FUNCTIONAL ENDOCRINOLOGY AND BIO-IDENTICAL HORMONES
Endocrinology is the branch of medicine which addresses endocrine glands such as the thyroid gland, the adrenal gland, and the reproductive glands and the hormones these glands produce. Functional endocrinology endeavors to optimize the function of the endocrine glands, to balance the hormones produced by the glands, and to work with hormonal metabolism. Bio-identical hormones are hormones identical to those in your body that can augment or replace hormones.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Through Functional Endocrinology, we can address the following concerns:
- How can I regularize my menstrual cycles?
- How can I treat my premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?
- How can you help me with my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
- Can I treat my menopausal symptoms without using hormones?
- Can bioidentical hormone replacement therapy actually replace my hormones?
- Will hormones help my sex life?
- Will addressing hormonal imbalance help my moods?
- What’s the best way, and when is the best time to test my hormones?
- Can I enhance my fertility by balancing my hormones?
- I think I have a thyroid problem, but my doctor keeps telling me that my thyroid is just fine. Is there some other way to test thyroid function?
- I’m a guy. Will balancing my hormones improve my health?
- How can I support my adrenal glands?
Ask Dr. Connie
“What are the ins and outs of hormonal balance and bio-identical hormones?”
Throughout our lives, we are all influenced by the rhythm of hormonal cycles – whether we are male or female. Puberty, menstrual cycles, fertility, infertility, pregnancy, nursing, menopause and andropause are all regulated by hormones. Hormones send messages throughout our bodies and influence everything from physical wellbeing to mood. Balancing reproductive hormones and addressing the metabolism of these hormones contributes to the treatment of conditions like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and mood disorders. In menopause, there is a delicate hormonal balance between bone, breast and heart protection, and the alleviation of symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia and memory issues.
Hormones check and balance each other. Hormonal issues revolve around the complex interrelationship of the hormones produced by the adrenals, thyroid, ovaries, and testes. If your adrenals are weak, you may need to strengthen them to optimize the conversion of thyroid hormone to its active form. Adrenal stress may aggravate menopausal hot flashes, disrupt blood sugar balance, and impair memory. The thyroid gland is directly influenced by estrogen. And so on.
Through blood tests, saliva tests and/or urine tests, we can evaluate the function of the endocrine glands, the levels of hormones and hormonal metabolites, and the effects of hormonal interactions. Other types of testing also contribute. For example, you can see the effect of estrogen on the breast through breast thermography, or on the uterus through ultrasound.
In keeping with naturopathic philosophy, we have many options in treating hormonal imbalance. We may use lifestyle modification, nutritional medicine, herbal medicine, glandular therapies, and/or energy medicines such as homeopathy or flower essences.
When we use hormones, we favor bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones are hormones that are identical to the hormones in your body, whether they be thyroid hormones, sex hormones or adrenal hormones. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapies are unique to your situation, are generally compounded for you by compounding pharmacies, and are often a treatment choice in menopause and andropause.