While, as humans, we face many of the same medical issues, men and women differ vastly in the common disorders, diseases, and ailments we are most affected by. Our bodies react differently on a biological level to the hormones and nutrients in our systems. At Vitality Medical & Wellness Center, we offer testing and treatment counseling for various disorders that relate specifically to female health.
It is often that women forget the importance of their sexual health as it relates to their overall health. Regular sexual health screenings can help identify hormone imbalances, detect diseases early on, and give patients peace of mind.
A sudden increase or decrease in your natural libido (desire to engage in sexual activity) may be an indication that your hormone levels, mainly estrogen, are unbalanced. Abnormal libido varies from patient to patient and is judged based on each patient’s average baseline. Low or high levels testosterone, estrogen or progesterone levels may cause:
- Weakened bones
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
- Vaginal and bladder infections
- Decrease in sexual desire
At Vitality Medical & Wellness Center, we test for hormone levels that may be affecting your libido. Blood or saliva samples taken in-office are sent for analysis.
Low hormone levels can be treated with bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). BHRT uses natural hormones administered either through oral medication, topical creams, lozenges or pellet implants.
Sexually transmitted disease (STD) is a classification for diseases and infections that are passed between partners through the exchange of fluids (blood, vaginal fluid, or semen) during sexual contact (orally, vaginally, or anally). Women can be exposed to STDs during any unprotected sexual contact. In many cases, patients do not show any visible symptoms of STDs. Some STDs are easily treatable, while others can be extremely deadly. Early detection of STDs is vital for effective treatments and the protection of your and your partner’s health.
- Yellowish vaginal discharge
- Swelling, burning, or itching of the vaginal area
- Abdominal pain
- Pain upon urination
- Formation of an ulcer (chancre)
You should consider STD testing if you have had unprotected sexual contact. Any form of sexual contact without a condom puts you at risk of becoming infected with an STD. It is important for your and your partner’s health to be tested as soon as possible, even if you do not show any visible symptoms. At Vitality Medical and Wellness Center, we test for a range of STDs, including:
- Genital Warts
- Hepatitis B
- HIV & AIDS
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Molluscum Contagiosum
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Pubic Lice/Crabs
- Trichomoniasis (Trich)
STD testing is performed by taking a sample of your blood. The blood sample is sent to a lab for testing. On average, you results will be available in 3 to 14 days depending on test type. If your results come back positive for any STD, you will be referred to a general practitioner for evaluation and treatment.
Cervical Cancer Screenings
Cervical cancer screenings, commonly known as Pap smears, should be performed at least once a year after the age of 21. Pap smears test for cervical cancer, and cervical cancer screenings are vital to female health. Over 10,000 women are diagnosed with some stage of cervical cancer every year. Cervical cancer can develop for a number of reasons, but women with the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are at an increased risk of developing cervical cancer. Yearly Pap smears can help identify cervical precancer before it turns into cancer.
For many women, getting a Pap smear can be an embarrassing or uncomfortable experience. Knowing what to expect during your procedure may help put you at ease. You will be asked to undress either fully or from the waist down and to cover yourself with a medical gown. After you recline back on the exam table, your feet will be placed in stirrups and your knees spread apart. A swab will be inserted into your vagina, and cells will be scraped from the opening of your cervix. The swab will then be sent out for testing.
Patients whose results come back abnormal must go in for a cervical biopsy. This tests for the presence of cancer and must be performed by a gynecologist.
Your body is controlled by two messaging systems. Nerve impulses cause fast-acting stimulus, such as making your muscles move. Hormones work more slowly by traveling through your bloodstream to maintain homeostasis. Your adrenal glands produce a number of hormones that help your body stay in a constant, healthy balance. When there is an imbalance of a certain hormone, your bodily functioning and health can be affected.
Common Hormone Imbalances
There are more than 50 different hormones in the human body. Imbalances of any can affect your overall health. However, some hormone imbalances are more common than others and can occur because of lifestyle patterns including stress, diet, exercise, and sleeping habits. Other hormone imbalances can occur as a result of aging or medications. These are the most common hormone imbalances caused by environmental and lifestyle factors:
- Thyroid hormone
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as the presence of recurrent symptoms before menstruation with the complete absence of these symptoms after menstruation. Common symptoms include bloating, backaches, moodiness, depression, breast tenderness, loss of libido, and fatigue. These are also common symptoms of estrogen dominance.
Saliva tests taken during days 19 to 21 of your menstrual cycle will determine if estrogen dominance is the cause of your PMS. This tests the ratio of progesterone and estradiol. A low ratio indicates estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is easily treated through oral doses of progesterone or topical progesterone cream. Balancing estrogen levels has been proven to improve the symptoms of PMS, including bloating and weight gain.
Perimenopause is the time period leading up to menopause. During this time, your periods become increasingly irregular. Erratic cycles are a sign of erratic ovulation, which causes highs and lows of estrogen and progesterone. These fluctuations can cause forgetfulness, confusion, mood swings, hot flashes, weight gain, and decreased libido.
Saliva tests can be used to test your hormone levels if you are experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause. A comprehensive test will evaluate your levels of estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEAs, and morning cortisol.
Controlling the symptoms of perimenopause requires the balancing of hormones. This can be achieved through bHRT or oral supplements.
