of transition can be characterized as a sputtering of the reproduction system as it nears the end of its flow.

Hair Loss or Thinning - (pubic or full body)- looking at factors 3 months prior to hair loss will help you detect the cause. During menopause, hair loss is caused by a sudden drop in estrogen and can be exacerbated by increased stress and thyroid problems. Estrogen controls the level of testosterone the hormone directly related to the hair loss.

Sleep Disorders - occur due to the flux in hormone levels causing symptoms such as night sweats, and insomnia. The drop in estrogen limits the amount of magnesium that is absorbed into the muscles and helps promote relaxation. A myriad of other sleep disorders can be experienced during menopause such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and snoring. All of which prevent consistent restful sleep cycles.

Difficulty Concentrating & Mental Confusion- absence of clear thinking and presence of disorganized thoughts.  Again this can be from a combination of related factors that compound upon one another, all of which can be traced to the change in hormone levels during menopause.  Every symptom from night sweats to hot flashes, to depression and insomnia, all add to feeling less rested and more irritable. One can have a harder time concentrating on daily tasks when sleep cycles and hormones are out of balance.

Disorientation - can feel like one is out of touch with their surroundings. Often this symptom is directly related to feeling dizzy and light headed. Some experience vertigo which is a constant spinning sensation, or light headedness when one stands up too fast.

Dizziness, Light Headedness, Vertigo - feeling like one is going to fall down, unclear visual focus and perceptions. The culprit being hormone changes that affect the blood vessels and nervous system during menopause.  Dizziness can feel like the room is spinning around you and is associated with loss of balance.

Weight Gain - The years leading up to menopause can be influential in weight gain around the belly due to a decrease in estrogen levels causing cortisol levels to rise. This transition period is called peri-menopause. There are a number of related factors that contribute to increased abdominal fat and menopause is just one of them. Genetics, lifestyle, diet and level of fitness also determine ones experience of weight gain. As one ages, if lean muscle mass isn’t maintained the body's fat percentage will increase, contributing to the hormonal changes during menopause.

Incontinence - is the inability to keep urine in the bladder during sneezing, laughing or coughing. Estrogen is the hormone that helps with the strength of the bladder muscles. As estrogen decreases during menopause, so does control of the bladder. Incontinence includes feelings of a constant need to urinate due to an overactive or oversensitive bladder. Another form of incontinence is a bladder that doesn’t empty completely and dribbling occurs.

Bloating - sudden bouts of bloating cause distention, expansion or swelling in the abdominal area. Estrogen helps production of bile, which helps line the intestines with lubrication and assists in the ease of passing a bowel movement. When  estrogen decreases, the stool dries out and stagnates creating blockages, gas and bloating. Certain foods can add to the symptoms of bloating.

Increased Allergies - abnormal reaction to a substance that usually causes some type of itching, sneezing, or watery eyes, wheezing or rashes.  As one ventures through the rollercoaster of menopause the hormonal change is great. Hormones affect the bodies’ immune system resulting in a change in how it views substances as either friendly or as invaders. The body notices an invader and stimulates histamines to protect it.

Changes in Fingernail condition: brittle, soft, hang nails - Decreasing levels of estrogen affect the amount of water or moisture in the body. When the moisture levels decrease, the strength and elasticity of the nail bed becomes brittle or in a sense dehydrated.

Changes in Body Odor - The hypothalamus in the brain controls body temperature. Estrogen controls the function of the hypothalamus. When the estrogen levels of women fluctuate during menopause, so does the body's temperature. This can produce unpleasant odors that are normally uncommon to the individual.

Rapid Heartbeat - feeling ones heart pound, race or skip beats is commonly associated with heart palpations. The flux in hormone levels of the body during this time cause the blood vessels to constrict and dilate and is known as a vasomotor response regulated by the autonomic nervous system. Estrogen has a significant effect on heart health ranging from the smooth muscles of the arterial walls to the cholesterol levels in the blood. Maintaining balanced levels of estrogen during menopause is very important.

Anxiety - a state of being worried, fearful, on edge, uneasy, worried, or having a sense of urgency that is often out of proportion to the event that initiates the response. Estrogen levels affect the brain chemistry directly related to mood and emotions.

