Isn’t it normal to have my hormones decline with age?
As a physician specializing in bio-identical hormones I have heard this question often and I even wondered it myself. Yes, there are changes that naturally occur as we age. The issue is that we live in an environment that has drastically changed in the past century that accelerates the hormonal decline.
Think about all of the things that we are exposed to today that were not a concern a century ago. The cows are given hormones to help them mature faster and those hormones get into the meat and dairy products. Our diet is full of processed and packaged foods. We use personal care and household products (cleansers, lotions, shave cream, shampoos, make up, house cleaning products, etc) that are full of chemicals. Plastic is prevalent–in water bottles, toys, food containers, etc. Stress levels seem to be higher than ever as we live in a faster paced world each year. The list goes on.
Our hormones are chemically specific and chemicals can disrupt that balance. Stress and the types of food we eat can also affect the hormone balance. Testosterone, Progesterone, Estrogen, Cortisol, and Thyroid hormones are especially disrupted in today’s world. This results in fatigue, poor sleep, increased aches & pains, a decreased libido, weight gain, brain fog, depression, anxiety, etc. Over time, hormonal disruption can lead to an increased risk of dementia, certain cancers, osteoporosis, etc.
Attaining hormonal balance is critical for optimizing your health. We no longer live in a world in which this is accomplished without some intervention. Replacing your deficient hormones with bio-identical hormones is a way to live optimally in today’s toxic world.
It is different for everyone. The first thing to do is to think about what it is that you want. How do you want to feel? What are the things that you want to be doing ?? What does it look and feel like for you to live an optimal life?? What is important to you?
Now, set aside some time this week and write it down. Naturally, when you write this down it will help to motivate you as you make changes that are required for you to live an optimal life. Making changes are not always easy but we either live with the pain of regret or the pain of changing.
I have found that if you desire to feel, look, and be in optimal health; this involves looking at eight aspects. All of these aspects are important. They are: what you eat, what you drink, the quality of your sleep, the exercise you get, the supplements you need, your mindset, your hormone balance, and the toxins you are exposed to. These different aspects of wellness are equally important and they affect each other.
A decreased sex drive can arise for many reasons and it can affect both women and men. A healthy sexual relationship with someone that you love is important. It is sometimes too easy to ignore this fact and let this part of your life slip away.
Balancing your hormones is one part of having a healthy libido. Without a proper balance of Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone it is difficult to have a healthy sex drive. Our hormones get out of balance for many reasons and utilizing bio-identical hormones helps to fix that problem. Balancing your hormones is like putting gas into your car.
Just like there are many other parts to your car to make it run, there are also other things that affect your libido. Stress can greatly diminish your desire. Being unhappy in your relationship or being unhappy with yourself has a definite impact with sex drive. Medications can also have an affect.
It is important to take time out to unplug and relax. Yoga is a great way to learn to relax and keep your body limber. Turn off the phone, tv, and computer and breathe deeply and clear your mind. Hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, Reiki, and transformational breathing are all things that can aide you in any relationship issues–with your partner and with yourself.
Having a healthy sex drive can make you feel better about yourself and can enhance your relationship. With an integrative medicine approach and a desire on your part to increase your libido, you should be able to regain your libido.
Many people have a low functioning thyroid and don’t realize it. “Normal” lab values can miss a sub optimal thyroid. Integrative medicine physicians evaluate hormone levels to ensure that they are in the optimal range.
Top reasons to have an optimally functioning thyroid:
- To have a healthy well functioning metabolism depends on optimal thyroid levels. Optimization of your thyroid hormones is not a weight loss miracle, but it is difficult to reduce fat if your thyroid is not functioning properly.
- Having a positive happy outlook on life comes from many things–one of them is an optimal thyroid hormone level. Optimal thyroid levels are linked to an increased feeling of well being and increased focus.
- It promotes healthy skin, hair, and nails. Without optimal thyroid functions you may have hair loss, dry skin or hair, eczema or other skin disorders, dry brittle nails, etc.
- Having the energy to do the things that you want to do requires an optimally functioning thyroid. If your thyroid is low you may feel a lack of energy, especially noticed in the afternoon.
- It promotes a healthy digestive system. Constipation can be a sign of a low functioning thyroid.
Optimizing your thyroid is just one part of your overall wellness. It is an important part that everyone should have evaluated to be sure that it is functioning optimally.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced in your adrenal glands (located at the top of your kidneys). Cortisol is involved in the regulation of your metabolism, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and helps your body respond and cope with stress.
The problem in today’s world is that we have chronic stress and our cortisol system was designed for short term stress. We were designed to have periods of low to little stress in order to recover.
Think about our world today: cell phones offer 24/7 access no matter where you are, the Internet allows continual access to what is going on, financial stresses abound, traffic is prevalent, etc. Basically, our mind is given non stop opportunities to worry and over think. Our cortisol responds to mental stress just as if you were in physical danger.
