HORMONE TESTING FOR WOMEN

BALANCE THIS! Let’s face it, hormone imbalance at any age SUCKS!

Did you know that most women suffer from hormonal imbalance?

It’s a major deal since even a tiny temporary shift in our hormones can make us feel tired, lethargic, bloated, miserable, or anxious. And the long-term effects of bone loss, hair loss, and the numerous other issues that unbalanced hormones can cause? Life-changing, and not for the better.

Hormone Imbalance: The Stats

Recent statistics show that 80% of women suffer from hormonal imbalance! Even worse, up to 70% of women are unaware of having conditions such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) that have occurred due to reproductive hormone imbalances. That might mean that YOU might be feeling tired, emotional, irritable, bloated, fatigued, lacking sex drive, or any one of numerous symptoms because you have an undiagnosed hormonal imbalance – RIGHT NOW.

The bad news is that hormones can throw you a major curveball when it comes to how you look, think & feel. Even worse, even if you’re proactive and head down to your doctor’s surgery suspecting an imbalance, many regular, standard, basic hormone tests will report that you’re ‘normal’ and you’ll be sent on your way. The chance to spot the imbalance will have been missed, as will the vital opportunity to fix whatever underlying issue caused that imbalance in the first place!

Hormones & Your Endocrine System

Our hormones are hugely influenced by our endocrine system, which secretes hormones into our bloodstream when we need them. Hormones are basically chemical substances that affect the activity of another part of the body (what we call a ‘target site’). For example, when we eat a big slice of sugary cake, our endocrine system swiftly sends out the signal to release the hormone insulin to lower circulating blood glucose levels & convert glucose (blood sugar) to glycogen so it can be used by working muscles & organs as energy. In the case of insulin, target sites would be the target tissues of the body that need to use or store energy – namely, skeletal muscle, adipose (fat) tissue – as well as the liver, because the liver allows the body to convert glucose to glycogen (the form that it can use/store for energy).

In essence, hormones are messengers, which control and coordinate the many complex activities that the body needs to run efficiently. In reality, it is a huge job – countless processes take place every second – so our hormonal balance needs to be consistently on point or those messengers and messages break down, and processes immediately begin to malfunction.

The great news? We know how to perform the right hormone testing that others won’t. We know how to correctly diagnose the underlying cause of that imbalance and restore you to optimized health & wellness. And we know the kind of mental, physical & cognitive performance that you are capable of! ‘Average’ or ‘normal’ hormonal levels aren’t acceptable for us; only in the presence of hormonal optimization can we know that you are truly firing on all cylinders and that no dysfunction is present.

When Hormones Suck

Often, we feel like our hormones really are the enemy, maybe making us experience uncomfortable hot flushes and sweating at completely inappropriate times (e.g., during a major work meeting), stopping us from sleeping properly, and making the following day feel like a miserable uphill slog, making us feel so lethargic that we feel as if we are wading through mud, or just throwing our emotions all over the place so we feel anxious, stressed or down when we used to feel happy, full of energy & alive. You might think ‘What the heck is wrong with me these days?!’ It could well be a simple hormone imbalance that we could rapidly restore for you.

The simple truth is, you don’t need to put up with feeling bad. The Doctors Studio knows exactly what to test for, and how to help you. As a medically driven practice, we are able to deploy any one of a range of next-gen, clinically tested, medically developed hormone therapies, tests & treatments to find out what is causing your underlying problems, rectifying them for you swiftly, and helping you feel like YOU again.

What Hormones Do We Test?

Although there is no “wrong” way of testing hormones, the kind of test chosen, which hormones are tested, and when those hormones are tested, is where the ART of hormone management really comes into play.  The Doctors Studio Team are seasoned hormone specialists, with over 13 years of clinically relevant experience. We know, consequently, that a one size fits all approach is ineffective when it comes to hormone balance, hormone replacement, and monitoring of hormonal therapy interventions. You are UNIQUE and your hormone treatment & testing should be, too!

