Hormones are our bodies’ key chemical messengers and because tiny changes can cause significant symptoms, taking control of your hormones can dramatically improve things.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers which circulate through the bloodstream to specific cells in the body. The two main female sex hormones are oestrogen and progesterone. Testosterone is also an important hormone in women, albeit in smaller levels than men. Other hormones such as vitamin D, cortisol and thyroid hormones have a impact on our health. When hormones are not in balance this can have a significant effect on our well-being and quality of life.
Which hormone-related conditions can Hampshire Health & Hormones help with?
Menopause Peri-menopause Pre-menstrual syndrome Testosterone prescribing (if clinically indicated and established on HRT)
Why might your hormones be out of balance?
There are natural fluctuations in our hormones such as puberty, menopause and peri-menopause, but an overall hormone balance is vital to a healthy mind and body. Our hormone levels are linked to factors such as our diet, sleep health, levels of exercise, body weight, stress levels and gut health. Toxins in the body or an erratic lifestyle can have a noticeable, negative effect on hormone balance. Genetic factors can play a role. Changes in this delicate balance of hormones may result in symptoms. There are also conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and thyroid disease which are as a result of hormonal imbalance.
Are any tests recommended?
A detailed history is taken and symptoms are considered. Dr Hodgkinson will advise if any blood tests are recommended to aid in the diagnosis and management of symptoms. This can include tests such as for thyroid hormones, vitamins and minerals, cortisol, sex hormones or tests for other markers which can contribute to symptoms if they are out of range.
IMPORTANT: Please bring copies of any blood tests that you have had in the past 12 months.Blood tests may also be required for monitoring such as for testosterone levels if testosterone replacement therapy is indicated.Blood samples are not taken at the Hampshire Health and Hormones clinic. You will be given details of where to go for this during your first appointment (this can be at your home if you prefer.) Following your initial blood test analysis, further tests may be advised.
Do I need blood tests to help diagnose peri-menopause or menopause?
For women aged 45 and over, blood testing is not usually indicated to support a diagnosis of peri-menopause or menopause, and is not required prior to starting HRT. However, it is not uncommon to have other causes of symptoms alongside those associated with changes in levels of oestrogen and progesterone, such as low testosterone, thyroid disease, nutritional deficiencies, other hormonal imbalances and more.
Note that blood testing for peri-menopause can often be within normal range, particularly in the earlier stages. If peri-menopause is likely then a trial of HRT may still be indicated.
How are hormone imbalances managed?
The management will depend on the cause of symptoms. Everyone is different. Diet and lifestyle will have a significant impact on your health including the balance of your hormones. Dr Hodgkinson will give tailored and generic detailed advice on any suggested changes to diet and lifestyle, and may suggest supplements to support symptom management.If indicated for peri-menopause or menopause, treatment options including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) will be discussed. If any medication is prescribed, a letter will provided for your GP to keep them informed.
What if I cannot take HRT or do not wish to start it?
Taking HRT is a personal choice. You will be given detailed information on different types of HRT so that you can make an informed decision about whether it right for you. There are also a few medical reasons for which HRT is contraindicated. Together with dietary and lifestyle measures, suggested supplements can help to manage symptoms. As well as menopause, there may be other causes for your symptoms, and Dr Hodgkinson will discuss if any suggested blood tests to explore this are indicated, prior to coming up with a management plan.
I have already been prescribed HRT but still have symptoms
There are lots of reasons why symptoms may be ongoing despite taking HRT. Factors can include not being on the right dose of HRT, the type of HRT you are taking, progesterone intolerance, poor absorption, other hormonal causes, oestrogen metabolism problems, gut health factors, nutritional deficiencies, lifestyle factors, other illnesses and more. This will be discussed during the consultation, together with any tests if indicated.
Which HRT will be prescribed?
