Diagnosis Of Womens Hormonal Imbalance
Since the symptoms of female hormone imbalance are also common signs of a number of other diseases and health conditions, women experiencing them should see a physician for a thorough physical examination. If other underlying medical conditions are ruled out, hormone level testing is the next step. Hormone levels can be measured through saliva testing and/or blood tests. Establishing an accurate diagnosis of hormone imbalance may require several tests, done at intervals, as hormone levels fluctuate throughout a womans menstrual cycle and may change greatly from one day to another.
Men And Estrogen: What You Need To Know
Estrogen is known primarily as a female hormone that helps regulate menstrual cycles, yet the hormone plays a bigger role in mens health than most people realize. Men produce small amounts of estrogen as part of their normal functioning male reproductive system, along with the male hormone testosterone. As they age, less testosterone is produced.
Yet questions are beginning to emerge as to what specific part estrogen plays in male development, especially as a man ages. Once largely ignored, estrogen levels in men are now under the microscope as researchers are trying to determine this hormones role in men and how it affects the bodys different hormone levels.
A decrease in estrogen, for example, may be a factor in fat accumulation in men as well as women. One endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School reported in a 2013 study that some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency in males, including a decline in libido, were at least partially caused by lower estrogen production.
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Hormonal Imbalance Blood Test
A blood test can test a panel of hormones to see if the patient has a hormonal imbalance. These blood tests often look at the levels of these hormones:
- Thyroid Hormones
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
When testing for estrogen, there are actually 3 hormones that are being tested for: estrone , estradiol , and estriol . Each of these hormones serves its own purposes in the body. Some medications can reduce estrogen levels in the body.
A blood test can be a thorough way to get the answers about what your hormone levels in the blood look like. Sometimes a simple blood test is all that you need. You can also get a blood test that tests for hormones like cortisol as well. Your doctor will look at your symptoms and determine which blood tests are the most appropriate for your specific case.
Scheduling your hormone blood panel test is easy and can be done through a qualified HRT telemedicine provider like EVOLVE. Get started online and schedule your Female Hormone Test or Male Hormone Test today.
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What Causes Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones have to work together in balance to help your body thrive. However, hormone ups and downs in women are very common, so if you feel that you have a hormonal imbalance, you are not alone.
Doctors from WebMD say that some of the common causes of an imbalance in hormone production in women are pre-menstrual syndrome, pregnancy, and the menopause. However, other lifestyle factors can cause hormones to fluctuate. Being overweight, not getting enough exercise, or a lack of sleep can all throw your hormones off balance.3
Other reasons for hormone fluctuations are an underactive thyroid that doesnt produce enough thyroxine . Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that hypothyroidism can leave you feeling lethargic, cause changes in your menstrual system, or make it difficult to lose weight.4
Also, diabetes is a common cause of hormonal imbalances and can affect, not just the insulin hormone, but also other blood sugar-related hormones, sex hormones, and growth hormones.5
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Ask For A Referral Or Find Another Md
If youre not confident in your physicians ability to help you address your concerns, its always OK to ask for a referral to an endocrinologist or someone who has more experience treating hormonal imbalance. You may also need to simply shop around for a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and supported.
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How Can Hormone Replacement Therapy Balance My Hormones
Medications often correct a hormone imbalance, as can hormone replacement therapy . HRT is designed to ease menopause symptoms by replacing the hormones your body no longer produces. Dunwoody OB/GYN, LLC, offers regular and bioidentical HRT.
Bioidentical HRT closely mimics the hormones naturally produced by the human body. They can provide relief from uncomfortable menopause symptoms, like hot flashes or low libido. But HRT may not be safe for all women. Your provider can help you determine if HRT is right for you.
Hormone Testing: What To Check And Why
Questions about hormone testing are common among my patients and on social media. Women want to know which hormones they need to check and why. They also want to know what hormones and other biomarkers can be tested at home. In this video and accompanying article, I cover the biomarkers that I check for myself and my patients approximately once per quarter. Note that not all biomarkers I discuss below have been validated for blood spot testing versus the gold standard of a blood draw for serum testing, which is what I use for treatment decisions. Still, one can infer trends and screen for problems to investigate further. My highest recommendation is to perform serum testing for all treatment decisions, though that may be difficult during quarantine and lockdown. I created this video to show the blood spot test that I am performing in lockdown, even with the caveat that it is not considered the gold standard for all tests mentioned in this article.
