Both men and women can experience symptoms of hormonal imbalances, which are the result of chemical disruptions or abnormalities in the production, secretion, or activity of important signaling molecules in the body, known as hormones. When left untreated, a hormonal imbalance can lead to a range of health effects with lasting consequences. Fortunately, several approaches can help manage a hormone imbalance or help alleviate an imbalance altogether. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of many options to consider if you think a hormone imbalance might be at the root of your symptoms. The first step is knowing what signs to look for to identify a hormone imbalance. These can range from physical to mental symptoms and are typically experienced over a sustained amount of time.
Physical Signs & Symptoms
- Weight gain
- Insomnia or sleep disturbances
- Night sweats
- Hair loss
- Loss of bone density
- Muscle loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Sluggish circulation
- Slow metabolism
Mental Signs & Symptoms
- Mood swings or irritability
- Change in outlook on life/circumstance
- Decreased sex drive
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Memory loss
While some of these symptoms may seem normal in everyday life and are often associated with aging, they can be indicative of a more serious hormonal imbalance if they continue to persist. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms over an extended period of time, it’s important to consult your physician to determine what hormone-balancing interventions might be right for you.
How is a hormone imbalance diagnosed?
In addition to the physical and mental signs and symptoms noted above, blood tests are often used to check hormone levels to determine if a deficiency or imbalance needs correcting. An experienced and credentialed provider will perform extensive lab work, discuss your symptoms thoroughly, and consider your age and general health markers before prescribing any form of intervention. They may also consider other factors such as lifestyle and any existing health problems you may have. Without treatment, symptoms can develop into more serious conditions like infertility, osteoporosis, heart conditions, and accelerated aging. When it comes to sex hormone imbalances, testing can measure levels of estrogen and testosterone in the bloodstream which can inform your doctor if you could be a candidate for HRT.
Are there different types of hormone-balancing therapies?
There are several approaches to supporting optimal hormone balance. These include supplementation, regenerative therapies, and lifestyle changes that can help the body fall back into balance naturally. A more involved, but extremely effective, treatment is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which uses hormones that are identical in chemical structure to those produced naturally by the body, dosed in combinations designed specifically for a patient’s individual needs, and administered via pill, topical or pellet. This type of hormone replacement therapy involves rigorous testing by a highly trained physician to determine the appropriate hormone levels needed for each patient and monitoring over time to adjust levels if needed. Hormone balancing treatments, whether naturally derived or supplemented with an approach like BHRT, can be life-changing for many patients. In time, patients can experience increased energy and vigor, higher libido, lowered body fat, improved mood, and a lessening of symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and mood swings.
When considering if you need hormone therapy, it’s important that you understand all available options before embarking on any form of treatment, and that you speak to a qualified professional who can recommend the optimal approach for your unique situation. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Gershon to learn more and develop a treatment plan customized to your needs.