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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Hormones (And How They Affect Us)

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Hormone Replacement Therapy La Jolla Ca

We hear a lot about hormones; they are a major part of our lives and are responsible for bone health and essential bodily functions. The three major hormones are estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Each of them helps to get messages from one part of the body to the other, and they help regulate our sleep patterns and moods, build muscle, and even prevent the flu. Here are just a few examples of what our hormones do for us – and why a hormone imbalance can be so debilitating. Dr. Ghayouri from Sarapy Clinic is an experienced endocrinologist in La Jolla Ca. She does hormone replacement therapy in San Diego.

1. Prevent the flu

Yes, the flu! Studies have shown that estrogen helps protect against the flu virus. Since estrogen levels fluctuate during each month in premenopausal women (usually becoming more dominant around week 2 of the menstrual cycle, before ovulation) it’s possible that premenopausal women are more protected from flu around the second week of their menstrual cycles. It’s also possible that women who are taking certain kinds of birth control, fertility treatments, or hormone therapy may be more protected from flu in general.

2. Fend off osteoporosis

Estrogen is essential for bone strength; our bones simply can’t incorporate enough calcium without a little bit of estrogen around (testosterone also plays a key role). Technically, bone is constantly building up and breaking down; it isn’t static. When women are younger and have higher levels of estrogen, it stimulates something called osteoblastic activity, a process that builds bone. When that estrogen level drops after menopause, osteoclastic activity – the process that breaks down bone – starts to exceed osteoblastic activity. This is why post-menopausal women are at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Women actually lose the most bone in the first 5 years after menopause, so it’s important to get adequate calcium and vitamin D. A quick test will help you determine if your levels may be lower than usual.

3. Build muscle

Testosterone is a huge help when it comes to building muscle, and it can also help maintain skin thickness so that it doesn’t wrinkle, sag, or easily bruise or tear. Though it’s true that women only have about a tenth of what men have, it’s still a vital hormone – women need just a small amount of it to regulate muscle mass. However, it’s still generally more difficult for women to build muscle than it is for men because of this.

4. Improve your mood

Testosterone is also known for increasing levels of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us feel pleasure and improves focus. Women who cry very easily seem to experience a significant stabilization of their moods when they start taking testosterone. Additionally, it’s been found that women with higher testosterone levels tend to have a better sense of well-being, more self-esteem, and are more decisive.

5. Help you sleep

Besides estrogen and testosterone, there’s another major hormone at play — progesterone, which is produced after ovulation and known as the “soothing hormone” or “ultimate chill pill.” Low progesterone can lead not sleeping well at night, weight gain, decreased sex drive, mood swings and depression or anxiety, irregular cycles, and heightened PMS symptoms; sometimes, it can even lead to worse problems like thyroid dysfunction or endometriosis. Symptoms of low progesterone are more likely to occur during the second half of the cycle, when it’s supposed to be higher than usual; if it isn’t, women tend to feel the effects rather quickly.

If you’re worried that you might be particularly low on certain hormones, or if you feel that your levels may be fluctuating, talk to Dr. Ghayouri. Each woman has different levels and can experience symptoms in varying degrees of intensity, but she will be able to test your individual hormone levels and discuss go over possible treatments, including hormone replacement therapy.