Hormones are powerful messengers that affect the health and function of every cell in the body. Hormone imbalances are frequently at the root of some of the most common symptoms experienced by adults in the United States: fatigue, brain fog, disrupted sleep, low blood sugar, PMS, menopausal symptoms, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, low motivation, increased or decreased appetite, sensitivity to heat or cold, poor disease recovery and weight gain.
Hormone related symptoms are often the first sign that the body’s internal balance has been overwhelmed by some type of stress or deficiency, and restoring balance is always essential to regain optimum health.
Unfortunately, hormonal causes of many common symptoms are often overlooked because many doctors either do not consider them, or rely on standard lab tests that may not be sensitive enough to identify problems. Patients can often plainly see that their health is slipping but are told “there’s nothing wrong with you” because lab tests are within the normal ranges.
In our experience, low thyroid function is one of the most commonly missed health conditions. We have seen hundreds of patients over the years who came to us with classic symptoms of hypothyroidism. Many of these patients had already seen other doctors and had been told that their thyroid function was fine based on standard lab testing, yet after in-depth assessment we were able to confirm hypothyroidism and help them recover their health with natural thyroid treatments.
When symptoms such as fatigue, poor sleep, unexplained weight gain, constipation, sensitivity to cold temperatures and an average body temperature below 98.6 degrees are present, thyroid function should always be assessed, regardless of the results of previous lab tests.
Sadly, we are living in a world that is ever more stressful and that stress takes a toll on our bodies. Several hormones produced by the adrenal glands (cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine) are central to the body’s stress response and often become dysregulated with prolonged or excessive stress. This often leads to fatigue, brain fog, a poor response to subsequent stress, difficulty sleeping and other symptoms. In addition, imbalances of cortisol can have adverse effects on immune function and our ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels. We assess adrenal function through a combination of patient symptoms, specialized lab testing, and in-office testing. Thankfully, when sub-optimal function is found, patients often respond very quickly to natural therapies.
Premenstrual and menopausal symptoms are extremely common and frequently take a toll on a woman’s wellbeing and quality of life. The healthful balance of estrogen and progesterone exists as part of a complex web of factors within the body and while hormone replacement is sometimes the answer, other factors are often the real cause of symptoms. Stress, compromised digestive function, imbalances in other hormones, such as thyroid hormone, impaired detoxification and exposure to man made “estrogens” often contribute to premenstrual and menopausal symptoms. Addressing these factors directly not only leads to improvement or resolution of symptoms, but enhances overall health and often eliminates the need for hormone replacement therapy, which does have some risk associated with it.
Most men over the age of 45 are aware that they no longer have the energy or drive they used to. They are more prone to gaining weight and have a harder time losing it. The mind might not seem quite as sharp as it used to and the sex drive is suffering. These are all signs of diminishing testosterone, the hormone that, more than any other, makes men feel like men. This loss of testosterone is a normal part of aging but can be greatly exacerbated by the way we tend to live in the modern world. Improving testosterone levels can make a huge difference in a man’s energy and sense of wellbeing.
The Pituitary Gland
The pituitary gland is “the forgotten endocrine gland”. While its importance is well understood, it is often overlooked during medical assessment. The size of a pea, the pituitary sits in the base of the brain and transmits signals from the central nervous system to all other endocrine glands. Because of this, the health and function of the pituitary has a tremendous impact on the overall health of the body. When multiple hormones are out of balance simultaneously, it can suggest dysfunction of the pituitary gland. Testing the pituitary directly is uncommon and standard tests only identify severe pituitary problems. We take a functional approach to pituitary assessment and provide assistance, when necessary so that the pituitary functions optimally. This can improve the function of other glands under the pituitary’s control.