Category Archives: Hormones

Hormones And Sleep

Published on November 20, 2015 by

As you know there are many pieces to the wellness puzzle. To feel vital and healthy involves addressing all of the pieces. I advise starting somewhere and making progress over time. It is important to address sleep, exercise, mindset, nutrition, supplements, hormone balancing, and toxin exposure. Each of these things affect each other. This month I am going to talk specifically about sleep. Proper sleep is important in order for you to feel energetic and function properly.

Sleep disorders are quite common and sleep medication is prescribed at alarming rates. There are a small percentage of people who may need them but the large majority of people who take them do not require these medications. There is often an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Sleep problems (issues with going or staying asleep) can arise from a variety of causes.

One of the major causes of sleep disorders is our mind. Often, the mind is full of thoughts of what needs to get done. Or you may be the kind of person that pushes yourself late into the night to get things done–not allowing yourself to rest. Today’s world is full of things that stress our mind–news, phone calls/texts, e mails, financial worries, work issues, traffic, etc. The great news is that you control your mind. You may not be able to control the things that happen around you but you can control what you watch, what you read, what time you go to bed, what you think about, how you react. Everything is a choice whether you wish to admit that or not. You can say No to things–it is a choice.

women sleeping

The best thing to do is to avoid watching news as it is visually disturbing and often negative. You can stay informed without watching news. Another great thing to do is to keep your phone on vibrate and turn off the alerts. Check your cell phone when you desire to–not at the whim of whoever is calling you or texting you. They will survive, and so will you. Turn off your cell phone at a set time each night to keep it off while you sleep and pick a day a week where you keep it off. I like keeping my personal cell phone off on Sundays as most people respect that day as a day to rest, but pick whatever day works within your life. If your job requires you to be contacted after hours, have a separate phone for after hour work emergencies so that you can turn off your personal cell phone when you desire. Take control of your time-you deserve it! Spend some quiet time each day and focus on how you are breathing. Take long, deep breaths to relax your mind. Go outside and look at the stars for a few minutes at night-it helps to give you some great perspective. Turn off the TV and computer at a set time, allowing you time for your mind to relax. Get outside in nature whenever you can–it is very calming for the mind.

Another major factor that affects sleep (in both men and women) is a hormonal imbalance. It is quite common to have a hormonal imbalance affecting your sleep–we are surrounded by a multitude of hormone disruptors that cause an imbalance. A deficiency in Progesterone, Testosterone, and Estrogen and/or a Cortisol excess can affect your ability to fall asleep, and stay asleep. If you think that this is the issue, have your hormone levels evaluated and treated with bio-identical hormones. Rebalancing your hormones can help your sleep.

Sometimes sleep disorders can be due to a deficiency. Magnesium is quite calming and a lot of people are deficient in this mineral. I advise 200-300 mg of chelated Magnesium to help calm the brain down. GABA is a calming neurotransmitter in your brain and can often be depleted due to our stressful lives. Supplementing with GABA can often help to quiet the brain down. (I like Neurocalm–we do carry this at the office if you can’t find a good GABA source). Melatonin is your body’s natural sleep aide and sometimes the addition of sublingual (under the tongue) Melatonin can help you to fall asleep better. Keep in mind that your body requires a dark environment in order to properly produce melatonin so keep your bedroom as dark as you can.

Sleep apnea can affect your ability to get quality sleep. Sleep apnea is when your lungs have a hard time getting enough oxygen at night due to the airway being constricted. Often you will snore. If you are told that you snore I highly advise a sleep study to evaluate whether or not you have sleep apnea.

Eating later in the evening (i.e. less than 3 hours before bedtime) or drinking caffeine in the afternoon or evening can affect your sleep. You may think it does not, but it does.

Ensure that you go to bed at a reasonable time so that you can get the amount of sleep that your body requires–generally 7-9 hours. This is different for each person. You know when you got enough sleep when you wake up without an alarm.

You are important and taking some time on a daily basis to ensure that you get adequate, restful sleep will pay off with an increased energy each day. Be aware of your thoughts and your activities and pay attention to the effect that they have on your sleep.

