Hormone imbalance takes away our choices. It frequently removes energy, sex drive, joy, sleep, and more from our available opportunities. Whether caused by aging, childbirth, or illness, it’s a thief in the night—and every other time of the day, too.
Read on as Dr. Christi explains what hormone imbalance is, how it affects you, and why bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can get back what was lost.
What is a hormone imbalance?
Hormone imbalance means your body makes too much or too little of a hormone. For a person’s body to function optimally, hormones must be present, in the right amounts. Hormones control processes like:
- Stress & mood levels
- Blood sugar levels
- Reproduction and sex
- Metabolic rates
- Blood pressure levels
- Physical growth
When too much or too little of a hormone is present, that affects the function of the entire system—sometimes with terrible consequences.
For example, if the pancreas doesn’t make enough of the hormone known as insulin, sufferers can’t get enough (or any) glucose out of their blood and into their cells. This causes a devastating condition called diabetes.
Or if the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough hormones, it could trigger a condition called “hypothyroidism.” This imbalance makes your metabolism slow down, which in turn causes fatigue, weight gain/obesity, and several other issues.
As if direct issues caused by imbalance aren’t enough, a hormonal imbalance can cause other hormone producing glands to function incorrectly, creating a cascade of negative consequences. If hormone deficiencies are left untreated, they may even lead to increased chances of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer and diabetes.
Signs of Hormone Imbalance
Your hormone doctor in Houston has heard the sayings. You might have too—like when a friend says “Sorry, just feeling a little hormonal today.” Or someone else (maybe you?) haven’t had the joy in their sex life of late, blaming the loss of libido on “I’m just not in the mood anymore.”
Frequently, hormone imbalance contributes the most to these issues. Hormones affect so many things—your heart rate, sleep cycles, mood, stress, sexual function—that when they’re not in proper proportion, your whole system no longer operates like it used to.
Hormonal imbalances affect both women and men. Women may more frequently experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, whereas men will more likely experience imbalances in testosterone levels.
We all naturally experience fluctuations in hormonal levels. The problem rises when the imbalance is long term. This issue has some general signs:
- Night sweats
- Sleep issues
- Hot flashes
- Irregular periods
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Chronic acne
- Dry skin
- Digestion issues
- And more
- Erectile dysfunction
- Depression/lack of motivation
- Unexplained or sudden weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Increased breast size (gynecomastia)
- And more
Other signs of possible hormonal imbalance:
- Chronic/constant fatigue
- Mental fog
- Lack of sex drive
- Hair and muscle mass loss
Your hormone doctor in Houston can help you determine if the problems above are from hormone imbalance, or some other cause. If it’s imbalance, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may be your way to get back to being you again!
Related: Find out the 3 hormones most common in BHRT for menopause.
How do hormones work?
Your endocrine system is made up of glands and organs located throughout the body which make hormones and release them directly into your blood. These hormones help regulate the rest of your tissues and organs—including the ones in the endocrine system itself.
Hormones disperse into the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Even though they’re everywhere, specific hormones only target cells which are built to receive and read that hormone. Amazingly, they don’t affect any other cells.
Not only do those hormones affect specific tissues and organs, they help regulate biological processes, including growth.
For example, hormones are what typically cause specific sex characteristics to show. Androgen hormones—male sex hormones—trigger development and maintenance of masculine sex characteristics and fertility. Which is one the biggest androgen hormones? You guessed it: testerone.
Your endocrine systems can be thought of as a complete manufacturing plant, with layers of management and labor to produce a quality living condition. It includes upper management (full systems control), middle-management (hormone manufacturing direction), and skilled labor (the hormones).
These all need to work in balance and harmony for the best outcome. When out of balance, quality fails and the system falters.
One of the biggest imbalances that too often gets ignored, is menopause.
What is menopause?
Pretty much all women go through menopause. Because it’s so prevalent, it’s often called “the change,” and ends up as a target of humor and satire.
At MedSpa at ChristiMD, your hormone doctor in Houston doesn’t find it funny. We’ve seen what menopause can do (and some of us have been through it too!). But what exactly is menopause?
According to the National Institute on Aging, “Menopause is a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last period.”
What does that mean and how does that affect you? It depends on what stage of menopause you are in.
4 Stages of Menopause
Menopause itself is actually the 3rd of 4 stages of menopause. They are:
Technically, this is the entire time before perimenopause. You’re still in the prime “childbearing” years with no obvious symptoms of menopause.
