Tina (name changed to protect privacy) is a 44 year old woman who complained about being uncomfortable with the shape of her body. Not only was her waist no longer noticeable but she felt bloated all of the time. She could not drop any weight no matter what she tried. She did not sleep well and she would have flashes of heat in the day and night. Tina required Prozac to avoid feeling depressed.
Tina did not have the motivation or passion for the things that she enjoyed doing in past years. Everything she did was done by forcing herself to do them–even everyday things. Even going for a walk seemed like effort. Her husband was very patient but she felt bad that she had zero desire for sexual relations with her own husband. She went to her gynecologist who was unable to help her. She felt like a walking zombie with no end in sight.
Luckily she read about hormones and how they can affect how a woman feels. When we tested her hormone levels we found her to have zero Testosterone and an excess of Estrogen. She also had low Progesterone and her thyroid was not optimal. Her hormones were imbalanced and she was feeling the effects and yet this was not being recognized with traditional medical care.
Keep in mind that optimal levels of hormones are very different from what the lab reports as “normal”. Treating a person’s hormones to optimal levels is considered “outside of the box” in medicine, but keeping people in the state that Tina was in is considered to be perfectly fine. This makes absolutely no sense to physicians who enjoy treating the whole person and helping that person feel and look their best. Hormone replacement is not the whole answer to achieving optimal wellness, but it is an important piece. Proper bio-identical hormone replacement is often the first step that helps a person regain their energy and drive so that he/she can exercise more, eat better, get good sleep, etc. Optimal hormone balancing must be done outside of insurance coverage so unfortunately many men and women suffer from a hormonal imbalance without seeking proper treatment.
The signs of a hormonal imbalance in women can be obvious or it can be subtle and missed. I wanted to post a questionnaire that is simple to use in order for women to better see if they have a hormonal imbalance or not.
Answer these questions with none, mild, moderate, severe, or extremely severe so that you may have a better picture of what is going on in your body.
Do you have the following:
- Hot flashes, sweating (episodes of sweating)
- Heart discomfort (unusual awareness of your heart beat, heart skipping, heart racing, or tightness)
- Sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep, difficulty in sleeping through the night, or waking up early)
- Depressive mood (feeling sad, down, on the verge of tears, having a lack of drive, or mood swings)
- Irritability (feeling nervous, having an inner tension, or feeling aggressive)
- Physical or mental exhaustion (having a general decrease in performance, impaired memory, decrease in concentration, or forgetfulness)
- Anxiety (inner restlessness or feeling panicky)
- Sexual problems (a change in sexual desire or in sexual activity and satisfaction)
- Bladder problems (trouble urinating, an increased need to urinate, or bladder incontinence)
- Dryness of vagina (sensation of dryness or burning in the vagina or difficulty with sexual intercourse)
- Joint or muscular discomfort (pain in the joints or muscles, a delay in recovery from workouts or injury)
After answering the above questions assess how many you symptoms you have. These are all indicators of a hormonal imbalance. The more symptoms on this list you have, the quicker you should get your hormones checked by someone who understands optimal hormone balancing.
So often people worry about events going on in the world or in other people’s lives. People waste energy worrying about these things and it affects their health by affecting their mindset. The reality is that you can only control what you think, say, and do. You can not control anyone else–as much as you would like to. Of course I wish that I had a magic wand to make the world work as it should but that is not a realistic wish. ( I also wish that I had a magic wand to make my house clean with one wave!)
The good news is that you have complete control over your own mindset and the actions that you take. You can choose to start the day thinking about the one thing that you would like to accomplish that day—it does not have to be a big accomplishment. You can also think about all of the things that you are grateful for and that are going right in the world. You can sit in peace and let your mind think about the good things in life. Isn’t this better than starting the day by watching the news–being told how awful the world is and what is wrong with the world? Isn’t it better than spending time amongst others who complain about all of the terrible things going on?
Which mindset will give you happiness–one of fear or one of abundance?? When you focus on what everyone else is doing that you don’t like or agree with it brings about fear and anxiety. When you focus on the things that you can control and change it brings you peace and balance. Doesn’t it make sense that taking ownership of what you think, say, and do can result in you feeling happier and more fulfilled?
Addressing your mindset is a part of the optimal wellness picture. Balancing your hormones, eating a whole food diet, drinking plenty of water, getting good sleep, exercising regularly, taking the right supplements, and minimizing toxin exposure are all parts of this picture. So often people forget about the power of the mind and how the mind can affect how you sleep, your hormones, what food and drink you crave, and your motivation to exercise. The mind is a powerful thing–use it to help you!!
Average testosterone levels have decreased dramatically over the last century. There are some estimates that the average male’s Testosterone level today ranges from 270 ng/DL to 700 ng/DL, one hundred years ago the range was 800 to 2000!
