Knowledge is Power
What are Hormones?Hormones are chemical messengers secreted from the endocrine glands in the body, directly into the bloodstream rather than through ducts. The bloodstream carries them to organs and tissues of the body to exert their functions.Some of the major endocrine glands in the body include:
- Pituitary gland
- Pineal gland
- Adrenal glands
They secrete microscopic amounts as it takes only tiny amounts to bring about major changes in the body. Even a very slight excess of hormone secretion can lead to disease states, as can the slightest deficiency in a hormone.
Many types of hormones act on different aspects of bodily functions and processes. Some of these include:
- Development and growth
- Metabolism of food items
- Sexual function and reproductive growth and health
- Cognitive function and mood
- Maintenance of body temperature and thirst
Here are Descriptions of Some of the Major Hormones:
Your levels of estrogen begin to decrease in perimenopause and continue to decline as you reach menopause.
- Estradiol is the most prevalent and active metabolite of estrogen. Since the ovaries mainly produce it, estrogen can become quite depleted for post-menopausal women.
- Estrone, a weaker form of estrogen, is found in fat and muscle tissue after menopause.
Estrogen affects sleep quality, mood, libido, focus, and memory. It also protects bones, the heart, the urinary tract, vaginal health, and skin.
A deficiency also produces hot flashes, an uncomfortable symptom that so many women experience.
Estrogen also aids in the production of collagen, which affects the elasticity of skin and hair growth.
Supplementing estrogen deficiencies with bioidentical hormones can prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis. It also increases HDL, the good cholesterol.
Some studies have indicated that a deficiency in estrogen can contribute to metabolic syndrome, obesity, and even cardiovascular disease.
You can take bioidentical estrogen as a capsule or use it as a cream, where it will be absorbed through the skin. You should take it in the morning, and dosages are determined by your labs and by your symptoms.
Side effects are not common but can include breast tenderness, hot flashes, irregular menses, and mood swings.
Progesterone is often thought of as the miracle hormone. It is one of the first hormones to decline as we age.
This is one reason that women going through perimenopause can start to have heavy periods and trouble sleeping.
The ovaries primarily produce progesterone, but the adrenal glands also make a small amount.
Progesterone supplementation has a calming effect on the mind and body. And depleted amounts can cause insomnia, mood swings, and increased anxiety and/or depression.
Long-term health benefits of progesterone include:
- Preventing the overgrowth of certain cells (which can protect against some cancers).
- Protecting against nerve damage.
- Acting as a neurosteroid which plays an important part in brain function and the ability to handle stress.
- Affecting metabolism by contributing to the use of fat for energy.
- Helping to block plaque from forming on arterial walls and can help lower triglycerides.
- Essential for helping to build bone.
- Aiding in the proper function of the thyroid gland.
We prescribe progesterone as a capsule, triturate (powder), or cream. Doses can range from 50 to 300 mg, depending on your labs and symptoms. Progesterone is best taken before bed because it helps with sleep, but you can also take it in the morning.
Side effects are not common but may include stomach upset, headache, bloating, and breast tenderness.
Both men and women need healthy levels of testosterone, as it helps with maintaining muscle and bone mass. By age 50, most women and men are producing about half of the amount that was produced in their 20s. Hormone production declines gradually over a long period.
Some women have too much testosterone, which can cause symptoms of acne, hair loss, unwanted hair on other parts of the body, and infertility.
Testosterone deficiencies can cause feeling sluggish, fatigued, having a low mood, and contributing to weight gain. Imbalances also can cause a poor tolerance for exercise and a lack of motivation.
The benefits of testosterone supplementation include:
- providing heart protection
- improving libido and desire
- enhancing lean body mass
It also provides an increase in energy and adds more pep to your step!
We prescribe bioidentical testosterone in a cream form to be administered topically. Women are typically prescribed only about a fourth of what men are given.
It’s important to rotate application sites. Be sure to wash your hands after application, as you can transfer this medication to others through contact.
Side effects can include oily skin, acne, headaches, hirsutism (too much-unwanted hair on the body), and irritability.
Melatonin is an important hormone crucial to getting quality sleep. It is produced in the pineal gland and triggered by exposure to sunlight. It’s also produced in the gut.
Exposure to “blue light” devices at night, such as televisions, smartphones, or computers, can disrupt melatonin regulation and cause sleep problems.
Melatonin can be supplemented and is recommended to take at night before going to bed. Most people need about 3 to 10 mg. You can increase your dose each night until you achieve your desired sleep. The maximum dose is 30 mg per night.
Some people can’t take melatonin supplements because it has the reverse effect on their sleep — it keeps them awake. It may cause very vivid dreams and headaches or grogginess in the mornings.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the lower front part of the neck. The thyroid produces hormones that are carried out in the blood to every tissue in the body. It helps regulate metabolism, or how the body turns food into energy. It also plays a role in keeping the organs functioning properly and helping the body conserve heat.
Your thyroid gland is your life force; you need it in order to survive.
The thyroid is considered the master gland but is controlled by the pituitary gland. Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulating energy production.
The normal thyroid gland produces about 80 – 90% T4 and about 10 – 20% T3. However, T3 possesses about four times the hormone strength as T4. This is one reason Synthroid doesn’t work for most people, as it’s only composed of T4.
Some people’s bodies aren’t able to convert the T4 hormone into T3, which causes symptoms of hypothyroidism. Drugs like Synthroid or Levothyroxine will not help this condition either.
Hashimoto’s Disease is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system views the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and produces antibodies to attack the thyroid. About 80% of people who have hypothyroid symptoms actually have Hashimoto’s disease. It’s important to identify the cause of the thyroid problem so that it can be treated correctly.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:
- Sluggish metabolism
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Feeling cold all the time
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Dry skin
Our lab testing tests for TSH, T3, T4, and Reverse T3. We also test for antibodies that would show a Hashimoto’s diagnosis. By doing this comprehensive testing, we can provide an accurate diagnosis and treat your condition correctly.
For the best absorption, it’s important to take your thyroid medication on an empty stomach and by itself. Wait at least one hour until you eat breakfast or take any other medications or supplements.
We prescribe only bioidentical thyroid medications such as Armour™ or Naturethroid™. We can also prescribe compounded T3 medications.
Side effects can include anxiety, shakiness, headaches, and heart palpitations. These often go away once your body becomes used to the thyroid medication. However, if you experience these side effects, we ask that you immediately contact our office for further instructions.
Vitamin D3 is considered a precursor hormone.
Taking a Vitamin D supplement is an easy and effective way to ensure that you have adequate levels of this very important vitamin in your system.
Vitamin D is essential to having a healthy immune system. It’s also crucial for strong bones and for its multiple protective qualities.
Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. How much vitamin D you make depends on your age, your skin tone, and how much skin you uncover.
Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, your skin will make 10,000 to 15,000 units of vitamin D in one sun exposure, on average. (Sunblock with an SPF of over 15 blocks 100% of vitamin D production in the skin.)
There are so many advantages to taking Vitamin D3. It helps to maintain calcium balance, boosts immunity, and has a role in preventing Type II diabetes, cancer prevention, autoimmune diseases, and hypertension.
We carry both liquid and capsule forms of Vitamin D3. Your daily recommended amount is determined by your lab levels and symptoms. Since a large body of science shows vitamin D works closely with calcium and magnesium, it is best to take your vitamin D in combination with calcium and magnesium to maintain a proper balance.
Research published since 1997 suggests that the upper limit for adults is overly conservative and that vitamin D toxicity is very unlikely in healthy people. People can take up to 10,000 units per day for six months and not have adverse effects.
However, people with Sarcoidosis, Tuberculosis, Lyme disease, Lymphoma, and Kidney Disease have to be supplemented carefully because of an increased risk of their blood calcium level becoming too high.
DHEA is produced by cholesterol in the body and by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen for men and women. DHEA levels will naturally decline with age, just as sex hormones do.
Low levels of DHEA can contribute to being more vulnerable to metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. It also results in a loss of muscle strength and a reduction in lean body mass.
Having adequate amounts of DHEA can also decrease insulin resistance and thus aid in controlling body fat accumulation.
Studies also show that DHEA can have an anti-aging effect and play a role not only in clearer thinking but also in skin improvement.
DHEA, at sufficient levels, has neurosteroid properties and can help protect cells in the brain. It provides improved clarity of thinking and a sense of well-being.
DHEA is administered in a capsule form ranging from 5 to 50 mg and taken in the morning.
Side effects of too much DHEA can be similar to having too much testosterone. These include oily skin, acne, and feelings of irritability or aggression.
Our partners at Worldlink Medical share our enthusiasm for empowering our patients and have created informational videos for you to watch at your convenience. CLICK HERE to view a series of videos that explain various hormones and how deficiencies and imbalances affect your body.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) at Leigh Ann Scott MD
BHRT restores the hormones that your body naturally makes. This will help you feel better, be healthier, and overcome the negative effects of aging.
Each hormone controls different functions within your body, and they all work in concert with each other so that your body is in balance.
However, if levels of any one hormone are not balanced correctly, this can affect other hormone levels. So it is important to get a complete picture of all hormone levels and work to get them all properly balanced.
Our lab testing is comprehensive and includes testing of hormones, key vitamin levels, and many other health markers. In this way, we get a holistic snapshot and treat you from a whole-body perspective versus just treating symptoms or taking a tunnel-vision approach to certain hormones.
Free Phone Consultation with Our New Patient Coordinator
The health and safety of our staff and patients is a top priority for all of us at the office of Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. We are offering both virtual appointments and in-clinic appointments, whichever you prefer. If you are coming in to see us in person, keep in mind that we main the highest of standards for the safety of our patients. We sanitize rooms (in between patients) and shared surfaces, such as door handles, etc., throughout the day.
Should you choose to have a telemedicine appointment, you will still be able to see your provider, just as if she were standing in front of you in the office. You’ll still get the same “connection” as if your appointment was in the clinic.
Additionally, we have mobile phlebotomy services available if you do not want to go to a public lab.
Our providers at Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. are devoted to understanding our patients’ health concerns and symptoms. We use scientific-based protocols to find the root cause of hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, and more.
We believe that spending quality, personalized time with each patient provides the foundation to help you achieve optimal health and wellness. Our system incorporates provider consultation, comprehensive health assessment, and laboratory testing in a warm and caring environment.
Contact our New Patient Coordinator for a Free Phone Consultation. She can explain our protocols and fees in more detail, answer any questions or concerns you have, and explain how our approach can help with hormonal balance, anti-aging, and disease prevention so that you can enjoy a vibrant and healthy life!
For More Information call our New Patient Coordinator at 972-960-4800
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