This marks the transition stage between pre-menopause and menopause. During this time, you’ll begin to experience the symptoms of menopause, including:
- Shorter, more irregular cycles
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased libido
- Brain fog
- Joint and/or muscle aches
This involves the 12 months directly after your menstrual cycle ends.Your ovaries have stopped releasing eggs. Some of the symptoms you may experience include:
- Hot flashes
- Heart rate fluctuations
- Loss of breast volume
- Thinning hair
- Increased facial hair
- Urinary incontinence (pelvic floor weakening)
Congratulations—you’ve made it past the 1 year point after your last period. You’ll be post-menopausal for the rest of your life. During this time most, if not all, of the perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms have begun to subside.
Unfortunately, because of decreased estrogen levels, women in post-menopause run a higher risk for osteoporosis and heart issues. According to modern research, up to 20% of bone loss can happen post-menopause. Osteoporosis affects about 1 in 10 women worldwide over the age of 60.
Menopausal transition also contributes to cardiovascular disease. It alters a woman’s body composition, lipids and lipoproteins, which contribute to heart health issues during menopause and especially in post-menopause.
What is Andropause?
Men don’t get off scot-free with aging. Though they don’t have the symptomatic burden of menopause, they do have their own set of symptoms as testosterone levels decrease. Sometimes called “male menopause,” andropause can last 15 to 20 years.
Symptoms of Andropause
Usually after the age of 40, the symptoms of andropause begin to show in most men, including:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Changes in the way fat is stored (for example, belly growth)
- Loss of flexibility/strength/endurance
- General apathy/lack of energy
- Mental fog
Other possible causes of hormone imbalance
Our staff of medical professionals have decades of experience dealing with hormonal imbalances. Dr. Christi and three other medical professions at ChristMD Medical Group are Certified Hormone Therapists.
To earn that title, you have to go through at least 20 hours of extra training on top of medical training, including rigorous testing at the end to ensure you’ve retained and can apply the information and techniques.
As Certified Hormone Therapists, we’ve seen hormone imbalance caused by:
- Cancer treatments
- Pituitary tumors
- Adrenal hyperplasia
- And more.
How does MedSpa at ChristiMD treat these imbalances? Through Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).
BHRT to the Rescue
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy provides an effective treatment for hormone imbalance. The hormones in the BHRT pellets are chemically identical to the natural hormones your body produces.
BHRT Pellet Therapy
Your hormone doctor in Houston, uses small, cylinder-shaped bioidentical hormone pellets to correct the hormone imbalances in your body.
The BHRT pellets are also completely customized to meet your needs. Dr. Christi’s team calculates dosages specifically for each patient, tailored to their history, risk, factors, blood levels, and symptoms.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) vs Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)
When you look for hormone replacement therapy, keep in mind there is a difference between HRT and BHRT. The biggest difference is their sources.
Bioidentical hormones come from plant sources, and are chemically identical to your hormones. The pellets in which they come provide different hormones, and different dosages, to allow customization for your needs.
Traditional replacement hormones (non-bioidentical) can bemade from the urine of pregnant cows or horses, or other synthetic sources. HRT hormones usually come in standard doses and treatments are not as customizable as BHRT.
How BHRT Works
The implantation of BHRT pellets is a simple and relatively pain-free procedure. As your hormone doctor in Houston Dr. Christi starts by numbing your skin with local anesthesia. Then, using a small tube, she inserts the pellets via a small incision.
The treatment usually takes about 30 minutes. The number of treatments varies, depending on your specific situation.
The BHRT pellets deliver hormones to your bloodstream constantly and consistently for 3 to 6 months after treatment. After your procedure, you may experience minor acne, bloating, or swelling, but these temporary symptoms usually subside within a few weeks, and are easy to treat.
The pellets are inserted deeply enough to be invisible to the naked eye, so don’t worry- you’ll have no problems with swimsuit season!
Related: Know the signs that you need BHRT.
Benefits of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy
When you undergo BHRT at MedSpa at ChristiMD, you’ll re-discover lost functionality, possibly including:
- Increased energy
- Improved skin integrity
- Stimulates dormant cells
- Better blood flow
- Increased mental clarity
- Decreased depression and anxiety
- Improved sleep
- Increased sexual libido
- Reduced body fat
- Healthy sense of well-being
- Decreased hot flashes, night sweats
- Protection from age-related conditions such as:
- Heart disease
For men who undergo BHRT with your hormone doctor, we add anastrozole to inhibit the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, because excess estrogen in the prostate can lead to cancer.
Are you a candidate for BHRT?
If you find yourself experiencing any (or all) of the symptoms listed above, request a consultation with your hormone doctor.
Using thorough examination, testing, and questions about your symptoms and your medical history, Dr. Christi can diagnose the likely reasons behind your symptoms and prescribe the best treatments.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can also be combined with other treatments. For example, you can have BHRT and add Emsella to help with urinary incontinence caused by aging’s effect on pelvic floor muscles.
Operating inside Methodist Medical Office Building Two, MedSpa at ChristiMD offers the most highly advanced medical treatments available under one roof in Houston. Let’s talk today!