Maybe you have been diagnosed with PCOS, Endometriosis or Fibroids. Despite visiting your doctor, you still don’t feel any better. You know that something is out of balance, but you don’t know what to do, and you are not sure how to even begin to heal.
The truth is, none of the standard medical approaches to hormone problems focus on correcting the underlying imbalances in your endocrine system.
Conventional approaches aim to suppress your symptoms through inhibitor mechanisms, as opposed to rebalancing your hormones. Furthermore, doctors typically rely on blood serum tests which don’t look at the levels of your hormones over the course of the month.
Have you experienced the frustration of going to your doctor about your ongoing hormone problems, only to be offered the contraceptive pill and painkillers? That’s exactly what happened to me, and it’s probably what happened to you too. The good news is that we have other options. You are not at the mercy of your doctor or any other health professional. You have so much information available at your fingertips which can transform your hormone health; you just need to know where to look and what is right for you.
What if I told you there was a simple at home saliva test which could help you uncover the cause of your hormone problems once and for all.
That’s why I am here writing this, because I want to share it with you. So don’t give up on healthy, happy, hormones just yet. First though, let me tell you how I discovered this simple yet transformational test!
Hormonal imbalance over the last 35 years has soared.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) for example is now one of the most common hormone imbalances faced by women during their reproductive years. On top of that, we are seeing countless women afflicted with worsening PMS symptoms, extreme symptoms of perimenopause, adrenal fatigue, and breast cancer.
Often when we think about hormone imbalances we think about pregnancy, periods and menopause but our hormones are about so much more. Our hormones also influence our weight, metabolism, thyroid function, stress level, sleep and much more.
The truth is that if one hormone is out of balance, it can easily have a knock-on impact on our other hormones.
If the demands which you place on yourself exceed the support you give yourself, the more likely you are to develop hormone havoc.
Imbalances in the ratios between oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol and melatonin can cause :
+ Oestrogen dominance + Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) + Fibroids + Endometriosis + Adrenal fatigue + Blood sugar imbalances + Progesterone deficiency + Androgen imbalance + Acne + Breast tenderness + Menstrual cramps + Low libido + And more.....
Many conventional practitioners focus solely on oestrogen levels. Of course oestrogen levels are important however so is progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol and melatonin. Let's look closer at how imbalances in each of these hormones could be messing with your health.
To kick things off, let's look at one of the most common hormone imbalances I see in my clinic - OESTROGEN DOMINANCE.
Understanding the balance between your progesterone and oestrogen levels is very important. Progesterone keeps oestrogen and its effects in check. When oestrogen levels are high compred to levels of progesterone, a state of oestrogen dominance occurs.
This is often why premenopausal women can suffer from the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. It is all about the ratio oestrogen to progesterone. When oestrogen levels are high compared to levels of progesterone, problems an arise.
Oestrogen and progesterone rise and fall throughout the course of your menstrual cycle.
Just before ovulation, your oestrogen levels increase and then drop while your progesterone increases. This natural flow is caused by a complex set of feedback loops which maintain your hormone balance. When you are suffering from oestrogen dominance, your natural hormone balance is thrown into chaos.
One imbalance, for example, could be that your body is not producing enough progesterone. As a result, oestrogen begins to rule the roost — so you have “too much” oestrogen.
Another problem is when you have extra oestrogen in your system as a result of diet and lifestyle choices. These influence your ability to metabolise oestrogen and add to your oestrogen load.
What is important to remember is that hormones are incredibly powerful and even small changes can have a considerable impact on our symptoms.
Oestrogen dominance has been linked to all manner of health ailments from headaches and mood swings to weight gain and depression.
Balancing your oestrogen and progesterone is critical for overcoming hormone problems. The good news is that this can often be done naturally with diet, supplement and lifestyle changes.
But you first need to know what these hormones are doing over the course of the month. Is your oestrogen too high? If so, at what points is it too high? Or do you have an oestrogen deficiency? Is your progesterone low? At what stage of your menstrual cycle, is it too low?
Without having this essential information it will be difficult to create a customised and intelligent treatment strategy to help you heal. That is why testing your hormone levels over the course of the month is so crucial, if you want to balance your hormones. You need to know what is going on, before you can decide what to do.
That is why I love the Rhythm Test. It assesses your levels of oestrogen and progesterone at 12 points over the course of one menstrual cycle. As you can see from the diagram above it then charts your levels of each so you know exactly what these hormones are up to. This helps take the guesswork out of your treatment approach. Based on the findings you can then make targetted changes to address any imbalances.
I hope you now realise how vital it is to balance your oestrogen and progesterone if you want to enjoy healthy hormones. However, this not the end of the story, you also need to make sure you have the correct levels of testosterone, melatonin and the adrenal hormones – DHEA and cortisol since our hormones work synergistically. You need to have a full picture of what all your major hormones are doing, in order to take control and heal your hormones on your terms.
