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What causes this?
Hormones are vital chemical messengers produced in very small amounts by tissues known as glands but also by the brain and the nervous system (neuro-hormones) . A hormone travels from one place to another and affects organs and systems via receptors on cell walls or in the cells themselves. Hormones are extremely potent, with potentially profound effects.
Glands or the nervous system can become overburdened by nutritional deficiencies, toxins, stress chemicals or age. Receptors can be damaged by toxins, too many hormones or age but also become dysfunctional if they are lacking their required nutrients.
Problems and symptoms associated with Hormonal Imbalances
Hormones influence every cell in the body. There is, therefore, no aspect of health that is not bothered by hormonal imbalance, or failure of receptors to recognise or react to hormones.
The list would be too long to mention all the possible problems but as thyroid deficiency and male/female sex hormone imbalance cause most issues these are the most common symptoms:
• being sensitive to cold
• weight gain
• depression, poor emotional control, feeling stressed
• muscle aches and weakness
• muscle cramps
• dry and scaly skin
• brittle hair and nails
• loss of libido and in men erection issues
• pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hands
• irregular, painful or heavy periods
• sleep disturbance
Diagnosing the cause and directing treatment options of hormonal imbalance.
The most common hormone issues are generally caused by:
• Thyroid hormone – too much or too little
Conventional blood tests through General Practice generally only look for one type of thyroid hormone called thyroxine (T4) and/or a hormone that governs the thyroid activity, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
Many hormone experts (endocrinologists) around the world and most doctors practising integrated or functional medicine now consider that it is very valuable to measure the more active type of thyroxine, Tri-iodothyroxine (T3), which is the active form of T4 and approximately 80 times more potent. Many people with low thyroid (hypo-thyroid) symptoms have low normal levels of T4 and are not treated.
• Imbalance of oestrogens and progesterone in women
• Deficiency of testosterone
• Neurohormonal (neurotransmitter) imbalance (please see Emotional Issues)
1. Urinary Thyroid Hormone test
This test measures T3 and T4 through a urine sample that you can collect at home.
2. Salivary Hormonal Panels for Women
This test measures the most potent form of oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and morning cortisol (stress coping hormone). The salivary level gives an indication of the amount in the body tissues.
The extended profile measures all 3 of the main active types of oestrogen and cortisol levels throughout the day (for samples) to give a much more accurate assessment for you and your healthcare practitioners to govern therapeutic approaches.
3. Salivary Testosterone Analysis
This measurement gives an idea of testosterone levels in the body tissues and is thought by some authorities to be a more accurate measurement than measuring testosterone in blood. That said, if it is low or low normal then blood tests are required to find out how much is bound to proteins or free in the blood stream.