In reality, there are many important nuances that must be considered & respected for hormone testing & therapy to be safe & effective. We test for a wide range of hormones, including hormonal interactions. Among the many hormones we test for, the following are considered most significant:

  • Estrogen. You have 3 types of estrogen in your body: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Estradiol is the predominant form of estrogen in your body during your reproductive years, whilst estrone is most active during menopause. During pregnancy, estriol is most abundant. Common side-effects of low estrogen include painful sex (caused by a lack of vaginal lubrication), UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections), irregular periods, hot flushes, mood swings, depression, & headaches. Estrogen plays a major role in menstruation.
  • Progesterone. Progesterone is the other main hormone in your menstrual cycle, especially in the luteal phase. Low levels can cause irregular periods, headaches, migraines, hot flushes, weight gain, fibroids, endometriosis & infertility.
  • Testosterone. An essential hormone for women, low levels can cause a loss of sex drive & libido, lack of pleasure during sex, weight gain, mood swings, and, over time, heart disease, a loss of bone density & and impaired memory.
  • Cortisol. This hormone affects almost every function of the body. Whilst it is commonly thought of as the ‘stress hormone’ its role is generally incredibly positive & indispensable. It is responsible for functions as diverse as the control of blood sugar, the regulation of metabolism, as an anti-inflammatory agent, and in-memory formation & use. Primary, secondary, or tertiary adrenal insufficiency can be very serious, where low cortisol levels affect the body in potentially extreme ways.
  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). Suboptimal TSH levels generally signify either hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism where you have an overactive thyroid, which secretes too many hormones, leading the pituitary gland to produce less TSH. This can cause a range of unpleasant side effects such as nervousness, irritability, fatigue, muscle weakness, tremors, rapid, irregular heartbeat, diarrhea & insomnia. Conversely, hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, constipation, dry skin, a puffy face, muscle weakness, weight gain & an increased sensitivity to cold.
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) A lack of FSH can lead to incomplete physical development during puberty, and infertility via ovarian failure.
  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH) deficiencies can cause weakness, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, & a decreased appetite. It might also contribute to infertility.
  • DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) declines with age. Low levels can cause decreased pituitary and adrenal function, weakness, fatigue, difficulty in controlling body weight, irregular periods, and infertility.
  • Pregnenolone is considered vital to the overall endocrinological response of the body to stress, and in anxiety management, memory & concentration, amongst many other functions. A deficiency can lead to poor memory, declining attention spans and declining concentration, dry skin, fatigue, a loss of libido, and joint & muscular pain, alongside a compromised ability of the body to cope with stress & anxiety.
  • Insulin deficiency plays a major role in diabetes and can be very dangerous, causing osmotic diuresis (depletion of salt & water levels required for adequate physiological functioning), weight loss, vomiting, infections, low immunity, hypotension, tiredness, impaired consciousness, hyperventilation and can even the onset of a coma.
  • Melatonin. Sleep depends on a healthy level of melatonin in the body, so if you have a deficiency, you might be suffering from poor sleep quality, difficulty falling asleep, or frequent waking during the night (with a difficulty in returning to sleep), all of which can lead to major negative consequences in the body given the vitally restorative effects of sleep on all of the body’s processes.
  • Vitamin D… YUP – Vitamin D is a hormone! Inadequate levels can cause fatigue, bone pain (osteomalacia), muscle, weakness, muscle cramps, mood swings, anxiety, stress & depression. It is vital for bone health – without it, we can experience major problems with our teeth and with conditions such as osteoporosis, or rickets in children – largely because Vitamin D is vital for the healthy intestinal absorption of calcium.

“DID YOU KNOW THAT every call of YOUR body has a receptor for vitamin D and thyroid hormone?  This means that every cell of your body needs vitamin D and thyroid. This is HUGE when it comes to hormone balance.  YOU MUST look at the whole picture if safe and effective is the goal!”

Don’t Accept ‘Normal’ – Accept OPTIMALlY!

One of the fundamentally important considerations of hormone therapy is the decision of which hormones to test, exactly when, and why. These decisions can be influenced decisively by factors such as your age, menstrual history, &/or current symptoms. Hormones work together in a delicate symphony, yet when you visit your gynecologist, they tell you that your total estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels fall in the ‘normal range – so everything is fine. Yet you don’t FEEL fine.

You scratch your head. What gives? Are they in the right ratio to each other? Are they correctly positioned within your unique menstrual history & menstrual cycle? Are they optimized levels? Have they been compared to a benchmark that is personalized to you, or to a general population that might lead you to believe that your results are okay when they are not? It is unlikely that this data would have been made available to you, or even considered.

The real issue is this. ‘Normal’ and ‘average’ levels can be misleading, and even indicative of dysfunction. Only when levels are optimized can you be assured of great health, the complete absence of dysfunction, inflammation & disease & a return to the healthy, happy, productive physical & emotional state you should always be experiencing. We take your unique personal profile into consideration – if you are, for example, menstruating & experiencing terrible PMS – we know this SHOULDN’T happen, and we will do what we need to do to find out why these symptoms are occurring, quickly restoring you to optimized health.

