- Estrogen Replacement Therapy
- Progesterone Replacement Therapy
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy
- Thyroid Replacement Therapy
- Vitamin D Replacement Therapy
- Vitamin B12 Replacement Therapy
- Folate Replacement Therapy
- Vaginal Rejuvenation Therapy
Estrogen hormones are responsible for female sexual development and function. Estrogen levels rise and fall throughout the month, and then gradually wane as menopause approaches.
Estrogen replacement therapy is sometimes prescribed surrounding menopause for depression and vaginal dryness. Studies have shown estrogen protects against nerve damage and brittle bones, but it also seems to play a role in endometriosis and certain female cancers.
Why do estrogen levels rise?
It is normal for levels of estrogen to rise during puberty because estrogen fuels changes in a young girl’s body. In addition, high levels of estrogen are seen in women who are extremely overweight. Levels are also high in women who have high blood pressure or diabetes. Estrogen levels rise during a healthy pregnancy, and increased estrogen levels may be seen with tumors of the ovaries, testes, or adrenal glands. Some drugs can also increase estrogen levels.
Why do estrogen levels fall?
There are many reasons why estrogen levels fall, including:
- Pregnancy failure (estriol)
- Perimenopause (also known as pre-menopause) and menopause (estradiol)Yes, estrogen levels fall at menopause. This is a natural transition for all women between ages 40 and 55. The decline in estrogen can happen abruptly in younger women whose ovaries are removed, resulting in so-called surgical menopause.
Perimenopause is the period of transition before menopause. The first natural decline in estrogen levels starts during this phase. Women going through perimenopause may experience weight gain along with other menopause symptoms such as irregular menstrual periods, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
On average, menopause occurs at age 51. When it does, a woman’s body produces less estrogen and progesterone. The drop of estrogen levels at menopause can cause uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Vaginal dryness or itching
- Loss of libido or sex drive
Some women experience moodiness. Lower levels of estrogen may also increase a woman’s risk for heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.
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Progesterone is a hormone that stimulates and regulates various functions, playing a role in maintaining pregnancy, preparing the body for conception, and regulating the monthly menstrual cycle. It also plays a role in sexual desire.
When progesterone levels in the body are lower or higher than normal, a condition called progesterone imbalance is created. Since hormones are chemical messengers that move around the body via fat cells and issue directives to each system, hormonal imbalance can cause a great deal of discomfort, especially in women.
What is progesterone imbalance?
Progesterone imbalance is a disproportionate amount of the hormones progesterone and estrogen in the body. Optimal female health depends upon a careful balance of progesterone and estrogen. If the two fall out of balance – for example, in the event of a progesterone deficiency – uncomfortable side effects will almost invariably result.
Causes of Progesterone Imbalance
The most common cause of progesterone imbalance is menopause, which marks the end of menstruation and fertility. Once ovulation ceases permanently, the ovaries begin to produce less progesterone, creating an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen in the body.
Progesterone imbalance may also be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. A balanced diet and regular exercise are important for maintaining health, particularly during menopause.
Symptoms of Progesterone Imbalance
Among the first symptoms of imbalance usually noticed are irregular periods and fatigue. Other symptoms can appear either psychologically or physiologically.
Psychological symptoms frequently experienced include:
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Commonly-reported physiological problems include:
- Breast tenderness
- Vaginal and urinary infections
- Heightened risk of endometrial cancer
- Lowered libido
- Night sweats and hot flashes
Testosterone belongs to a class of male hormones called androgens; but women also have testosterone. The ovaries produce both testosterone and estrogen. Relatively small quantities of testosterone are released into your bloodstream by the ovaries and adrenal glands. In addition to being produced by the ovaries, estrogen is also produced by the body’s fat tissue. These sex hormones are involved in the growth, maintenance, and repair of reproductive tissues. They also influence other body tissues and bone mass. At menopause, women experience a decline in testosterone which may be correlated to a reduced libido. Some studies indicate that testosterone replacement therapy may benefit sexual function in certain perimenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Testosterone therapy is sometimes used for women who are on estrogen therapy, have had their ovaries removed, or suffer from an adrenal system problem, or hypopituitarism. It is associated with the relief of symptoms of menopause (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, incontinence and urinary urgency), and may enhance mental clarity and focus.
Testosterone therapy has been shown in some instances to increase bone density, decrease body fat and cellulite, and increase lean muscle mass.
Some studies associate testosterone therapy with reduced cardiac risk, and breast-protection, particularly for patients on estrogen therapy.
When a drug is approved for medical use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the manufacturer produces a “label” to explain its use. Once a medication is approved by the FDA, physicians may use it “off-label” for other purposes if they are well-informed about the product, base its use on firm scientific principles and sound medical evidence, and maintain records of its use and effects. Testosterone is approved by the FDA only for use in men. This means that physician directed low-dose testosterone therapy in women is “off-label.” Because testosterone therapy is “off label” your health insurance may not provide coverage for testosterone therapy. This means that you will be required to pay for these services at the time they are rendered.
