Knowledge is Power
What are Hormones?Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted from the endocrine glands in the body, directly into the blood stream rather than by way of ducts, which 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
Microscopic amounts are secreted as it takes only very small 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.
There are many types of hormones that 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:
Estrogen levels begin to decrease in perimenopause and continue to decline as a woman reaches menopause. Estradiol is the most prevalent and active metabolite of estrogen. Since it is mainly produced in the ovaries, it 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, urinary tract, vaginal health, and skin. A deficiency also produces hot flashes, which is 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.
Bioidentical estrogen can be taken as a capsule or used as a cream where it will be absorbed through the skin. It should be taken/applied in the morning. 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 that start to decline as we age. This is one reason that women going through perimenopause can start to have heavy periods, and also why they start to have trouble sleeping.
Progesterone supplementation has many benefits. It has a calming effect on the mind and body. Depleted amounts can cause insomnia, mood swings, and increased anxiety and/or depression.
This hormone is produced primarily in the ovaries, but a small amount is also made by the adrenal glands.
Progesterone also has many long-term health benefits. It can help to prevent overgrowth of certain cells (which can protect against some cancers) and helps protect against nerve damage. Additionally, it acts as a neurosteroid which plays an important part in brain function and the ability to handle stress.
It affects metabolism too by contributing to the use of fat for energy. It can help block plaque from forming on arterial walls and can help lower triglycerides. It’s essential for helping to build bone, and also aids in the proper function of the thyroid gland.
Progesterone is prescribed in the form of capsules, triturates, or a cream. Doses can range from 50 – 300 mg, depending on your labs and symptoms. Progesterone is best taken before bed because it helps with sleep but can be taken in the morning too.
Side effects are not common but may include stomach upset, headache, bloating, and breast tenderness.
By age 50, most women and men are producing about half of the amount that was produced in the 20s. Hormone production declines gradually over a long period of time. Both men and women need healthy levels of testosterone. It helps with maintaining muscle and bone mass.
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 result in feeling sluggish, fatigued, having a low mood, and contribute to weight gain. Imbalances also can cause a poor tolerance for exercise and a lack of motivation.
Benefits of testosterone supplementation include providing heart protection, improved libido and desire, and enhancement of lean body mass. It also provides an increase in energy and adds more pep to your step!
Bioidentical testosterone is prescribed 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 this medication can be transferred 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 is 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 – 10 mg. You can increase your dose each night until the desired sleep is achieved. 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 located 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 the regulation of energy production. The normal thyroid gland produces about 80 – 90% T4 and about 10 – 20% T3, however, T3 possesses about 4 times the hormone strength as T4. This is one reason why Synthroid doesn’t work for most people, as it’s only comprised 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 and it’s important to identify the cause of the thyroid problem so that it can be treated correctly.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism are many but can include:
- Sluggish metabolism
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Feeling cold all the time
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Dry skin
Our lab testing consists of testing TSH, T3, T4, Reverse T3, and for antibodies that would indicate a Hashimoto’s diagnosis. By doing this comprehensive testing, we are able to provide an accurate diagnosis and treat your condition correctly.
For 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, but if you do experience these side effects, we ask that you immediately contact our office for further instructions.
Vitamin D3 is considered a precursor hormone. It’s not always possible or practical to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D from sunshine or to get the needed amount from the diet. 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 a pinking dose of sunlight. How much vitamin D you make depends on your age, how much skin is uncovered, and your skin tone. Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, your skin will make 10,000 to 15,000 units of vitamin D in one pinking sun exposure, on average. (Sunblock with an SPF of more than 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, 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 UL 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 6 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 the 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. There are also studies that show that DHEA can have an anti-aging effect, and play a role not only with clearer thinking but also in skin improvement.
DHEA insufficient levels have 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 5-50 mg and is taken in the morning.
Side effects of too much DHEA can be similar to having too much testosterone and 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. Here you can view a series of videos that explain various hormones and how deficiencies and imbalances affect your body. CLICK HERE
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.
The lab testing that we do is comprehensive and includes testing of hormones, key vitamin levels, and numerous other health markers so that we are able to 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
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 necessary 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!
Please contact her directly or complete the form below and she will contact you. There is no obligation to this consultation. If you feel we are a good fit for you, our New Patient Coordinator can also get you booked for your first appointment.
For More Information call our New Patient Coordinator at 972-960-4800
Or Fill In the Inquiry Form Below and We Will Contact You!