It could be that you have high levels of ‘bad’ gut microbiomes, or a high level of toxicity in your body – may be major magnesium or Vitamin D deficiency, food intolerance, or the need for hormone therapy to replace very low levels of testosterone. You might test with ‘adequate’ levels of estrogen, yet you are suffering from osteopenia. In this case, you need optimized levels of estrogen & testosterone via hormonal therapy to restore you to complete bone health. Simply put, for us, ‘average’ and ‘okay’ are not acceptable.

A regular visit to a physician or gynecologist would likely leave you confused, being told that your hormones still fall into the normal range, so you just need, essentially, to grin and bear it, accepting it as a regular part of being a woman. DON’T grin and bear it. That’s an expectation that falls way below the bar of what you really deserve, & which we find unacceptable.

“Testosterone: the CAN-DO hormone for women” – Dr. Lisbeth Roy

Here’s a few words from Doctors Studio founder Dr. Roy.

“MOST gynecologists and endocrinologists never even check testosterone levels in women even though TESTOSTERONE IS A WOMAN’S PRIMARY HORMONE HER ENTIRE LIFE!

Yes, I really did just say that a healthy woman has more testosterone throughout her life than she does estrogen, even when she is menstruating. Yet most physicians don’t even bother testing testosterone in women! – and they certainly are not concerned with optimizing it.

This is crazy. Testosterone is a VERY SAFE hormone for women to take, necessary for brain, bone, muscle, mood, metabolism, sexual function and drive, sleep, and a general sense of well-being.  Testosterone is often low in women and when corrected and optimized, it can be a total game-changer.

 

“Progesterone is the FEEL-GOOD hormone”

How about this one? In women who have had a hysterectomy, a gynecologist says ‘you don’t need progesterone, because you don’t have a uterus.’ This kind of assumption does a TOTAL DISSERVICE to women since the brain needs progesterone to carry out vital functions!  For example, progesterone balances estrogen quiets the brain for deep sleep, and supports healthy metabolism and blood sugar. We need to make sure that you have healthy progesterone levels else your biological health will be vastly compromised.

 

“Estrogen is the energy stimulating hormone that works best in the presence of properly balanced progesterone”

Estrogen is needed for all the well-known reasons like bone health, heart health, to stop hot flashes and night sweats, vaginal dryness, and to support healthy hair and skin.  But honestly, TOO MANY women are put on estrogen-only hormone replacement regimes, with little or no regard to balancing their level of estrogen with other hormones. This can lead to inefficiency of the hormonal treatment as well as many unwanted side-effects.“

The take-home message? The Doctors Studio is run by a team that genuinely cares about excellent hormonal testing & therapies, and who are passionate about wanting you to feel your best.

How Your Hormones Can Affect You

When your hormones are perfectly balanced, your endocrinological system performs in an equally perfect symphony, putting a spring in your step, making you feel strong enough to face all of life’s challenges head-on, powering up immunity, filling you with energy, and putting a smile on your face. But it is very easy – especially with the busy modern lives that we lead (work, family, hobbies, & burning the candle at both ends!) for one or more of those hormones to shift a little out of sync, at which point it can begin to impact your health. Left unchecked, the trickle-down effect can become a waterfall, suddenly overwhelming you and leaving you feeling like a shadow of your former self.

Hormone imbalances can affect your health in so many ways, including:

  • Weight gain OR weight loss
  • Breast tenderness
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Anxiety, stress, depression, & mood swings
  • Worsening PMS symptoms & irregular periods
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Skin changes
  • Hair changes
  • Low sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue

Hormones Work in Sync

The Steroid Pathways diagram above represents the complex interplay of hormones that continually takes place within your body. Synchronicity has to be perpetually on point, else when one is compromised, it is like throwing a rachet in the entire machine! Simply measuring one level of hormone – such as estrogen – in isolation, then telling you that your levels are ‘acceptable’ completely misses the point. Yet that is what most physicians do. The body is a sophisticated system, and we reflect that in the quality of our testing.

Subsequently, we use next-gen, sophisticated medical testing techniques (followed by hormone therapies, if needed) to understand your unique hormonal, checking that levels are optimized and working in sync.

Balance Your Hormones to Optimize your Life!

If you feel like you need to be recharged, restored, and revitalized, &/or that you just aren’t the happy, energetic, focused, full-of-life individual that you used to be, you might benefit hugely from a snapshot of your hormonal health – because if anything is out of balance, reoptimizing it will reoptimize every single aspect of your life!

Remember- hormones don’t have to suck – they should always be your friend, ally & protector. When you feel as if they are becoming your enemy, don’t just ‘live with it’ – fight back and let us restore you to optimized hormonal health once again! 

If you or someone you love would benefit from a hormone test, contact us today – we are waiting to take your call.

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