We often think of testosterone as only affecting men however, it is also important for women. We also need testosterone and produce it in our ovaries. In general, we exhibit levels between 8 and 10 times less than men. Testosterone performs many of the same functions in women as in men, including building muscle and bone, and elevation in mood, sex drive and energy.
Most of the symptoms of low levels of testosterone in women are the same as for men such as decreased interest in sex, loss of mental clarity, depression, weight gain and loss of bone and muscle. In addition we can also experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse.
High testosterone, on the other hand, has been linked to the development of more masculine features in women such as a lower voice and excess hair growth.
As you can see imbalances in your testosterone levels can have a significant impact on your health. If your hormones are out of balance, I therefore recommend you also look at your levels of testosterone. if these are out of balance you can then introduce diet, supplement and lifestyle changes to address these. The Rhythm Test is a great way to assess your testosterone as it measures your testosterone levels while also assessing your progesterone and oestrogen.
We do offer a stand alone Testosterone Test, however I typically only recommend this if you are certain your other hormones are in balance since hormones work synergistically. It is important to address oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone imbalances together since each one can have an impact on the other. That is why I recommend ordering the Rhythm Test as opposed to the Testosterone Test if you are facing hormone imbalances.
Along with considering your levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone you also need to consider what your adrenal hormones-cortisol and DHEA are up to.
If you have never heard of your adrenals before, I like to think of them as the CEO of stress management for the body. These two small glands help us deal with stress by releasing the hormones, cortisol and DHEA. Throughout the day they secrete these in a cycle called the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle). Mostly they churn out cortisol in the morning in high levels, with the lowest levels excreted before you doze off for your beauty sleep. When your adrenals become overworked you can develop a condition known as adrenal fatigue. This can have a knock on impact on your sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
I will dive into the adrenal-sex hormone connection more in a moment, first though, let's look closer at how adrenal fatigue can develop.
ALARM STAGE Your fight or flight response.
When we feel stressed, our adrenals respond by stimulating the production of our stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
This is our natural response to stress often referred to as our 'fight or flight' response. Nowadays many people face ongoing, unrelenting stress.
What happens with long term stress is that the body adapts to the continued demand for energy and oxygen.
RESISTANCE STAGE Your adrenals in overdrive.
Overtime the body begins to rely on our adrenal glands releasing more and more of our stress hormones to keep going.
If we have been stressing yourself out over a long period either physically or emotionally these glands go into overdrive.
During this stage we experience an increased resistance to stress and hyperadrenal function.
EXHAUSTION STAGE AKA adrenal fatigue
Like any CEO with too much work and not enough rest; working them too long without enough vacation time they can get burned out.
This is when our adrenals become exhausted creating an imbalance in our hormone levels of cortisol and DHEA.
Once the adrenal glands become exhausted and fail to produce a sufficient level of hormones we can experience adrenal fatigue.
There can be many things in life which can push us beyond our breaking point and cause adrenal fatigue. We can push and push ourselves to keep going, but it all takes its toll on the body. Check out the symptoms below and discover if any of these sound familiar.......
If any of these symptoms sound familiar then you could be facing adrenal fatigue. This is bad news for your sex hormone balance. Adrenal stress messes with your levels of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone further exacerbating your hormone symptoms.
If your adrenals are overworked, you could be left in a state of adrenal fatigue/exhaustion. This is turn can have a knock on effect to your progesterone and oestrogen balance since all of these hormones come from the same raw materials. When your adrenals are under functioning your body kidnaps progesterone to boost your adrenal function. This further knocks your progesterone to oestrogen balance placing you at greater risk of symptoms.
Everything is interlinked which is why I recommend you assess not only your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone but also your cortisol and DHEA levels when investigating your symptoms.
Since your adrenal function is intimately linked to your sex hormone balance your must heal your adrenals to balance your hormones. The good news is that this can often be done naturally with diet, supplement and lifestyle changes. But you first need to know what your cortisol and DHEA levels are.
Is your circadian rhythm out of balance? Are your cortisol levels too high? If so, at what points in the day? Or have your cortisol levels dropped too low? What stage of adrenal fatigue are you at? What is your DHEA level? What about your cortisol to DHEA ratio?
Without having the answers to these questions it will be difficult to create a customised treatment strategy to support your adrenal function. That is why testing your adrenals over the course of a day is so crucial if you want to balance your hormones.
This is one of the reasons why I love the PLUS version of the Rhythm Test.
