Most of us can probably relate to occasionally feeling out of sorts, moody, foggy, emotional, or not sleeping deeply. And for the ladies, those symptoms might seem to come and go according to monthly cycles or as those cycles start to change. Or if you’ve been following our blog posts and have been reading about stress and cortisol, you might be wondering about how you can get a handle on yours so you can feel more calm and in control, avoid getting a muffin top and keep your mind and memory clear and sharp.
So, what do these ‘hormonal’ symptoms and the whole stress and cortisol connection have in common? Well, for one thing, everything in your body and mind are connected, and very often imbalances in one system are significantly affected by or can cause significant effects and imbalances in another. But looking at it a little differently, these systems ~ your sex hormones (estradiol, estrone, estriol, progesterone, testosterone) and your stress hormones (cortisol and DHEA) and your sleep hormone, melatonin, can all be evaluated in one simple test, and you don’t even have to open a vein for it! Drum roll…. Saliva Testing!!
Saliva testing has been around for a while, but most conventional doctors don’t utilize it because it hasn’t commonly been part of conventional medical school education. However, in Functional Medicine, we use whatever test is best for looking at what might give us clues to the root causes of the symptoms and problems that people come in to the office with. The National Institutes of Health estimates that about 75% of all visits to the doctor were in some way connected to stress, and in research cited in the Harvard Business Review, they stated that as high as 90% of doctor’s visits were stress related.
Besides stress, hormone imbalances are also increasingly common problems as we become more aware of such issues as the rise in endocrine disrupting chemicals found in plastics, pesticides and many of the most commonly used personal care and household cleaning products we use every day. In related news, we hear more and more about estrogen dominance all the time, and if you’re tuned in, these are ideas you might be considering about your own hormone balance. In addition to these hormone issues, you might be one of many women who experience irregular periods or who are in the transition between the childbearing years and the menopausal years. If that’s you, there are likely all kinds of symptoms you might associate with your hormones fluctuating.
Well, if any of these above concerns applies to you, we’ve got you covered! Saliva testing offered at Forum Health Akron can give us a lot of information about what your sex hormone balance (or imbalances) might be, as well as what your stress hormones are up to over the course of a day. It’s an easy test you do at home by simply collecting saliva in test tubes at certain times of the day and then submitting the kit in a pre-paid mailer to one of the labs we use.
The results take about a month to come back and when you have the follow up visit you’ll find out a lot about what’s going on with you hormonally, both your adrenal hormones and sex steroid hormones. Finding out and making changes to lifestyle, diet, targeted nutritional supplements and bioidentical hormones can make a big difference in how you feel and in reducing your risks for further problems down the road. Why not give it a try and see what’s going on with your hormones ~ you might find some sweet relief you’ve been looking for!