Panic Disorder - recurrent inappropriate reactions to situations that create a fearful response resulting in panic attacks. A woman would feel a sudden fight or flight response, which is characterized by increase in heart rate, sweating, and surges of emotions and energy through the body.  Shaking of the hands might also occur. Estrogen usually helps reduce the effect of cortisol, which is a stress response hormone. When estrogen drops below normal levels, blood pressure rises as well as blood sugar providing an environment prone to panic attacks. Progesterone is a calming hormone for the brain and when the levels drop, the feelings of peace go with it.

Breast Pain - tenderness, soreness, tightness and aching symptoms occur due to the drop in estrogen and progesterone during the transition from regular menstrual flow to menopause.

Headaches - are directly related to fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone during menopause. Estrogen dilates the blood vessels while progesterone constricts them. As the rollercoaster of hormones dips high and low, headaches can occur. It helps to be aware of the onset and duration of your headaches to know if they are hormone related. If your headaches come on under stress and use of sugar or caffeine, the adrenals may need to be addressed. If you have never had headaches and they are starting all of a sudden, it is most likely due to hormonal changes.  For symptoms of chronic migraines or head pain, the thyroid may be out of balance.

Aching muscles, tendons, joints - Estrogen can have an anti-inflammatory response to the joints. During menopause, the estrogen levels drop and greater inflammation is experienced in the joints.

Burning tongue, bad taste in mouth - is similar to that of burning one's tongue on a hot beverage, but the sensation is continual. The burning occurs due to the decreasing amounts of estrogen. Estrogen plays a role in saliva production and the bitter taste buds.

Electric Shock sensation under the skin and in the head -  Fluctuating levels of  hormones have a direct effect on the nervous system as the hormones cause the blood vessels to dilate and constrict. The neurons begin to misfire and cause electrical shock sensations under the scalp, and under the skin of the shoulders and arms.  Hot flashes correlate with this symptom as the hypothalamus is responsible for controlling body temperature.

Digestive Problems, Indigestion, Flatulence, Gas Pain, Nausea - Estrogen and cortisol hormones have a polar relationship. When estrogen decreases, cortisol increases. Cortisol is a stress hormone and it helps to conserve the body’s energy during “flight or fight” responses, thus slowing down digestion so one can run away from danger.

Gum Problems - bleeding, irritation, inflammation and gum and jaw pain are associated with changing levels of hormones during menopause.  The hormone estrogen plays a role in saliva production as well as taste buds and bone formation. It is important to see a dentist to follow up and make sure more serious oral care is not needed.

Increased tension in muscles - Cortisol and estrogen are hormones that have a direct correlation to muscle tension. As the estrogen drops the cortisol levels increase thus increasing blood sugar and blood pressure. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is a “fight or flight” response and isn’t a chemical that aids in muscle relaxation. Progesterone on the other hand is responsible for greater levels of relaxation of the body and the mind. During menopause estrogen and progesterone levels decrease and tension is experienced mostly in the upper back, neck and shoulders.

Itchy, crawly skin - occurs during menopause and is due to the decreased levels of estrogen, which are responsible for the production of collagen providing strength, elasticity and moisture in the skin. Pin pricks are described as one of the sensations of the symptoms. Avoiding hot showers and baths is advised to avoid further drying of the skin. Drinking water and eating nuts and eggs as well as using a natural moisturizer helps reduce this symptom.

Tingling Extremities - affects the arms, legs, feet and hands. The fluctuating level of hormones disrupts the nervous system and can cause tingling due to the vasodilatation of the arteries. When the areas close to joints pinch upon the veins and nerves due to increased muscle tension reducing circulation, it causes tingling of extremities.

Osteoporosis - is common in women during menopause because of the decrease in estrogen, which is associated with bone density.  Symptoms include bone pain and tenderness, fractures, neck and back pain, tooth loss, brittle fingernails and spinal deformities. Estrogen helps prevent bone break-down and aids in the absorption of calcium allowing the bone density to continually replenish itself.  When estrogen decreases, the bones become porous and brittle making one more susceptible to fractures. To support bone density is it best to do weight-bearing exercises, limit alcohol and smoking as well as eat a proper diet of calcium-rich foods including varieties that are non-dairy, and maintain a healthy weight.

Irregular Heartbeat - any guess what hormone is responsible for the symptoms of an irregular heart beat? You got it; Estrogen. Estrogen levels fluctuate and have correlation to the cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as the fluctuation of blood pressure affecting the vasodilatation of the arteries and affecting the autonomous nervous system that regulates the heartbeat.

