Get treatment for:

Hormone Issues

+ PCOS, Cycle Irregularity, Adrenal Burnout, Chronic Fatigue, Fertility 

Many women are told there is no cure for hormonal conditions. However, functional medicine offers a wide range of treatments to help you reverse a hormone imbalance.

Looking For a Doctor For a Hormone Issue?

How Do I Know If I Have Hormone Issues?

Hormonal imbalance affects millions of women worldwide. The hormonal ecosystem of a woman’s body is complex, and one imbalance can set off a chain reaction. Many women are told there is no cure for hormonal conditions. However, this is a little misleading as it’s more accurate to say there are no cures within the realm of medications and conventional medicine.

However, many women continue to manage and reverse symptoms of hormone imbalances via integrative and lifestyle treatments as this brings the body back to homeostasis.

Since our hormones affect just about every function in the body – sleep, metabolism, libido, mood, blood pressure, fertility – symptoms of a hormone balance are very diverse. They range from the awkward and embarrassing (acne or hair growth) to the extremely inconvenient (heavy or irregular periods) to the debilitating or life-changing (issues getting pregnant or endometriosis). Often doctors will treat your various symptoms as different conditions, but often these symptoms are indicative of an underlying hormone imbalance.

These symptoms are so common that they can start to feel normal. However, It is important to distinguish between ‘normal’ and ‘healthy.’ Your body in its original, healthy state will not experience any of these symptoms. If you are experiencing painful, irregular, heavy or no periods, that may feel normal, but it should be taken as a signal to start making some serious changes in your life.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance can feel like our body is working against us. Yet, from another perspective, symptoms like acne, weight gain, or irregular periods can also be viewed as signals to where to direct healing. For example, hormonal acne can be indicative of an underlying toxicity in the blood. When you have excess androgens (testosterone), or heavy metals in the blood, your blood tries to push this out through your skin causing acne.

Losing Your cycle

The reproductive system is non-essential to the body’s survival, so when your hormones are out of balance, your cycle is one of the first things it will compromise. It’s often not until you regain your underlying health and vitality that your cycle will return.

A little menstrual cramping is normal but acute pain, nausea, and vomiting can indicate a serious deficiency, or point to a more chronic issue like endometriosis.

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder where tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. It’s estimated that as many as 1 in 10 women have endometriosis.

Amenorrhea —  when your period stops altogether —  can feel like a convenience at first. However, this is often the symptom of a significant hormone imbalance or of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Some conditions can require pelvic scans (such as in the case of PCOS) or investigative surgery (as in the case of endometriosis) to diagnose so if you are experiencing acute ongoing pain it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

Not all women with a hormone imbalance experience issues with their cycle. Some symptoms can be subtle or appear unrelated. Estrogen dominance can also affect your ability to lose and keep off weight. If the body is circulating excessive estrogen and the liver is not effectively breaking it down, this signals the body to create more fat cells. The stored fat in turn emits more estrogen which instructs the body to store more fat. This vicious cycle makes it hard to stabilize weight until the hormone levels are rebalanced.

Anxiety or depression can also indicate an underlying hormone imbalance. During the first two weeks of your cycle estrogen levels are higher causing lighter moods yet as progesterone increases shortly after ovulation, there can be a natural drop in mood. It’s common to experience some irritability in the days leading up to menstruation. However, if this becomes more extreme like anxiety or depression, it can indicate a hormonal imbalance or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

A big part of this journey is learning to recognize when you feel off, and how to guide yourself back to balance. As you learn to stabilize your hormones, you’ll quickly recognize when things feel off, and learn tools to bring yourself back. This is why the process of balancing your hormones is far more rewarding than just removing your symptoms. On a deeper level, rebalancing your hormones is about reclaiming your body’s innate power and wisdom.

