Your hormones operate on circadian rhythms throughout your body to keep everyday functions running smoothly. It’s because of your hormones that you wake up in the morning, get sleepy at night, get hungry when it’s time to eat, and more.
Some of the functions your hormones influence include:
- Stress levels
- Muscle mass
As you can imagine, your daily well-being is so intertwined with how well your hormones run, it’s no surprise that when your hormones are off-balance, you feel off balance. There are a number of factors that cause your body’s hormones to be thrown out of their natural, healthy rhythms, including:
- Certain medications
- Birth control pills
- Poor sleep
- Chronic stress
- Low-fat diets
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Physical inactivity
Hormone imbalance is one of the most common issues we see in our office.
Hormone treatments used to involve synthetic options that weren’t identical to the hormones in your body and had some unwanted risks associated with them. Fortunately, hormone replacement therapy has come a long way and when it’s performed by one of our functional medicine physicians it can tremendously improves your health and wellbeing.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses hormones that are molecularly identical those you’d find in your body. This means there are more benefits with BHRT and fewer side effects.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
In short, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a treatment process where your doctor replaces hormones to restore balance. BHRT is most frequently used in patients with perimenopause, menopause, and andropause (often called male menopause). However, BHRT is also commonly used by people with medical conditions where hormones are affected or thrown off balance, these include:
- Autoimmune disease
- Insulin resistance
- Adrenal dysfunction
The thing about hormones is they exist in a delicate balance. It’s not enough to simply find a low level of one hormone and take medication boost your levels. Hormone levels exist in ratios and if you’re going to to manipulate the levels of one hormone you need to watch the ratios of other hormones.
When it comes to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the most common hormones that are examined and managed include:
- Human growth hormone
While not all of these are commonly administered, they are important to consider as the hormonal balance in your body is like a fine symphony.
How to Know if You Need Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
In order to understand and be evaluated for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, you’ll need to work closely with one of our Functional Medicine Physicians who can decide whether this therapy is right for you and who can also manage your levels as it takes time to restore proper balance. There are several symptoms of hormone imbalance, which would suggest you should make that initial appointment.
Signs you may have hormone imbalance include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Brain fog
- Decreased motivation
- Sudden skin changes
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Thinning hair
- Decreased sex drive
- Unexplained weight gain (especially belly fat or “beer belly”)
- Accelerated signs of aging
- Hot flashes
- Night sweat
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness