Naturopathic Women's Health
With international women’s day which was March 8th this month, March’s blog focus is on Women’s health.
So why is women’s health so complex? The simple answer is – hormones.
Here is some basic information on the hormones involved in women’s health:
Main hormone attributed to womens health
Responsible for development of secondary sex characteristics
Active during the first half of menstrual cycle, promotes growth of follicle and ovulation
Can be higher in PMS, PMDD, PCOS and Endometriosis
Drop in estrogen in luteal phase leads to menstrual migraines
Higher in the second phase of cycle, luteal phase
Drop in estrogen causes PMS symptoms due to higher progesterone
Drop in progesterone leads to menstrual bleeding and can lead more anxiety or spotting during cycle
Controls follicle development and ovulation
Not a primary hormone but needed for muscle growth, energy, libido
Along with DHEA, often higher in PCOS
Hormone released during stress that can reduce production of hormones naturally
Released by thyroid gland (TSH, T3, T4, anti-TPO)
Helps to coordinate weight, mood, energy, bowel movements and menstrual cycles
Common women’s health complaints:
- Heavy (Metorrhagia) and Painful periods (Menorrhagia)
- Irregular or missed periods (Oligomenorrhea and Amenorrhea)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (hair growth, cysts, blood sugar issues)
- PMS/PMDD (PMDD is more severe form of PMS)
- Fertility, pregnancy and postpartum health
- Headaches, migraines (hormonally related)
- Fatigue (Iron deficiency anemia and Hypothyroidism)
- Weight gain (estrogen dominance)
- Anxiety, depression and moodiness (can be from hormonal imbalance but also PMS)
- Perimenopause or Menopausal symptom (hot flashes, mood swings)
- Hormonal Acne (often common in PCOS or higher androgens)
- Breast, Ovarian and Cervical cancer
How can a naturopathic doctor help?
Naturopathic doctors can help take information during a consultation, and also request bloodwork that may be causing hormonal imbalances. After determining the imbalance(s) present, diet, supplements, herbal medicine and acupuncture is utilized.
Common women’s health supplements:
1. Vitamin D – Regulates a lot of hormone function in the body, therefore involved in female health.
2. B complex – Helps to metabolize hormones through the liver. Folic acid is also required during the prenatal phase of pregnancy.
3. Milk thistle – Helps to support the liver in converting hormones to less harmful substances that can be excreted. Ex. Both B vitamins and liver supportive herbs can help detox more harmful estrogens related to PMS, Endometriosis, heavy cramping and cancers.
4. Magnesium – Helpful in PMS to ease cramps, anxiety and migraines.
5. Evening primrose oil – Helpful in PMS to support mood as it helps to boost progesterone function in the luteal phase.
6. Chaste tree – Works to stimulate regular menstrual cycles in individuals who aren’t getting regular periods.
7. Black Cohosh – Reduces hot flashes and menopausal symptoms.
8. Ashwaganda – Helps to increase thyroid function, reduce anxiety, and improve energy through regulating cortisol. Other adaptogens such as rhodiola, ginseng and schisandra also help hormones indirectly by reducing cortisol.
9. Flax seed – Weak estrogens found in lignan compounds that can help prevent harmful estrogens in the development of hormonal imbalances and cancers
Interested in learning more about how hormonal imbalances can affect you?
Download my FREE Well Woman Questionnaire to see where your levels may be depending on your symptoms. Click below. This can be followed up with blood or saliva hormone testing. Book a consult below or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a 15 Minute Discovery Call.