The “Other” Hormones
People often think that hormone replacement therapy is nothing more than estrogen for women and testosterone for men.
But there are many other hormones that are also critical for your long-term health and well-being.
Furthermore, managing these other hormones can be important for successful and safe estrogen and testosterone replacement.
Here are some of these “other” hormones and why they are important.
Think of progesterone as the “good cop” that keeps estrogen on the straight and narrow for women.
Without enough progesterone, women become “estrogen dominant”. Estrogen dominance can happen during perimenopause, when progesterone production stops but estrogen production continues; or it can happen during hormone replacement therapy when a woman is given estrogen without also being given progesterone.
Estrogen dominance can lead to symptoms like hot flashes, insomnia, and fatigue. But there’s another reason why this condition is important: estrogen dominance increases breast cancer risk.
For the reduction of breast cancer risk (as well as effective symptom relief), women who are perimenopausal benefit greatly from progesterone replacement.
And estrogen replacement should always be paired with properly dosed progesterone replacement. Progesterone is just one aspect of best practice that enables women to receive the many health benefits of estrogen replacement, but without increased breast cancer risk.
It’s worth noting that only bioidentical progesterone should be used during progesterone replacement—never synthetic. Synthetic progesterone (commonly referred to as progestin) is linked to increased breast cancer risk.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (or DHEA for short) is produced by the adrenal glands.
In addition to helping your other hormones stay in balance, DHEA supports immune system health, and it protects against age-related diseases like cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, and heart disease.
Also known as human growth hormone (or HGH), this hormone is responsible for cell growth and repair throughout the body.
The human body produces ample growth hormone when people are young and growing rapidly. However, upon reaching adulthood, growth hormone production drops off gradually. After age 30, the human body produces 10-15% less HGH with each passing decade. By the 70s or 80s, the body produces just a fraction of what was produced in childhood.
Declining growth hormone levels are an important piece of the aging puzzle, and can lead to weight gain, loss of muscle mass, increased recovery time from illness, loss of skin elasticity, slower healing from injuries, impaired cognition, low mood, low sex drive, and more.
Melatonin controls your sleep/wake cycle (otherwise known as your Circadian rhythm). When it gets dark, your pineal gland releases melatonin, making your brain and body ready for sleep.
However, melatonin production is inhibited by artificial light and exposure to “screens” (e.g. TV and smart phones). People also produce less melatonin with age.
Many hormones are best known for causing problems when levels are low. But cortisol is a little different. Cortisol can cut both ways in that too much or too little can cause health issues.
The adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress. Commonly known as the flight or fight response, this extra cortisol production increases blood pressure, pulse, and breathing rate so the stress can be managed.
However, persistent stress (as people frequently experience in modern-day life) can leave you with chronically elevated cortisol levels. And while a small amount of cortisol is necessary for good health, too much cortisol is toxic and can cause elevated blood sugar, weight gain, insomnia, and a suppressed immune system. It can also cause neurological issues including memory loss, depression, and brain fog.
If this excess cortisol production goes on for too long, eventually the adrenal glands tire out, and they can no longer produce even the small amounts of cortisol needed to feel good throughout the day. This is what’s known as “adrenal fatigue”.
Often called the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone”, oxytocin contributes to sexual arousal and orgasm.
But oxytocin also enhances feelings of happiness, closeness, contentment, and trust. It can even help to relieve anxiety.
Serotonin is known primarily for how it enhances feelings of well-being and happiness.
When serotonin is low it can cause symptoms such as depression, low sex drive, and irritability.
Your thyroid hormones (and there are several) are a driving force behind your metabolism. As a result, they are important to your overall health.
And yet, hypothyroidism (or low thyroid) is frequently under-diagnosed and under-treated. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, difficulty regulating body temperature, and mood issues like depression and anxiety.
Balance Them All
It helps to think of your hormones as if they were a symphony. Just like a symphony that includes an out-of-tune instrument, one out-of-balance hormone can throw your whole endocrine system off. Everything works better when all hormones are properly balanced.
At Renew Youth, we specialize in hormone restoration. We can provide the appropriate testing to determine if your hormones are out of balance, as well as treatment to address any imbalances.
Want to learn more? Call us today at 800-859-7511 or use our convenient contact form to sign up for your free 30-minute consultation.