Are you a middle-aged man who is dealing with loss of sex drive, weight gain or hair loss? Are you a premenopausal or menopausal woman who is experiencing hot flashes, vaginal dryness or memory problems? If you said “yes” then you may be dealing with a hormonal imbalance. When we think about hormonal imbalances we often think about women who are going through menopausal but the truth of the matter is that even men deal with this issue.
As we get older, it’s normal for hormones to drop significantly, which can lead to these unpleasant symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal changes an osteopathic physician can both diagnose and treat the problem. Some of these signs and symptoms include:
- Low muscle mass
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Irregular or missing periods
- Irritability and mood swings
- Heavy periods
- Hair loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
An osteopath is a medical doctor who is focused on treating conditions and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, from back pain to joint stiffness. Of course, osteopaths can also treat a host of other issues that affect the respiratory, reproductive, and intestinal systems, as well as other problems such as high blood pressure and insomnia through non-invasive, non-medicinal therapies. Both men and women may also visit an osteopath for other issues such as joint stiffness and musculoskeletal pain and realize that their symptoms are actually the result of their hormonal imbalance.
The best way to test a hormonal imbalance is to perform a comprehensive hormone blood panel, which checks the level of estrogen, progesterone and other hormones in women while checking testosterone, DHEA, oxytocin, and other hormone levels in men. The patient will usually have to fast prior to getting this blood test performed.
Once the results of your test have been interpreted your osteopathic doctor will talk to you about the best approach for balancing your hormone levels. This usually involves hormone replacement therapy; however, when you turn to an osteopath the goal of treatment is to provide you with safe, effective ways to balance your hormones naturally. Sometimes further testing is necessary in order to determine the cause of your hormonal imbalance.
There are natural therapies that can ease symptoms and improve how the endocrine system functions (e.g. pituitary gland). Your osteopathic treatment plan may consist of diet and exercise, herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, and stress management. Your osteopath can work with you to find the right alternative and complementary therapies to meet your needs.