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Female Hormones

Menopause, Estrogen, Testosterone & Progesterone

Menopause

Menopause, by definition is the cessation of a menstrual cycle for longer than 12 months. However, women can experience symptoms of menopause four years prior and up to five to ten years after menopause. Many of these changes are due to hormonal imbalances. With aging, women produce fewer and fewer ovarian eggs. This means that fewer follicles grow each menstrual cycle resulting in a shorter and shorter menstrual period each month. As menopause approaches, the ovaries produce less estrogen and progesterone.

Symptoms of Menopause

  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Mental decline – mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety and memory lapse
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of Libido
  • Weight gain
  • Vaginal dryness and urinary tract changes
  • Hair and skin changes
  • Beginning stages of osteoporosis and heart disease

Estrogen

Most people only know estrogen’s relationships to fertility and menstrual cycles.  In actuality, estrogen has over 400 functions in the body.  It is a necessary hormone for both men and women’s health.

Functions of Estrogen

  • Increases metabolic rate and thus is important in maintenance of  healthy body weight
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and helps with blood sugar regulation
  • Regulates body temperature and helps with hot flashes
  • Helps prevent muscle damage
  • Helps with sleep
  • Reduces risk of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Helps maintain health of arteries
  • Decreases risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture
  • Helps maintain collagen in skin and keep skin beautiful
  • May decrease blood pressure
  • Decreases LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Helps with memory and concentration
  • Increases water content of skin and can help decrease wrinkles
  • May improve mood and help with depression and anxiety
  • Increases libido and sexual interest
  • Reduces inflammatory heart markers
  • May help prevent tooth loss
  • Aids in neurotransmitter formation and use in brain

Symptoms of Low Estrogen

  • Fatigue
  • Hot Flashes or changes in body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive bone loss or reduced bone density
  • Loss of skin vitality
  • Memory and concentration issues
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated inflammatory markers and higher problematic cholesterols
  • Weight gain
  • Depression or anxiety

Testosterone

Testosterone has long been associated with sexual health and muscle development in men, that however is only a small part of it’s function. Testosterone is a key to a woman’s mental and emotional health. A balanced testosterone level offers a woman, improved mental function, confidence, decisiveness and libido. Medically supervised testosterone replacement for a woman is very safe and dosed at approximately 2mg daily compared to the 100mg daily dose for men. At these low yet effective doses a woman should not experience any symtoms of excess testosterone.

Effects of Testosterone

  • Increases sexual interest
  • Increases muscle mass and body strength
  • Helps with emotional well being
  • Helps with erectile function in men
  • Helps with memory
  • Decreases skin sagging
  • Decreases body fat
  • Helps maintain bone strength
  • Increases some neurotransmitters in brain
  • Diminishes effects of aging in heart and brain
  • Decreases stiffness in joints and muscles
  • Fights early fatigue
  • Improves mood and decreases depression
  • Helps with intensity of orgasms and recovery time

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

  • Muscle wasting
  • Low libido
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Decreased HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Dry, thin skin
  • Thinning, dry hair
  • Drooping eyelids and sagging cheeks
  • Elevated anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Recent MI or stroke
  • Decreased memory and risk of dementia
  • loss of drive and competitiveness
  • Decreased ability to exercise
  • Decreased recovery time from injury
  • Increased risk of diabetes and blood sugar issues
  • Elevated inflammation

Progesterone

Progesterone is known primarily for its role in fertility and pregnancy. Progesterone has many more effects on the processes of the body. Many doctors prescribe pseudo progesterones called Progestins. These synthetic hormones are found in many conventional HRT treatments, in most birth control pills and many inter-uterine devices (IUDs). Unfortunately, the names may sound similar but they are very, very different in their effects. Bioidentical progesterone, identical in chemical composition to what your body makes, has many effectson the body as a whole. It is often referred to as the calming hormone because of its powerful neuroendocrine effects. It is often out of balance in people who have imsomnia, anxiety and excess androgens such as testosterone.

Functions of Progesterone

  • Helps regulate menstrual cycle
  • Helps with fertility and to  maintain pregnancy
  • Helps with sleep regulation and insomnia
  • Has calming effect on nervous system
  • It helps with temperature regulation especially during ovulation
  • It reduces muscle spasms and helps with relaxation
  • It has anti-inflammatory effects on the body
  • Helps balance estrogen and excess androgens
  • It normalizes blood clotting
  • It helps reduce effects of traumatic brain injuries
  • May decrease risk of certain cancers
  • It helps with insulin release and pancreatic function
  • Can help lower blood pressure
  • Helps the gall bladder function and helps the body eliminate fats
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • May help with hair loss in women
  • Helps stimulate new bone production
  • Enhances effects of thyroid hormone
  • Improves libido

Symptoms of Low Progesterone

  • Increased anxiety
  • Increased depression
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Insomnia or difficulty with falling asleep
  • Body pains and myalgias
  • Increased inflammation throughout the body
  • Increased bone loss
  • Longer and more erractic periods
  • Nervousness
  • Increased migraine headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Decreased libido
  • Decreased HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Symptoms Seen with Synthetic Progesterones (Progestins):
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Fluid retention
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Decreased energy
  • Bloating
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Low libido
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and decreased HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • May not be as protective of breast tissue
  • May counteract estrogens positive effects on neurotransmitters

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