Restoring Health, Vitality, and Sexuality
Hormones-Our Body’s Wireless Communication System
Hormones circulate throughout our bodies, controlling much of what goes on. While the nervous system coordinates rapid responses to external stimuli, hormones control slower, longer lasting responses to internal stimuli. The activity of both systems is integrated. Hormones interact with specific receptors on the cell wall of the “target” cells. These receptors are only found on the cells that “need” the message that each specific hormone sends. So if a cell does not have a given receptor, the hormone is not recognized and has no effect.
There are several types of hormones controlled by specific glands. All together they have a “cascading affect.” This means that from the brain to individual cells, different hormones communicate with each other and with our cells to keep our bodies functioning at an optimum level.
The paracrine hormones are secreted in the hypothalamus and then travel a very short distance in the brain to the pituitary gland, causing the release of pituitary hormones that in turn stimulate the endocrine glands to secrete their hormone. These include cortisol from the adrenal glands, estrogens from the ovaries, testosterone from the testes, and thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. They then spread to all of our cells through the blood and intercellular fluids.
It is the balance between how well our cells utilize hormones and how well our glands function that affects our well being.
What is natural hormone replacement therapy?
It is the practice of taking supplemental hormones to make up for those your body is no longer producing in the correct amounts or produces in lesser amounts as we age. Gracer Medical Group (GMG) uses hormones that are “bio-identical,” or have exactly the same molecular structure, as your body’s own hormones.
This is an important distinction. Natural hormones (non-synthetic) come from organic sources, but they might not be bio-identical. An example is Premarin, an estrogen replacement drug used frequently to treat menopause symptoms. It is made from pregnant mare urine. It contains a variety of estrogenic hormones that are natural in horses, but are very different from those found in humans. These differences may be a cause of the increased risk of breast cancer seen in 2002 when the Women’s Health Initiative study was brought to a screeching halt. In addition, it is impossible to measure these hormones to gauge appropriate treatment.
At GMG we begin by testing the hormone levels currently in your body. This may be a saliva test to measure sex hormones for example, or a blood test to measure thyroid.
Once we know which hormones your body needs, we can prescribe the specific amount and delivery system (pill, cream or gel, patch) that will bring your hormone system back into balance. We then monitor both your symptoms and hormone levels with additional testing to tell us how you are responding.
This is NOT the one-size-fits-all hormone replacement therapy, such as Prempro and Premarin.
Instead, GMG’s natural HRT gives your body exactly what it needs, whehter its thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, or cortisol, to function optimally. No two people are exactly alike or respond exactly the same way to hormones. Our systems are just too complex.
The results? Your body’s hormone systems are back in balance, energy and vitality return and the risk of degenerative disease decreases.
Sex Hormones – Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone
Thyroid is used for the treatment of hypothyroidism, or low thyroid, which most often results from a thyroid condition called thyroiditis. This may be caused by a viral infection. It can also be caused by a type of “auto-immune” process, similar to rheumatoid arthritis, where the body actually fights itself.
The classic symptoms of a low thyroid are fatigue and sluggishness, feeling cold, cold hands and feet, infertility, heavy menstrual periods, constipation, dry skin and hair, weight gain without increased appetite or increased calorie intake, swelling of the soft tissues, depression, and the early development of heart disease. Sometimes the symptoms are severe enough that hypothyroidism is an obvious cause, but can be vaguer and subtle and therefore easy to attribute to something other than low thyroid.
For example, depression that doesn’t respond to therapy or depression medication could be because the body is not producing enough T3, the active form of thyroid hormone used by cells. T4 is the type of thyroid hormone that is usually found in the blood, but it is not useful until it is converted to T3 by an enzyme in each cell. If the cells are deficient in this enzyme then T4 is not being converted to T3 causing hypothyroid symptoms that may continue even with normal T4 blood levels. The usual prescription thyroid hormone contains T4 and therefore may not correct this problem. Natural thyroid hormone contains a mixture of T3 and T4. This makes T3 directly available to the cells.
We have treated many patients successfully with natural thyroid replacement and careful monitoring, who have been told that they could not have thyroid problems because their tests were normal.
Key Benefits of Thyroid Replacement Therapy:
- Increases energy
- Helps you feel warmer
- Stops constipation
- Fights depression
- Promotes weight loss
Commonly know as the “stress hormone,” cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands. It helps you cope with every type of stress-from infection to a divorce. It influences the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose for your body to use as energy and for breakdown of proteins into amino acids?the building blocks that keep your immune system, blood vessels, muscles and other tissues properly functioning.
Chronic stress and corresponding high levels of cortisol can increase bone breakdown and wreck havoc with sleep patterns and eventually wear out the adrenal system. High cortisol levels also suppress immune function, allowing frequent infection.
Low cortisol levels can lead to fatigue, low blood pressure, increased thirst, and many other non-specific symptoms.
It is very important to carefully evaluate adrenal function before prescribing cortisol, as this treatment can have negative effects for the wrong patient.
Key Benefits of Cortisol Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy:
- Increases energy and metabolism
- Helps to regulate blood pressure
- Enhances the integrity of blood vessels
- Reduces allergic and inflammatory response
We know that aging and certain health conditions affect how our bodies produce and utilize hormones. Between the ages of 35 and 50, men and women’s capacity to produce the sex hormones-estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone-begins to decline and health risks begin to go up.
Men with low testosterone can suffer from lack of energy, fatigue, and decreased libido, problems attaining and maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction), hair loss, feeling cold, depression, decreased ambition, obesity, and muscle weakness.
Women with diminished sex hormone levels suffer from hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, memory problems, depression, loss of libido, and fatigue–symptoms we are all familiar with and often joke about.
It’s no joking matter, however, for the 44 million Americans-two thirds of them women-that have osteoporosis and are a greater risk for bone fractures. It’s not funny if you are one of the 80 million American women at risk for heart disease, now the leading cause of death in women over 65. In fact, women in this age group are now at least as likely as men to suffer from heart attacks.
Additionally, hormone imbalance can be a contributor to chronic degenerative diseases such as arthritis, and can be part of the underlying cause of many chronic pain conditions.
Individualized natural hormone replacement therapy (HRT), can be used to manage the symptoms of menopause and help prevent many chronic degenerative diseases.
Key Benefits of Natural Sex Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Treats symptoms of menopause
- Stimulates sexual function
- Promotes a feeling of well-being
- Decreases the risk of osteoporosis and heart disease
- Increases energy