Most of us know about the most famous of all the hormones. We are familiar with testosterone, the “manly” hormone. And, we are familiar with estrogen and progesterone, the 2 female hormones. When something goes awry with any 3 of these, it is not necessarily a surprise. They are in the news and public eye enough that we know to watch for signs and symptoms. What may come as a surprise, however, is that our hormonal imbalance can branch out a lot further than just these hormones. To keep your health on track and your hormones in perfect balance, take a look at these 3 hormonal problems that you may not even have known existed.
This one is becoming just a little more prevalent in recent years. It has come to light that a great number of people suffer from a deficiency in Vitamin D hormones. That may not be surprising considering this vitamin occurs naturally in very, very few foods. Our main source of Vitamin D is actually the sun. If you have a problem with Vitamin D, you may experience depression ranging from the blues to severe, extreme fatigue, and aching so severe it feels as though it is in the bones. Take note if you have any or all of these symptoms.
For a long time, I thought that this was a problem that only affected the aging population. Actually, however, this can affect anyone at any age. B12 is responsible for a whole wealth of functions in the body, so when it goes awry, it is a pretty big deal. Some symptoms of a B12 deficiency include weakness and fatigue, numbness and tingling in the hands, anemia, and paranoia. Perhaps the scariest symptom of a B12 deficiency is cognitive problems. Those lacking B12 may feel confused, may experience hallucinations, and may show dementia type symptoms. This one is a pretty big deal, so if you suspect a problem, vitamin optimization therapy is critical
This is something that they stress in pregnancy, but rarely outside of that. Folate, otherwise known as folic acid or Vitamin B9, is important for the development of an unborn child, but an imbalance can cause problems in any person. Symptoms include depression, anemia, pale skin, heart palpitations, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Folate is most often found through the diets that we eat, but can generally be supplemented with a simple pill or vitamin injections.
While an imbalance in one of the main 3 hormones still absolutely matters, it is still important to pay attention to other cues that your body may be sending you. If you suspect a problem within your body, get help at a facility like HerKare. A physician there may be able to help determine the cause of your symptoms, and subsequently a treatment plan to help you feel better.
Dr. Rick Westbrook of HerKare discusses Vivace, an in-office, skin tightening treatment that does not require surgery. Vivace combines targeted microneedling with radio-frequency electrical energy for a non-surgical skin tightening treatment even the skin’s deepest layers. Vivace microneedling can be used on nearly any area of the face or body, on any skin type, and is especially helpful in eliminating acne scarring.
HerKare Southlake is the exclusive provider of Vivace treatments in Texas. For more information on Vivace treatments, please view the following video here.
One question I hear from my patients often is, “Is there something I can do to keep from getting cervical cancer?” Thy answer is simple: Yes. There are two ways to stop cervical cancer from developing: 1) The first is to find and treat pre-cancers before they become actual cancers. 2) The second is to prevent pre-cancers altogether. How do you do this? The best way is to have regular well woman exams and pap smear screening tests starting at age 21.
Stop cervical cancer before it starts with these two tests:
Cervical cancer is a potentially fatal disease but can be prevented by undergoing two simple screening tests to find pre-cancers before they turn into invasive cancer: the Pap test (or Pap smear) and the human papilloma virus (HPV) test. If a pre-cancer is found, it can be treated and the cervical cancer can be stopped in its tracks. Most cases of cervical cancer are found in women who were either never screened or were not screened in the previous five years.
1) The Pap test: The Pap test (or Pap smear) is a procedure that collects cells from your cervix so they can be examined under a microscope for signs of pre-cancer or cancer. Cell changes on the cervix may become cervical cancer if not treated appropriately. These cells can also be used for HPV testing. A Pap test is usually done during your pelvic exam as part of your annual GYN checkup.
If your Pap test results are normal, your chances of getting cervical cancer in the next few years are very low. For that reason, your doctor may tell you that you do not need another Pap test for the next three years. If you are 30 years old or older, you may choose to have an HPV test along with the Pap test. If both test results are normal, your doctor may tell you that you can wait five years to have your next Pap test; however, you should still see your GYN every year for a checkup.
2) The HPV test: The human papilloma virus (HPV) test checks for the virus that can cause the cervical cell changes that can lead to cancer. HPV is a very common virus, passed from one person to another during skin-to-skin sexual contact, including vaginal, oral and anal sex. It is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s, and almost all sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it.
Another way to prevent cervical cancer: The HPV Vaccine
HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women; penile cancer in men; anal cancer, cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx) and genital warts in both men and women. Many of these cancers could be prevented with vaccination.
HPV vaccines can prevent infection from both high-risk HPV types that can lead to cervical cancer and low-risk types that cause genital warts. The CDC recommends all boys and girls get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12. The vaccine produces a stronger immune response during preteen years. For this reason only two doses are required up until age 14. The vaccine is available for all males and females through age 45 but, for those 15 or older, a full three-dose series is needed. Clinical trials have shown HPV vaccines provide close to 100% protection against cervical pre-cancers and genital warts.
NOTE: Even after you are vaccinated against HPV, you still need to have regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.
