The Relationship Between Hormones and Women's Health
Hormones Play A Key Role In Women's' Health.
Hormones have many important effects on women's health. Often when the issue of women's health and hormones comes up the focus is on the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. While these two hormones are particularly relevant when discussing a woman's reproductive and sexual health, they are not the only hormones at work in a greater discussion of health and wellness. Different hormones, working independently and in combination, affect everything from a woman's energy levels to their weight, mood, mental health and more. In fact, working with patients to address health issues caused at least in part by hormonal imbalance is a large part of my practice. Read on to learn more about women's hormones and the role they play in their health and wellness.
What Are Some Of The Main Hormones Affecting Women's Health?
As mentioned above, the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are intimately connected to a woman's sexual and reproductive health. This includes menstruation, fertility, menopause and more. However, these are not the only hormones at work in a woman's body.
Cortisol and Adrenaline, for example, play important roles in a woman's stress response. When there is too much of either hormone for a prolonged period of time it can contribute to what we refer to as "Adrenal Fatigue". Likewise, thyroid hormones, produced by the thyroid gland, are another common culprit for dis-ease among women. Thyroid hormones help to regulate the metabolism, energy levels, and even body temperature. An imbalance in these hormones can cause a variety of issues and in some more serious cases can lead to conditions like Hashimoto's disease and Grave's disease.
Serotonin is another hormone that plays a significant role in a woman's health and wellness. Serotonin is related to the regulation of mental health, sleep regulation, and some muscle functions. Whether the issue is too much or too little serotonin, when this hormone is out of balance there are a variety of physical and mental effects.
When Your Hormones Are Out Of Balance, What Happens?
Hormones balance your body and act as little chemical messengers sending messages about growth, development, metabolism, reproduction, and more. When your body is out of balance, your hormones may be sending the wrong chemical messages or may have stopped sending messages altogether. Many elements can affect your hormones, from environmental to internal, so a holistic approach is key to finding balance again.
Whenever your hormones fall out of balance, symptoms will present themselves. Knowing what to look for is the first step in taking action and working towards healing and optimal wellness. Below are some of the more common issues I see many women struggling with that are directly connected to a hormonal imbalance, among other things.
Burn Out (aka. Adrenal Fatigue)
Adrenal Fatigue (also referred to as 'adrenal insufficiency' or feeling 'burnt out') is the term commonly used to describe an inadequate production of hormones by your adrenal glands. When this happens, it can lead to symptoms including:
- A weakened immune system
- High levels of exhaustion
- Extreme difficulty waking up
- Low sex drive
- Poor circulation
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) has been linked to fluctuations in hormone levels, specifically female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone. The symptoms of PMS can range in intensity and can affect both a woman's physical and mental-emotional health.
PMS typically sets in during the week before menstruation begins and can include symptoms like:
- Mood swings
- Tender breasts
- Food cravings
- Irritability and
The symptoms of perimenopause and menopause may take years to build up as hormone levels naturally decline with age. Common symptoms of menopause include:
- Hot Flashes
- Mood Changes
- Weight Gain
- Night Sweats
- Low Libido
- Memory Loss
In the case of your thyroid, symptoms can vary depending on if the issue is resulting from too much hormone production (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone production (hypothyroidism). There are other conditions like Hashimoto's and Grave's Disease associated with the thyroid as well. Symptoms of a thyroid condition can include:
- Slowed (hypo) or high (hyper) metabolism
- Weight gain (hypo) or weight loss (hyper)
- Frequent (hypo) or scant (hyper) periods
- Intolerance to cold (hypo) or heat sensitivity (hyper)
- Fatigue (hypo) or irritability/nervousness (hyper)
Treatment Options For Restoring Hormone Balance In Women
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is, perhaps, one of the most effective treatments available when it comes to women's health and hormones. Designed to bring hormone levels back into balance and ease associated symptoms, BHRT treatments are specially curated to address an individual's needs and medical history. Because BHRT medications are virtually identical to the hormones naturally produced by the body they are easily absorbed and integrated. BHRT formulas can supplement a wide range of male and female sex hormones as well as adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid hormones making this course of treatment adaptable to many conditions and hormones related health issues.
NP Optimal Health & Wellness Can Help Restore Balance To Women's Hormones.
As you can see, hormones play an important role in women's health and wellness and extend beyond the female sex hormones. The symptoms resulting from a hormone imbalance, whether that imbalance is the result of an excess or a lack of hormone production, can have very real effects on the day-to-day lives of women. Fortunately, once a hormone imbalance has been identified, there are treatments available to restore balance and ease the symptoms.
If you are living with any of the above conditions or their associated symptoms, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about BHRT or to book your initial assessment. Together, we can restore balance to your hormones and bring you closer to a state of optimal health.