The Female Endocrine System — A Lifelong Dance in Balance

by Rashmi Gulati, MD

Rashmi GulatiAs we go through life, we women undergo many biological changes. A delicate balance of hormone regulation, production and metabolism exists in our bodies throughout these various stages. This complex choreography of our bodies' indigenous endocrine system supports and shapes a woman's health on every level. When an imbalance develops, problems may arise that range in scale from mild discomfort to troublesome symptoms and even to disease, if left unaddressed.

While most women understand that classic functions like menstruation, fertility, thyroid, and insulin regulation are governed by their endocrine system, an endocrine imbalance may not be the first place they'd look to explain symptoms less obviously connected to their hormones. Insomnia, weight gain, headaches, depression, anxiety, brain fog, profound fatigue, digestive distress, aches and pains, and a litany of additional problems can indeed have their origins in endocrine disturbances.

How can the endocrine system be responsible for such far-reaching effects in the body? Let's take a brief survey of the female endocrine system, and explore how an integrative approach can help women recover and reap the benefits of a dynamic, pliant, and well-balanced endocrine system.

A Framework of Grace and Beauty

Patients Medical's Approach to Properly Balance Your Thyroid

Thyroid dysfunction is a common occurrence that frequently goes undetected. Symptoms of thyroid disorders often develop in an insidious fashion and, to confuse the picture further, overlap with numerous other health concerns, which can make detection and accurate diagnosis of thyroid disorders challenging. In many cases the patient's clinical features and thyroid function tests require careful consideration.

Routine blood tests for thyroid function measure circulating levels of TSH, T4, and T3 in the bloodstream. Because thyroid hormones do not operate in isolation within the bloodstream, these values have their limitations. Thyroid hormones engage with receptors on cells throughout the body, to turn on and off myriad processes within tissues. Blood tests measure circulating levels of thyroid hormones within the blood stream, not what is taking place on the cells' receptors or within the cells.

Comprehensive thyroid evaluation at Patients Medical can detect alterations in thyroid function that may be missed on more routine screening blood tests. Given proper testing, evaluation, and treatment, the adverse health outcomes associated with thyroid dysfunction can, for the most part, be avoided.

Is Your Thyroid Test Normal but You Still Feel Lousy?

Risk Factors for Thyroid Disease

When considering our risk for developing diseases of any kind, it's always helpful to remind ourselves that each of us is a unique individual, not simply a number among millions. Through epidemiology, the study of factors that affect the health of different populations, we do see certain factors that place some populations at higher risk than others for developing thyroid problems. Through study of people with thyroid disorders, we also know that having a thyroid problem is associated with particular related health risks. Fortunately, given timely and accurate diagnosis, most thyroid conditions respond readily to treatment, and can be well-managed with appropriate care in follow-up. Some of the associations seen by epidemiologists, health care providers, and research scientists between these various thyroid conditions and factors are discussed further.

Learn about Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

Case Study: A Pathway to Change and Well-being

Janie is a mid-50s woman with two adult children. She has a history of breast cancer, treated a number of years ago with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. She's been cancer-free for more than a decade—but that doesn't mean she's been feeling 100 percent. Janie had been menopausal since her chemotherapy nearly 15 years earlier, and had been hypothyroid since her teens. She was always tired, and a little depressed, too. She described it to us as "something missing, a flatness in life."

We had Janie undergo a series of tests and hormone panels to meticulously evaluate her endocrine status, and discovered several deficiencies. We placed Janie on a regimen of nutritional and hormonal supplements and targeted amino acid therapy. Additional recommendations for Janie included step-by-step direction for lifestyle modifications that focused on cultivating mind, body, and spirit–dietary changes, gentle regular exercise, stress management techniques, and spiritual practice. All these measures helped address her insomnia and improved her mood as well. Within a few months, Janie's health improved, and she has a higher tolerance for stress and increased stamina.

Begin Your Journey to Wellness with Patients Medical

Our job at Patients Medical is to listen, to connect the dots between a patient's medical history, symptoms, and their underlying causes. Patients Medical is a superb place for women and men to secure integrative and holistic health care from providers who give personalized care, partner with the patient to focus on the root cause of their illness, support their recovery, and help them maintain good health.

For those that can make the journey, we are happy to welcome new patients to our medical center in New York City. Call us at . We are here to listen and to help.

We are located at: Patients Medical PC, 1148 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1B New York, NY 10028..

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