Daily chronic stress affects your cortisol production and can lead to adrenal fatigue. You can feel tired all the time, irritable, moody; have trouble sleeping, focusing, or remembering things; have headaches or blood pressure problems. When your cortisol level is affected due to chronic stress, your Testosterone, Estrogen, and Progesterone levels will be affected as well and this causes even more symptoms.
We can’t change today’s world but we can change what we do on a daily basis. I advise turning off your cell phone alerts and check your phone when you want to, not when messages come in. Turn off the phone and computer at a set time each day and unplug completely a day a week, or more. Take yoga classes and epsom salt baths. Take a deep breath as often as you can. Do what you can to minimize your stressors. Replacing your deficient hormones with bio-identical hormones is a part of the whole picture to rebalancing your adrenal gland.
A lot of people search for the magic pill, supplement, diet, etc that will make them feel great. I wish that I could tell you that one exists but it does not. Feeling great doesn’t come from just one thing.
Years of treating patients, going to different conferences, and reading a variety of books has made me realize that achieving optimal health involves addressing multiple things. Everything we eat, drink, watch, say, and use impacts our body. We are complex beings and our bodily functions are complex.
It is important to pay attention to everything — to be aware. You must be aware that everything affects you in some way. The good news is that you do not have to be perfect and you can change what you do, consume, use, and think over time. Life is a process and getting to optimal health is a process as well. Be patient with your body.
The following areas need to be addressed : your diet, the liquids you consume, your sleep patterns, exercise, your mind, toxins you are exposed to and your current toxin load, the supplements that you specifically need, and hormone balancing. I have found that replacing your deficient hormones with bio-identical hormones helps you to think, sleep, and overall feel better fairly quickly. But it is not the complete answer.
Once we get your hormones in a better balance, you are better equipped to address the other areas mentioned above. Hormone balancing is not a magic pill–it is simply important to address in today’s world. We live in a world that is filled with things that are toxic to our mind and body; disrupting our hormones, among other things. Utilizing bio-identical hormones is a piece of the answer to living in this toxic world and feeling great.
Both men and women need optimal Testosterone levels
- Decrease joint and muscle pain.
- One of the best anti-depressants around. It helps to elevate your mood naturally and enable you to feel balanced.
- Helps you to reduce fat and increase muscle mass (appropriately for your size).
- Helps to improve your focus, concentration, and memory.
- Aides you in getting a better night’s sleep.
- Increases your energy and motivation.
- Increases your libido (sex drive), if a low Testosterone level is the source of a lessened libido. (libido has a lot to do with psychological factors as we)
- Improves your endurance and ability to recover after exercise.
- For men–Testosterone is important for having healthy erections. (please note that men can have sub optimal Testosterone levels and yet still have a decent libido and erections–do not be fooled into thinking that your Testosterone levels are great just because you still have a libido and erections.)For Women–Testosterone decreases or eliminates your night sweats and overall feeling of “being too warm”.
- Testosterone enhances your overall well being.
Testosterone is a hormone that is present in both men and women. Optimizing your Testosterone level by utilizing bio-identical hormones is an important part of your overall wellness as you age in today’s world.
Top 5 reasons for getting your hormones balanced :
- You want to have energy and vitality.
- You want to have a good night’s sleep.
- You want a balanced mood. You don’t want to feel depressed, anxious, or angry without your control.
- You want strong bones, young looking skin, good digestion, vibrant hair, and a healthy heart and circulatory system. You want to prevent diseases, not just treat them with a handful of prescriptions
- You want a healthy body composition, metabolism and libido.
- Balancing your hormones with bio-identical hormones is for people who want to Live Well and when it is their time to leave this Earth, they want to die quickly. Choose to balance your hormones as an important piece of the wellness pie that keeps you from deteriorating as you age.
Estrogen is often looked at as the enemy–causing weight gain, breast tenderness, bleeding issues, and even certain cancers. It is not Estrogen that is bad, it is the imbalance of Estrogen to Progesterone and Testosterone that causes the problems.
Every man and woman needs a certain amount of Estrogen in their bodies. There are actually several different Estrogen types that your body makes–a couple of them are even felt to be anti-cancer. Your body requires the proper amount of Estrogen in order to have healthy bones, skin, a good memory, a balanced mood, and to overall function well.
When you get your hormones evaluated by a bio-identical hormone specialist, we make sure to get your hormones into the right balance so that you can feel and look your best, while working to reduce your long term risk of dementia, osteoporosis, heart disease, certain cancers, etc.
Aside from taking bio-identical hormones and achieving the right Estrogen/Progesterone/Testosterone balance, you can also help your hormone metabolism in other ways. Reducing your sugar intake and regular exercise helps your body to metabolize your Estrogen properly. Consuming cruciferous vegetables and/or taking the supplement DIM also helps your Estrogen go down an anti cancer pathway.
It is a hormonal imbalance that causes the problems – not the hormones themselves. Utilizing bio-identical hormones, taking the right supplements, and living a healthy lifestyle have been shown to help men and women live an optimal life.