Tinnitus/ ringing in ears - a constant buzzing noise that is not caused by an outside stimulus. What is considered to be the best description for the cause of tinnitus would be the change in hormones affecting the blood pressure in the inner ear. There are a number of other factors not directly related to the condition of menopause, which can be medications, heredity, hearing loss, infections and more.

Heavy Bleeding - can be caused by the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone as well as the formation of fibroids. Every woman’s body is different and may or may not experience this symptom.

High Blood Pressure - during menopause, high blood pressure has a correlation to the shift in hormones as the blood sugar becomes more sensitive to the amount of salt in the diet and rises. As the hormones shift, weight gain often occurs, which only exacerbates the blood sugar levels. Maintaining a healthy weight before and during menopause can help with this symptom.

Asthma - it is shown that increased levels of estrogen help those who suffer from asthma. If a woman already has asthma and is going through menopause, dropping estrogen levels can increase the severity of the asthma.

Food Cravings; Sweets or Carbs - When ovulation stops, the balance of estrogen and progesterone is interrupted. No progesterone is released and the levels of estrogen cause increased blood pressure and low blood sugar. Low blood sugar causes the desire for sweets and carbohydrates in an attempt to balance the blood sugar. Chocolate is a usual craving to self-medicate the hormone imbalance.  Normally, progesterone uses body fat for energy. When no more progesterone is produced, the body more readily accumulates fat. 

Progesterone:

Progesterone is a key steroid hormone that is essential for production of the sex hormones in both men and women. Progesterone isn’t a sex hormone in itself, but is required for the ovaries to secrete estrogen and for the testes to secrete testosterone. Progesterone is also produced in the adrenal glands of both men and women. You might be surprised that in order to produce progesterone cholesterol is essential. Cholesterol is a fat, which is a precursor for progesterone, and progesterone is a precursor for Estrogen, Testosterone, DHEA and Cortisol. Cholesterol in the body is converted into Pregnenolone, which gets converted into Progesterone. It is very important that one has a healthy amount of the proper fats in order for our body to produce the hormones needed for the endocrine system to function optimally and for men and woman to grow into their full capacity.
 
Progesterone isn’t the hormone that causes the breast to develop or the testes to produce sperm, but is the hormone required for testosterone and estrogen to do their job. Progesterone is very influential in the functionality of the human body at all ages in respect to building bones, converting fat into energy, regulating blood sugar, maintaining and supporting a healthy libido and enhancing intelligence. It also plays an important role in the strength of the immune system and is a natural anti-depressant.
 
Maintaining a proper balance of progesterone is important for both men and women. When progesterone is too low women experience symptoms of sleepiness, breast tenderness, weight gain and headaches all affected by the thyroid gland not being able to perform optimally because of the low levels of progesterone. Men with low levels of progesterone can experience fatigue, hair loss, decrease in sex drive, weight gain, bone and muscle loss, depression, erectile dysfunction and even man boobs, technically termed Gynecomastia.
 
When we are consistently over stressed our adrenal glands can become fatigued, because cortisol levels are at a steady “fight or flight” response, which they are reserved for in times of serious emergency. When we over activate the adrenal system we drain the progesterone levels, which is the precursor to cortisol. Managing our stress so that we have a balanced and stable life does more for us than we might realize. Our endocrine system is an entire ecological world in and of its self and cultivating harmony within this internal system is essential for a healthy body, mind and spirit.
 
Estrogen:
 
When we think of Estrogen we usually reference this hormone to the female reproductive system. But in fact estrogen is produced in both men and women just at different amounts.
 
There are three different varieties of estrogens: Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2) and Estriol (E3). Estrone (E1) is produced in small amounts in men and women in the adrenal glands and adipose tissue, which is fat, where it is also stored. Estradiol (E2) is the hormone specifically responsible for most of the estrogen activity. In men it is produced in the testes and adrenal glands and in women it is produced in the ovaries. This form of estrogen is synthesized from the androgen testosterone. Estriol (E3) is the form of estrogen most abundant during pregnancy and is produced by the placenta.
 
Estrogens play a key role in the communication of cells and the formation of genes. If the levels of estrogen are out of balance the receptors are not able to successfully receive or process the message to perform very important functions.
 
