Ctrl-Alt-Delete: Is It Time For Your Hormonal Reboot? By Karen Norris
By Karenksn on September 06, 2012
As a teenager, your voracious appetite, growth spurt, pimples and sudden preoccupation with s-e-x was chalked up to "hormones" by your stressed-out parents, as adolescence set in. Decades later, your mood swings, fatigue, and decreased libido are also the result of hormones, this time rather than raging seem to be going into retirement.
Everything you do - your thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical growth and maintenance is influenced by hormones, throughout your life. Getting to know them and how they work in your body is a good first step toward attacking the aging process. By proactively educatingyourself about them, being familiar with signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance, and finally controlling them is as crucial as anything else you can do for your health and well being. Proper nutrition and exercise are certainly important, but without a healthy balance in hormone levels, none of us can really thrive. Many of the following symptoms could be the result of a hormone imbalance:
·Fatigue, even after an ample amount of sleep
·Depression, for no apparent reason
·Difficulty losing weight
·Inability to concentrate
·Irregular bowel movements
·General lack of stamina
·Loose, saggy skin
·Loss of muscle mass
·Irregular menstrual cycles in women
·Erectile dysfunction in men
Sound familiar? According to Ryan Stanton, MD, a top hormone specialist in Beverly Hills and a medical consultant to SimplyAgelessNation, there are several imperative hormones that are affected as you age:estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormones, cortisol, testosterone, DHEA, pregnenolone and human growth hormone. Here is a brief introduction to each of these primary hormones and explain the important roles that they play in your body and the dramatic effects that a decline or imbalance in any one of them can have on your health, your appearance and your personality. Here is a quick rundown of the master hormones that govern our bodies:
Estrogen. The all-important, much-revered (and occasionally maligned) hormone is, in many ways ground zero for the healthy, happy woman. It is responsible for those sexy, fertile, strong, peppy, voluptuous characteristics that define women in today's society. However, men need small amounts of estrogen too—without it, they can become sterile and have a low sex drive. Too much estrogen in the male can result in lost muscle tone, a higher voice and diminished energy.
Progesterone -- primarily a female hormone – should also exist in small amounts in men to create just the right balance for youthful, cheerful, calming, steady and well-balanced personality traits.
Thyroid hormones , generated in both sexes, are responsible for regulating all metabolic functions and energy production in the body and brain, such as digestion, healthy liver function and weight control. Cortisol gives you energy, helps you handle stress, and enables you to be quick and active. Testosterone, the "macho hormone" that men like to brag they have in ample doses, is important to both sexes as it provides muscle tone, strong bones, a healthy libido, mood, and energy. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a kind of "master switch" hormone that regulates the growth and maintenance of essentially all tissues of the body.
Dehydroepiandrosterone , or DHEA , is one of our most powerful hormones made in both men and women. An endogenous steroid – meaning it exists in the body naturally – DHEA is produced by the adrenal glands and also synthesized in the brain. It preserves adrenal function for the immune system and provides numerous anti-aging benefits, such as enhancing muscle mass and skin tone, improving memory, decreasing clinical depression and protecting against certain cancers. Pregnenolone is the "memory hormone" that can improve retention, stimulate concentration, clarify thinking and reduce mental fatigue.
Each of us will lose different hormones at different times and rates. Any hormonal imbalance can accelerate the aging process. Who needs that? The good news is that a decline of any hormone is neither irreparable nor permanent. In fact, regaining that vital balance is probably easier than you'd think. What it does require is your time and patience to reset the dynamics of your hormonal profile, a "reboot" that can yield amazing results. A successful balance achieved through hormone replacement therapy is like a symphony where each instrument (or hormone) plays a different tune to create a musical masterpiece. It's you, 4.0!
Unfortunately, hormones cannot be replaced through exercise and nutrition. The only way to fully restore your hormones is through hormone replacement. Repenishing the hormones naturally lost over time will nourish your aging body and brain and also stimulate the production of biochemicals such as dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that can get you firing on all cylinders again.
In our discussions with integrative medicine physicians and hormone specialists around the world, we have determined that bio-identical hormones are the best course of treatment in hormone replacement. Bio-identical hormones are plant-based hormone supplements that have the same molecular structure as those that occur naturally in the body. They are far safer than traditional hormone therapies, which are often synthetically produced.
Many pharmaceutical companies are now creating new bio-identical hormone products; however, they are generally a "one size fits all" approach containing "standard doses" that assume our bodies are all the same, which of course, isn't the case. A "standard dose" can be too much for one person and not enough for another. Any customized system of hormone replacement is the best way to ensure you get the standard dose your body needs.
You should begin by making an appointment with your physician to get a full hormonal profile. The test you schedule will allow you to see exactly which hormones are not functioning properly. At that time the doctor will write you a prescription for the exact amount of bio-identical hormones that your body needs to achieve a healthy balance.
More often than not, you will have your prescriptions filled at a compounding pharmacy, which is usually a separate division of your regular pharmacy that specializes in customized solutions per a physician's directive. Believe it or not, the cost to have your own prescription made up by a compounding pharmacy is about the same as the pre-packaged pharmaceutical one-size-fits-all brands that you get at the regular pharmacy counter. And like the ready-made kind, those that are compounded just for your body are also available in different forms, the most popular being creams, gels, skin patches, under-the-tongue drops, vaginal suppositories and capsules.
Finding Dr. Right -
Despite the changing attitudes, many primary care physicians and OB/GYN’s are not familiar with bio-identical hormone replacement, and how natural hormones can help many problems associated with the aging process in both men and women. It wasn't part of their academic curricula, and is still resisted as a course of treatment by some simply because it falls outside the boundaries of what they consider to be traditional medicine. There are numerous, qualified specialists listed on our website, www.SimplyAgelessNation.
The information is free and yours for the taking. You may also seek a referral from your internist or gynecologist. They may refer you to an endocrinologist because they officially specialize in hormones, but be aware that many of them specialize in diabetes and have not had extensive experience treating and working with natural bio-identical hormone replacement. They may recommend synthetic hormones developed by pharmaceutical companies, which is not what you want to do.
One of the reasons that we developed our website www.SimplyAgelessNation is to give you free access to doctors who specialize in the field of anti-aging/integrative medicine. We do not receive any kind of fees or compensation from any of the medical professionals listed on our site. Our goal is simply to help people get to the right doctors.
In any case, you want to make sure your doctor has plenty of clinical experience with all hormone deficiencies and multiple-hormone treatments. A highly skilled and experienced anti-aging physician develops a kind of sixth sense that allows them to have a good idea what to investigate more closely about you as soon as you walk into the room. Your face, hands, skin, hair, eyes, feet, the silhouette of your body, your energy level, the way you walk, the pitch, tone and levity of your voice, the clarity of your thinking, your overall demeanor and look—all of these are tell-tale signs of one or more hormone deficiencies. That initial consult will help the doctor form a preliminary diagnosis, which can be confirmed after the hormonal profile, which typically consists of testing of the blood, urine and oftentimes, saliva.
Remember... no matter how many specialists you consult, you will always be the best expert on your own body. Once you understand how to tune in and really listen to what your body is telling you, it is amazing how easy it can be to identify what it needs. It also creates a more robust dialogue with your doctor that enhances their ability to treat you.
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