Menopause

Menopause has multiple stages. The first stage known as perimenopause is roughly from ages 35 to 45 when hormone production can shift or decline and periods can become less consistent. The second known as menopause is roughly 45 to 55 when FSH levels increase, ending the process of ovulation and marking the transition away from reproductive age. Postmenopause commences when you have not had a period for twelve months. If you take care of your hormonal health, the transition into these phases might be relatively smooth. Maintaining good health and balanced hormones can mean your periods remain regular in the first phase and you will still have a consistent sex drive, energy, and vitality. In fact, becoming sexually disinterested, unable to control or maintain your weight, experiencing accelerated aging, having fertility issues, feeling anxious or low or burnt-out, or missing periods is a sign you can indicate you likely need to make some dietary or lifestyle changes. These changes should hopefully pave the way for a smooth transition into the later stages of menopause later down the line.

The Root Causes of Hormone Issues:

Hormonal imbalance is a result of having too much or too little of any one hormone in the bloodstream. When one hormone is out of balance, it can create a domino effect by altering the production of other hormones. This is why there might be a variety of causes, a variety of symptoms and why conventional medicine is so ineffective at dealing with hormone issues.

So what causes them in the first place? Hormone Imbalances can occur via a number of factors but primarily through the food we eat, stress, not enough sleep, toxins in the products we use. Here are some of the key areas to be aware of:

Dysregulated blood sugar levels:

Research has shown a strong link between insulin resistance or blood sugar dysregulation and hormone imbalances in women. Insulin resistance is one of the main physiological imbalances in most, if not all PCOS, as noted by experts at the Cleveland Clinic*. It is thought that 70% of women with PCOS are insulin resistant. Continuously dysregulated blood sugar disturbs the delicate chemical shifts in a woman’s body. If you eat a lot of refined sugars or processed foods, which are so common in the modern-day diet, you will likely be experiencing big spikes and crashes in your blood sugar. This can feel like intense cravings, mood swings, and sluggish energy throughout the day, particularly first thing in the morning and after you eat a meal. 

One of the best things you can do for a hormone imbalance is remove processed food and get on a more whole food plant-based diet.

Inflammation:
Inflammation is a naturally occurring process in the body to fight foreign invaders and protect and heal itself. You’ll witness inflammation every time you cut your skin as antibodies neutralize any potential bacteria, or when you bruise yourself and the blood rushes to heal damaged cells and tissue. 

The issues come in when you consume additives, preservatives, unnatural flavorings, man-made compounds, and toxins in processed foods. This catalyzes the same inflammatory reaction in the body, as the immune system identifies them as an unnatural alien threat. When the body is living in a chronic state of inflammation, it is always under stress and cannot function optimally. Chronic inflammation has been linked to just about every chronic disease including diabetes, heart disease, cancers, mental health challenges and also hormonal imbalances such as PCOS. If you feel heavy in your body on a subtle level or fatigued this could be due to inflammation.

Again, one of the very best things you can do to reduce inflammation is to move to a diet free from processed foods and adopt a more whole food plant-based diet.

Stress:

Similar to the inflammatory response, stress hormones are designed to help you. In times of danger, stress hormones increase our awareness and reflexes. They circulate blood to our extremities so we can run faster and escape.

Yet, when stress hormones are released chronically on a day-to-day basis from events like relationships or professional challenges, they can create anxiety and disrupt the rest of the body. In some cases, cortisol levels lower estrogen levels and in others, estrogen dominance can increase cortisol. Stress does not have to be presented in the form of lifestyle challenges. It can also exist in generalized overstimulation. In today’s world of loud noises, traffic jams, social media scrolling, global news, and advertising, our nervous systems are continuously activated. If you over-exercise, don’t get enough sleep, drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol, spend a lot of time on electronic devices, your body may struggle to maintain hormonal balance. When the body is in a continual state of fight-or-flight, it will restrict or shut down other non-essential functions, affecting the reproductive, menstrual, and digestive systems.