In women Estrogen has a great responsibility in tending to the reproductive organs including vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and utter and mammary glands found in the breasts. The estrogen found in the ovaries helps to stimulate the pituitary gland, which sends a signal to the brain to release hormones to aid in follicle development. The egg then travels down the fallopian tubes by way of muscular contractions, which estrogen is responsible for safely transporting the egg into the uterus. Estrogens provide the adequate amount of mucosal secretions lining the uterine wall as well as the cervix in the vagina to aid in ease of transport of the sperm.
 
Estrogens are the hormones that influence the formation and bone structure in women. Estrogen influences the narrower shoulders, broader hips, shorter bones and softer contour of tissue around the muscles and in the breasts giving women a distinctive form. Estrogen also affects the pitch of the voice in women. The voice box is smaller and hair is finer and more prominent on the head and less on the body than men.
 
In men estrogen also helps with the development of the male reproductive system. Specific characteristics being a deeper voice, greater amount of body hair, longer and stronger bones, growth and maturation of sperm as well as muscle development. Estrogen also influences the regulation of the heart rate and the function and development of the brain. If the levels of estrogen in men are too high they can experience a wide array of negative symptoms; increased weight gain, male boobs, loss of muscle mass and sex drive just to name a few. The more fat a man has accumulated around the mid- section,the more it will create an environment where greater levels of Aromatase are present and therefore a man will have greater levels of estrogen in the body.
 
Estrogen is a very specialized fat that plays an important part in the development of the physical and sexual characteristics of men and women as well as reproduction. It is important to maintain the delicate balance of estrogen levels to ensure a system that is harmonious in its function. As we age estrogen increases in men due to the drop in testosterone and estrogen decreases in women causing the gradual cessation of ovulation, which comes with symptoms of great discomfort. These don’t have to be endured, and can be managed with wisdom and attention to our unique hormonal levels.
 
Awareness of the importance of these hormones within your body and knowing their purpose and function are the first steps to consciously taking charge of your health at a cellular level. This will have a lasting impact on your ability to thrive physically and enhance your emotional well -being.
 
Testosterone:
 
Like Estrogen, Testosterone is a very important hormone in the development, growth, and maintenance of both men and women. Women have lower levels than men, yet the delicate balance of testosterone in relationship to estrogen and progesterone is crucial for harmonious syncopation within the body’s systems allowing for a fully functioning person at all levels of health.
 
Testosterone is made possible because of its precursor cholesterol that is an androgen or sex hormone. Testosterone is the hormone most abundantly produced in the male testes and is the dominant male sex hormone responsible for the development of the sexual traits, organs and production of sperm. Hair follicles, prostate gland, and testes are some areas of the anatomy that are in greater relationship to testosterone. Testosterone gives men a distinct body frame, deeper voice, and course facial hair. It is also produced in women’s ovaries and adrenal glands and plays a role in lean muscle and bone strength, energy level, stability of mood, and desire for sex as well as sensitivity to pleasure. An important note, testosterone affects the level of arousal and sensitivity to stimulation of the nipples and clitoris.
 
Testosterone declines by 50% in women during menopause.It also decreases in men but at a much more gradual rate of 2% per year and is called andropause. Women with lower testosterone levels can experience urinary incontinence due to the loss of muscle tone in the bladder. Women who have had their ovaries or uterus removed have greater drops in levels of testosterone affecting sexual desire. During andropause men experience symptoms of weight gain, depression, loss of muscle mass, brittle bones, hot flashes, decrease in sexual performance and desire as well as hair loss, all of which are directly related to the level and supply of testosterone in the body. All men need a balanced level of testosterone for their body to perform its natural functions and allow men to continue enjoying being men.
 
There is a flip side to andropause, which is an issue of too much testosterone rather than a shortage. Symptoms of an overabundance of testosterone, which can be due to steroid use in athletes are liver disease, low sperm count, aggressive behavior, impotence, insomnia, heart muscle damage, and acne. High levels of testosterone increase the cholesterol level of the good HDL and bad LDL, which can cause heart disease and stroke. We can see how important individually tailoring your hormone levels can be to maintaining a balanced whole body system. Testosterone plays an important role intricately working with estrogen in most of the body functions, each with its unique rhythm and beat.
 
DHEA-Adrenal Glands:
 
On top of each kidney are these little triangular structures known as the adrenal glands. The adrenal gland has an outer region called the adrenal cortex that surrounds the inner region called the adrenal medulla. The adrenal cortex with the essential precursor of cholesterol secretes three types of hormones; cortisol, aldosterone, and testosterone.
 