Several studies have shown a decline of Testosterone levels in today’s men regardless of age. For example, a 45 year old man today has far less Testosterone than a 45 year old man 100 years ago. Now take into account that “normal” Testosterone levels for men are determined by testing the blood of a randomly picked group of men—men who are now having lower Testosterone levels than they should. The result is that Testosterone levels that are actually low have been labeled as “normal”. This results in men suffering needlessly from low Testosterone but being told that they are normal and nothing is wrong with them.
We live in an environment that has numerous things that disrupt our hormones–stress, chemicals, poor diet, etc. This has resulted in the decline of Testosterone and other hormones in both men and women. Hormonal imbalances can present as fatigue, sleep issues, depressed mood, anxiety, poor muscle recovery, irritability, loss of vitality, inability to gain muscle, brain fog, loss of focus or concentration, a loss of libido, etc. Your Testosterone may be low for you and yet the levels show “normal” on the lab results. You need optimal Testosterone levels, not “normal”. With optimal levels you will feel at your best!
As you are reading this and the words on this page are going through your mind, you may be wondering if you or someone you know is suffering from a hormonal imbalance. If you are a man or woman over 35 years old the odds are that you do have a hormonal imbalance (and this can be the case even if you are younger).
A hormonal imbalance can present as fatigue, sleep issues, an inability to lose weight, depression, anxiety, a lack of vitality, an increase in aches and pains, difficulty healing and recovering, etc. Hormone imbalances are not just about hot flashes and ni ght sweats, and both men and women are affected by imbalances. The symptoms can come up suddenly or gradually–everyone is different. If left untreated hormone imbalances can lead to osteoporosis, dementia, and other hormone related diseases including a frailty and decline of health in the last few decades of life.
Most people simply feel their slow deterioration is simply a part of aging and they settle for not feeling their best. A great case showing this is the story of Brian. Brian’s wife had great success with bio-identical hormones and she sent her husband to my office. Brian did not think anything was wrong with his hormones–a common issue.
Brian still had a good libido and was exercising. However he was tired and did not want to do much outside of work. He was also slightly more irritable and grumpy. Upon further questioning I found that he was not gaining muscle or recovering from workouts like he should. He was only 45 years old but was slowly losing vitality. He thought this was normal aging but it is not. His regular doctor had told him he was fine and he had accepted his symptoms as normal.
After a personalized evaluation of his symptoms and labwork, Brian was found to have suboptimal Testosterone and a few vitamin deficiencies. There are several options for Testosterone replacement for men: bio-identical cream, injections, and bio-identical pellets. Each man needs to make his own choice for the treatment method that is best for him. Testosterone replacement for men is safe and effective when the estrogen level is properly monitored. High estrogen and low Testosterone is what poses dangers for a man’s health. Optimal Testosterone levels and keeping estrogen levels low help to prevent certain diseases as well as eliminate symptoms for men.
After optimizing Brian’s Testosterone and correcting his vitamin deficiencies, he finds himself having the energy to enjoy his family and life outside work. He is sleeping better and has improved memory, mood, and focus. He runs his own business and has found his productivity and revenue have grown. Brian is saving time and money by functioning at a higher level. He is now living his life at an optimal level.
Getting properly balanced with bio-identical hormones for men and women is done outside of insurance. Balancing your Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen, etc takes the willingness to invest in yourself. In return, you save time, money and relationships.
- Save time spent in other doctors offices getting treated for illnesses that could be prevented (or treated) with hormone balancing. (Osteoporosis, Dementia, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, Erectile Dysfunction, etc)
- Save money on copays for the medications you no longer need for blood pressure, mood, sleep, etc.
- Save your job, or even make more money, by improving your work performance.
- Save your marriage. When you feel better you will be less easily irritated and be a better communicator. You can also improve your sex life with hormone balancing. Many couples still love each other but have grown apart due to changes in their mind and body that occur due to hormonal imbalances.
- Save money on weight-loss programs since you can finally lose weight when your thyroid and other hormones are properly balanced. (When combined with eating healthy and exercising)
- Save money on cosmetic procedures since Testosterone, Progesterone, and Estrogen all help to mprove skin color, tone, and elasticity.
Live your life rather than just exist each day. Have vitality and the energy to enjoy your time.
Aren’t these things worth having?
J.M. is a 55 year old fireman and over the past few years he had noticed that he could not run in and out of buildings like he used to. He found himself getting irritated more easily and felt like he had passed his peak. Even though he was working out he had a difficult time building muscle. He even noticed a little muscle loss and a hard time losing fat.
J.M. had seen his regular doctor and was told that his labwork was normal and that he was just getting older. Luckily he did not accept that as fact and sought out help. His hormone labwork was definitely not optimal. Normal ranges at the labs are determined by testing a part of the population and then coming up with the average numbers. But what happens when the people they are testing are out of balance hormonally? In modern society the average person does have a hormonal imbalance and this results in the “normal” lab values being incorrect.