You will be given detailed information on the different types of regulated HRT, indications for prescribing, how to take, and any potential side effects, or risk factors. This can include body-identical HRT (licensed HRT that is also available on the NHS that is derived from yams, and identical to the hormones naturally produced in the body), or synthetic oestrogens/progesterone (progestogens).
Do you prescribe testosterone?
Levels of testosterone usually decline with age. It is an important hormone in women as well as men. Symptoms such as low libido, cognitive symptoms and loss of get up and go can occur when levels are low. You will be advised if testosterone medication is indicated following blood testing for baseline levels. Guidelines are that testosterone medication could be initiated if there is low libido, and only once already established on usual HRT, and oestrogen levels are optimised for you. There is no licensed testosterone for women in the UK. Options for medication include testosterone which is also available via the NHS, or Androfeme which is only available privately (licensed in Australia). To check that testosterone levels are within normal range, blood testing would be indicated 2-3 months after initiation of treatment, then 6 months later, and then usually at intervals of every 6-12 months after that. If there are any dose changes then earlier monitoring may be required.
What are the roles of different hormones?
One of the most powerful hormones in the human body and helps regulate women through puberty, fertility and menopause.It helps to:
Regulate body temperature
Promote healthy sleep
Increase blood flow
Improve memory and concentration
Improve moodIncrease libido
Reduce risk of heart disease
Maintain collagen levels in the skin
Reduce the risk of colon cancer
A vital hormone with key functions in the female reproductive system:
Regulates the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for pregnancy
Facilitates pregnancy by maintaining the uterine lining and preventing contractions
Inhibits further ovulation during the menstrual cycle
Collaborates with estrogen to regulate body temperature
Exhibits a calming effect on the nervous system, contributing to mood stability
Supports healthy sleep by promoting relaxation
Influences libido, with adequate levels associated with a healthy sex drive
Maintains collagen levels in the skin for elasticity and aging prevention
Potentially has cardiovascular protective effects
Reduces bloating and fluid retention
Exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to immune system balance
A crucial hormone with diverse functions, especially in male reproductive health, testosterone plays essential roles:
Drives the development of male reproductive organs during fetal growth
Stimulates the development of male secondary sexual characteristics during puberty, including facial hair and deepening of the voice
Promotes muscle and bone development, contributing to overall strength
Influences the production of sperm and supports male fertility
Affects mood and energy levels, with adequate levels associated with a sense of well-being
Contributes to libido, influencing sexual desire and function
Plays a role in maintaining muscle mass and preventing muscle breakdown
Supports red blood cell production, contributing to overall cardiovascular health
Influences fat distribution, with lower levels potentially leading to increased body fat
May impact cognitive functions, including spatial abilities and memory
A crucial nutrient with diverse functions, vitamin D plays essential roles:
Facilitates calcium absorption, supporting bone health and development
Regulates calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood, crucial for overall mineral balance
Supports immune system function, helping to defend against infections and diseases
Contributes to muscle function and strength
Plays a role in cell growth, potentially impacting the prevention of certain cancers
Supports cardiovascular health by influencing blood pressure regulation
Modulates insulin levels and may play a role in diabetes prevention
Affects mood and mental well-being, potentially contributing to the prevention of mood disorders
Supports skin health and may aid in conditions like psoriasis
Plays a role in overall metabolism and weight management
Crucial for metabolic regulation and overall well-being, thyroid hormones, including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), play essential roles:
Regulate metabolism by influencing the body's energy production and consumption
Support growth and development, particularly in children and adolescents
Influence heart rate and help maintain cardiovascular function
Impact body temperature regulation, contributing to thermal balance
Play a crucial role in the health of hair, skin, and nails
Affect digestive processes and nutrient absorption
Contribute to muscle function and strength
Influence mood and mental well-being, with imbalances potentially leading to mood disorders
Support reproductive health by affecting menstrual cycles and fertility
Play a role in bone health and the maintenance of bone density
Do you see people of all ages?
Consultations are only for those that are aged 18 and over.
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