Acne, hair loss, dark hairs. . . oh my! If this sounds like you, I assure you this is a blog you want to read.
Often you hear people refer to androgens as “male hormones,” but don’t be fooled women produce androgens too. In fact, women actually need some androgens. In women, androgens are produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands (small glands that sit on top of your kidneys) and fat cells. Androgens help women maintain lean muscle mass and improve libido, endurance and stamina. However, like anything, too much of a good thing can cause problems. If you have unwanted dark hairs, face and/or back acne (especially cystic), hair loss, or irregular cycles you may be suffering from androgen excess.
As Functional and Integrative Medicine Practitioners, we check a variety of androgens in the female body and do not rely on testosterone levels alone. For example, depending on your symptoms your provider may order free and total testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). These hormone levels can be checked though blood work; however, integrative testing often prefers to evaluate hormones through saliva and urine.
At CentreSpring MD, we take a functional and integrative medicine approach—striving to figure out the root cause for your androgen excess, rather than just treating the symptoms. Women can develop androgen excess for a number of reasons. One of the largest reasons is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which affects 5-10% of women (and who knows how many women suffer and go undiagnosed). Other reasons for androgen excess include inflammation, diabetes, thyroid imbalances, high stress, and poor detoxification.
Here are a few integrative approaches to start naturally reducing your androgens today:
1. Sip spearmint tea daily.
· Spearmint tea has been studied to have anti-androgen effects in individuals suffering from PCOS . Best results are seen with two cups per day.
2. Improve blood sugar control.
· Eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Add high quality fiber to slow digestion; aim for 35 grams of fiber per day. Sprinkle cinnamon on your food or consider adding blood sugar stabilizing supplements, such as alpha lipoic acid or inositol.
3. Promote detoxification.
· Add plenty of cruciferous vegetables and herbs such as cilantro and parsley in your diet.
· If you need extra liver support, consider adding milk thistle at 200 mg daily.
4. Choose organic meats and dairy to avoid additional hormones.
If you are ready to take the integrative and holistic approach to balancing your hormones, we would love to see you at CentreSpring MD! Don’t let your symptoms go or suffer alone.