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Things Every Hormone Doctor Wants You To Know
Ah, hormones. Such an easy scapegoat. And for good reason: They can be responsible for everything from mysterious weight gain to hair loss to crazy hunger. When things get a little out of control in that department, an endocrinologist might be able to help you.
But before you make an appointment, read on to find out what they think you should know.Simply put, “we’re hormone doctors,” says Marilyn Tan, MD, an endocrinologist at Stanford Health Care. “The three most common diagnoses we make are thyroid problems, diabetes, and osteoporosis,” she says. Other common conditions they treat: menopause, hypertension, and infertility. And while endocrinology might be a specialty in itself, these docs sub-specialize. Some may focus on weight loss, others on thyroid abnormalities, some on diabetes or reproductive health. That means you should see the one that fits your health issue to get the most targeted treatment.
Your endocrinologist is likely to feel around the front of your neck to check for a nodule or lump, which could be indicative of an undiagnosed thyroid condition or potentially thyroid cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there were nearly 62,500 new cases of thyroid cancer in 2015. You can also perform this check on yourself .
They want to hear about your hot flashes.hot flashes during menopauseJAMA Internal Medicine
They Provide Plenty Of Individualized Attention
One of the greatest benefits of seeking top-of-the-line medical care is individual attention. Ask your potential hormone doctor how much time they typically spend with a patient during consultation and follow-up appointments. Then, consider if thats enough time to truly understand your medical background, symptoms, concerns, and questions.
Youre an individual with unique needs that deserves personalized solutions. Understanding those needs, evaluating your treatment options, and monitoring your progress are all essential components of caring for your healthand they take time. By prioritizing doctors who offer plenty of time and individualized attention, youre making sure that your concerns will be heard.
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Do: Prepare For Your First Visit
Its helpful to be ready for your first visit with your new hormone doctor, as it can ensure your visit runs smoothly and lessen any anxiety you may have. You can expect your provider to do a comprehensive medical intake, and having the right information with you can make this process easier. Below are some tips to help you better prepare for your first visit.
What To Expect At The Endocrinologist
You typically will see an endocrinologist in an outpatient setting, since many of the problems they treat are chronic conditions that donât require surgery. Some endocrinologists also provide consultations in inpatient settings.
Often, your primary care doctor will refer you to an endocrinologist for a suspected hormone problem. When you first visit, the endocrinologist will ask you a series of questions to learn more about your symptoms, health habits, other medical conditions, medications, and family history of hormone-related problems. They will consult with your referring doctor and review your medical records.
Additionally, the endocrinologist will perform a physical exam, checking your pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure. They will assess your skin, hair, mouth, and teeth, as some hormone-related disorders can impact these areas. They may also order blood work or urinalysis, perform a biopsy, or order an ultrasound or imaging tests like computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans.
Once the endocrinologist has determined a diagnosis, they will work with you and your referring doctor on a treatment plan. Some people will continue to see the endocrinologist to help them manage chronic hormone-related conditions.
Youâll continue to see your family or primary care doctor for other issues. Others may only need to see endocrinologists for a short amount of time, with further follow-up care and symptom management provided by primary care doctors.
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Who May Need A Female Hormone Panel
Middle-aged women, and those experiencing difficulties with becoming pregnant, will most benefit from having their hormone levels checked in order to either begin hormone replacement therapy, or make lifestyle changes which could improve certain aspects of their hormone levels. Also, patients who have experienced symptoms related to menopause, as well as those looking to discover the source of a chronic condition possibly linked to abnormal hormone levels or general health, will also be provided enough information to work with their physician in determining a method of treatment.
Why Should You See A Hormone Specialist
Hormone specialists are physicians who have expertise in diagnosing, treating, and preventing conditions and illnesses related to hormones. Hormones are natural chemicals produced by the endocrine glands and serve as messengers in the body. Injected directly into our bloodstream, they send signals to the different parts of the body to regulate bodily processes and functions.
Hormonal imbalances can affect our growth and development, mood, metabolism, reproduction, sexual function and drive, heart rate, sleep cycle, and body temperature. Hormones are critical for our wellbeing and when an imbalance happens, it can wreak havoc on our bodies.
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Why Blood And Serum Hormone Tests Do Not Reflect Your Symptoms:
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Skin And Hair Changes
Acne. A sudden increase in acne is one easy way to identify a possible hormonal imbalance. One of the few hormones involved is androgens. Androgens, typically referred to as male hormones, but found in both males and females, regulate your skins sebum production. If your body produces androgens in excess, sebum can build up in your pores and cause a pimple to surface.
