Women’s Health: Balancing & Optimizing Your Hormones
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
When it comes to women’s hormonal health, many of us know the basics: estrogen and progesterone work together to create a 28-day menstrual cycle every month (until menopause). In reality, there is so much more to it than that.
Estrogen and progesterone do not just send signals regarding reproductive health, they influence the health of a variety of body systems. In fact, hormones, in general, are more influential in regards to our health than they are often given credit for. Hormones are chemical messengers that are responsible for relaying critical information all throughout the body. They send signals regarding hunger, libido, sleep, and more.
Key Hormones & Their Roles
Estrogen is essential to a variety of body systems including the brain. Estrogen is known to perform a variety of tasks in the brain and is influential in motor control, learning, memory, and protection against strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.
Estrogen has also been shown to protect the health of your heart. Specifically, this hormone keeps tissues and blood vessels flexible, promotes healthy clotting, absorbs free radicals, maintains low blood pressure, and more. When estrogen levels decrease during menopause, women’s risk of cardiovascular increases. Research suggests that 44% of women over the age of 20 have some form of cardiovascular disease and by 60-70, 78.2% of women suffer from some form of this condition. Testosterone is equally as influential in heart health for men.
Although estrogen is thought to be associated with weight gain (because high levels of estrogen are associated with insulin resistance), it is actually involved with weight maintenance. More specifically, estrogen is responsible for the loss of visceral fat (fat surrounding organs, which is particularly harmful to your health). Studies show that when men’s estrogen levels decrease, they gain visceral fat.
Estrogen is involved with over 400 functions in the body. Other roles of estrogen include:
- Temperature maintenance
- Bone density
- Collagen production
- Serotonin and dopamine production (the “feel-good” hormone)
It is a common misconception that progesterone is really only involved with ovulation and pregnancy. Like estrogen, progesterone is involved in hundreds of bodily functions in the female body.
Progesterone protects the health of the brain as well as assists in preventing breast cancer. Progesterone is also needed to balance estrogen throughout the body. Therefore, healthy levels of progesterone are needed in order to avoid estrogen dominance, a condition in which the body has an excess of estrogen, which can cause mood swings, thyroid problems, painful periods, headaches, and more.
Another misconception about women’s hormonal health: women do not need testosterone. This could not be more false. Testosterone is very important for women and not just for sex drive. Testosterone helps protect against cancer, muscle deterioration, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.
It is important to note when testosterone exists at healthy levels, it does not cause hair loss or unwanted hair growth for women.
Declining Hormone Levels: What to Know
Starting around the age of 30, our hormone levels begin to decline. In fact, women lose approximately 50% of their testosterone per year starting between the ages of 20-40.
Because hormones are critical messengers that relay essential information to cells, when hormone function is not optimal, we do not feel our best. Many of the stereotypical signs of aging such as sluggishness, hair loss, low libido, and others are actually due to a decline in hormones.
Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance in women include:
- Aging skin
- Bone density loss
- Dry / painful intercourse
- Emotional reactivity and sensitivity
- Frequent night urination
- Hair thinning
- Hot flashes / night sweats / day sweats
- Loss of libido
- Loss of vitality
- Weight gain unresponsive to diet and exercise
- Nervousness / anxiety
If you experience any of the symptoms above it may be time to get your hormone levels tested. Next Health’s advanced hormone testing empowers you to take the guesswork out of your health optimization journey. You can even test from the comfort of your home with the Next Health Hormone Panel. This test is a standard 4-point saliva collection to complement neurotransmitter or urinary hormone testing (including cortisol). You can then review your results with our expert medical team.
Balancing & Optimizing Your Hormones
Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to balance your hormones, alleviate unwanted symptoms, and feel fit at any age. Below are some of the most effective ways to optimize your hormone levels naturally:
Limit Toxin Exposure:
Although we live in an endocrine-disrupting society, there are ways to limit your exposure to hormone disruptors. Suggestions include:
- Avoid cooking with non-stick pans and keeping your food in plastic containers
- Minimize your use of fragrances and air fresheners (including cologne and body sprays that are made with chemicals and non-natural ingredients)
- Avoid drinking and eating from cans
- Filter your drinking and shower water
- Swap dryer sheets for wool dryer balls
- Avoid eating food/ beverages out of plastics, especially hot foods/ beverages
- Look for clean beauty products: Products such as lipstick and others have been found to contain harmful substances including lead. Make sure you know what you're putting on and in your body.
