At Atlas Health Medical Group, we offer naturopathic care, including women’s hormone therapy, to combat the most common symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. Many patients present with symptoms like low energy, mood swings, inability to lose weight, anxiety, night sweats, and hot flashes. We look at the body as a whole to determine the best course of treatment. For many women, the key is balancing the endocrine system.
What is the three-legged stool of the endocrine system?
The endocrine system consists of three sets of glands that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, to name a few. The endocrine system controls how hormones are released and sends hormones to where they are needed most in the body.
The glands of this system are the adrenal gland, thyroid gland, and glands that produce sexual hormones of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Each of these has a function and impact overall and sexual health. For this article, we will be discussing how the endocrine system impacts women’s health.
These glands, located on top of each kidney, produce Dehydroepiandrosterone or DHEA which regulates and supports the function of other steroids and hormones. DHEA is used to produce the sex hormones – testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. When the adrenal glands are not functioning, this can lead to sexual dysfunction, high blood pressure, skin problems, upper body obesity, muscle and bone weakness, high blood sugar, and moodiness, irritability, or depression.
In the most extreme cases, patients present with adrenal fatigue which includes tiredness to the point of not being able to get out of bed or exhaustion after simple tasks like taking a shower, nervousness, craving salty and sweet snacks, and intestinal issues. Low adrenal function or fatigue can be treated with naturopathic remedies.
The main sex hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. When any or all of these are not functioning properly, the patient experiences a variety of symptoms. These may include bladder infections, urgency of urination, sagging breasts, hot flashes, insomnia, decreased libido, osteoporosis, dry skin, and painful intercourse.
- Estrogens are the powerhouse of the body aiding in sexual function as well as helping the urinary tract, breast health, skin, blood vessels, and uterus. At low levels, patients experience hot flashes, night sweats, dry skin, brittle hair, loss of libido, less underarm and pubic hair, and increased mood swings.
- Progesterone supports the growth of fetuses along with overall uterine health. Combined with estrogen, progesterone supports menstruation. When progesterone is low, it may cause a variety of symptoms including: spotting, irregular bleeding, heavy bleeding, low blood pressure, salt, and fluid retention, fibroid or tumor development, high cholesterol, and triglycerides, and may interfere in thyroid function.
- Testosterone is commonly thought of as a men’s hormone, but it also plays an important role in women’s health. Testosterone supports healthy bones and muscles, stimulates the growth of pubic and underarm hair in young women, is vital to libido and overall energy. When low, patients may experience frequent headaches, dry skin, lethargy, constipation, hot flashes, night sweats or impaired memory, to name a few.
When any part of the endocrine system is not functioning properly, the rest of the body may begin to show symptoms. Patients often present with hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, low libido, mood swings, and insomnia, all signs of menopause or perimenopause, most commonly in women over 40 years old. Combining testing and naturopathic treatments, including women’s hormone therapy, patients report an ease or disappearance of symptoms.
If you are experiencing any symptoms described in this article, please call Atlas Health Medical Group at 480-648-1534 to make an appointment.