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Testosterone For Women

Published on November 15, 2015 by

JS is a 57 year old woman. She is married to a wonderful man and is a grandmother. When I met her she was already eating an organic diet and was walking her property on a regular basis. She complained about being unable to sleep, unable to lose weight, debilitating back pain, hot flashes, poor focus, fatigue and vaginal dryness. She felt like she was 80 years old, not 57. Her insomnia was debilitating and it was greatly affecting her life. Her other doctor had tried numerous sleep aides but she either had side effects or they did not help her. She was told that she simply had to live with it: a doctor told her that “not sleeping never killed anyone”. JS was fatigued on a daily basis because of her insomnia. This was her biggest complaint. She had no idea that insomnia can be a symptom of a hormonal imbalance. After all, it was not always the hot flashes that kept her awake. The hot flashes were pretty mild and usually in the daytime–she did not feel they were worth treating.

Happy Older Couple

After a complete hormonal evaluation we put her on Progesterone which is very calming and helps sleep. It also helps improve bone strength. She had a hysterectomy and was told by a prior physician that she no longer needed Progesterone. This is simply not true—there are other cells in your body that require Progesterone. For example, the brain has Progesterone receptors. By optimizing her Progesterone levels she was able to sleep better and this greatly improved her energy level.

She was also found to be low on Testosterone. Although her back pain had a physical cause, replacing Testosterone helped her body heal better. Optimal Testosterone levels helps to decrease general aches and pains. Many people feel that Testosterone is simply for sex drive but that could not be further from the truth. Testosterone is important for both men and women, performing multiple functions. Helping your body to heal is one of those functions. Testosterone also helps you to focus better, improves energy, allows your body to build muscle and burn fat, etc. Once we optimized the Testosterone of J.S., her back pain, focus, and energy all improved. She regained her vitality.

She was also given vaginal estriol which repaired her vaginal lining safely. Once the vaginal dryness and pain was repaired, her sex drive improved. (The Testosterone helped in that department too)

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Stress And Hormones

Published on November 7, 2015 by

Stress affects your hormones. Excess stress depletes your Cortisol and Progesterone, and it affects your Testosterone and Estrogen levels. Depletion of your hormones causes fatigue, insomnia, depression, irritability, anxiety, decreased focus, poor memory, and an overall decreased vitality.

Replacing your deficient hormones with bio-identical hormones helps you to feel and function better. Optimal hormone levels helps you to combat the daily stress of life. Taking bio-identical hormones is an important piece of what we need to feel great in today’s world. It is not the only piece.

Stress written in sand with water washing it away

Decreasing the stressors in your life is also important–it will reduce the strain on your body. Do what you can to avoid toxic people and situations. Avoid watching the news and turn off your phone at a set time every night. Be aware of things that cause stress and minimize or avoid what you can.

You can also help your body deal with the stressors you can’t avoid by taking regular deep breaths–breathing deeply and slowly is calming and detoxifying. Taking epsom salt baths, participating in restorative yoga classes, getting regular massages, meditation, getting acupuncture treatments, etc are all great ways to help your body and mind detoxify and recover from stress.

Obtaining optimal health involves addressing multiple things. Bio-identical hormone replacement is a great start to get you feeling better. It is also important to destress your life as much as possible and to do regular activities that helps your body cope with today’s world.

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Do I need Hormone Balancing?

Published on October 30, 2015 by

Hormone Word cloud

I like to talk about the different parts of achieving optimal wellness. It is not one major thing that gives you vitality and health, it is a combination of several different things. One of those things is the proper balancing of your hormones.

As a physician who specializes in integrative medicine and hormone balancing I often get asked by a patient if they need hormone balancing. People in general want to live well and die quick (later in life of course), and they are searching for how to do this. They hear about hormones and hormone balancing and they wonder if they need it. There is a lot of confusion and an overload of information and misinformation about hormones. Most people frankly just don’t know what to do or how to do it. They are overwhelmed. Before I can answer whether you need hormone balancing or not, I believe that it is important for you to understand what a hormone is.

