The Comprehensive Female Hormone Panel performed by the Hansen Clinic uses blood serum that we send to multiple highly specialized laboratories so that we can provide the most accurate hormone testing available. We need accurate and consistent testing to provide accurate and consistent results. We measure your levels of all three estrogens, including Estrone (E1), Estradiol (E2) and eEstriol (E3), Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA, Pregnenolone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). The proper balancing of all of these hormones is vital to a woman’s well-being and the reduction of her risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and dementia. The key symptoms associated with the imbalance of these hormones include the following menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms: fatigue, moodiness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, memory weakness, decreased sexual desire, decreased sexual stimulation, thinning and loss of pubic hair. Balancing and monitoring your hormones is a key to optimal health and longevity.
Hormones exert a powerful influence over a woman’s health. estrogens are vital for fertility and protect women from cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. progesterone levels affect mood and balance the tissue proliferative effect of estrogen. Testosterone increases energy, libido, and muscle.
A simple rapid assessment of your hormonal balance can be made by measuring estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone. Informed decisions regarding the need to initiate Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), or how to individualize therapy can then be made to maximize the health benefits of HRT. Individual differences in hormone metabolism make monitored therapy the best choice for long-term health.
Careful monitoring and individualization of HRT can provide women with the benefits of supplemented estrogen while reducing the risk of uterine and breast cancer. (An increased cancer risk has been associated with conjugated estrogen or synthetically modified hormone use. This is not the case with bio-identical or natural hormone use.)
The ovaries produce three different estrogens, in addition to progesterone and testosterone which all start from cholesterol produced in the liver. Many women do not know that testosterone is produced by both men and women. In fact, the steroid hormone androstenedione is converted in both men and women to testosterone first, then testosterone is converted into estradiol(E2), the major estrogen secreted by the human ovary. The next most potent estrogen is estrone (E1), which comes from androstenedione. The third estrogen, estriol (E3), is synthesized outside the ovary in the peripheral tissues of the body from estrone and estradiol. It is known as the safe estrogen. estriol has been shown to be protective against breast cancer. Low levels of estriol place you at an increased risk for developing cancer. You should check all of your estrogen levels periodically to make sure that they are in a health balance approximately equal to a ratio of at least 8:1:1, estriol to estrone to estradiol, respectively.
With advancing age, a woman’s ovarian function declines, leading to a decline in the production of estrogen. This decline leads to vasomotor instability that causes hot flashes. It also causes decreased muscle mass, which is then replaced by fibrous tissue. Thinning skin is due to a loss of connective tissue support and elasticity. Vaginal mucous membranes also become thin and dry and breast tissue begins to sag. Supplementing natural estriol (E3) can help stop many of these undesirable effects associated with menopause.
Progesterone is also produced by the ovaries from cholesterol. It has its own unique hormonal functions, but a certain amount is also converted into estrogen. Progesterone increases uterine secretions and stimulates calcium deposits into bone tissue. It also helps regulate salt, control blood sugar, modulate nerve function and promote a healthy thymus gland. Supplementing natural progesterone can help maintain these healthful benefits.
When a woman’s ovarian function declines in the years before and during natural menopause, so does the amount of testosterone she produces. Between a woman’s 20s and 40s the amount of testosterone circulating in her blood declines about 50%. If a woman starts Estrogen Replacement Therapy at menopause, her blood levels of testosterone drop even further due to a biochemical reaction.
Symptoms such as fatigue, muscle wasting, low sex drive, decreased sexual stimulation, and diminished sense of well-being can be due to a testosterone deficiency. These symptoms may be significantly improved with natural testosterone replacement.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is the most abundant steroid in the body. DHEA is a steroid precursor produced by the adrenal gland and converted to testosterone and the estrogens. DHEA levels decrease dramatically with age. Adequate DHEA levels give the body the building blocks necessary to produce these hormones. Low levels of DHEA are associated with and increase in coronary artery disease, muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Taking DHEA reverses these processes and may also increase the sense of well-being.
Monitoring hormone therapy increases therapy benefits while reducing side effects. Due to individual differences in hormone absorption and metabolism, the hormone dosage required to attain physiologic levels will vary by patient and method of administration.
Current and long-term use of Estrogen hormone therapies has been found to significantly lower the incidence of death. Health risks are significantly reduced with carefully monitored customized treatment. Low dose Estrogen therapy has been found to be effective and beneficial with long term use.
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