“Is it Really Normal to Be This Tired?”
…It’s a question I hear a lot from new patients. And in most cases, the answer is No. It’s not.
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism (and Hashimoto’s), adrenal dysfunction, and low sex hormone levels are often overlooked by conventional endocrinologists. If you’re feeling sub-par and have been told by other doctors that you’re “just stressed,” or your symptoms are “normal,” we should talk.
Hypothyroidism affects millions of Americans, most of whom are women. The majority of cases are caused by an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s, a disease in which the immune system begins to attack the body’s own thyroid gland. We therefore use both thyroid-supporting as well as immune-balancing approaches when caring for our patients affected by hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:
- Brain fog or poor memory
- Difficulty losing weight or unexplained weight gain
- Dry skin and/or brittle nails
- Thinning hair or shortening of eyebrows
- Depression and mood imbalances
- Feeling cold all the time
- Heavy or irregular menses
- High cholesterol levels
Hyperthyroidism refers to a state in which the thyroid is over-functioning. This often happens in an autoimmune condition known as Grave’s Disease. Although it’s less common than hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism is a serious condition that if left untreated can cause a heart attack. For this reason, we treat hyperthyroidism very mindfully and thoroughly.
The adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and produce, among other things, a stress hormone known as cortisol. The more demand and stress the body is under, the harder the adrenal glands work, and the more cortisol they produce. When these glands are worked too hard for too long, however, they become tired and work inefficiently. This state is often referred to as adrenal fatigue.
The symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Difficulty waking in the morning
- Afternoon fatigue and possible dependence on coffee, chocolate, and energy drinks
- Difficulty falling asleep, or feeling “tired but wired”
- Craving sugar, salt, or fat
- Frequent colds and illness
- Low libido
- Increased PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Irritability, anxiety, and/or feeling very stressed out
- Inability to cope with stress
- Difficulty losing weight (especially for “apple-shaped” people)
- High blood sugar levels
If you’re a man suffering from fatigue, low libido, sexual dysfunction, depression or anxiety, you are not alone. Testosterone is essential for mental, emotional, and physical health.
I’ve cleaned up many messes made by those “low T clinics,” and offer a refreshing alternative to their one-size-fits-all approach. I see each patient as an individual and do a comprehensive intake and thorough assessment of hormone levels.
The endocrine system is inter-connected, and therefore I screen all of my “low T” patients for thyroid and adrenal imbalances and hypopituitarism. Furthermore, the endocrine system is affected by the liver, the digestive tract, and the nervous systems. In fact, the majority of men with hypogonadism (“low T”) can trace the origins of their illness back to a head injury. For this reason, I focus on gently supporting the brain so that its signaling patterns can come back online. In other words, I treat the cause of hypogonadism.
Having low testosterone affects more than mood and libido: it also increases the risk of osteoporosis, depression, and cardiovascular disease. I understand the importance of nutrition on hormone health, and therefore also screen male patients for nutritional deficiencies.
Treatment is unique to each man, and may involve nutritional support, lifestyle counseling, botanical therapies, supplements, HCG, clomid, and/or testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
What do you love to do? Let’s get you healthy so you can go out there and do it.
The sex hormones (DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) have incredible effects on a woman’s health, affecting mood, energy, libido, fertility, menstrual cycles, muscle mass, bone density, cholesterol production, digestion, skin integrity, and more.
Dr. Zelfand treats PCOS, menopause, infertility, and the myriad of period issues (irregular periods, heavy periods, painful periods, etc.).
Each case is approached individually, involving a comprehensive intake and testing of hormone levels. Understanding the importance of nutrition on hormone health, we do nutritional testing and nutritional counseling. Botanical therapies, supplements, homeopathy, conventional hormone therapy, and/or compounded bio-identical hormones may also be used.
Let’s get you feeling sexy, vital, and strong.
Like conventional hormone replacement therapy, bio-identical hormone therapy (bHRT or bHT) addresses hormonal imbalances by providing the body with estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and/or testosterone.
bHRT is useful in managing complaints associated with perimenopause and menopause. It is also essential in restoring hormonal balance in women who have undergone hysterectomy or who are struggling with primary ovarian insufficiency (formerly called premature ovarian failure), PCOS, infertility, and menstrual irregularities.
Bioidentical hormone preparations are made by extracting plant compounds to create an end product biochemically identical to the hormones made naturally in the body. Many patients report fewer side effects when taking bioidentical preparations versus conventional hormone therapy. Numerous studies have also associated bio-identical hormones with better outcomes when it comes to cardiovascular disease, breast cancer risk, and other adverse effects as compared to conventional HRT.
Hormones are Inter-Connected
There is cross-talk between the adrenal glands, the thyroid, and the ovaries (in women) / testes (in men).
The adrenals kick into gear when the body is under stress, when blood sugar levels are low, or when the brain perceives danger. When this happens, thyroid function takes a back seat, since metabolism isn’t nearly as important as survival.
This happens, sex hormone production goes haywire, causing low libido, irregular menses, and poor muscle mass.
For this reason, it’s important to look at the whole person when treating hormone imbalances. This holistic approach is often the missing piece in tricky hormone cases.