Your hormone lab values may be interpreted as “normal” when in actuality they are low–the imbalance is missed simply because the “normal” lab values are incorrect. The medical profession gets pressured from many angles and most doctors are hesitant to look outside the “normal” values. They tend to accept the “normal” lab values without question. They forget to really look at the person and see that there is a hormonal imbalance. They are simply not questioning the validity of the “normal” values. This is not their fault–due to the nature of insurances they do not have the luxury of time to treat “outside the box”.
Hormonal imbalances exhibit specific symptoms and it takes time to get to know the patient and determine what he/she requires to achieve and maintain proper balance. Lab work is just a piece of information and it needs to be interpreted looking at optimal values, not the “normal” values. Optimal lab values are the values we see in people who are functioning at a high level and feel great. Unfortunately these values can be flagged as “abnormal” on lab results. This can scare the uninformed. “Abnormal” is often optimal. Look around you at the general population’s health. This is a sad truth.
The goal of proper hormone balancing is to get rid of your symptoms and prevent future medical issues like dementia, heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, etc. This is only possible by taking the time and investing in yourself by seeking the help of a specially trained hormone specialist.
J.M. was found to have a significant Testosterone deficiency. We also found a B12 deficiency and slight thyroid imbalance. Once these deficiencies were corrected he regained his vitality. He has been carrying the fire hose and climbing ladders better than the guys younger than him. His workouts are creating a muscle gain and fat loss. J.M has the energy to enjoy his free time and is now really living his life.
This is the 21st century and you now have easier access to information. You may be feeling fine or you may be having some health concerns and either way you realize that our bodies require proper nutrition in order to function optimally. A healthy whole food diet full of organic produce and protein is a great start. Unfortunately, the nutrition content of our food supply has deteriorated due to many factors. In today’s world we can no longer rely only on the food we eat to achieve optimal health–supplementation is required to augment the food we eat.
Sadly the majority of people are confused on what to take or whether to take supplements due to the misinformation about supplements in the news. All supplements are not equal. When taking a supplement it is important to get one of a high quality. High quality supplements are proven to help your hormones work better, enhance your energy, help you think better, and overall improve your health.
There a few companies out there who take great care to research each ingredient, ensuring that it is provided to you in the right form and is properly absorbed by your body. They also do not put gluten, lactose, or other unnecessary ingredients in their supplements. For those who enjoy simple supplement shopping you will find high quality supplements sold at our office–we purchase high quality well researched supplements from companies that only sell to doctors. If you are someone who enjoys researching supplements you may go to a local store that provides organic supplements or search carefully online.
Sleep is extremely important for your health and vitality. Proper sleep is impossible to achieve unless your hormones are balanced. Low Estrogen, Testosterone, and/or Progesterone can all cause poor sleep.
Once those hormones are balanced some people still suffer from poor sleep. Often they have high cortisol. In today’s world everyone is bombarded by stressful things and even if you think you are handling them, they cause high cortisol and can affect your sleep.
In order to reduce your cortisol unplug from the world whenever you can. Turn off your phone and computer whenever possible, and definitely within 2 to 3 hours of bedtime. Avoid watching news, staying informed in less dramatic ways. Take a yoga class, try deep breathing exercises, or try meditation. Epsom salt baths are a great inexpensive thing to treat yourself with. The float experience in Temecula is a fabulous treat.
You must set up your bedroom to encourage sleep. Put black tape over any lights. Ensure that your bedroom is dark and at a comfortable temperature. Go to bed at a reasonable time and allow for 7 to 9 hours of sleep.
You can also try melatonin and chelated magnesium before bed. These are calming and help induce sleep. If your mind is still busy try hypnotherapy or counseling.
If you are not sleeping well, get your hormones evaluated and balanced while working on the above recommendations. You will start sleeping soundly.
On a weekly basis I have patients saying “I wish that I had come in to see you sooner”. Often they did not recognize the early signs of hormone deficiencies. If they did recognize the signs, they have usually attempted to get answers by utilizing their insurance and seeing their regular doctor. Either way, they have suffered longer than they had to and are happy that they now feel better.
Men and women both suffer from hormonal imbalances at around 30 to 50 years old due to many reasons: hormone disrupting chemicals (in products we use on ourselves and our house, in our food, in our water), stress, poor overall diet, poor sleep, etc. We age poorly when our hormones decline. Signs of hormonal decline are irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, poor muscle tone, inability to lose weight, increased aches/pain, brain fog, decreased memory, decreased vitality, etc. Men may get a decrease in morning erections and women may get hot flashes and/or night sweats. There are a lot of symptoms of hormone imbalance that get ignored because they often come on gradually.
It is not normal aging for you to feel “old”. When you optimize your Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen, Thyroid, and Growth hormone it enables you to live your life fully and do the things that you enjoy doing. Replacing your missing hormones with bio-identical hormones is a piece of the wellness puzzle. The first step is recognizing that you may have a hormonal imbalance and not waiting to get it evaluated. The second step is realizing that health insurance is focused on disease and not wellness. In order to have proper treatment you must seek the care of a physician specially trained in hormone balancing. This is customized care that is not covered by insurance. Put your health and well being first and don’t be a person who regrets waiting.