We throw that word around like we throw a baseball around. Do you really know what a hormone is, or what it does? What would you say if I asked you to define it? Basically hormones are chemical messengers that relay messages from one part of our body to another—telling the target cell what to do. Our brain can not pick up a cell phone and call somewhere else in our body and tell it what to do. The hormones are specific chemical structures and they each relay specific messages—like a lock and a key. Each hormone is biochemically specific and fits perfectly into its receptor on the target cell—the hormone is like the key, and the receptor is like the lock. Once the lock, or cell receptor, is unlocked a specific reaction occurs in the cell. It is a precise system. Each different hormone gets a different reaction from the same cell.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what hormones are, you may be asking to yourself “what do they do”? Why are they important for my health? Your hormones perform numerous functions in your body. There are a lot of different hormones in your body but when we talk about hormone balancing we are typically talking about thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol,and growth hormone. Most people are aware of their function with weight, sex drive, and their involvement with periods and menopause for women. But that is only the tip of the ice berg. These hormones are important for hundreds of functions within your body. They help you to feel happy, strong, energetic and vital. They help your bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments to heal, repair, and stay strong. They help you to remember things and to stay focused. When your hormones are in proper balance research has shown that it helps to prevent dementia, osteoporosis, heart disease, possibly cancer, among other things. It is easy to see that your hormones being in balance is important for your health.

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Men And Hormones

Published on October 26, 2015 by

Check out this amazing interview with our very own John Grant!

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Men and Hormones

Published on October 5, 2015 by

Men are more likely to have their hormonal imbalance under diagnosed than woman are. I have provided a simple questionnaire that you can use to determine if you (or the man you love) may have a hormonal imbalance.

Man and woman on couch

Please answer the following questions with none, mild, moderate, severe, or extremely severe. Your answers will help you to better understand the severity of your hormonal imbalance if an imbalance exists.

Do you have the following:

  • Decline in your feeling of general well-being (general state of health, subjective feeling)
  • Joint pain and/or muscle aches (lower back pain, joint pain, pain in a limb, general increase in aches and pains)
  • Excessive sweating (unexpected/sudden episodes of sweating, hot flushes independent of your activity level)
  • Sleep problems (difficulty in falling asleep or staying asleep, waking up early and feeling tired, poor sleep, sleeplessness)
  • Increased need for sleep, often feeling tired
  • Irritability (feeling aggressive, easily upset about little things, moody)
  • Nervousness (inner tension, restlessness, feeling fidgety)
  • Anxiety (feeling panicky)
  • Physical exhaustion/lacking vitality (general decrease in performance, reduced activity, lacking interest in leisure activities, feeling of getting less done or of achieving less or of having to force oneself to undertake activities)
  • Decrease in muscular strength
  • Depressive mood (feeling down or sad, on the verge of tears, lack of drive, mood swings, feeling nothing is of any use)
  • Feeling that you have passed your peak
  • Feeling burnt out, having hit rock bottom
  • Decrease in beard growth
  • Decrease in ability/frequency to perform sexually
  • Decrease in morning erections
  • Decrease in sexual desire/libido (lacking pleaser in sex or desire for sexual intercourse)

After answering the above questions look at how many you answered with mild or more severe symptoms. This will give you an idea of the severity of your hormonal imbalance.

If this questionnaire has shown you that there may be an issue with your hormones, then the next step is to get your hormone levels evaluated by a medical provider who specializes in hormone balancing.

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Optimal Hormone Levels

Published on September 30, 2015 by

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.

Hormone Replacement Word Cloud

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.

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Signs Of Hormonal Imbalances In Woman

Published on September 24, 2015 by

Hormonal Imbalance

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.

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Optimal Thinking

Published on August 9, 2015 by

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!)

Metal Fog

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!!

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What is a normal Testosterone level for a man?

Published on August 3, 2015 by

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!

Hormone Pellets and Their Benifits

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!

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