DHEA stands for Dehydroisoandroosterone. What is that you might ask? Well, it is just this very important precursor to androgen hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone produced in the Adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for regulation of water, salt, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. DHEA is a steroid that is found in women and men, but is the ingredient that gives men their unique masculinity and is also secreted in the testes. In woman DHEA is secreted by the adrenal cortex.
 
The adrenals not only produce DHEA, but cortisol, which is the ‘fight or flight’ hormone. When we are too stressed the adrenals get fatigued and have a harder time producing DHEA so the levels start to drop. It is common during the natural aging process for the levels to begin naturally dropping around the the age of 30, but proper levels help improve memory, restore lean muscles mass, build greater endurance, decrease fat percentage, boost immunity, supports flexibility and helps increase testosterone levels. When DHEA is below the body’s proper levels symptoms such as depression, lack of libido, weakened immune system, fatigue, aching joints and a loss of muscle can occur.
 
DHEA is known to help age related issues such as improving memory, and preventing the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
 
This tiny hormone plays a very powerful role in the regulation and maintenance of our bodies system, functions and overall health and well-being. Living a life that is balanced means more than just taking a vacation once a year. It requires a daily attention and care to the way we are in the world. When we are able to be calm and relaxed this state of being supports the adrenal glands in performing their proper function, which is to produce DHEA so that our testosterone, estrogen and progesterone levels are also in harmony.
 
Thyroid-Thyroid Gland:
 
What does your Thyroid have to do with your hormonal health? Your Thyroid health affects every organ in your body. It regulates metabolism of fat and carbohydrates as well as body temperature and heart rate. The Thyroid is a gland located just below your Adams’ Apple and is in the shape of a butterfly. The Thyroid secretes T3 and T4 which are hormones containing iron.
 
Since your metabolism and heart rate and body temperature are some pretty major body functions that are vital to you being alive, it is important to know how to manage and maintain your thyroid balance. The pituitary and hypothalamus send messages to the thyroid telling it where the thyroxine levels are in the blood. When your thyroid levels get too low the pituitary gland produces TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to produce more thyroxine. This delicate dance between the thyroid and the pituitary gland is known as a feedback loop, which keep each other in check, as one decreases the other increases, just like testosterone and estrogen do in the body.
 
In a normal functioning thyroid T4 is converted to T3 and everything works great. When T4 is not converted to T3, which occurs with the natural aging process due to the decrease in the production of T4, we get an underactive thyroid known as hypothyroidism. Selenium is the mineral responsible for T4 not being converted to T3. Some other issues that affect thyroid health are: mercury toxicity, adrenal fatigue and over exposure to stress and estrogen mimics like plastics and parabens, which suppress the thyroid function.
 
This little thyroid of ours can sure wreak havoc when out of balance. It is important to pay attention to your Adrenal Function when monitoring your thyroid, for treating thyroid without looking at the entire pathology of the endocrine system is like looking at a map through a pin-hole. Hypothyroidism is one of the most misdiagnosed and under treated disorders and is usually found in people over 40. A few of the symptoms that occur when the balance is disrupted include; depression, weakened muscles, infertility, elevated cholesterol, poor memory, fatigue and increased risk of cancer. Other symptoms are decreased sex drive, light sensitivity, head-aches, insomnia, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, constipation, intense periods, bruising easily and recurrent infections.
 
Cortisol-Adrenal Gland:
 
When was the last time you were scared out of your wits? Was it the time you jumped out of a plane, or were only inches from being hit by that speeding car at an intersection? Perhaps your child almost ran out into the street or fell and got hurt. What do all these events have in common? Heart pounding, “fight or flight” responses. And cortisol is the hormone activated by the Adrenal Glands and is a stress hormone that protects you in times of danger.
 
We are in a constant state of stress due to high pressure jobs, overloaded schedules, trying to be and do all. This high stress life style leaves little time for unwinding, relaxing, breathing and just being. This can really take a toll on our mental functioning and relationships, but even more importantly our physical health.
 
With a consistent elevated level of cortisol the adrenals go into fatigue and overdrive burning up the reserves that are left for major life threatening situations. The more stress the higher the cortisol levels, which create insulin resistance. The body isn’t able to burn the carbohydrates as usual and stores them as fat instead. It seems pretty simple that the more stressed one is the easier it might be to gain excess weight. Just because of being in a constant state of “flight or fight”. The elevated cortisol levels also contribute to diabetes, stroke, obesity, weakened immune system and, heart disease as well as an impaired cognitive ability. How many people can think clearly when they are in “survival mode”? Our brain is programed to shift gears and preserve life, not attend to focusing on biochemistry or mathematics or normal body functions like digestion.
 
