Demystifyng Hormonal Balance

  • Were you put on the pill for irregular cycles and/or alleviating
    symptoms of PMS?

  • Have doctors told you it would be difficult to conceive?

  • Have you had uterine fibroids surgically removed only to
    have them grow back again?

  • Are you still gaining weight no matter how many diets
    you’ve attempted?

  • Are you suffering from lingering hot flashes even though
    you’re post menopause?

  
Photo: Miha Matei

We live in a culture that has little regard for “self nurturing.” Many of us continue to travel at a velocity that is completely out of rhythm with who we are. Unfortunately, women of all ages speed along life’s highway with little regard for the physical, emotional and spiritual consequences of their daily choices. The way a woman lives her life is directly analogous to her health and well being. What I have observed in working with women in Charleston and around the country for over two decades, are the escalating effects of daily stress. Many women are multi-tasking to the point of burnout–working long hours, skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much caffeine and taking too little time for themselves.

We are in a constant state of doing.

Years of “doing” has left them energetically, spiritually and emotionally depleted and out of balance. In terms of Oriental Medicine, many of these women are yin deficient. In other words, years of constant “doing” (yang in nature) has left the essence of their “being” depleted-manifesting as disease and hormonal imbalance. We don’t suddenly wake up one day with fibroids, endometriosis, night sweats, insomnia, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and various cancers. Our hormones are molecules that serve as messengers to several hundred trillion cells in our body. According to  Uzzi Reiss, M.D., “Many women today are never in hormonal balance-at any age.  A woman who is hormonally imbalanced at twenty-five usually continues that way through perimenopause and menopause unless she gets proper menopause treatment.

Most illness is a reflection of lifestyle choices made over a period of months, years, even decades.

The Womb of Creation Resides in the Feminine

A few years ago, I traveled to Brazil along the Rio Negro in the Amazon. I visited a well-respected healer and shaman by the name of Bebe. I asked her, “What  can I bring back and share with the women I work with in the United States?” This wonderful 84 year-old shaman looked deeply into my eyes and said, “Please, tell these women, to get out of their heads and start living in their hearts.

Ultimately, what we bring forth into our world gives birth to who we are each and everyday. It is an expression of our divine individuality. It is our absolute birthright.

The womb of creation resides in the Feminine. It is in our nature and biology to create. In Chinese Medicine the uterus is referred to as the “small heart”. The uterus is so much more than a physical container for a potential child. Energetically, it is the cradle of our creative essence. Our internal world is the “mother within.”  This “mother within” creates everything in our lives — “the sacred living child.

 

Chronic stress, elevated insulin levels, blood sugar issues, and poor nutrition are a few of the factors compromising women's hormonal health today. For example, when a woman's body is in a state of constant of low-grade stress, she uses progesterone in an effort to combat the situation at hand. Thus, robbing her body of an important hormone and over time, potentially contributing to a state of “estrogen dominance.

What is Estrogen Dominance?

Estrogen, when excessive, unopposed or not balanced by progesterone creates a syndrome called “Estrogen Dominance.” This imbalance is quite common to women living in the United States and other industrialized countries. Estrogen dominance creates a hormonal environment for an array of symptoms, ranging from PMS, tender breasts, allergies, infertility, endometriosis, hot flashes and anxiety to various forms of cancer. This causes a hormone imbalance that must be corrected.

Some of the main causes of Estrogen Dominance

  • Birth Control Pills: the pill contains strong chemicalized estrogens along with chemicalized progestins, which has no resemblance to your natural progesterone.
  • Progesterone declines significantly by a woman’s mid-thirties.
  • Conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy – high doses of estrogen and the use of chemicalized progestins instead of natural progesterone.
  • Xenoestrogens are foreign estrogens produced outside the body such as pesticides, chemical compounds found in plastics, detergents, dioxin, canned foods.
  • Commercially raised poultry and cattle. These animals are fed estrogen-like hormones, growth hormone and antibiotics that can dramatically disrupt hormone balance.
  • During perimenopause the body stops producing significant levels of progesterone.
  • Stress the “Wired but Tired” Syndrome – Years of stress pushing and pulling on the adrenal glands contributing to blood sugar imbalances, reduced progesterone output, fatigue and exhaustion is a major contributing factor towards estrogen dominance.
  • Obesity – The enzyme, aromatase, present in body fat, converts androgens into estrogen. The more body we fat carry, the more estrogen we produce.
  • Our body utilizes a certain amount of estrogen during a menstrual cycle. Any excess estrogen should be excreted through the bowels. Constipation and other gastro-intestinal issues can make us re-absorb those estrogens before they can be excreted.
  • Deficiency of Vitamin B6 and Magnesium – both are necessary for detoxifying estrogen in the liver.

The Culprits: Sugar, Stress and Our Gut Including the Microbiome

Our ability to achieve our highest genetic potential is directly impacted by the foods we eat, the integrity of our gut flora (microbiome) and the ways we handle stress in our environment. Over the past 21years, I have compiled a wealth of clinical knowledge and expertise in treating an extremely common yet highly overlooked issue in public health: the impact of sugar on hormonal balance, adrenal functioning and gastro-intestinal health. My research in this area has led to some extremely successful treatment programs.

Like sugar, constant, low-grade stress can set off a negative chain of events in the body. Stress robs the body of various nutrients, and the average, present-day diet does not compensate for that loss. Without proper nutrition, the body — especially the gut — starts to break down. Research has shown that 80% of our immune response is determined by the integrity of our gut, leading to impaired intestinal function that is likely to trigger frequent lingering colds, possible weight gain, hormonal imbalances such as estrogen dominance and accelerated cellular aging that can potentially lead to cancer.

“All disease comes from metabolic imbalances. When the underlying metabolic imbalance is corrected the disease goes away…. This is called preventive medicine. Cancer is no different — it is caused by an underlying metabolic imbalance that turns normal cells into cancer cells.” – John R. Lee, M.D.

Did You Know?

A healthy range of body fat for women is between 17-24 percent. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more then 34 percent of Americans are obese — over 72 million people! The enzyme aromatase, present in body fat, converts androgens into estrogens — the more body fat women carry, the more they place themselves at risk for cancers and other diseases.