Hormonal Imbalances from PMS to Menopause
Over the years women have been plagued with symptomatic hormonal irregularities. It has been generally appreciated that many women suffer with various mood, muscular pains, and a general loss of well being related to their hormonal cycles. Unfortunately, the medical field has been slow to both appreciate and respond to these very real needs. Due to a combination of concern about side effects of existing synthetic hormones along with a growing interest in natural therapies more women are seeking physicians who can select the best natural therapies tailored to their specific condition.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT HORMONES
There are various reasons that hormones get out of balance. First, the natural cycling of some hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone are easier to get out of balance then hormones, such as Testosterone, which tends remain at a static level. Next, since hormones are derived from cholesterol they are affected by the ones dietary fat choices.
Also, hormones injected into animals, such as beef and factory-farmed chickens, to speed up their growth, mimic and interfere with our hormonal system. In fact, there is increased concern that these synthetic hormones are causing children to sexually develop at an earlier age, grow taller, add to infertility, and increase one’s risk of hormone related cancers. Finally, chemicals such as pesticides are xenoestrogens acting as estrogen mimickers which add to the total body load of estrogen. This puts an additional burden on the liver and causes an imbalance with progesterone and testosterone (especially in males).
The simplest place to start is by replacing less optimal inflammatory fats withmore optimal omega-3 anti-inflammatory fats such as mercury-free fish oil supplement. Next, look for eggs, fish, and hormone-free chicken or beef when consuming animal protein. Select the most natural products available when shopping for your cosmetic, household cleaning, and garden needs. Consider minimizing chemical exposure both at the workplace as well as with hobbies.
WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT
Most women should be able to maintain regular menstrual periods. This would consist of approximately a 28-day cycle with 3-5 days of moderate bleeding and little or no pain. Any variation from this deserves an evaluation from a physician. Sudden changes of pain or amount of bleeding have more serious life threatening ramifications and are usually appropriately evaluated and treated. Chronic problems though are often ignored and accepted as “part of womanhood” by both the patient and her physician. I find that such women with hormonal irregularities often pattern their life around their cycles, are more prone to infertility, have higher risk pregnancies, more difficult childbirth labor, along with more menopausal symptoms. Again, the presence of any of these symptoms relates to less than optimal functioning and deserves a proper medical evaluation and treatment.
GETTING A PERSONALIZED APPROACH
Traditionally, a medical evaluation of hormonal variations is done by a single sample. Women who have more irregular menstrual cycles are best evaluated by multiple samples that more closely reflects ones hormone levels throughout the entire month. After a thorough medical evaluation along with a routine blood and hormonal panel a physician can then determine the most likely cause of the hormonal imbalance along with an initial tailored treatment plan.
Usually, treatment of hormonal imbalances includes a combination of therapeutic interventions to both support optimal liver functioning along with naturally assisting hormonal regulation. This is done through a combination of nutritional and herbal supplements often combined with natural hormonal therapy that is typically plant based and derived from soy. Natural hormonal therapy, when used, is formulated through a Compounding Pharmacy and tailored by a physician to individualized specifications.
The use of natural plant based tailored hormonal therapy both optimizes outcomes and eliminates the risks of synthetic hormonal therapy. In fact, many physicians practicing integrative medicine feel that properly prescribed natural hormonal therapy actually reduces the risk of many diseases such as cancer.
OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Musculoskeletal imbalances can cause pain and interfere with hormonal functioning through the central nervous system. I have even seen injuries that have occurred decades earlier when treated effectively reduce menstrual symptoms. Osteopathic musculoskeletal therapy is most helpful in reestablishing both musculoskeletal balance along with optimal blood and nerve flow to the urogenital system. In a similar way, acupuncture through the central innervations of the meridian system can often normalize hormonal flow. In Chinese medicine supporting organs such liver and spleen are considered central to optimal hormonal functioning.
In conclusion, I treat the whole person by considering the dietary, musculoskeletal as well as hormonal factors that are specifically causing a hormonal imbalance in your health.