Symptoms and Definitions {I-Z}

Insomnia - We all experience temporary sleep disturbances or insomnia at some point in our lives. Insomnia is defined as a difficulty falling asleep, maintaining sleep, or not feeling rested despite a sufficient opportunity to sleep. Many things can impact the quality of our sleep such as stress at work or at home, changing hormone levels seen in pregnancy and menopause, certain medical conditions (i.e., anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, GERD, incontinence, etc.) and some medications and natural supplements (i.e., stimulants, some antidepressants, thyroid supplements, ginseng, pseudoephedrine. Insomnia occurs more often as we age, and is more common in women. Being divorced, separated, or widowed also can increase the occurrence of sleep disturbances. Common symptoms of insomnia include fatigue, irritability, decreases in mental clarity, as well as physical complaints such as headache, GI upset, and muscle fatigue.

Irritability - includes a significant change in mood for an extended period of time. This is often associated with loss of interest in usual activities, sleep and eating disorders, and withdrawal from family and friends. Occasional irritability is a normal part of life. It is a form of Mood Swings.  If your irritability persists, adversely affecting your performance and your family, friends or co-workers relationships, you need to find relief. Irritability a sign of Hormone Imbalance or Hormonal Illness.  Estrogen excess, Progesterone deficiency and/or Testosterone deficiency may be the cause.  Achieving hormone balance with Bioidentical Hormone Restoration Therapy (BHRT) is a safe and effective treatment.

Male Hormone Imbalance - Contrary to popular opinion Hormone Imbalance or Hormonal Illness is not confined to females, but affects men just the same. Men, this is good news. Now, when you mess up you can actually say, "It's not me, it's my hormones." Many women probably suspect this and recognize the symptoms described in their own spouses or significant others. Male hormones decline more gradually than women. The decline of testosterone is about 1% per year, while DHEA declines at 2.5% per year beginning at age 30. Therefore, by the age of 80 most men will have testosterone levels below that of a prepubescent male. The declining hormones include testosterone from the testes, human growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary and DHEA and androstenedione from the adrenal gland.

Mood Swings - Just about everyone will experience mood swings sometime in their life. When the intensity and frequency of mood swings become overwhelming, serious challenges will occur. Then behavioural changes in the person become unpredictable and frustrating not only for the individual, but also for the family. For this reason, we must understand the causes of mood swings, and manage mood swings Naturally, with Bioidentical Hormone Therapy (BHRT). Severe Mood swings are  disorders generally defined as  unpredictable,  incomprehensible behavioral changes. For example, a person will suffer sudden and intense changes in behaviour that range from joy and laughter to to almost instantaneous sadness anger and tears. Not only are others confused by this unusual behavior, but often, the person also is confused. Mood swings often appear as a "split personality.

Night Sweats - Profuse sweating that is not related to any overheating in the sleeping environment. True Night Sweats are generally believed to be caused by severe Hot Flashes occurring at night that can saturate sleepclothes, pillow sacks and sheets, This profuse sweating is not related to any overheating in the sleeping environment. Other cosiderations include: Perimenopause –  This is a very common cause of night sweats. The hot flashes that are experienced during menopause can occur during both day and night causing severe sweating in the night time. Night Sweats associated with menopause and perimenopause can be quite excessive.

Osteoporosis - is a debilitating, preventable disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. These broken bones, also known as fractures, occur typically in the hip, spine, and wrist. Remember, Osteoporosis is preventable. Building strong bones during childhood and adolescence can be the best defense against developing osteoporosis later.

Polycystic Ovarian Disease - Cysts that form from a buildup of follicle cysts which cause the ovaries to thicken. These cysts cause the ovaries to enlarge and create a thick outer covering which may prevent ovulation from occurring and are often the cause of infertility problems.

