Many of us are suffering from a hormonal imbalance and we don’t even know it. Ask yourself if you have any of the below symptoms…
- Decreased Sex Drive
- Cyclic Moodiness
- Hot Flushes
- Memory Lapses
- Abdominal Weight Gain
- Fuzzy Thinking
- Low Energy
- New Onset Depression
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Tired in the Morning or Afternoon
- Inability to Concentrate
- Loss of Self-Confidence
- Unable to Manage Stress
- Inability to Lose Weight
Any of the symptoms listed above is a potential sign that you may have a hormone imbalance involving the thyroid, adrenal system, reproductive system, or all 3! These symptoms should not be counted as just part of “growing older”; it may actually mean you may have a hormone imbalance. None of these are signs of aging. Plus many medications even if they are working well can cause subtle alterations in hormone balance in unrelated systems overtime and can result in stress to your body and cause you to feel worse than before you started the medication.
Steven Shu, MD has a special interest in diagnosing and treating even the most subtle of hormone imbalances. We not only test the reproductive hormones, but also test the thyroid and adrenal systems that are so often thrown out of balance in response to stress. Our consultations involve a detailed medical, symptom, and lifestyle history. This is usually followed by accurate saliva testing of your key hormones to test how your body deals with your life stress. These results can reveal stress related excess or deficiencies in adrenal hormones, which can subsequent lead to imbalances of our thyroid and reproductive hormones as well. Then, if the testing reveals an imbalance, a low-dose bio-identical hormone cream, tablet, and/or nutritional supplements are prescribed to help restore your normal hormone balance. Visits can be billed to your insurance and do not require a physical exam at the first visit.
How our hormone balancing works…
Step 1- Initial Visit and Testing
At your first visit, we will take a detailed medical history. We will also discuss medications you currently take, including herbals and vitamins. A physical exam is not necessary if you are up to date. By discussing your symptoms in depth, we will recommend changes that you can do immediately to manage the effects of stress on the body and help restore hormone balance. We may also recommend saliva testing of a number of hormones, and a blood test for thyroid hormones. Saliva testing is superior to blood testing since it measures free or unbound hormones that are present in the body tissues. We use a blood sample to test the thyroid because we are able to test the unbound hormones very easily. We test multiple hormones because the symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue, weight gain, and foggy thinking can result from menopause, hypothyroid, or adrenal deficiency or excess. If you would like to read more about the accuracy of saliva hormone testing or about the test itself please visit:
Step 2- Test Results and Prescriptions
About 2-3 weeks after you perform the saliva test, we will review your test results in person. Reproductive hormone (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) imbalances are corrected with bio-identical hormones. These are identical to your body’s hormones in both dose and structure. These are dosed judiciously to just replace what is missing unlike synthetic hormones that completely overpower your system and can often cause imbalances in other areas. These hormones are usually poorly absorbed in pill form, so for the most accurate replacement, we prescribe it in cream form. You simply measure out the day’s dose of cream and rub it into your arm a few strokes until absorbed.
Abnormal thyroid testing is treated with prescription medication or nutritional supplementation. There are no creams that replace thyroid hormones effectively. In the case of severely elevated thyroid hormones, referral to a specialist for further treatment may be necessary.
Adrenal hormone results are a little more complicated since they can be high or low at different times of the day. The normal adrenal curve starts with a high cortisol level that declines as the day goes on. If the cortisol curve is depressed or reversed, the treatment can change. Treatment involves lifestyle adjustments, nutritional supplementation, and/or prescription cortisol which can be taken orally.
Step 3- Follow-Up
A few weeks later we meet again to discuss your success. Most patients by this point are beginning to sleep better, lose their cravings, and begin to see the weight finally melt off. Other are noticing more consistent moods. At this point, hormones may be retested and recommendations slightly changed to help yield the best possible results. The repeat testing is crucial to ensure that our interventions are not creating new hormonal imbalances or excesses. We will also discuss a strategy to begin to taper off some of your supplements as you incorporate the long-term lifestyle adjustments that will best ensure your hormone health for years to come.