Lowering your risk for cervical cancer:
In addition to regular Pap and HPV tests and getting the HPV vaccine, there are other things you can do to prevent pre-cancerous cells from developing:
Use condoms during sex. (The HPV vaccine does not protect against other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as HIV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea).
Limit your number of sexual partners.
If you are concerned about cervical cancer, please contact us.
If it has been awhile since you’ve had a Pap or HPV test or if you’ve never been tested, or if you would like to get the HPV vaccine, please contact us at HerKare to see one of our providers. We’re here for you.
In case you didn’t know, there are actually a lot of hormones at work in a woman’s body. Like…a lot. Actually, there are a lot of hormones at work in everyone’s body. Even though hormones are responsible for a huge number of functions in the body, only a few hormones are well known enough to get any recognition. Hormone replacement therapy is a popular topic and you need to understand why.
For men, it’s the T word: Testosterone. For women, it’s two hormones that get a lot of recognition: progesterone and estrogen. You’ve probably heard of both of these. But, do you even know what they do? Do you know their jobs and functions? Do you know what happens when they get out of balance?
As women, it is important to be informed about our own bodies. Take a look at the 2 most famous hormones and their roles in the lives of women.
This hormone has quite a few roles in the body. For starters, progesterone helps a woman nourish a pregnancy. The lining of the uterus needs preparation in order to hold, keep, and nourish a pregnancy. This is where progesterone steps in. It preps the lining, getting it ready to grab onto a fertilized egg should it be present. Without proper amounts of progesterone, the lining won’t be ready and the pregnancy won’t be viable. If pregnancy does occur, it is progesterone that helps your body hold onto it, keeping the fetus firmly attached. Progesterone is also responsible for preparing the milk glands during pregnancy, so that they produce adequate nourishment for your child. When it comes to progesterone, preparation seems to be one of its main jobs and there are progesterone replacement therapy options available post-hormone testing.
When it comes to estrogen, think of growth and development. When puberty in women occurs, it is usually the result of a rise in estrogen. It causes the reproductive organs to grow, develop, and mature. It is also responsible for thickening the uterus lining during the first half of the menstrual cycle. Without estrogen, period would not occur or would be irregular at best. Estrogen also causes an egg to mature each month, and as estrogen drops, the egg is released. If your body is growing or developing, estrogen is probably a significant hormone behind it.
When Levels are Off
Most women don’t really think about the specific roles of their hormones. As long as they are functioning normally, there really isn’t a whole lot of need to know the gory details. It’s only when the levels become unbalanced that women may feel the need to learn more. So, what does happen when the body experiences hormone imbalance? It could cause a number of symptoms, and unfortunately, they can be confusing. A woman may lose her hair, or she may start to grow hair in weird places. You may have trouble either losing or gaining weight. You may have mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, extreme fatigue, insomnia, and the list goes on and on.
What To Do
If you have any of the above symptoms or suspect and imbalance for any reason, there is help available. A physician at HerKare may be able to test your hormones and determine if an imbalance is present. If it is, they may be able to help find a treatment plan that works for your. For your own health and wellbeing, get to know your hormones and their roles in our body. Then, if a problem comes about, you can get the help and attention you need to get back on track and healthy again.
Starting from about 13, I knew that women were full of hormones. I had heard the stories about mood swings and hot flashes and all sorts of terrible problems, and I had probably even experienced a few crazy symptoms of my own by that point. The main culprit, as far as I was concerned, was that pesky hormone, estrogen. She was the problem. For a long time, estrogen was the only hormone that I knew belonged to women. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties and pregnant with my first child that I realized that estrogen wasn’t necessarily the most dominant female hormone, and in fact, its sister hormone progesterone was just as important. Until then, I didn’t really think progesterone was really that big of a deal. So, how big of a deal is progesterone, really?
What Does It Do?
First, it is important to know the main roles of progesterone. Every hormone and chemical in the body has a (or multiple) specific function. Progesterone is no different. Since I first encountered a problem with progesterone when I was pregnant, I quickly learned that one main function of this hormone is to maintain a pregnancy. It also helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. When progesterone is off, your cycle is also likely to be off as well. Lastly, progesterone helps you out in the bedroom. When it comes to libido, the perfect mix of hormones makes the best recipe for sex drive.
What Happens When It Is Wrong?
If progesterone levels are wrong, it can wreak a bit of havoc on the body. For me, it was causing me to lose the pregnancy. Once my doctor got my progesterone levels right, the pregnancy was sustained. Some women experience extreme fatigue…more than I didn’t get enough sleep fatigue…like, the real thing! Other women experience weak hair and nails, weight gain, or migraines. And of course, like any hormonal problem, menstrual irregularities can also signal a problem.
What Can I Do?
If you suspect a progesterone imbalance or other problems, the best course of action is to seek help. If you already have a doctor, they should be able to point you in the right direction. Otherwise, try a facility like HerKare. A physician at HerKare may be able to determine whether your progesterone levels are right, and if not, they may be able to help get a treatment plan just for you. With the right care, you may be able to get your hormones back on track and feel better than ever.