A nation of freedom seems to be enslaved to constantly go, do more, and be more. What are we doing to support lasting health and vitality and what can we do to decrease the stressors in our life? And what is the type of life we want long term? One in which we are always in a state of worrying about our limited health that prevents us from having lasting relationships and lives we all desire? Now that we know about the importance of hormonal balance in our body and its intricate relationship to our lifestyle and overall wellbeing we can be aware of the health of our adrenal glands and take note if we are living in constant “fight or flight”.
 
Adrenaline-Adrenal Gland:
 
Do you know the meaning of EMERGENCY? When under stress the Adrenal Glands produce Adrenaline. It is the chemical that gets our heart rate up, our blood pumping and provides higher levels of glucose and lipids in the blood to be used for emergency situations. There are two types of chemicals secreted during this emergency situation, Norepinephrine and Epinephrine. Norepinephrine constricts the majority of the blood vessels in the body while Epinephrine dilates the blood vessels in the liver and skeletal muscles each being prime movers for the contraction and speed of the heart.
 
There are certain people who experience this rush of adrenaline on a daily basis. They might be known as the busiest, get it done type of people who love the challenge, the deadline, accomplishing the impossible. This type of “adrenaline junky” would be the type of person with Adrenal Fatigue. But other factors such as diet, drugs, alcohol, over exercising, birth control pills, not eating regularly, insomnia, stress, eating high sugar foods, hormone imbalances and just being overworked also have a great impact on the health of the Adrenals and the over production of Adrenaline.
 
So what’s the big deal about being an “adrenaline junky”? The important catch is that when we are in this fast paced, intense life style we can become addicted to the secretion of adrenaline. Adrenaline has a relationship with the serotonin levels in the brain. We get a type of high feeling from the serotonin, which helps us feel calm, but when that adrenaline rush is over there is a type of let down and a desire to get it again. This can be with work, food, sex, drugs and even getting into situations that create drama and ultimately stimulating that fight or flight response.
 
Many people end up going on antidepressants, which help with stabilizing the mood, but like any addiction there is a craving because something is insufficient or low. It is important to take inventory of your life and to see that your hormones and life style have a very intricate relationship. When one hormone is low another compensates. The endocrine system is a system of communicating highly classified information and when there is a break down in one area the messages are not sent and the entire body experiences symptoms of disharmony. What can we do to cultivate this harmony? We can get adequate sleep and regular exercise. Eat a diet of fresh organic produce free of toxins and additives. We can manage our schedules and take time to just be, relax, do yoga, walk, meditate, play with your children, walk your dog, or just watch the sun set. Laughing is always good too! To think these tiny hormones could have such a great impact on our health is quiet mysterious, but our lifestyle has a great impact on our hormonal balance. Let’s learn how to fluidly dance with the hormones and create balance in every area of our life!
 
Insulin-Pancreas:
 
The Pancreas produces two hormones that work closely together, glucagon and insulin. Insulin is the master of regulating carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism. If we don’t have enough insulin we experience diabetes, which is characterized by high blood sugar levels and symptoms of dehydration and weakness. If we have an over production of insulin the blood sugar levels are too low, which creates convulsions, anxiety and weakness. Glucagon raises the level of sugar in the blood and works very closely with insulin in its job of maintaining proper blood sugar levels in the body.
 
It is a very important hormone in the body that affects weight, mood, and blood sugar levels. Insulin is the hormone responsible for glucose metabolism and is the catalyst for the uptake of glucose. It controls how fat is either stored or used as fuel. People who are insulin resistant are in a sense starved at the cellular level. The glucose isn’t able to enter the cells as readily as it should. The pancreas gets the signal that not enough insulin is produced and an overproduction of glucose and insulin accumulates in the blood.
 
The cells in our body have receptor sites on them, specifically for insulin. When the insulin attaches to the cell it activates other receptors on the cell to absorb glucose-yes, sugar-from the blood. There are people who don’t make insulin naturally in the body. Without it one can be starving to death even thought they eat adequate amounts of food because the cells can’t ingest the glucose used for energy in the brain and the body. People who experience Type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin and need to get it through a pump or shots.
 