Exercise is excellent for endocrine health as it can help balance essential hormones such as cortisol, insulin, thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and more.
Sleep is critical for hormonal health as it helps regulate hormones such as cortisol, the stress hormone, which modulates other hormones in the body.
It cannot be stressed enough- relaxation is vital to your overall health and well-being. Stress exacerbates nearly every health problem, including hormonal imbalances. Taking time out of your day to recharge is an incredibly valuable tool in your health optimization journey.
Vitamin D is a precursor to many vital hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. Studies show a positive correlation between vitamin D levels and these two hormones. Research also indicates that sufficient levels of vitamin D3 in women helps reduce inflammation levels, improves metabolic function, combat osteoporosis, and support overall cellular functions. It is considered more beneficial to supplement with D3 as it is the more biologically active form of this vitamin but is not found in fortified dairy products.
A vitamin D3 deficiency is common amongst those who live in colder climates, as sun exposure is a great source of this vitamin.
Seeking Health’s Vitamin D3 + K2 contains 5000 IU of D3 and 100 mcg of K2. Supplementing with Seeking Health’s Vitamin D3 + K2 can help improve bone density, immune health, circulatory health, and more. This combination of vitamins is particularly effective because K2 helps improve the absorption of D3 in the body.
FemRebalance is designed to support a woman’s endocrine system. Due to a variety of factors including age, stress, environmental toxins, and others, women’s hormone levels become disrupted and can be difficult to restore.
FemRebalance can offer a reset to your hormone levels with its potent blend of natural ingredients. This supplement includes endocrine-supporting components such as chaste tree berry, licorice, maca root, borage oil, and more.
Next Health offers a Women’s Wellness supplement protocol to support hormonal health as well as overall health. We have partnered with FullScript, an online dispensing platform that ships top-tier supplements to your front door.
Find your center and feel rebalanced with high-quality supplementation.
Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy
As illustrated in this article, hormones are one of the most influential components of women’s health.
Because hormonal decline can take a mental and physical toll on your well-being, we have now developed ways to increase and balance your hormone levels. Next Health’s Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy utilizes bio-identical hormones that are derived from yams and are “molecularly identical” to the body’s own hormones, so the body does not recognize them as foreign. This can naturally improve your body’s hormone levels, elevating your overall sense of wellness.
Patients have found that Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy with pellet implants is extremely effective. The pellets are approximately the size of a tic-tac, and depending on your required dose, we will determine how many pellets need to be inserted. Implants are placed under the skin, with local anesthetic, and consistently release small, physiologic doses of hormones that provide optimal therapy.
Once the pellets are inserted, hormones are released based on cardiac output, meaning your body controls how quickly the hormones are released to maintain optimal hormone levels.
Based on the majority of our female patients, they are pelleted once every 3-4 months. Based on the majority of our male patients, they are pelleted once every 4-5 months.
Next Health also offers Bio-Identical Hormone Injections for those who are interested.
Are You A Good Candidate?
There are some false conceptions that hormone therapy is only for men who have declining testosterone values. This could not be further from the truth. Next Health’s Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy can be an excellent treatment for women. In total, hormone therapy may be able to assist with the following symptoms:
- Hair thinning
- Sleep troubles
- Lack of sex drive
- Loss of motivation and vitality
- Reduced assertiveness
- Loss of muscle mass
- Inability to lose weight
- Joint discomfort
- Declining cognitive abilities
Above all else, anyone feeling the effects of aging may be a great candidate for Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy that rejuvenates your overall sense of wellness. At Next Health, our medical and wellness experts can help you decide if this treatment is right for you as well as provide you with additional therapy options to ensure you feel optimized.
Have questions? Request a complimentary consult today
*Reviewed by a Board-Certified Next Health Medical Professional