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Functional Medicine min

Diagnosing Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Diagnosing Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Comprehensive lab assessments, one-on-one consultations, and symptom questionnaires are how a provider may diagnose hormonal imbalances in their patients.

Symptoms Questionnaire:

  • Are you experiencing hot flashes?
  • Do you have diminished energy levels or reduced overall energy?
  • Are you facing challenges with sleep, such as restless sleep or disruptions?
  • Do you tend to fall asleep after dinner?
  • Have you noticed a decrease in life enjoyment?
  • Are you frequently moody or easily irritated?
  • Do you struggle with concentration or suffer from short-term memory loss?
  • Have you observed muscle loss?
  • Are you dealing with excess body fat?
  • Have you encountered low libido and/or pain during intercourse?

Laboratory Testing

In addition to evaluating your symptoms, our healthcare professionals thoroughly examine your lab results to obtain a comprehensive understanding of your health and accurately identify the root cause of your condition. The required panel of tests includes:

 

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): This panel assesses different components of blood, including white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It aids in diagnosing conditions like anemia, inflammation, infections, and cancer.
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: This panel helps comprehend the functionality of various systems within your body. It includes measures of glucose levels, kidney function, liver function, and fluid balance.
  • Lipid Panel: Measures fatty substances in the blood, encompassing cholesterol (specifically HDL, the “good” cholesterol, and LDL, the “bad” cholesterol). It provides insights into your overall health by analyzing the HDL-to-LDL ratio.
  • Testosterone Free and Total: Measures total Testosterone (bound and unbound) and specifically the amount of unbound or free Testosterone. This information assists in understanding the usable Testosterone in your bloodstream.
  • Estradiol: Measures blood serum levels for Estradiol, the most common form of Estrogen. Estrogen imbalance is a common hormone deficiency in women, and this test helps determine your baseline for Estrogen.
  • DHEA-S: Measures Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels, an androgen pivotal for Estrogen and Testosterone production. Understanding DHEA levels provides insights into hormone interactions.
  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone): Stimulates the release of thyroid hormones crucial for metabolism and overall bodily function. Testing for TSH helps identify potential thyroid disorders, which can manifest similar symptoms to sex hormone deficiencies.
  • FSH (Follicle follicle-stimulating hormone): Regulates the menstrual cycle and supports egg production in women. FSH levels can indicate menopause onset and provide insights into infertility and menstrual phases.
  • Progesterone: Evaluate the levels of Progesterone, a crucial female sex hormone governing the menstrual cycle and ovulation. This test helps understand if Progesterone deficiency contributes to your symptoms.
  • IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor): Involved in Human Growth Hormone (HGH) production, crucial for development, wound healing, and recovery. IGF-1 testing offers insights into hGH levels and overall pituitary health.

Available BHRT Options for Women

What are the options for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)?

BHRT typically encompasses the following hormones:

  • Estrogens (Estradiol, Estriol, or a combination known as Bi-Estrogen)
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  • Pregnenolone
  • DHEA

These hormones are presented in various forms, including creams, patches, injections, implantable pellets, suppositories, and more.

 

BHRT Injections:

  • Estrogen, Progesterone, and Testosterone are accessible as subcutaneous and intramuscular injections. Typically administered weekly, the injection frequency may vary based on your protocol. Injections are often viewed as the most efficient method for delivering hormone doses, allowing precise control over hormone levels.
  • Estrogen: Administered in its most bioavailable form, Estradiol, suspended in two different esters: Cypionate and Valerate, each with distinct release rates.
  • Testosterone: Available in various esters, with Cypionate and Propionate being the most common.
  • The choice of ester depends on individual response to treatment, initial hormone levels, and overall treatment goals. Providers work closely with patients to determine the most suitable treatment approach.

Topical BHRT:

  • Common Hormones in Topical BHRT:
  • Progesterone
  • Estrogen (in the form of Bi-Estrogen – Estradiol and Estriol)
  • Testosterone

Different carrier bases facilitate topical application, and the choice of base depends on various factors such as hormone combination and patient preference.

 

BHRT Pellet Therapy:

Pellet Therapy involves implanting small hormone pellets under the skin, providing a steady hormone release over three to four months. The pellets are about the size of a grain of rice and are inserted through a quick and relatively painless procedure.

Common Hormones in BHRT Pellet Therapy:

  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol

Patients undergo three to four implant procedures annually, offering a convenient alternative to daily or weekly self-administered treatments.

 

HRT Vaginal Suppositories:

Vaginal suppositories are available for BHRT, aiming to alleviate symptoms like vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, and other related discomforts. Common hormones include Estradiol, Progesterone, and DHEA.

BHRT Capsules:

Oral capsules are another option for BHRT delivery, offering a customizable approach with various hormones such as Estradiol, Estriol, Progesterone, DHEA, and compounded hormone combinations.

Combination and Supplemental Therapies:

Patient protocols may involve multiple delivery systems or supplemental treatments to optimize hormone levels effectively. iPharma works with providers to tailor individualized plans based on symptoms, lifestyle, and treatment goals. Additional services may encompass sexual health treatments, thyroid hormone replacement therapy, peptide therapy, nutritional supplementation, physician-guided weight loss plans, prescription skincare and aesthetics, and virtual primary care for common health concerns.

Ultimately, the selection of a BHRT option is based on patient preferences, lifestyle, symptom management, and the guidance of a healthcare provider.

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