Women officially reach menopause when they have gone 12 consecutive months without a period and are past childbearing age (if you are under 40 and have failed to have a period for 12 consecutive months, this may be symptom of a much more serious medical issue. You should consult with your primary doctor if this is the case). Menopause is a natural part of the female aging process and cannot be reversed. However, the hot flashes that many women get during menopause may be caused by a hormone imbalance.
Saliva testing identifies your levels of estrogen and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Hot flashes are usually a result of low estrogen levels and high FSH levels.
Hot flashes may be treated using a natural hormone supplement to balance estrogen levels.
Adrenal fatigue is caused by a hormonal imbalance due to an adrenal gland that is not functioning properly. It is characterized by lingering tiredness even after periods of rest. It typically coincides with depression and can be brought about by stress.
The body’s stress response is caused by the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol during a dangerous or life-threatening situation. When the body is in a state of chronic stress, it cannot regulate the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in the blood stream. The inability to regulate these hormones can damage your emotional, physical, and cognitive health. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Low energy
- Stomach aches
- Rapid heartbeat
- Racing thoughts
- Changes in appetite
Long-term stress can lead to serious mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorder. It can also exacerbate acne and eczema and lead to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and skin and hair problems.
Saliva tests are used to measure cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen levels. This helps identify if a hormone imbalance is the cause of your symptoms or if you have a more serious underlying medical issue.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to balanced hormones that are out of sync.
Women are 10 times more likely to suffer from a thyroid problem than men. The thyroid is a gland that produces the thyroid hormone that regulates your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat. If your thyroid is producing too much of the hormone, you have hyperthyroidism. If it is producing too little, you may suffer from hypothyroidism.
The symptoms of a thyroid disorder can be broken down into two categories. “Sluggish” symptoms (fatigue, depression, low libido, menstrual changes, weight gain, thinning hair) are markers of hypothyroidism. On the other end, “amped” symptoms (anxiety, the constant jitters, constant hunger, trouble concentrating, rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations, high blood pressure) may signify hyperthyroidism.
Blood tests are used to diagnose thyroid disorders. Levels of thyroid hormone that are too high or too low might indicate a thyroid disorder.
Thyroid disorders can be treated by supplementing the natural thyroid hormones T4 and T3. Altering your diet and ensuring that you are receiving the proper nutrients (such as iodine, selenium, and zinc) can also be helpful in treating thyroid imbalances. In severe cases, such as thyroid tumors, you will be referred to a specialist.
For patients that need to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT), we offer pellet implants. Roughly the size of a grain of rice, pellet implants are inserted under the skin and consistently release a small dose of hormones over a 3-6 month period. Pellet implants are considered the most effective and bio-identical method of delivering hormones. Other delivery methods include intravenously, topical creams, and oral medication.
Micronutrients are more commonly known as vitamin and minerals. While they are needed in only very small amounts, about 50 percent of people suffer from some form of micronutrient deficiency. Micronutrients are needed to maintain metabolism, heartbeat, bone density, skin health, and organ health. The most common vitamin deficiencies include vitamin A, C, D, E, K, and B-12. The most common mineral deficiencies include calcium, iron, iodine, zinc, fluoride, potassium, and sodium.
Micronutrient deficiencies can lead to serious medical issues including anemia, blindness, gorter, and weakened immunity. Less severely, it can lead to fatigue, acne breakouts, rashes, brittle hair, and chronic illness. Blood tests are used to map your micronutrient levels.
Micronutrient deficiencies can be caused by poor diets that lack the needed micronutrients or an absorption issue that prevents your body from properly absorbing the needed nutrients. Changes in diet and using a medical supplement can help treat micronutrient deficiencies.
Calcium deficiency can put you at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis as you age. Osteoporosis is weakening of the bones, which heightens your risk of developing bone fractures. Calcium is a mineral vital to increasing bone density. As you age, calcium absorption into the bones becomes more difficult. Testing your calcium levels will help identify if you are at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Medically Assisted Weight Loss
Medically assisted weight loss is ideal for patients who have had trouble losing weight on their own. It does not involve surgery; rather, it is a physician-directed weight-loss plan that helps target the biological causes of your weight gain.
Medical weight-loss programs analyze your hormone levels and help identify which hormone imbalances might affect your metabolism and mental health.
As a part of your medically assisted weight-loss program, you will receive nutritional counseling. This ensures that you are eating nutrient-rich, healthy, low-calorie foods that are designed to help break the food addiction cycle.
At Vitality Medical & Wellness Center, we believe that an important part of your general health and well-being is feeling confident in the way you look. Our cosmetic treatments can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, acne, and skin discolorations.
We offer Restylane® and Perlane® dermal fillers that restore lost volume. When injected into the skin, dermal fillers stimulate collagen production to fill wrinkles. Restylane® and Perlane® are used to correct wrinkles and fine lines that occur around the nose and mouth. Adding volume helps plump and smooth the skin for a more youthful appearance.
An injection of this botulinum toxin formula into certain facial muscles prevents muscle contraction and relaxes the face. This helps correct the appearance of wrinkles and frown lines between the brows.Dermaroller® – This treatment activates collagen production and cellular turnover by creating tiny surface wounds in the skin. When the collagen is activated in the healing process, it plumps and smooths the skin. Dermaroller® is an effective treatment for acne, stretch marks, and loose skin.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of a hormone imbalance, are due for a sexual health check-up, suffer from obesity, or just want to feel healthier and happier, it is time to contact Vitality Medical & Wellness Center. Your health is important to us. Contact our office by calling (702) 731-1200, or fill out our online contact form here for more information.