Craving carbohydrates is related to the level of insulin in our blood. When our insulin is low we crave carbohydrates. Women especially before their periods crave carbs even more because of the drop in estrogen levels. Lower estrogen levels create craving for carbs and the usual one is chocolate.
 
Melatonin-Pineal Gland:
 
Did you ever wonder what causes you to fall asleep, stay asleep each night and awake in the morning? Did you ever think that it had to do with a hormone produced by a very tiny gland in the brain called the Pineal Gland? The more we discover about the power these hormones have the more we realize how important they are to supporting a healthy balance inside and outside of our body.
 
Melatonin may be more important than we might know. Melatonin is produced in the Pineal Gland found in the brain, as well as tiny amounts in the intestines and the retina. But what affects how much melatonin is produced? Light and dark which is detected by the retina in the eye. Light from the sun or daylight inhibits production of melatonin increasing feelings of alertness and wakefulness. Melatonin is stimulated when it is dark, which in turn decreases heart rate and body temperature preparing one to feel sleepy.
 
There are receptors for melatonin in the pituitary gland, intestinal tract, ovaries and blood vessels and they have an effect on our biological rhythms. Melatonin stimulates the release of female hormones and plays a big role in the onset, duration and intensity of the menstrual cycle. Melatonin also helps with mating and breeding responses in animals.
 
When you get regular restful sleep do you notice how calm and relaxed you are? Melatonin has a relationship with serotonin. Melatonin is synthesized from Tryptophan and is then converted into serotonin, which we know helps stabilize our moods. Getting to sleep before midnight has an important effect on the strength of your immune system and prolactin production. It is suggested that getting to bed by 9p.m. allowing 3 hours of sleep before midnight greatly improves your immunity and can add years to your life. Melatonin can do wonders for longevity because of its ability to counteract free radicals with its antioxidants.
 
When we are not sleeping well, are over stressed, traveling and working long hours, we canexperiencea drop in melatonin levels. The Pineal gland is very aware of the age of our body and as we do age it stops producing the same amounts of melatonin in preparation for death and decay. We can see how developing a healthy sleep pattern and life style along with balanced melatonin levels can enhance and support our immune system, rev up our vitality and help keep us feeling and looking young as we age and grow in wisdom.
 
Human Growth Hormone-Pituitary Gland:
 
What does the human growth hormone do? Help you grow right? Did you know that if you have too much growth hormone as a child you would experience gigantism and if you have too little dwarfism is a result. The balance of the Human Growth Hormone in our body seems to be very important. Factors that affect the levels of the growth hormone in the blood are diet, exercise, emotional stress and sleep.
 
This hormone is a protein that is produced in the Pituitary gland, a pea sized gland within the brain and does its work at night after we are asleep sending surges of growth hormone into the blood that travels to the liver where it is converted into insulin. From the liver the insulin called IGF-1 acts as a messenger to initiate our body to grow cells, muscles, organs, and bones and it also aids how the body metabolizes the food we eat.
 
Human growth hormone drastically drops by the age of 60 and some of the symptoms of HGH deficiency are fatigue, thinning bones, skin that thins, sags and begins to wrinkle, lowered immunity, decrease in libido, stamina and heart function as well as muscle and hair loss. A decrease in HGH also adds to symptoms of depression, anxiety and increased body fat percentage.
 
When people with low levels of Human Growth Hormone supplement their deficiency they can experience a magnificent full body change. The biggest being a leaner body shape. Their muscle mass increases, fat seems to melt away, the skin gets thicker and more elastic and bone density increases. And many feel that they have an overall greater sense of vitality and zest for life.

Because bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is considered cutting edge medicine, only a select group of doctors are experienced in BHRT and have experience through proven results using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

Our directory of specialists concentrate on a preventive medical approach that helps put an end to suffering and effects caused by stress induced adrenal fatigue, signs of early menopause, menopause, perimenopause and andropause (the male menopause).

Bioidentical hormone doctors can provide you with all of the safety information, answer all your questions, clear up all of your doubts, inform you about symptoms, hormone testing and provide the general guidance you need. You need to be fully informed before making the final decision.

A qualified doctor can provide the possibility of enjoying an active, happy and healthy life, by fighting all of the uncomfortable effects of menopause and hormone imbalance. 

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Akamai Innovations, Inc
• Scotts Valley, CA
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