Shamsah Amersi, MD
OB-GYN located in Santa Monica, CA
Shamsah Amersi, MD, helps her patients from across the Greater Los Angeles area to treat hormone imbalances from her welcoming practice in Santa Monica, California. To learn more about hormone imbalance, call the office or request an appointment using the online booking tool.
What is a hormone imbalance?
Hormones are the chemicals in the body that control major bodily functions ranging from digestion and hunger to reproduction and emotions. Hormones are created by different glands in the body and are responsible for normal body function.
Sometimes an imbalance occurs when one of the glands doesn’t work properly. This can be due to a change in life, such as menopause or a medical condition like hypothyroidism. When a woman’s hormone levels are too high or too low, her body will not work properly and she will experience an array of symptoms.
What are symptoms of a hormone imbalance?
There are many symptoms that are related to hormone imbalances, including:
- Anxiety, irritability, and depression - Anxiety and depression are clues that you have an imbalance, toxicity, are overworked, stressed out, and most likely aren't nourishing your body the way it needs.
- Belly fat and loss of muscle mass - An underproduction of certain hormones and an overproduction of others that makes your body store fat for future use, making an increase in belly fat a clue to adrenal fatigue.
- Fatigue - Feeling sluggish, scattered, or mentally foggy.
- Insomnia and poor sleep patterns
- Low libido - One of the most noticeable symptoms of hormonal imbalance is low libido, which starts with disturbed sleep. Without quality sleep, sex hormone production can diminish.
- Persistent weight gain – Many people have underlying hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
Many of these symptoms are easy to ignore or dismiss. If you feel that your life is negatively affected or if you or a loved one have noticed a change in your body, demeanor, or health, it is a good idea to see a medical professional for a checkup.
How are hormone imbalances treated?
Dr. Amersi performs a thorough assessment and hormone screening to diagnose a suspected hormone imbalance and to determine the best course of treatment. After identifying the specific issue, she will address a patient’s hormone imbalance using methods tailored to the exact nature of the individual’s imbalance.
In some instances, such as menopause, hormone replacement therapy can be recommended. In other instances, lifestyle changes and increased or decreased activity levels will be all that is required. Other conditions may require a prescription for synthetic hormones.
If you are undergoing any premenopausal symptoms or symptoms related to weight gain, insomnia, or increased acne, Dr. Amersi can identify what is causing the imbalance and prescribe a regimen or therapy to restore hormonal balance.
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
Regardless of age, a woman's hormones all work together like a symphony; if one part of the orchestra is not functioning properly, then the melody you produce is out of tune. Signs of hormonal imbalance in women are a very real quality of life issue.
All women need to be aware of these signs of hormone imbalance. Over the last 100 years, as we have doubled our life expectancy, the soft tissue glands which create our hormones are being forced to produce them longer than ever. Our increasingly stressful lives, worsening nutrition, and lack of proper fitness combine to result in declining levels of hormones in our bodies.
With Hormonal Imbalance - Awareness is Key. Even when only one unbalanced hormone is present, it may result in the following hormonal imbalance symptoms in women.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women:
- *cystic acne
- *painful sex
- hot flashes and night sweats
- weight gain
- mood changes
- low libido
- vaginal dryness
- foggy memory
- premature aging
- premature ovarian failure
That beautiful, tuned melody that we look for is your optimal health, free from premenopause symptoms and menopausal symptoms. Women with balanced hormones integrated with proper nutrition and fitness can have a better quality of life as they age.
What are the most common hormone imbalances?
There are many reasons you can experience hormone imbalance, such as:
Estrogen dominance occurs when your levels of estrogen are much higher than your progesterone levels. Stress, obesity, and exposure to man-made chemicals can all increase your estrogen levels, leading to heavy uterine bleeding, cramps, migraines, breast tenderness, and many other uncomfortable symptoms.
Thyroid hormone imbalance
The thyroid gland produces hormones that help regulate your mood, weight, temperature, and many other bodily functions. If your thyroid makes too much or too little of these hormones, you can experience uncomfortable symptoms like weight gain or loss, fatigue, or insomnia.
As a woman, you need a healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone to function properly. If your body produces too much estrogen, you can experience low levels of testosterone. Stress, obesity, and consuming too much alcohol all cause low testosterone.
Your adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol, which your body often releases during times of stress. Too much cortisol in your system can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and increased cravings.
Insulin is a hormone that your pancreas makes to manage your sugar levels. A combination of stress and a sugar-heavy diet can cause an insulin imbalance that raises your risk of headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and increased sweating.
