The importance of Hormones
In both men and women hormones play an important role in maintaining health. Adequate hormone levels are necessary for optimal health and wellbeing. Hormonal imbalances can cause many health related problems such as weight gain, mood swings, irritability, anxiety, night sweats, disturbed sleep, hot flushes, loss of libido, depression, fatigue, muscle weakness, thinning skin, hair loss, thinning hair and general aches and pains.
Oestrogens (oestrone, oestradiol and oestriol) are important for maintaining the health of the reproductive tissues, breasts, skin and brain. Excessive oestrogens can cause fluid retention, weight gain, migraines, and over stimulation of the breasts, ovaries and uterus leading to cancer. Insufficient oestrogen levels can lead to hot flushes, vaginal dryness, rapid skin ageing, urinary problems, excessive bone loss and possible acceleration of dementia. An excess of oestrogen, relative to testosterone, can lead to the development of prostrate symptoms in men. Recent research suggests that the by-products of oestrogen metabolism are the cause of both breast and prostate cancers.
Progesterone enhances the beneficial effect of oestrogens while preventing symptoms associated with oestrogen excess, thereby having a balancing effect. Progesterone is a key hormone in women, and its benefits for men in maintaining prostrate health, is also very important.
Testosterone helps maintain lean body mass, bone density, skin elasticity, libido and cardiovascular health in both men and women. Women have smaller amounts of testosterone compared to men.
DHEA-S is the principal androgen in both men and women. DHEA-S levels decline with age and research suggests that DHEA-S may help restore energy, improve immune status and mental function.
Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands in response to emotional, mental and physical stress. Cortisol mobilises the body’s immune response against viral and bacterial infections and inflammation. Chronic elevated cortisol levels will suppress the action of the immune system leaving you more susceptible to infections.
Melatonin is mainly produced by the pineal gland, with smaller amounts in the retina and gastrointestinal tract. Melatonin secretion is simulated by darkness, inhibited by light and independent of sleep.
Hormones support a wide range of essential physiological functions in the female body. Variations in these hormones play a crucial role in pregnancy, menopause and ageing. Baseline measurement of hormone levels in saliva provides an accurate assessment of menstrual irregularities for younger women, climacteric changes for peri- and postmenopausal women and andropause changes in men.
Salivary hormone testing can identify hormonal imbalances that may be causing symptoms such as hot flushes, irritability, anxiety, sleep disturbances, weight gain, infertility and depression. The results make it possible to individualise treatment and direct the appropriate diet, lifestyle, nutritional and herbal supplements and interventions that are needed to re-establish optimal hormone balance.
Men’s health – Andropause
Andropause is the decline in testosterone in men that occurs with ageing. Common signs of andropause include lack of energy, fatigue, obesity, muscle weakness, anxiety, thinning skin, general aches and pains, depression and loss of libido. Testosterone levels will affect quality of health in men. Declining levels of testosterone levels, with constant levels of Oestradiol (E2) may have adverse effects on the prostate. Elevated E2 levels can also cause a decrease in the production of testosterone.
The involvement of testosterone and E2 in prostrate conditions and treatment for andropause is crucial to maintaining quality of life in men. Determining the current hormone levels in men make it possible to individualise treatment and direct the appropriate diet, lifestyle, nutritional and herbal supplements and interventions that are needed to re-establish optimal hormone balance.
Hormones tested in Saliva
Salivary hormone testing has been used to measure hormones since the late 1960’s and has many advantages over serum testing. The “free” or unbound fraction of the hormone is measured in saliva. It is these “free” hormones that best reflect a person’s hormonally-related symptoms, rather than total or bound hormone levels (measured in serum).
Hormone testing provides valuable information on your individual hormonal status and the potential impact this may have on your physical and emotional health. The determination of hormone levels can help identify hormonal imbalances that may be causing chronic health problems. The results make it possible to individualise treatment to re-establish optimal hormone balance.
Hormones play a significant role in health and wellbeing throughout life. A hormone imbalance can affect the quality of life for both men and women.
Naturopathy can be extremely beneficial in the treatment of Hormonal imbalances. Please phone Kathryn (03) 98884119 to arrange an initial consultation to begin treatment for your condition.