• Understanding-Hormone-Profiles

    Are you depressed or just plain exhausted?

    Over the recent years I’ve noticed my patients are becoming savvier about their health and are asking for more in depth tests.

    They spend lots of time researching with Dr Google and want to investigate themselves further and not just be told they are “Fine” when they are not improving from standard medical care.

    Many of my patients are not ‘textbook’ and are multifactorial.  Functional tests help remove the ‘layers of the onion’.

    In clinic I generally see flat, frumpy, fatigued and frazzled people – most everyone is stressed in our society today and has a health condition that is in part due to this.

    I’ve seen many people who are handed antidepressants when they complain of feeling flat and fatigued.
    Often they are tired, NOT necessarily depressed.

    Adrenal hormones

    So generally, I start with adrenal hormone testing.  This test measures your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

    I see many ladies who are overwhelmed and stressed out being superwoman wife, worker and mother and their hormones have been left behind.

    They are not depressed.  They are adrenally exhausted.

    Other symptoms that may indicate you are adrenally fatigued are:

    • You struggle out of bed in the morning even if you went to bed early the night before.
    • You feel overwhelmed with what you have to do in your day.
    • You crave sweet or salty foods.
    • You need a coffee (or two) to get you going in the morning.
    • You feel like you could do with a ‘nanna nap’ in the afternoon around 3-4pm.
    • If you don’t go to bed early enough, you get a ‘second wind’ and could stay up until midnight.
    • Foggy brain, poor memory
    • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight no matter how much you eat, or don’t eat

    The adrenal test is easily done several times during the day so I get to see a pattern across the day, not just a morning or evening measure.

    Then with these measurements I then aim to move my clients closer to optimal levels of their adrenal hormone, cortisol.

    Now this may take some time, especially if you have been fatigued or unwell for a long time. It may require longer term therapy to achieve target levels and symptomatically be feeling in a better place.

    Sex hormones

    Then I look at your female (or male) hormones.

    Women who suffered various premenstrual symptoms have usually got a hormonal imbalance NOT a SSRI imbalance.

    Amongst your girlfriends, these symptoms may be seen as ‘normal’.   Remember, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal!

    Many women are estrogen dominant relative to their progesterone levels. And this will give symptoms such as:

    • Breast tenderness
    • Fluid retention
    • Mood swings (irritability, ‘depressed’)
    • Painful, heavy periods
    • Weight gain, particularly around tummy, hips and thighs
    • Foggy brain, poor memory

    Same as salivary adrenal hormones, a saliva test can indicate to what degree your hormones are out of balance.  (However, this is going to change depending on age, phase of life e.g. on the contraceptive pill, pregnancy, menopause).

    Thyroid hormones

    Next I look at thyroid hormones.  These are best done as blood tests.

    Be mindful that standard medical protocol is testing TSH only.

    I find there are many subclinical hypothyroid people wandering around out there in a daze.  Sure their TSH is nice but not much else.

    And I’ve come across many a patient who has been prescribed Thyroxine and still feels like they’ve been hit by a bus on a daily basis.

    They may still complain of the following symptoms:

    • Fatigue
    • Sluggishness
    • Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight
    • Hair loss
    • Foggy brain, poor memory

    So when I want to investigate thyroid function more fully, I order a full thyroid panel, which is a private test.

    And with thyroid measurements we want optimal levels vs ‘just in range’.  As mentioned we can have patients that are “fine” on blood results but symptomatically they are not.

    Now did you notice the similarity of some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance?

    This is why it is important to look at these hormones together as they work in concert with each other.
    So let’s get you feeling like the person you used to be before you were just “fine”.

    For more information on how to get your hormones tested contact me at ask@bethbundy.com.au.
     

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