Patients using testosterone should seek medical attention immediately if symptoms of a heart attack or stroke are present, such as
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Weakness in one part or one side of the body
- Slurred speech
The thyroid is responsible for the production and releasing of hormones that are used to regulate growth, metabolism, energy and the utilization of vitamins, it can also affect you heart, muscles bone and cholesterol. Thyroid problems may result to thyroid hormone imbalances symptoms and this may lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism means your thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone. Having too much thyroid hormone can make a lot of things in your body speed up. You may lose weight quickly, have a fast heartbeat, sweat a lot, or feel nervous and moody. Or you may have no symptoms at all.
Hyperthyroidism is easily treated. With treatment, you can lead a healthy life. Without treatment, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious heart problems, bone problems, and a dangerous condition called thyroid storm.
What causes hyperthyroidism?
Graves’ disease causes most hyperthyroidism. With Graves’ disease, the body’s natural defense (immune) system attacks the thyroid gland. The thyroid fights back by making too much thyroid hormone. Like many thyroid problems, Graves’ disease often runs in families. Sometimes hyperthyroidism is caused by a swollen thyroid or small growths in the thyroid called thyroid nodules.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
You may have no symptoms at all or may feel the following:
- You may feel nervous, moody, weak, or tired.
- Your hands may shake, your heart may beat fast, or you may have problems breathing.
- You may be hot and sweaty or have warm, red, itchy skin.
- You may have more bowel movements than usual.
- You may have fine, soft hair that is falling out.
- You may lose weight even though you eat the same or more than usual.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.
The thyroid controls how your body’s cells use energy from food, a process called metabolism. Among other things, your metabolism affects your body’s temperature, your heartbeat, and how well you burn calories. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, your body processes slow down. That means your body makes less energy, and your metabolism becomes sluggish.
What causes hypothyroidism?
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disorder. “Thyroiditis” is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. With Hashimoto’s, your body produces antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis may also be caused by a viral infection.
Other causes of hypothyroidism include:
- Radiation therapy to the neck area.
- Radioactive iodine treatment.
- Use of certain medications.
- Thyroid surgery.
- Too little iodine in the diet.
- Problems with the thyroid at birth.
- Pituitary gland damage or disorder.
- Disorder of the hypothalamus.
Who is at risk for hypothyroidism?
Women, particularly older women, are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men. You are also more likely to develop hypothyroidism if you have a close family member with an autoimmune disease.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Symptoms may be vague and can often mimic other conditions, they may include:
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Dry hair and hair loss
- Dry skin
- Greater sensitivity to cold
- Slow heart rate
- Swelling of the thyroid gland (goiter)
- Unexplained weight gain
- Difficulty losing weight
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue does not properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of Vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.
If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, you may be at risk for Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods — including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks — and in fortified dairy and grain products.
Symptoms and Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a Vitamin D deficiency. Yet even without symptoms, too little Vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of Vitamin D have been associated with the following:
- Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment in older adults
- Severe asthma in children
Research also suggests that Vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:
- You don’t consume the recommended levels of the Vitamin over time.
- Your exposure to sunlight is limited.
- You have dark skin.
- Your kidneys cannot convert Vitamin D to its active form.
- Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb Vitamin D.
- You are obese.
The body needs this B vitamin to make blood cells and to maintain a healthy nervous system.
A Vitamin B12 test measures the amount of Vitamin B12 in the blood and is usually measured at the same time as a folic acid test because a lack of either one can lead to a form of anemia called megaloblastic anemia. Lack of Vitamin B12 can also affect the nervous system.
Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, shellfish, milk, cheese, and eggs. Strict vegetarians (vegans) who do not eat animal products and babies of mothers who are strict vegetarians are at increased risk for developing anemia and should take a supplement containing Vitamin B12.
Risk Factors for Megaloblastic Anemia
- Stomach or intestinal surgery
- Small intestine problems
- Family history of this anemia
Folate is a type of B vitamin that is important for a variety of body functions including making DNA, repairing tissues like blood vessels, and manufacturing red blood cells. Evidence shows that folate is a vital nutrient for pregnant women and that it may help prevent high blood pressure.
Folate deficiency means you have a lower than normal amount of folic acid in your blood. Because folate is not stored in the body in large amounts, your blood levels of folate will get low after only a few weeks of eating a diet low in folate. You can get folate by eating green leafy vegetables and liver.
What causes folate deficiency?
Diseases in which folic acid is not absorbed well, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.
Other causes of folate deficiency:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Eating overcooked food
- Getting too much folic acid during the third trimester of pregnancy
- Hemolytic anemia
- Poor diet
HerKare Southlake offers vaginal rejuvenation therapy in Dallas and Fort Worth. The in-office procedure is comfortable, safe, and takes just a few minutes for each session. There is no anesthesia required during your 2-4 sessions, and minimal post-procedure care. To read more about this treatment, visit our FemTouch information page.