Bio Identical Hormone Balance
25 Jan, 2016
Swollen tummy, husband driving you crazy, trouble sleeping… how many things have you put down to your hormones? I know I have! My own personal journey into insanity led me to eventually reclaim my health and balance through bio-identical hormones. A year or so after the birth of my son, I was experiencing some pretty severe symptoms such as headaches like a tight headband, the water retention of a whale and foul moods leading up to my cycle. I just thought it was a woman’s ‘lot’ post pregnancy. It wasn’t until I took my son to our local homeopath and happened to mention to her how rotten I felt. She explained (with a massive dollop of empathy) that life didn’t have to be that way. Several simple tests later, it was confirmed that my hormones were off the richter scale. It all started to make a lot of sense!
I wasn’t convinced at first that a cream could restore order to my world but after around six weeks, I was already feeling the benefits. I didn’t realize how unwell, both physically and mentally, I had become, until I was on the road to recovery. In honor of all those women out there currently suffering from the symptoms of hormonal imbalance, we bring you an interview with Dr. Jan Toledano of The Marion Gluck Clinic, World Leading Specialists in Hormone and Sexual Health (his and hers).
What are bio-identical hormones?
Bio-identical hormones are identical in molecular structure to those found in the human body. They are derived from a substance called ‘diosgenin’, which is derived from Mexican yams.
Why are they considered safer than synthetic hormone replacements?
The body does not recognise any difference between bio-identical hormones and its own hormones so the receptors and enzymes in the body function normally. The hormones are broken down correctly once they have done their job so there are no other dangerous effects such as increase in clotting or strokes.
What symptoms should women consider abnormal, a signal to have hormones tested?
This depends on the women’s age as hormonal fluctuations occur throughout their lives. The nature of symptoms and severity vary for every women.
For women under 35, severe premenstrual symptoms such as cyclical headaches, anxiety, low mood and breast tenderness could indicate a potential hormonal imbalance. In addition, symptoms such as irregular periods, painful periods and/or heavy periods could potentially be linked to conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and fibroids which can benefit from treatment with bio-identical hormones.
For women approaching the transition into the phases of menopause (click here for more details and symptoms), they may experience a wide variety of different symptoms and severity ranging from insomnia, mood changes, hot sweats, joint pains, hot flushes and many more which would indicate fluctuations in hormones. Hormones can be checked, and then balanced specifically to the patient.
What is the best way to have hormones tested, through saliva or blood and is there a time in the cycle which is optimum to test?
Through blood testing, anytime if menopausal and day 21 of cycle if menstruating. Saliva testing is only recommended in very specific circumstances.
Do you assist with dietary requirements to compliment treatment?
Yes, we look at many areas that help our patients to feel happy, healthy and energised, in addition to their hormonal needs. Nutrition is a very important area and a key part of a patient’s overall health.
Women tend to think of HRT in terms of menopause and hot flushes but the perimenopause can last a long while and come with its own set of symptoms too, can’t it?
The menopause is unique to the patient, and can last anything from a month to several years. The term “perimenopause” is a transitional stage characterised by fluctuating oestrogen levels, and is associated with many symptoms which can include many from the list below:
• Mood swings
• Anger and irritability
• Memory loss
• Hot flushes
• Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
• Weight gain
• Fluid retention
• Breast tenderness
• Aches and painful joints
• Frequent headaches
• Urinary incontinence
• Vaginal dryness
• Low libido
Can bio-identical hormones help slow the aging process?
Yes. Bio identical hormones can help with multiple effects of aging. Skin changes, especially loss of elasticity and dryness, worsening cognition and memory, organisational skills, and energy declining sexual function all occur as our hormones decline. Balancing the hormones can prevent some of these effects and possibility prevent certain conditions from developing, such as osteoporosis.
Once on bio-identical hormones, how often should you have your hormones checked?
Patients taking any medication should be reviewed by a doctor every six months.
What is your ratio of men to women patients and are men more reticent about asking for help with problems relating to hormonal changes?
Approximately 10% of our patients are men and this proportion is growing as the male andropause is more frequently referred to in the media and is now better understood. Andropause, also known as the “male menopause”, occurs as hormone levels, particularly testosterone, decline with age. This happens naturally in men from age 30 onwards. Some men become symptomatic when their testosterone levels fall below a critical level, which is different for each man. Common symptoms of andropause can include; tiredness, fatigue, irritability, diminished libido, erectile dysfunction and low mood.
What is your best advice for people concerned about Osteoporosis?
Hormones play a key part in the development and protection of our bones. At the Marion Gluck Clinic we routinely treat patients who have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or are concerned about age-related decline in bone density.
For those concerned about osteoporosis, it would be recommended to come to the Marion Gluck Clinic where a full assessment will be made. We undertake a comprehensive consultation, together with appropriate tests, including a DEXA bone density scan. If recommended, a personalised treatment plan of hormones, minerals and vitamins will be developed specifically for the patient. Thorough evaluation of bone density is made prior to treatment, and annually during treatment.
The hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, along with vitamin D, play a vital part in maintaining and improving bone density. By balancing and replenishing these hormones, we can increase bone density in the majority of patients.
Why is your clinic unique?
The Marion Gluck Clinic is a world-leading clinic specialising in hormone balancing for optimal health through bio-identical hormones. The ‘Marion Gluck Way’ is based upon a full understanding of our patients: we gain medical insight from a thorough consultation including lifestyle history and relevant medical tests. Through expertly integrating this information, we create treatment plans to optimise our patients’ health, energy and way of life.
The Marion Gluck Clinic is personalised at every level, from the consultation through to the individualised bio-identical hormone medication that is made specifically to each patient’s needs.
Are all appointments at the Clinic or do you also have remote online/Skype consultations?
The initial consultation is always at the Clinic in London, however we do offer Skype and phone follow-up consultations for overseas patients and patients that are unable to attend in person. Whilst patients are having treatment, they must be seen by a doctor every six months as a minimum.
We’re so grateful to Dr Jan Toledano for her superb input. Lets keep the dialogue open, your comments below and any personal stories are most welcome. If you think a friend may benefit then please share too.
Joanne McFarlane, Owner of Soul Sanctuaries
On a personal note, don’t leave it as long as I did to ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence, take care of yourself, you are thoroughly worth it!
If you’d like to contact the Marion Gluck Clinic directly here is the website: http://www.mariongluckclinic.com/contact-us
If you’d like to get in touch with us for a Holistic Healthy Holiday then here are our contacts:
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://soul-sanctuaries.com