23 Oct 2014
What to Do When Your Hormone Orchestra’s Out of Tune
If you’ve been in perimenopause for more than a few minutes, you’re very aware of the delicate balance of hormones in your body.
When everything’s working well the music is beautiful, but when the violin pops a string, a whole host of unpleasant symptoms can surface.
Common signs of imbalance may include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, night sweats, insomnia, hot flashes, big-time crankiness and about 27 other things you’d rather not deal with.
Most of us chalk these problems up to falling estrogen levels. And though estrogen gets “first-chair” in the string section of your symphony, there’s a lot more to it!
Estrogen levels can drop as much as 40% as a woman approaches menopause, but progesterone levels can drop up to 90%. This difference in the ratio between estrogen and progesterone creates estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is a prime cause of many of the symptoms women experience during the later years of their menstrual cycles.
Managing estrogen dominance involves getting these 2 hormones playing on the same page. The approach depends on the magnitude of the imbalance. Some women may need progesterone replacement while others may need an approach that lowers high estrogen levels and adds progesterone.
The rest of the orchestra includes testosterone, cortisol and thyroid.
If testosterone is off key, your libido hits bottom! If cortisol’s drowning out the rest of the orchestra, weight gain and insomnia will be unrelenting. You can read more about that here.
Thyroid is the conductor and it regulates the metabolism in nearly every cell in the body. If your conductor goes rogue, you may experience fatigue, cold intolerance, low libido, dry skin and hair, hair loss, memory loss, irritability, depression, and constipation. Yuck!
There’s a lot of overlap in these symptoms, right? So how do you know who’s out of tune? One simple way is to do saliva or blood testing. Each has its advantages, but the convenience and ease of saliva testing makes it a good choice for testing estradiol, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and cortisol levels.
Don’t suffer needlessly through the changes that age and stress bring. Get tested, get treated and get better. Once your imbalance has been identified, a trained provider can help you make choices about lifestyle, supplements and bioidentical hormone replacement (BHRT) if needed.
Before you know it, your hormone orchestra will be playing beautiful music again.