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Hormone Imbalance

Published December 26th, 2007 in Just for Women

Hormone Imbalance
by ZRT Lab

How do I determine whether my hormones are balanced?

To get a general idea of whether or not your hormones are balanced, you can take a quick self-test by clicking on the “Determine Symptoms” link on our website. Fill in those symptoms you are currently experiencing to see if they are associated either with a deficiency or excess of specific hormones. To be absolutely sure, however, you can measure specific levels of these hormones with saliva testing to determine if they are in balance or out of normal range.

What is the link between hormone imbalance and breast cancer?

There are many factors associated with hormonal imbalance and the risk of breast cancer, among them: declining levels of progesterone as we age, and/or with removal of the ovaries in hysterectomy; xenohormones in the form of pollutants and pesticides, oral contraceptives and synthetic hormone replacement therapy all contribute to an excess of estrogen in the body; this condition is known as “estrogen dominance.” Since estrogen stimulates cell growth, a predominance of it especially in the absence of adequate levels of progesterone (common in the menopausal years), presents an increased risk of cancer, particularly in the breast.

For more information on this read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer: How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life; by John R. Lee, M.D. and David Zava, PH.D. (Warner Books). You can also call our 24-Hour Hormone Hotline (503-466-9166) and listen to audiotapes 31 and 46.

I have breast cancer; what can saliva hormone testing tell me?

What we often observe in breast cancer patients is that they tend to have a distinct hormone profile that shows up in saliva testing. We would recommend that you do the basic panel + p.m. cortisol. This encompasses estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-S, a.m. (morning) cortisol, and p.m. (evening) cortisol. This provides you with a complete overview of your hormone balance; extremely important information in regard to breast cancer.

You are welcome to order a saliva test kit from our website or call us at 503-466-2445. If you feel comfortable, you can include a copy of your pathology report for Dr. Zava to review. Be sure to mark clearly on the included requisition form “breast cancer patient” so that special attention is given. For more information read What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer: How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life; by John R. Lee, M.D. and David Zava, PH.D. (Warner Books). You can also call our 24-Hour Hormone Hotline (503-466-9166) and listen to audiotapes 31 and 46.

Will a hormonal imbalance affect my endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial (uterine) tissue migrates into other parts of the body and gets scattered in areas where it does not belong: within the womb, the pelvis, the colon, and even the lungs. When menstruation begins, the wrongly placed endometrial cells don’t have a way out and form into cysts. With each monthly cycle these cysts gradually expand, swell and bleed into the surrounding tissue; this can be very painful, even disabling. If you wish to do saliva hormone testing in relation to endometriosis we would recommend that you test estradiol and progesterone levels. We know that an excess of estrogen (estradiol) is associated with overgrowth of the endometrium of the uterus and that progesterone levels identified through saliva testing may often be deficient in this case. Birth control pills are also associated with the problem. The saliva test can identify whether an imbalance between these two hormones exists so that you and your health care provider can take steps to correct it. For more information, call our 24-Hour Hormone Hotline (503-466-9166) and listen to audiotapes 31 & 42.

How can I determine my hormonal balance?

Saliva testing is a simple and highly accurate way to test hormone levels to identify whether an imbalance of one or more hormones exists. For further information about the importance of hormone balance and your health, the efficacy of saliva testing, and the hormones we test along with a “Determine Symptoms” checklist and online ordering, please visit our website. You can also order a test kit through our office at (503) 466-2445.

I suspect I have a hormone imbalance. My symptoms suggest this, but how do I find out for sure?

Saliva hormone testing is a simple and highly accurate way to identify suspected hormone imbalance. You might consider ordering our comprehensive test kit, which tests estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-s and Cortisol. This will provide you with a broader picture of your present hormone levels, whether any imbalances exist and to what extent.

What are polycystic ovaries and what is their link to hormone imbalance?

Polycystic ovaries occur when numerous growths/cysts develop on the ovaries. This is commonly associated with a hormonal imbalance (estrogen dominance and/or an excess of androgens, such as testosterone). In many cases, these cysts are benign and can shrink or even disappear when the hormone imbalance is corrected. The only reason for removal of the ovaries is if they are cancerous or if the cysts are causing pain and do not respond to treatment. For more information call our 24-hour Hormone Hotline at (503) 466-9166 and listen to entry 39.

What is the link between hormone imbalance and thyroid function?

Hypothyroidism or low thyroid is most common in women during the perimenopausal and postmenopausal years; approximately 26% of women in or near menopause are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. In his book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause”, Dr. John Lee states that among his women patients the taking of thyroid supplements was especially common in those with estrogen dominance. When estrogen is not counterbalanced with progesterone, a predominance of estrogen can actually block the action of thyroid hormone at the cell level. Saliva hormone testing often reveals that women who are estrogen dominant tend to have menopausal symptoms associated with typical low thyroid symptoms such as: feeling cold all the time; weight gain or being unable to lose weight; thinning hair; sleep disturbances and fatigue; mood swings, depression; mental confusion; hair loss and low sex drive. If you are suffering with symptoms of low thyroid, estrogen dominance may be a factor. Saliva testing can establish whether or not this is the case.

What is the link between hormone imbalance and uterine fibroids?

Estrogen dominance causes the uterus to grow unchecked, which can cause fibroids—tough fibrous, noncancerous lumps, which can cause heavy, constant bleeding. Fibroids can grow dramatically during perimenopause, stimulated by too much estrogen in the body. Large fibroids create estradiol (the most potent form of estrogen) inside the lump, leading to more estrogen dominance. Monitoring your estrogen levels through saliva hormone testing and taking proper steps to maintain a balance of estrogen to progesterone is especially important during these years. While the average fibroid is an undetectable lump in the wall of the uterus, about the size of a hen’s egg, larger fibroids often cause irregular bleeding and heavy, or painful periods. In fact, fibroids are the most common physical reason for excessive bleeding during menstruation. If saliva testing reveals a condition of estrogen dominance it would be worthwhile to discuss the use of bioidentical progesterone with your physician to counter estrogen buildup.

Note: recent information cautions against the use of progesterone for the treatment of larger fibroids. With all fibroids, hormone supplementation should be kept as low as possible. To learn more read Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book: The Wisdom of Menopause (Bantam Books). For more information call our 24-hour Hormone Hotline (503) 466-9166 and listen to entry 43.

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Category: Just for Women