Functional Endocrinology

There are many new tests and ways of looking at common problems with hormones. I’ll get into some of them a bit later but I have to vent a bit… I have always said that the modern “conventional” medical community does the best testing to diagnose disease. I am finding that is not necessarily the case. There are many tests that are already available that the conventional community does not use for various reasons, some for ideological reasons such as they do not believe the test is useful or valid. Or,
the tests are not the conventional “standard of care” or are not covered by insurance since the conventional community’s management of the disease process does not warrant finding out what is really happening so the root can be addressed.

I practice Functional Medicine (and Functional Endocrinology). Many of you are wondering what “Functional Medicine” and “Functional Endocrinology” are anyway. These types of medicine are rooted in science. The core beliefs are that the body’s organs are inter-connected and that each person is different biochemically and genetically. This difference and the balance between the organ systems is the power of Functional Medicine. We address the cause of a problem and make the body’s own
function address the problem not just give things to address symptoms or over power the body’s function. For instance, many GYNs will hear a woman’s complaint of menopause type of symptoms and prescribe HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy. GYNs who believe in a more natural way (or those who are bowing to public pressure by subscribing to Suzanne Sommer’s partially misguided teachings) will prescribe “bio-identical” HRT. At least these doctors acknowledge that human women
are biochemically different than pregnant horses (Premarin = Pregnant Mares Urine).

These treatments may or may not help the patient out. Many times the symptoms start again when the woman goes off the HRT leading to the woman staying on HRT for years and potentially causing side effects and increasing cancer and heart disease risks. By contrast, when I find that the body is deficient in certain hormones, neurotransmitters, etc. my patient and I will work on the organ or gland to make it produce the thing that is deficient instead of just giving the hormone or neurotransmitter in a pill, cream or a shot. From a functional standpoint we look at many different things and many things differently:

First, there are many things that are happening during menopause- are the hot flashes being caused by no estrogen? (There are a majority of women who do not have hot flashes during menopause). Are the hot flashes being caused by adrenal problems, thyroid problems, blood sugar problems? Is the reason the HRT is not working because the formulation is wrong or because it is not addressing the problem in the first place? Or is the problem that something else is blocking the cellular function? Or, is something happening that even many conventional endocrinologists are not even looking for: is your immune system attacking the hormones and glands? There are tests for this autoimmune response for the Thyroid that some conventional doctors will look at but these conditions are not regularly looked at for estrogen, testosterone, etc. These conditions can render HRT useless or can even worsen symptoms a person is experiencing.

Over the next few weeks I will be discussing the different glandular/hormone systems, some of the “Functional” testing that is available and some of the differences in theory and practice between Functional and Conventional approaches. Doc Visconti’s office is located near the Citrus Tower. If you have any questions regarding this
or any other health related topics, please contact us now.