Ripping off the Hormonal Band-Aid!

Ripping off the Hormonal Band-Aid!

12:02 07 December in News
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In October’s article, I discussed the importance to your health of knowing your ratio for Omega 3s to Omega 6s. In this issue, I focus on another important ratio that is important to women: Managing your ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Learn more being dependent  on “the pill”, about estrogen dominance, and how to manage your hormones in a natural way.

 

Why “the pill” is not the perfect solution

According to a recent study, only 42% of women who use the birth control pill do so for contraception – exclusively. For others, the pill is often the popular therapy for women during their reproductive years to manage symptoms that are hormone related(such as managing painful or heavy menses, acne, pre-menstrual mood disturbances, and migraines).

Unfortunately, the pill is not a perfect solution for two reasons: First, the pill doesn’t address the underlying reasons for hormonal imbalance. Second, many of the symptoms return upon discontinuation of the pill. This can be a rude awakening for some women who started on the pill in their teens to address a particular health concern. When these women decide to start a family a decade or two later, they only find out that the symptoms return with a vengeance.

 

What is estrogen dominance

While PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) is common – affecting 30-85% of women –  PMS is not normal or ideal, since it can profoundly affect a woman’s quality of life and well-being.

Symptoms include:

  • Mood changes
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness,
  • Foggy thinking,
  • Mastalgia
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Cravings
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Headaches
  • Bowel changes
  • Water retention
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings

 

These symptoms can be attributed to a condition known as estrogen dominance: a relative increase in estrogen in relation to progesterone. Ovaries produce both these hormones.

 

How does estrogen dominance occur

If a woman does not ovulate or ovulates late in her cycle, there is a decrease in production of progesterone after ovulation.  Combine this decrease of progesterone with an increased conversion of testosterone into estrogen, and the progesterone to estrogen ratio changes, thus causing estrogen dominance.  Compounding estrogen dominance are chemicals found in our environment known as Xenoestrogens – chemicals that mimic estrogen.  Xenoestrogens exert a significant estrogenic influence on tissues (what is the concern on tissues? Or should we just take this out?).  Estrogen dominance has been correlated to an increase in PMS symptoms, and is a risk factor for the development of:

  • Estrogen dependent cancers
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease

What can be done to minimize estrogen dominance

From a naturopathic perspective, treating PMS involves careful attention to a woman’s diet and digestive health.  Achieve healthier hormonal balance by increasing your intake of fiber, vegetables, fruits, nuts/ seeds, and lean proteins. Avoid excess carbohydrates, sugars, dairy, and red meat – items that tend to exacerbate pre-menstrual symptoms by promoting inflammation and unstable blood sugar.

Supplementing your diet to include ground flaxseeds and fermented foods can manage constipation issues and ensure your body excretes harmful estrogens through regular bowel movements. Numerous natural remedies have been studied and found to exert a beneficial effect on these common but often debilitating symptoms.  Additionally, by learning about your possible nutrient deficiencies from your naturopathic doctor, you can avoid further exacerbating these symptoms.

You may find it beneficial to create a naturopathic treatment plan to manage your hormones and its symptoms. A plan may include:

  • Use of herbs to regulate the cycle and decrease PMS
  • Supplementing with vitamins and mineral
  • Modifying your lifestyle and diet

In particular, herbal remedies have been demonstrated to be as effective as some anti-depressants in the
treatment of:

  • PMS
  • Associated tension and depression
  • Cyclical breast pain, tenderness, and swelling

Develop healthy liver functions by detoxifying it of harmful compounds. Taking the right kinds of vitamins and minerals can assist in reducing water retention, irritability, depression, headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, nausea, constipation, menstrual cramps and acne. Vital vitamins and minerals can increase your progesterone levels and the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin (to improve mood and manage cravings).

 

How to manage my hormones

If you suffer from PMS or other hormonal imbalances, a tailored naturopathic prescription can help you address your symptoms and re-balance your body.  To schedule an appointment, you may contact me, Dr. Suzanna Ivanovics, at 416-972-9355 or email me at dr.suzanna.nd@gmail.com.

 

Yours in health,

Dr. Suzanna

 

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