We’ve all been anxious from time to time: preparing for that big speech at work, while teaching our teens to drive, before bungee jumping—which we mistakenly thought would be a good way to celebrate turning 40. A little anxiety is normal, but persistent, intrusive fear that doesn’t even allow us to meet our friends out for a coffee without feeling panicked isn’t normal.
Anxiety is far more common in women than men. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are twice as likely as men, before age 50, to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This can include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia (the fear of going to public places) and social anxiety disorder, as well as specific phobias to anything from flying in an airplane to driving over a bridge.
We may think this anxiety is inherited or already in our DNA. We could blame PMS or menopause. Or, we could just chalk it up to ever-present worries in today’s society. But it’s not often our first thought to get our sex hormone levels checked.
Fun fact (depending on how you look at it): Women’s ovaries produce both testosterone and estrogen. Turns out men don’t hold a monopoly on testosterone after all, so I guess we can stop with all the, “Sure is a lot of testosterone in this place!” when we walk into a sports bar.
Why is this important? Testosterone is responsible for important bodily functions, some of which we may know about and some that might be a surprise. Women need testosterone for fertility, sex drive and a proper distribution of muscle and fat in our bodies. Testosterone can also play a role in maintaining and growing bones as well as supporting cardiovascular health. But “T” isn’t just playing a role in our physical health—according to OBGYN Doug Woodford, MD, testosterone plays a part in our mental health as well.
“Your mood, anxiety level, energy and sleep are all regulated by sex hormones. They’re vital to your brain function,” says Woodford.
According to the Mayo Clinic, low testosterone levels can contribute to hypoactive sexual desire disorder which is thought to be the most widespread sexual health problem in women. That means a lot of women are walking around deficient in testosterone.
When female patients come into his Florence, Alabama office with unexplained anxiety, Woodford doesn’t start talking about antidepressant prescription options. Instead, he brings up pellets. No, he’s not into target practice, but rather bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), a way to naturally balance a woman’s hormone levels using all-natural (aka, not artificial) components.
When Woodford learned about BHRT in 2009 after almost 15 years as an OBGYN, he was so impressed that he decided to make a career switch—he quit general obstetrics and gynecology and dedicated his practice solely to hormone pellet therapy. After 18 months of training, he found himself providing roughly 500 pellet insertions a month to patients. He sees both women and men for a range of hormone-related issues, but unexplained anxiety and other mood disorders are common.
The process works like this: Woodford tests a patient’s hormone levels via a simple blood test. He also checks for other hormone disruptions that might contribute to the symptoms, such as an underactive thyroid. If it turns out the woman’s testosterone levels are low, Woodford suggests a trial run of pellets.
Using an advanced technology by Simpatra, a custom dose of hormones is determined based on a patient’s blood test results. The best part is that the procedure typically takes less than five minutes. An area of skin, usually near the hips, is numbed with local anesthesia. A small cut is made and a 3-millimeter needle inserts the hormone pellets just under the skin. The dose doesn’t need to be repeated for another four months, on average, says Woodford, and results can be seen as early as a week later.
The process works like this: A patient’s hormone levels are tested via a simple blood test. Providers also check for other possible hormone disruptions are tested for that may also contribute to the symptoms, such as an underactive thyroid. If it turns out the woman’s testosterone levels are low, the provider may suggest a trial run of pellets.
Using an advanced technology by Simpatra, a custom dose of hormones is recommended based on a patient’s blood test results. The best part is that the procedure typically takes less than five minutes. An area of skin, usually near the hips, is numbed with local anesthesia. A small cut is made and a 3-millimeter needle inserts the hormone pellets just under the skin. The dose doesn’t need to be repeated for another four months, on average, and results can be seen as early as a week later.
To learn more about BHRT, or to find a provider near you, visit us at www.simpatra.health.
Disclaimer: The Simpatra website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Content from the Simpatra website and blog is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.