Sexuality and sensuality for women is multifaceted. Many of my patients tell me they don’t have a sex drive and the passion just isn’t there anymore. Sleep deprivation, stress and a bad diet can cause imbalances in the chemicals that regulate libido, mood, appetite, metabolism, sleep, and fat storage. Life impacts hormones. Hormones rule the woman.
Hormones levels change at certain phases throughout a woman’s life. Supplementing with hormones can be beneficial, but should not be the first choice and is rarely the best solution. In fact, for most women there are many other factors contributing to symptoms caused by hormonal deficits and imbalances. Examining the cause of hormone imbalances will lead to safer and more natural alternative options to get the livin’ and luvin’ back in your life.
Female Hormones. A hormone is a compound produced by an endocrine gland and released into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemicals that carry messages from glands to cells within tissues or organs in the body. They also maintain chemical levels in the bloodstream to help achieve homeostasis, which is a state of stability or balance within the body. This reflects how hormones act as catalysts for chemical changes at the cellular level that are necessary for growth, development and energy. Estrogen, progesterone, FSH, and LH are the commonly recognized female hormones. Testosterone, which people often think of as a masculine hormone, has an important role in the menstrual cycle and in female sex drive. I have said many times, “You could take testosterone by IV, but if you are not happy in your relationship, happy with yourself or your body is stressed out, the testosterone won’t do a thing for your libido”. These hormones represent just a tip of the iceberg. There are other interconnected layers of hormones involved in the complex balancing act resulting in harmonious hormones.
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Harmonious Hormones. Hormone harmony is a two part system. Within the brain, there is the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which comprise one system. This system sends hormonal messengers to the body controlling everything from adrenal stress response to pancreas blood sugar balance to thyroid hormones to sexual behavior and function via the reproductive organs. This system controls growth, sleep, mood, and much more. Secondly, there are important brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your body to every cell, organ and tissue. Neurotransmitters help you do everything from moving your arm to feeling happy or sad. When neurotransmitters or hormones are out of balance, literally everything goes haywire.
Each and every cell in your body may have over 70 receptor sites where the hormones and neurotransmitters will attach to communicate and regulate cellular function. If the cell is the engine that drives all life, then the receptors are the buttons on the control panel of that engine, and neurotransmitters and hormones are the finger that pushes the button and gets things started or shut it off.
Neurotransmitters. A few of the things neurotransmitters control include: mood, libido, energy, well-being, serenity, mental concentration, alertness, motivation, hunger regulation, and sex drive. Like hormones, these brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, act as messengers in the body. A neurotransmitter is a chemical compound released from a nerve terminal near its target cell. Neurotransmitters relay signals between nerve cells, called “neurons.” They are present throughout the body and are required for proper brain and body functions, including hormone release. Neurotransmitters are responsible for every thought, mood, pain, and pleasure sensation that we feel. They control our energy level, appetite and what foods we crave. Neurotransmitters regulate how well we sleep and even our sex drive. Since neurotransmitter imbalances can lead to or exacerbate hormone imbalances, testing and restoring healthy neurotransmitter levels is immensely beneficial to restoring well-being.
About Menopause. Hot flashes and sleep deprivation can cause even the strongest, most confident woman to feel unglued. Hot flashes and night sweats have many and/or multiple triggers, but the one common factor influencing symptoms is stress and how the endocrine system responds to stress. During menopause, it is especially difficult for a woman’s body to support hormonal pathways, such as the neuroendocrine pathways that are involved in hot flashes. Many women don’t realize that stress can be physical and/or emotional. Stressors may be chronic inflammation, immune issues, anxiety, or depression. When stressed, hormone regulation between the nervous and endocrine systems becomes challenged and hormone-related symptoms increase. Long term, the stress hormone Cortisol is destructive because it suppresses almost all hormone feedback mechanisms.
Inhibitory neurotransmitters control the degree of the hot flash. Inhibitory neurotransmitters are the nervous system’s “off switches”, decreasing the likelihood that an excitatory signal is sent. Inhibitory transmitters regulate the activity of the excitatory neurotransmitters, much like the brakes on a car. Physiologically, the inhibitory transmitters act as the body’s natural tranquilizers, generally serving to induce sleep, promote calmness and decrease aggression. (I know! Anyone with hot flashes could have told you that!)
How to determine the root cause? Due to the interactions between hormones and neurotransmitters, the symptoms associated with libido, mood, hot flashes, appetite, metabolism, sleep, and fat storage may be caused by more than a simple hormone imbalance. Natural approaches which combine accurate testing, medical-grade nutritional supplements, endocrine support, and dietary and lifestyle changes result in successful treatment in the majority of cases. However, it is also important to consider all possible imbalances between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. The nervous system is the central regulator of the endocrine system. The immune system can override both. Evaluation of all three of these systems may be needed in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
Start livin’, luvin’ and feelin’ good today. Call Wellness Alternatives, 530.615.4083 or visit Stlwa.com. For more information read: Ten Practical Tips to Maintain Hormone Balance.
Symptom Assessment. Proper amounts of neurotransmitters and hormones are necessary for maintaining optimal mental and physical health. Both imbalances cause closely related symptoms:
|Symptoms of Neurotransmitter Imbalance||Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance|
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