Hair loss. The quality and vitality of your hair is also directly related to your hormones. Thyroid abnormalities, for example, may cause dry hair or skin, thinning hair, or brittle nails. Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and parathyroid disorder can also cause hair loss.
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When To Test Cortisol
We cant always get a full picture of whats going on with your hormones without looking at the adrenals, which produce the stress hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is involved in your stress response, hair loss, blood sugar regulation and more. In time of stress, the body will shift into preferentially making cortisol over progesterone. Read more about the importance of cortisol here.
Cortisol blood tests are best performed in the morning, along with Adrenocorticotropic hormone , because this is when levels are highest. ACTH is produced in the pituitary gland and helps your adrenals to function. For a more comprehensive picture of adrenal function, a 4-point salivary or urinary cortisol is best. Cortisol can be tested at any time of the month.
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Medications: Treating Hot Flashes And Night Sweats With Hormones
Some women may choose to take hormones to treat their hot flashes. A hormone is a chemical substance made by an organ like the thyroid gland or ovary. During the menopausal transition, the ovaries begin to work less and less well, and the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone declines over time. It is believed that such changes cause hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
Hormone therapy steadies the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. It is a very effective treatment for hot flashes in women who are able to use it. There are risks associated with taking hormones, including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, and dementia. The risks vary by a womans age and whether she has had a hysterectomy. Women are encouraged to discuss the risks with their healthcare provider.
Women who still have a uterus should take estrogen combined with progesterone or another therapy to protect the uterus. Progesterone is added to estrogen to protect the uterus against cancer, but it also seems to increase the risk of blood clots and stroke. Hormones should be used at the lowest dose that is effective for the shortest period of time possible.
Some women should not use hormones for their hot flashes. You should not take hormones for menopausal symptoms if:
Talk with your doctor to find out if taking hormones to treat your symptoms is right for you.
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How Ents Treat Thyroid Conditions
Your thyroid gland is a vital endocrine gland that produces hormones to control your bodys physiological processes, including metabolic activities like sweating. Your thyroid can be found just below your voice box , situated in the middle of your lower neck.
Thyroid conditions such as overactive glands and underactive glands affect millions of Americans. Patients whose thyroid glands are compromised often face other health issues. But by seeking treatment from an ENT specialist, you can effectively prevent further complications. Here is how ENTs take care of thyroid conditions.
Iron Supplements What Kind Of Doctor For Female Hormonal Hair Loss
An inadequacy of iron might result in hair loss in some women.In the case of vegetarianism, anaemia, or heavy menstrual bleeding, your doctor may test your blood iron degrees.
There is a likelihood that taking an iron supplement will certainly quit your loss of hair if you have iron shortage.
The only adverse effects you will certainly encounter if your iron level is normal will certainly be indigestion as well as constipation.
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Why Is Weight Loss Recommended For Women With Certain Hormonal Imbalances
In women with hormonal imbalances, excess weight can make the symptoms worse. Medical professionals recommend weight loss to help women control their symptoms and reduce their discomfort. For women with fertility problems, excess weight can also make it more difficult to conceive. Losing weight is recommended to give a woman the best possible chance of having a baby.
When Should I See An Endocrinologist
There are a few types of disorders that can arise in the endocrine system:
- Excessive or low production of a hormone
- A tumor on the gland affecting its functionality
- An infection affecting the gland
If you have the following disorders or symptoms, you should seek an appointment with an endocrinologist to check your hormone levels and treat your health concerns.
The menstrual cycle is closely regulated by four hormones that work in tandem to bring changes to the uterus every month. If you have irregular periods, your endocrine system may not be functioning properly. This could indicate underlying issues like thyroid disorder or PCOS or could occur due to menopause, puberty, or hormonal contraception.
Women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones that give them characteristics like increased facial hair growth and irregular menstrual periods. If left untreated, PCOS can lead to infertility. Whatever the cause of menstrual irregularity, an endocrinologist can help you plan the treatment for your condition.
Infertility is when a woman is unable to get pregnant for 12 months. Many times, infertility in men and women is due to hormonal imbalances or insufficiencies. In men, low levels of testosterone can lead to a lower sperm count. Women have higher chances of infertility due to hormonal disorders like PCOS, prolactinoma, and anovulation.
What to Expect from the Endocrinologist?
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