There is Relief
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women can indicate any one of the conditions of menopause and her ugly sisters (perimenopause and postmenopause), surgical menopause, thyroid health, and adrenal fatigue. But regardless of condition, these symptoms could mean that you have a hormone imbalance.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, getting tested by a highly trained bioidentical hormone doctor in order to discover the current levels of your hormones, could be the solution you have been seeking.
Once we know your results, we can find that beautiful melody and relieve you of premenopause symptoms and menopausal symptoms; you do not have to live with them! You will be healthier, happier, and free to enjoy your life without the inconvenience and frustration of symptoms resulting from premenopause, menopause, or any of the others.
Depending on your hormone imbalance, Dr. Amersi can recommend specific diet and lifestyle changes for you. If you have a sex hormone imbalance, such as excess estrogen, an estrogen detox diet that includes flaxseeds and cruciferous vegetables may be right for you.
Lowering your stress levels through meditation, proper sleep, exercise, and supplements can also help rebalance your hormones.
Contact our office to schedule an appointment and learn more about how hormone therapy can relieve the menopausal symptoms and perimenopause symptoms associated with natural hormonal imbalance for women.
In the simplest terms, what happens to a woman’s hormones during perimenopause -Perimenopause often begins with irregularities in a woman’s cycle starting as early as 35. Most women enter perimenopause in their early to mid 40s. Our body goes through a very delicate hormonal dance not dissimilar to puberty. Normally during ovulation, the most mature egg leaves its follicle in the ovaries, and if the egg isn't fertilized, the lining of our uterus sheds, and we have our period. This cycle repeats over and over and over, for decades.
During perimenopasue ovulation becomes disrupted and erratic resulting in having cycles that come too quickly—like, two periods in one month—or suddenly skipping two months, and then having your period return with constant spotting. Some women experience chronic fatigue, trouble sleeping, mood swings, or depression. Often we’re dealing with major life changes and asking ourselves questions that can cause both mental and physical fatigue. During the early phase of perimenopause women experience a decrease in progesterone, the hormone that is produced normally after ovulation. Progesterone is the hormone responsible for making you feel calm, relaxed, the "feel good hormone". As a result women experience increased PMS, mood changes, severe insomnia, agitation, heavier periods and very erratic periods, similar to their teenage years. Estrogen, the hormone that makes you feel juicy, energized and sexual becomes more dominant so many women experience a heightened sexual surge during perimenopause.
Eventually, during perimenopause our body lowers the production of estrogen and we experience the next wave of symptoms- hot flashes, night sweats, dry skin, brain fog, depression, joint pain, and eventually vaginal dryness and painful sex. Unfortunately during this hormonal roller coaster women are also experiencing major life changes such as marital discord, sending our children off to college, caring for aging parents, work stressors which also affect our cortisol, adrenal gland and even our thyroid. Sluggish thyroid hormones and adrenal fatigue result in weight gain, lower metabolic rates, crippling fatigue, and the infamous muffin top waist. High cortisol or stress hormone production results in increasing fat storage, insulin resistance and anxiety. Insulin resistance is our body's inability to burn calories and use food as fuel; instead fat cells are increased and mid gut weight gain ensures. The last hormone that declines is testosterone, resulting in low libido, loss of muscle mass and tone, and worsening fatigue.
During perimenopause hormonal shifts adversely affect skin and hair. Suddenly women in their 40s describe acne especially in the periorbital region from the decline in female hormones. As estrogen levels plummet women will also notice loss of collagen which increased the appearance of dry sagging skin and decreased vaginal lubrication. Another significant finding is hair loss associated with hormonal changes. As estrogen levels are reduced, our testosterone levels become more dominant so we get more unwanted hair, acne, oily skin and hair loss.
Menopause is defined as no periods for one year. Women who go through menopause before 45 are defined as early menopause. Risk factors for going through early menopause include a family history. If your mother went into menopause early you have a much higher likelihood (about 20% of repeating this pattern. Smoking, certain medications, low body fat, all increase the risk of estrogen deficiency and earlier loss of ovarian hormones. Genetic disorders such as Fragile X or Turner syndrome can result in premature menopause. In addition, autoimmune conditions, especially thyroid imbalances can affect ovarian hormone balance. Unfortunately many cancer therapies, especially for breast cancer, will force women to go into a chemical menopause.
