Balancing Female Hormones Naturally is Only a Test Away
As a doctor in clinical practice, I am frequently asked by my female patients, “Is it possible to manage my female hormone issues naturally, without the use of drugs, synthetic or bio-identical hormones?” The quick answer to that question is a resounding YES. The biggest challenge, however, is in knowing exactly where you stand with your current hormone status.
Your body has a number of hormones that need to be in balance with each other in order to achieve proper female health and function. The two that will be discussed in this article are estrogen and progesterone. If these are out of balance, women can experience a variety of symptoms and conditions such as weight gain, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, breast tenderness, fibroids, ovarian cysts, heavy bleeding or clotting, menstrual cramps, hot flashes, low libido, migraines and even osteoporosis! The interesting fact is that whether you have too much or too little of the hormone, the symptoms are usually the SAME, so testing for hormones becomes vitally important in determining a specific natural protocol for each woman.
Your hormones are made by glands in the body and deposited directly into your blood stream. They are very powerful, yet made in very small amounts. Your estrogen and progesterone are measured in nanograms (parts per billion), and picograms (parts per trillion). These are very small amounts; a nanogram is equivalent to a pinch of salt in 10 tons of popcorn, and a picogram is equivalent to one drop of water in a 6 mile long train.
I have had many patients who have been prescribed medications or creams from their physicians and when asked how the doctor decided on that treatment, the patient’s answer was “he just wanted me to try this for a bit to see if it helped.” Because these hormones are made in such small amounts, it can be easy to unbalance them if you consume herbs, creams, or hormone replacement therapy without knowing if it is truly necessary.
So how do you determine if you need some support for your hormonal health?
The easiest and most convenient way to test all of your hormones is via a saliva test. This is much different than the routine blood tests that are typically performed.
Routine blood tests will test for the protein bound form of each hormone. In this instance the hormone is bound to a protein and in its INACTIVE form. Approximately 99% of your hormones are in this form and considered the “hormone reserves.” This is why many women can experience symptoms, go to the doctor for a blood test and that test comes back negative. A saliva test, however, will test for the unbound form of each hormone. In this instance the hormone is not bound to a protein and this is the ACTIVE form or functional form of the hormone. It is when we test these hormones that we truly see an accurate picture of a woman’s health.
So if you are experiencing symptoms, the first step is proper testing of your hormones to determine the most appropriate course of action!
Symptoms your hormones are out of balance:
- Do you wake up tired, but have trouble winding down to sleep at night?
- Do you struggle with sugar cravings or energy crashes through the day?
- Is your hair thinning/falling out?
- Are you having trouble losing weight?
- Are you experiencing hot flashes or night sweats?
- Is your libido cooling off?
- Are you struggling with brain fog, or mood swings?
- Are your periods irregular, heavy, or painful?
Think you may want to get tested? Check out Dr Stephanie’s hormone testing options below. Each link lists out what hormones are tested with each panel.
Want to learn more about YOUR hormones? Dr. Stephanie offers a phone consultation to chat about your hormones, your health goals to see if natural female hormone balancing would be a good fit for you. Check out more information here.
Dr. Stephanie Zgraggen, DC, MS, CNS, CCN is a licensed chiropractor, certified clinical nutritionist, and owner of Lime and Lotus, LLC in Charleston, South Carolina. She utilizes saliva testing, herbs, and whole food supplements to correct female hormones imbalances in her patients. Download her free guide: Dr. Stephanie’s Naughty List – The Top Five Foods that Wreck Your Hormone Health here.