Finding the BalanceJan 02, 2018 ● By Dru Bickham
Hormone imbalance and deficiency is something many people struggle with, especially once they reach their fifties. Though seemingly small, this difference in one’s overall health can have a significant impact on anyone in the midst of its symptoms and side effects. Hormone imbalance is typically associated with women, with menopause being such a widely-known condition that occurs in every woman. Menopause is characterized by a decrease in both estrogen and progesterone levels in the female body, resulting in symptoms such as hot flashes, more masculine changes to the body, weight gain and psychological changes such as depression, anxiety, mood swings and memory loss. Women who go through menopause can start to feel like a completely different person or like they are losing a part of themselves — the femininity they have had their entire life. While not life-threatening, menopause and its symptoms can be a change so staggering that women have been desperate for a treatment for years. Now, there are several that can be sought in the form of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
The local office of Dr. Kathryn White offers treatments and testing to determine hormone deficiencies for women. “Some of the most important hormones in the body include estradiol, progesterone and testosterone in women,” says Dr. White. These are produced and secreted by the ovaries and the adrenal gland. Deficiencies in these hormones can happen during menopause or perimenopause, the transition period women go through before menopause, resulting in hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, brain fog, weight gain and decreased libido. Dehydroepiandrosterone and pregnenolone are also produced in the adrenal gland, and can negatively affect energy levels and memory, as well as mood and libido.
“Simple blood work is all that is needed to check these hormone levels,” Dr. White explains about the process for diagnosing patients with hormone imbalance. “We have a variety of bio-identical hormone therapies in our office for supplementing all of these hormones. They may be compounded as creams, oral and sublingual tablets or pellets, which are very popular, as they stabilize hormone levels while only having to be placed every three to five months. This is the most common form of HRT used in our office today.”
Vitamin D deficiency is another condition to look out for, but a surprising one, seeing as it does not sound like a hormone. “Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with depression, anxiety, bone loss, aches and pains and heart disease, as well as breast and colon cancer,” says Dr. White. Seeking treatment is crucial if you are diagnosed with this deficiency, but, thankfully, it is simple and easy. It is important to make sure you are taking the correct form of Vitamin D when you supplement, which is D3. “Taking this supplement with Vitamin K enhances absorption. We offer a compounded form of Vitamin D, which contains Vitamin K, but also strontium, which has been shown to be beneficial for bone health.”
Today, HRT has become more readily available to patients across the country, and even across Frisco, there are plenty of options for providers. In addition to Dr. White’s offices, HerKare in Frisco, with several other locations in North Texas, is another option for women seeking HRT. HerKare was founded by Mickala Sisk in 2013 with the hope of helping women feel like themselves again. “I wanted to create a place where women of all ages could get help and bring balance back to their lives,” says Ms. Sisk. While providing a female-friendly environment, HerKare offers a wide selection of options for HRT. Not only do they provide estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and Vitamin D replacement therapy, but they see to other deficiencies, as well.
Vitamin B12, which facilitates in the upkeep of a healthy nervous system, and folate, a B vitamin involved in the making of DNA, repairing tissues and a crucial vitamin for women who are pregnant, are HRT treatments available to women at HerKare. They also offer thyroid replacement therapy for people suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. “The thyroid is an endocrine gland located in the front of the neck and secretes thyroid hormones called T3 and T4,” says Ms. Sisk. “These are produced in concert with other hormones in the body, such as thyroid-stimulating hormone, controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain. When thyroid function is low, it translates to low energy, depressed mood, weight gain, hair loss and menstrual cycle irregularities.” The thyroid has a hand in several key elements in the body, including metabolism and cholesterol, but it thankfully is also easily treated with HRT. Ms. Sisk is happy to offer women all these options and takes pride in the approach her company and physicians take in delivering care. “Specializing in women’s hormonal health has provided us the opportunity to get to know our patients intimately in a way most medical centers never address. Treating personal health issues requires more than just checking boxes or looking at lab results; it is getting to know our ladies and developing trust with them so we can work together to find the best solution.”
So, how does HRT work? As mentioned by Dr. White, the most popular form of therapy today is administered through hormone pellets, which is one of many options out there. These pellets, no bigger than a grain of rice, are inserted via small and virtually painless incisions given under local anesthesia, and time-released hormones (over the next 3-5 months) eventually dissolve away. This method is easy, painless and allows the patient to live their life as they normally would, without being tied to a daily prescription regiment.
Men are no strangers to hormone imbalances, though we do not seem to hear about the condition as much. Men suffering from hormonal imbalance can experience symptoms such as decreased sex drive, fatigue, weight gain, depression and anxiety, inability to maintain muscle mass and more. Much like in women, these changes do serious damage to a person’s confidence and sense of comfort in themselves, which is no insignificant thing. Seeking treatment could be right for you if gaining back a spring in your step, your confidence and your excitement for life are crucial to you.
Another resource for both men and women in the Frisco area is Prodigy Complete Pain Specialist Center, which is a certified BioTE® practitioner of natural hormone pellet therapy to help men and women in Frisco balance their hormones naturally. They also have several other locations in North Texas.
If you have noticed a significant change in your quality of life recently and are suffering with fatigue, moodiness or changes in desires and memory, you may want to look into testing your hormone levels. This is the chance for you to start the journey to feeling balance in your life again.