Perimenopause - Although there is an end point which defines menopause (the cessation of menses), menopause is a process.  The majority of women go through certain phases.  And, even within these phases, all women's menopause experience is different. Perimenopause refers to the period prior to menopause.  In terms of symptoms, one may experience nothing.  For some women, one day they just stop bleeding with none of the accompanying signs that menopause was approaching, and experinece no symptoms after.  Unfortunately, the majority of women experience some degree of symptoms. Symptoms begin due to the decline in the body's production of, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormones. These symptoms representing Hormone Imbalance may be noted as early as a woman's mid thirties.  The experience of smptoms vary widely.  Some women experience gradual changes over several years while others have symptoms that are more intense. There are others who may experience anywhere from mild to severe symptoms that last just a few months.

Post Menopausal - referrs to women who are no longer having periods.  The terms Menopause and Post Menopause are generally interchangeable.  A simple blood test (FSH), may be helpful in confirming menopause in a woman who has not had menses for 12 months. During this period women may still notice several of the symptoms noted above, but other changes take place:

Reproductive organs, especially the ovaries, become smaller and may change position in the pelvic cavity.The vagina and Urethra tissue get thinner from the decreased state of estrogen and progesterone.  This can lead to further vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and bladder symptoms
Skin looses its fat layer and moisture leading to dry/thin skin; Bone density decreases due to the decrease in estrogen and testosterone; Muscles may loose tone due to reduction of estrogen and testosterone; Cholesterol levels may rise; Body shape may change.  Most noticable is an increase in abdominal girth. In addition to the above symptoms, there are significant medial complications associated with menoapuse.  These include: Heart disease, High cholesterol and Osteoporosis.

Premature Menopause - is defined as the cessation of menses prior to age 35. This can occur as early as a women's 20's.  In a young woman it is therefore very important to be sure the lack of monthly periods actually signal menopause, or is due to a functional or hormonal imbalance.  Once other causes of amenorrhea have been ruled out (pregnancy, thyroid dysfunction, other hormone imbalances), a woman can be deemed to be menopausal.  There is a simple blood test, FSH level, can be performed to be sure amenorrhea is indeed menopause. Unfortuanately, if it is menopause, a woman can no longer become pregnant. When prematue menopause occurs in a woman prior to the completion of childbearing, it can be a devastating diagnosis.  Even for women who have completed childbearing, it is heatbreaking as they now have to deal with all of the symptoms and health risks that accompany menopause.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - includes several symptoms that occur in a cyclical pattern, usually 1-2 weeks prior to a woman's period. Many women do not realise their symptoms are actually PMS because they did not notice the association with their cycles.  As PMS worsens, women often feel they are having adverse symptoms all the time, but charting their symptoms with their cycle will give them an indication of whether it is truly PMS.

Thyroid Functions - The thyroid gland is an important organ that regulates body metabolism. It is located in the front of the neck just below the voice box (larynx). The thyroid gland secretes two main thyroid hormones – thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The secretion of T3 and T4 by the thyroid is controlled by a feedback mechanism involving the Pituitary gland, a small organ at the base of the brain, and the Hypothalamus, a structure in the brain. The pathway for thyroid hormone is therefore: Hypothal. >> Pit. >> Thyroid Gland, produce thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones. 

Vaginal Dryness - is generally due to Hormone Imbalance. It presents as  loss of the usual moist and soft feel of the lining of the vagina. Women at any age may be affected by vaginal dryness, but it is particularly present in women during Perimenopause and Menopause. The mucus membranes of the vaginal epithelium located at the mouth of the uterus, secrete moisture for the vagina. The Estrogen Hormone in a woman's body empowers these membranes to produce lubrication that helps keep the vagina moist, supple, strong, to prevent vaginal dryness. The lubricant also has a slightly acid level, which helps to protect the vagina from invasion by opportunistic organisms as bacteria, keeping it free from infection. Vaginal dryness can cause pain during sex and make the women feel uncomfortable.

Weight Gain - In our society today,overweight leading to obesity, has become a major health problem. Indeed, youth obesity poses a health crisis, as it leads to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. This overweight/obesity problem is a matter of national concern because of the health implications. There are two main areas of concern in designing a well structured, comprehensive approach to weight loss and also provide a lifetime of healthy weight maintenance.

Symptoms and Definitions {A-H}