Along with measuring your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, it also includes the Adrenal Stress Profile to measure your cortisol and DHEA levels. It assesses your levels of cortisol at 4 points over the course of one day. As you can see from the diagram above it then charts your levels, so you know exactly what your cortisol is doing. It also shows you your levels of DHEA and their ratio to cortisol. This helps take the guesswork out of your treatment approach. Based on the findings you can then make targetted changes to address any imbalances.
The Rhythm Plus not only includes the Adrenal Stress Profile it also includes the Melatonin Test.....
You have probably heard of melatonin before. I like to think of it as our knock out hormone because it plays such a crucial role in our sleep. Melatonin is a major neuroendocrine modulator of annual and circadian biorhythms in the body. It has far-reaching biological influence over the most of autonomic, hormonal and behavioural functions of the human body, and is best known for its role in setting circadian rhythms and helping initiate the sleep process.
In fact, melatonin plays a critical role in many areas of the body. It influences cardiovascular function, female hormonal balance and can also act as an antioxidant. Its primary role, however, is to help your body achieve good quality refreshing sleep and regulate your circadian rhythm.
As you can see from the diagram melatonin production fluctuates in opposition to cortisol. So when one is high the other is low and vice versa. This makes it an important hormone to consider when balancing your adrenal function.
Circadian rhythm is the term used to describe the 24-hour sleeping and waking cycle our body goes through based on the patterns of light and dark.
When in balance our melatonin levels are highest during the night, when we are asleep, because this is when there is less light. The more light exposure we experience, the bigger our decrease in melatonin secretion. This explains why we aren't typically as sleepy during the day as at night. If you have a deficiency in your melatonin secretion, your circadian rhythm can get out of balance, influencing your sleep.
Hello sleepless night, fatigue and irritability!
HOW ARE YOUR MELATONIN LEVELS?
If your melatonin is out of balance your mood, energy and hormones could be paying the price. If you suspect that your melatonin levels are out of balance then don't fret, there are key diet, supplement and lifestyle changes which can help to rebalance your levels. But first you need to know what your melatonin levels are.
Without having this essential information it will be difficult to create a customised treatment strategy to support your melatonin production. That is why testing your melatonin over the course of 24 hours is so crucial if you want to feel better and improve your mood, sleep, energy and hormones.
This is another reason why the PLUS version of the Rhythm Test is so informative. Along with including the Adrenal Stress Profile to measure your cortisol and DHEA levels it also includes the Melatonin Test. As you can see from the diagram above, it then charts your levels of melatonin so you know exactly what your levels of this hormone are. This helps take the guesswork out of your treatment approach. Based on the findings you can then make targetted changes to address any imbalances.
To balance your hormones you need to know what your oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and melatonin are up to.
While your symptoms can help give you clues as to what is out of balance, your endocrine system is incredibly complex. This is why it is impossible to know what is going on for sure without hormone testing. Unfortunately, comprehensive hormone testing investigating all of these hormones, are rarely performed by the doctor.
This is why you need to take your hormone health in your own hands and do your own investigation. Hormone testing with us gives you back the control and allows you to take the guesswork out of your treatment strategy.
If you are a premenopausal and have been living with on going hormone problems then I recommend you order the Rhythm Plus Test from us today.
This at home saliva test measures your monthly fluctuation in oestradiol and progesterone over the course of your monthly menstrual cycle, as well as your testosterone level. This test is recommended for pre-menopausal women who want to assess the underlying cause of their hormone imbalances. This will take the guesswork away and show you exactly what your hormones are doing.
Salivary testing of oestradiol, progesterone and testosterone is preferable to the standard blood test that the doctors usually prescribe for assessing hormone balance because it measures the free unbound fraction of these hormones.
Rhythm Plus: Rhythm + Adrenal Stress Profile
I would highly recommend choosing the Rhythm Plus version of this test as it also includes a measure of your adrenal hormones cortisol, DHEA and melatonin. This combines the Rhythm Test with the Adrenal Stress Profile and Melatonin Test. The Rhythm Plus therefore assesses your adrenocortical hormones cortisol, DHEA along with your sleep hormone melatonin and the levels of your sex hormones progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone.
Knowing your levels of oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and melatonin and the balance between them can provide you with the essential information you need to create a targetted treatment approach to balance your hormones naturally. Based on the results, I can then help you formulate a plan to rebalance your hormones based on your test results.
If you're hormones are out of balance then this test will help you figure out why.
I'm Dr Christy Fergusson PhD, MSc, BA Hons, BSC Hons, CPsych a Doctor Of Psychology, Chartered Health Psychologist, Nutritional Therapist & Functional Medicine Expert.
I am also a published Hay House author, former in house nutritionist at Women Health Magazine and the food psychologist from Channel 4's hit show Secret Eaters.
As creater of the Food Psychologist Health Testing Center I strive to help women just like you take the guesswork out of their treatment approach and find natural solutions to their health problems.
It’s time to do it differently.
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