First Hormone Visit Similar to the first thyroid appointment, after a thorough discussion of past and present symptoms, testing may be ordered for thyroid levels and additional sex hormones with cortisol. These tests are often performed on a particular day of a cycling-woman’s menstrual cycle or can be any day for a (peri) menopausal woman. Men can test sex hormones and adrenal function too, often cortisol is a contributing factor. A full history of gynecological health and life stressors is also important. To round out hormone testing, fasting insulin will be evaluated by blood.
Follow-up hormone visits A detailed explanation of hormone results and treatment protools will be reviewed in a an extended visit. Hormones take time to change but a significant shift should be felt in the first month which is the interval for the next appointment. If BHRT (bio-identical hormone replacement therapy) is prescribed, a saliva tests will be done after the first 3-6 months than annually on-going.
What encompasses hormones?
Hormone imbalances and changes to hormones can occur at any age. Symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, low libido, mood changes, acne, insomnia, temperature changes, cycle length and flow changes can all be related to hormones. Outside of thyroid disorders, commonly treated conditions include PCOS, peri-menopause, adrenal dysfunction (stress), menopause, endometriosis and insulin resistance. The first step if not already diagnosed is to test and determine which hormones are too low or too high so an individualized treatment plan can be initiated.
How are hormones treated?
By blending the symptoms picture and detailed hormone testing, a combination of herbs, nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants), diet, lifestyle and optional hormone therapy is prescribed. For example, many times acne is caused by insulin resistance or estrogen dominance and both can be confirmed with testing. Insulin is best controlled by a low sugar diet, intermittent fasting and supplementation whereas estrogen dominance requires strong liver detoxification and often progesterone (either herbal or prescriptive) for balance. Bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) is a safe way to prescribe progesterone and estrogen in cases of deficiencies or menopause. Many women re-gain their lives back when hormone balance is achieved. Dr. Luis has been prescribing BHRT for over 10 years and regularly upgrades skills and stays current for the best practice of prescribing.
What does the liver have to do with hormones?
The term liver detox has become pretty mainstream. Health stores are full of the latest and greatest liver cleanse combo kits and many people participate in 30-day challenges. When the body doesn't know what to do with a substance or has finished using a hormone, the liver takes over. By using a variety of different chemical reactions, these hormones are broken down and excreted out of the body through urine or stool. These reactions have different names such as methylation, sulfation and glucuronidation and require different vitamins and minerals to work. Some people genetically have difficulties with groups of reactions, most famously methylation known as the MTHFR variation, others have genes that make it difficult to remove the by-products of hormones. When looking at the whole picture of hormone regulation, it is important to understand the barriers to balance - is it too much, too little or inability to remove the "used" hormones properly? With a well-rounded hormone protocol, liver processing is consider and supplementation of nutrients and anti-oxidants become an integral aspect of balance. It is often not enough to prescribe estrogen and progesterone, usually supportive resveratrol, glutathione, phosphatidylcholine and a lot of fibre are important too.
Dr. Jennifer Luis ND Inc Health Professions Corporation