Maybe Your Hormone Levels are Off

Hormone deficiencies can result in muscle weakness, unexplained weight gain, mood swings and more. Testing for HGH, DHEA, progesterone and estrogen levels will provide a baseline and identify any hormone dysfunction. Bioidentical Hormone Therapy enhances hormones that are naturally made within the body to improve health and body function.

What type of tests are done to determine someone’s hormone levels?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Generally, the gold standard tests for hormone testing are going to be the use of blood testing and saliva testing. However depending on which particular hormones and co-factors that we’re trying to test, other tests such as urinalysis, stool samples and dark-field microscopy can also be utilized.

What does the HGH hormone do and how would you know if your HGH level was off?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: That’s a great question. HGH stands for Human Growth Hormone and it can also be known as somatotropin. It’s secreted by the pituitary gland via a stimulus from the hypothalamus gland. Now it’s responsible for the growth, synthesis, repair and healthy function of nearly every cell in the body. So if you want to think about it simply, think of it as the master hormone and our anti-aging hormone. So it is known as the anti-aging hormone and it decreases in production significantly after the age of 36. Now some studies have documented that HGH starts to diminish to the point where the average person’s HGH levels decrease as much as 80% from the ages of 21 through to 61.

Now, declining levels of HGH may manifest as any of the following. Muscle weakness and muscle atrophy or loss, a decreased sexual function, unexplained weight gain, a thinning of the hair, wrinkly skin, a decreased immune function, osteoporosis, osteopenia, stiffness in muscles and joints, decreased mental clarity and disrupted sleep patterns and those are just to name a few.

How do you know if you have abnormal levels of estrogen and progesterone?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: That’s a great question Liz and the best way to determine any dysfunction in the endocrine or hormone system is to perform a lab test to get each person’s individual baseline levels. Now symptomatically, if you have abnormal levels of estrogen, you can experience things such as mood swings, vaginal dryness, decreased sexual function, abdominal weight gain, gynecomastia in males and many other symptoms. And abnormal progesterone levels can manifest as menstrual dysfunctions, PMS symptoms, endometriosis, osteopenia and osteoporosis. If you suspect an imbalance, then we recommend lab testing to determine exactly what your endocrine levels are.

What is DHEA and why is it important to check someone’s DHEA hormone level.

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Well, DHEA is actually an abbreviation for the hormone Dehydroepiandrosterone. So we’re just going to call it DHEA because I don’t want to say that word again. It’s synthesized from cholesterol by your adrenal glands. This is interesting because as we age often times our body will increase production of cholesterol because intuitively it knows that our hormone levels are declining. So, given that DHEA is synthesized from cholesterol and is kind of like a precursor hormone, in other words, it’s used in the synthesis of other hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, intuitively the body gives us more cholesterol in order to be able to synthesize more of the other hormones. So that’s when it can become dangerous to actually artificially decrease levels of cholesterol because they can throw all of the other hormones out of balance.

So that’s why it’s important to check the levels of DHEA because of its role in multiple hormone synthesis and metabolic processes, such as lipid and mineral metabolism and stress regulation.

When would someone need Bioidentical Hormone Therapy and how does it work?

Dr. Andrew Shepherd: Any time a hormone deficiency is discovered, there are many different courses of intervention that are available. Now Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is simply one of these options. Bioidentical hormones are simply hormones that are identical on a molecular level with the androgenous hormones. In other words, the hormones that are naturally made within your own body. So, these hormones are not found in nature but they’re synthesized or made from plants. Now bioidentical hormone therapy is often called natural hormone therapy. The bioidenticals act in the body just like the hormones that we produce naturally and encourage the body’s natural production to increase at the same time.

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If you’re interested in speaking with Dr. Andrew Shepherd, visit or call 972-212-5725 to schedule an appointment.

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