Liver health:

The liver is a filter for the blood. When it gets overrun with caffeine, alcohol, sugars, and toxins it cannot effectively process and eliminate excessive reproductive hormones. Most of the household, skincare, cosmetics, and toiletries we use every day contain toxins that must be processed out by the liver. Some of these products, as well as plastic items (for example Tupperware and drinks bottles), contain xeno-oestrogen which mimic natural estrogen and interfere with the healthy production and use of this hormone. Although it is virtually impossible to avoid all toxins, having an already overloaded liver through dietary and lifestyle choices can create or exacerbate hormonal imbalance.

Gut health:

A group of bacteria in the microbiome (the good and bad bacteria that live in the digestive tract) known as the estrobolome play the role of metabolizing and eliminating estrogen from the body. If there is an overpopulation of bad bacteria in the gut due to excessive antibiotic or NSAIDs use, poor diet, chronic stress or toxin use, hormonal disruption can occur. Poor gut health can also increase inflammation, dysregulated blood sugar, and hinder the absorption of nutrients.

In the event of constipation, hormones that are being carried out of the body via elimination also have time to be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream, adding to estrogen dominance. Gut dysbiosis can often be characterized by felt experiences such as bloating, gas, heartburn, acne, brain fog, fatigue, metabolic challenges, and elimination issues but can contribute to wider hormonal imbalances.

Treating Hormone Imbalances:

Although hormonal issues can feel overwhelming and complex (made worse by lots of conflicting information) the healing approach is fairly straightforward. When lifestyle factors are brought back into equilibrium through diet, stress, and toxin reduction, the body is inclined to return to its natural rhythm and facilitate the natural balance and cycle of hormones.

1. Advanced Functional Testing.

With all the misinformation circulating online about health, getting advanced testing through an integrative doctor can be life-changing. This alone can save you years of trial and error.

Everybody is different, and often we have allergies and deficiencies we never realized. Getting advanced lab tests for hormone levels, nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, and gut-biomes can give you a level of precision and insight that can make the healing journey much more smoothe. When you are able to quickly identify your largest imbalances, healing can happen much faster.

2. Remove processed, inflammatory foods to stabilize blood sugar.

Although each body is unique, opting for a diet rich in whole foods and eliminating processed foods and refined sugars repairs should be the #1 essential for rebalancing hormones.

Removing gluten, a specific protein found in wheat, rye and barley, can also decrease inflammation. Even if you don’t have a specific gluten intolerance or allergy, removing gluten can help you build a healthier gut lining.

Removing dairy products reduces high levels of estrogen from your dietary intake, positively impacts PMS symptoms and decreases inflammation in the intestinal tract.

Removing high GI (glycemic index) items and refined sugars will also stabilize blood sugar giving the body the opportunity to return to equilibrium.

This phase will also include choosing foods which nourish your gut such as fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, organic kombucha) and probiotic supplements as well as lots of fibre plus foods to support liver function (eggs, green vegetables).

 

3. Rebalance stress.

Maintaining hormonal balance demands healthy stress management. Multiple clinical trials have shown two techniques, in particular, meditation and mindfulness can positively impact overall health and wellbeing.

The Rebalancing phase is all about:
– Managing your stress through targeted mindfulness
– Improving sleep
– Developing a proper gentle movement routine and/or cathartic movement to relieve stored stress

4. Remove toxins.

To ensure long-term hormonal health, it is also important to opt for as natural an approach as possible in your household, cosmetic and toiletries products. Just as we encourage you to go organic as far as possible in your food choices, removing items from your daily use which cause gut dysbiosis and stress on the liver is just as important.

Getting started:
All Wisdom members get a personal functional medicine doctor, as well as access to our Foundation of Integrative Healing program. In total, you’ll get over 40 hours with integrative doctors for hands-on support as you change your life, and begin reversing your hormonal imbalance.

 

Questions About Membership?

One of our advisors can help with all of your membership questions.