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Female hormone imbalance
Symptoms of female hormone imbalanceMenopause and Perimenopause
Estrogen Dominance
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)Osteoporosis
Endometriosis
Breast Conditions
Infertility
What to do

HRT Panel Discussion

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Hormones have a profound effect on your everyday health and well-being.  Although present in only tiny amounts, hormones act on every cell of your body.  Hormones have individual effects, but also interact with each other to produce dramatic effects in the body.  Because of these interactions, they are able to trigger multiple body systems.

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Female hormone imbalance
The ovaries produce many hormones. Chief among them are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone interact to coordinate a woman’s menstrual cycle during her reproductive years.  The brain produces the hormones follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which trigger hormone production from the ovaries.  When any of the hormones coming from the brain or the ovaries are imbalanced, symptoms may occur.  Imbalances are most common in puberty and menopause, but imbalances can happen at any age.  Several conditions are well known to be associated with hormonal imbalance including: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, breast disease, and menstrual irregularities.

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Symptoms of female hormone imbalance (in alphabetical order)
Acne or oily skin
Bloating
Bone loss
Decreased fertility
Depression
Excess facial and body hair
Hot flashes
Heavy or painful periods
Irregular periods
Irritability
Loss of muscle mass
Loss of scalp hair
Low libido
Memory lapses
Mood swings
Nervousness
Night sweats
Poor concentration
Sleep disturbances
Tender or fibrocystic breasts
Urinary incontinence
Vaginal dryness
Weight gain

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Menopause and Perimenopause
Menopause refers to the normal decline in ovarian function that signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Once a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period, she is considered to have gone through menopause. The average age of menopause is 51. However, women can experience menopause-related changes much earlier. The stage leading to the eventual end of menstruation, called perimenopause, can last anywhere from 6 months to 10 years.
Common symptoms:  Hot flashes; night sweats; mood swings; irritability; vaginal dryness; weight gain; memory lapses; and other symptoms of female hormone imbalance.
Main hormones involved: Estrogen; progesterone; testosterone.

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Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen and progesterone levels must be balanced in order to work together efficiently. Factors such as estrogens in foods and the environment, and synthetic hormone use (HRT) and obesity, expose women to excess estrogen. Also, progesterone levels tend to drop off sooner and more abruptly with age and lack of ovulation than does estrogen. These factors can result in too much estrogen in relationship to the amount of progesterone being produced by the body. This imbalance is a common cause of symptoms during perimenopause and menopause. It can also occur after childbirth or during periods of high stress when a woman undergoes a significant hormonal shift. Estrogen dominance may be associated with thyroid problems and breast disease.
Common symptoms: Heavy or irregular periods; tender breasts; bloating; irritability; mood swings; weight gain; sleep disturbances; and other symptoms of female hormone imbalance.
Main hormones involved: Estrogen; progesterone.

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS, is a condition in which cysts form in the ovaries, disrupting the process of ovulation. Infertility and other menstrual problems can occur as a result. Although the cause of the condition is unknown, it is marked by several hormonal imbalances, including the overproduction of estrogen and androgens by the ovaries. Pituitary and adrenal hormones are often out of balance as well. In addition, there is a strong link between PCOS and insulin resistance and type II diabetes.
Common symptoms: infertility; menstrual irregularities; increased facial hair; acne; high blood pressure; male pattern balding; excess weight around the waist; high insulin levels; ovarian cysts.
Main hormones involved: Testosterone, estrogen; progesterone; luteinizing hormone (LH); DHEA; insulin.

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Female hormone levels rise and fall during the course of a normal menstrual cycle. These changes are responsible for triggering ovulation and menstruation. When hormones are in balance, a woman is less likely to experience PMS symptoms. For women who have one or more hormones out of balance, hormonal shifts during the menstrual cycle can bring uncomfortable physical or emotional symptoms. When PMS is severe, it can interfere with a woman’s daily functioning and quality of life.
Common symptoms: painful periods; bloating; breast tenderness; fatigue; irritability; tension; mood swings; depression; increased appetite; forgetfulness.
Main hormones involved: Estrogen; progesterone

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Osteoporosis
Both men and women lose bone mass as they age. In women, declining production of estrogen and progesterone after menopause speeds up this process.  Decreasing levels of hormones like testosterone also play a role since these hormones stimulate bone growth. Existing imbalances of cortisol and thyroid hormone can also contribute to bone loss.
Common symptoms: Thinning, brittle bones; fractures; loss of height.
Main hormones involved: estrogen; progesterone; testosterone; DHEA; cortisol; thyroid hormones.

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Endometriosis
During a normal menstrual cycle the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, thickens. This tissue is normally sloughed off during a woman’s period. With endometriosis, the endometrial tissue grows in places outside the uterus and can become inflamed. This usually occurs on the ovaries and other structures in the pelvis, such as the bladder. Endometrial tissue responds to estrogen. High levels of this hormone may aggravate the condition.
Common symptoms: pelvic pain; inflammation; menstrual irregularities; fertility problems.
Main hormones involved: estrogen; progesterone.

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Breast Conditions
Breast tissue contains estrogen receptors. High levels of estrogen or an estrogen/progesterone imbalance (estrogen dominance) can be linked to premenstrual breast tenderness, fibrocystic breast changes, and breast cancer.
Common symptoms: breast pain; breast lumps.
Main hormones involved: estrogen; progesterone

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Infertility
An imbalance of the female hormones can disrupt ovulation. It can also interfere with the ability of a fertilized egg to implant and develop in the uterus. Infertility can be associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis .
Common symptoms: problems becoming pregnant; inability to maintain a pregnancy
Main hormones involved: estrogen; progesterone; testosterone, LH

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What to do
At Pharmacy Specialists, we specialize in providing customized hormone replacement therapy for our patients.  To begin, schedule a consultation with one of our pharmacy consultants.  After review of your medical history, symptoms and lab results, we will send your results and our recommendations to your practitioner.  Your practitioner will then meet with you to go over your test results, discuss options, and write a prescription for your hormone replacement therapy.  Pharmacy Specialists will then compound a “handmade” preparation for you.

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