Female hormones have a very strong influence over how you feel, how you look and your current and future health. They influence everything from sleep, to weight, to fertility, to energy, to mood and even things like cardiovascular, thyroid, brain and metabolic health (to name a few). So when they are out of balance in relation to one another, they can cause a whole host of symptoms, both menstrual cycle and non-menstrual cycle related.
Here are a few key signs/symptoms that your hormones might be a contributing factor:
Further, if you have been diagnosed or are struggling with any of the following items naturopathic medicine can help you to restore balance and/or improve your quality of life:
Most women are told these symptoms are “normal” or that “this is just part of PMS, menopause, etc”, or worse that radical surgeries including removal of the ovaries and uterus are the only option. This is, in most cases, very far from the truth.
Normally, the body has an innate ability to restore hormone imbalances on it’s own, however there are several factors that can impede it’s ability to do so. Naturopathic medicine can work with your body to rebalance hormone levels, to help regain homeostasis and to improve overall health. Here are some common causes of hormone imbalances to consider:
Our approach to hormone balancing includes identification of your unique hormonal imbalance, restoring gut health & dietary modification, menstrual cycle tracking & body literacy, targeted supplements & botanicals, stress management, sleep hygiene, and in certain cases, the use of bio-identical hormone restoration.
Testing is an important component of the treatment process. Proper tests will allow a naturopath to identify specific hormone imbalances and to determine possible causes. Some of the tests used include:
Often testing plays an important role in both establishing a baseline assessment and in monitoring improvements over time. In most cases, blood testing is the preferred (and most scientifically validated) method of determining this. The extent and type of bloodwork ordered is determined on a person by person basis.
The health of your gut plays an enormous role in the health of your hormones. It provides the nutrients and building blocks for hormone production, it influences inflammation and the immune system (which impact hormone levels) and it plays a role in the detoxification of hormones. Since what you eat impacts your gut, dietary modification is an integral step in both improving your gut and hormonal health.
Education and awareness around a woman’s menstrual cycle is a foundational piece of restoring hormone balance. In fact, a woman’s menstrual cycle is considered one of the key vital signs; in the same category of importance as blood pressure, respiration rate, temperature and heart rate. Learning to monitor and understand things like basal body temperature, cervical mucous and PMS symptoms gives a women key insight into, not only her fertility, but also the health of many other body systems (such as thyroid, gut health, immune, etc). This process enhances a woman’s engagement and understanding of how various lifestyle and environmental factors influence their wellbeing.
Based on your initial assessment (including bloodwork) you will be prescribed specific nutrients/botanicals for one of 3 reasons:
Your female hormones are very sensitive to changes in stress hormones. In particular, the bodies reproductive tasks, and therefore hormone production, take a backseat when an individual experiences prolonged exposure to stress. And while many stressors are obvious, such as work or family, others are less obvious and yet impact female hormones just the same. These “hidden” sources of stress include poor quality or quantity of sleep, environmental toxins, chronic infections and too much exercise. Identifying and minimizing these stressors is an important aspect of optimizing your hormones.
Finally, for some women the use of bio-identical hormones can play a critical role in helping them to achieve their health goals. For various reasons, sometimes natural therapies alone are not enough to restore health and achieve balance. Bio-identical hormones are similar in structure and function to your own hormones and when used correctly can help optimize a women’s wellbeing and prevent future health deterioration