This is when your body is forced into an abrupt cessation of ovarian function, usually from chemotherapy, surgery (removal of your ovaries ), and is far more severe than when your body goes into a natural menopause with a slow decline of hormones over years.
Symptoms are far more severe and intense including debilitating vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats), bone loss, vaginal dryness, depression and loss of libido, insomnia and memory changes,
The habits you have in the decades prior to perimenopause are key in how women navigate through any hormone fluctuations. Accumulated dietary stressors, adrenal stressors and emotional stressors can wreak havoc on your hormone balance. Symptoms are in direct proportion to your degree of micronutrient depletion and lack of self care.High blood sugar levels and stress can adversely affect your hormones. Fiber helps with the absorption of sugar and also with the excretion of excess estrogen through our gut. Omega 3 fatty acids have been established as key essential nutrients to promote hormone balance, brain health and cardiovascular support. Sleep and exercise, especially resistance training with weights help protect bone loss and promote muscle tone.Caffeine and alcohol deplete your micronutrients and should be kept to a minimum. Finally, MEDITATE. 10 minutes a day of breath work and headspace can truly transform your health.
PREPARATION FOR YOUR SKIN
The biggest thing in terms of preventing and helping yourself with skin changes really is skin protection, wearing sunblock that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, such as products with zinc and titanium oxide. Switch to heavier creams with hyaluronic acid. As soon as you leave the shower apply the cream on your face and body to lock in the moisture. For loss of collagen using lasers, retinoids and clean skin products are all healthy. Stop smoking, vaping and drinking as they all age your skin.
There is no reason to suffer during this time. In my practice we offer individualized tailored bioidentical hormone treatment to help mitigate all of our patients symptoms. Bioidentical hormones are similar in molecular structure to what our body makes, safe to use under the guidance of an experienced medical doctor, and can truly transform your quality of life. A regimen of natural hormones, supplements, lifestyle changes and herbs can address each of the above symptoms. Not every patient needs hormone therapy but when indicated, can restore our body's hormone harmony.
Ask us about our Holistic Gynecology services.
Major Insurance Providers Accepted
We accept only PPO insurance plans. Below is a short-list of just some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed below.
Words from our patients
"Dr. Amersi is a fantastic, loving, and attentive doctor. She has been nothing but supportive and answers every question I have"
"Dr. Amersi & staff are top notch. From check-in to post appt problems with a prescription, they were attentive, thorough and happy"
"I had a consultation with Dr. Amersi yesterday. Love her! Love the offices!"
"Dr. Amersi is absolutely wonderful. Not only is she attentive and nurturing, but she makes you feel like an old friend"
"It took me 7 years to find the right gynecologist, and Dr. Amersi is it. Her office is so peaceful and her staff is so kind. I am so grateful to have found her!"
"I've been going to Dr. Amersi for about four years now and I absolutely love her"
"I've been going to Dr. Amersi for about 9 years now and couldn't be more pleased with her level of care, understanding, knowledge and professionalism"
"Okay, so I'll just start off by saying that Dr. Amersi is the best doctor, ever. I found her using Yelp and couldn't be happier!"
"Her office was very pretty & her staff was friendly. Even though I hate these types of visits Dr Amersi was very friendly, welcoming & made the visit easy :)"
" Love this doc. She's quick and efficient but if you need to talk to her more or ask questions she's willing to take the time to do that."
"Dr Amersi gave me one of the best gifts: she kept me and both of my baby boys healthy and safe during pregnancy and delivery!"
"She is incredible! She genuinely cares about her patients and she really takes time to get to know you and treat you as a person, not just a patient."
"She is a true doctor who works from the heart and with such expertise! She has a way of looking at the whole picture that I think is so important."
"Doctors don't come any better then Amersi! She sincerely cares for her patients and is great at listening and providing the best care possible."
"Dr Amersi has been my doctor since 2004, she is really fantastic at what she does and really cares about her patients. The staff is super friendly."
"I have seen Dr. Amersi for the past six years or so and really love her. She thinks ahead and asks questions to make sure she is familiar with your situation."
"Dr. Amersi was able to calm all of my first time mom fears during my pregnancy and I knew I was in great hands when it came time to deliver.".
"She is very informative and knowledgeable, however she is also warm and caring and truly interested in your well- being!"
"Her knowledge, professionalism & caring attitude is a set of characteristics that I was never able to find in another OBGYN."
Dr. Sham helped us deliver Penelope & Adam safely into the world. You're more than an extraordinary doctor. We are grateful for your excellent care & genuine compassion