Over 7 million women suffer from some form of female hormone imbalance. The common two most common “solutions” include surgery or hormone-based medications. The problem with those “solutions” is that they aren’t solutions at all! They are a Band-Aid to a much bigger metabolic dysfunction. Generally, we are not born with a hormone imbalance. Something had to trigger the process. When we can uncover these triggers using Integrative holistic functional medicine, we see natural, long lasting relief and balance!
Integrative Functional Medicine for Female Hormones
The most common female hormone imbalances have very similar underlying metabolic factors such as:
- Poor blood sugar balance
- high inflammation
- low omega 3’s
- low vitamin D
- adrenal stress
- poor functioning liver detox pathways
- poor gut function.
All of these are important for proper hormone function, but the root cause is different in each individual.
80% of women in the US have suffered from PMS. Generally, PMS is thought to be low progesterone in the last half of a woman’s cycle. Low progesterone can be caused by low hormone stimulation from the brain, poor functioning adrenal glands, exogenous hormones.
Female hormones are extremely complex. 6.1 million women suffer from infertility. Infertility is one of the most complex metabolic dysfunctions with hormones there is. There are many key players such as thyroid hormones, hormones that come from the brain to stimulate the ovaries and methylation pathways. One key concept to pay attention to is Post Birth Control Syndrome. Birth control will change hormonal rhythms, cause liver dysfunction, and sap a woman of her micro and macronutrients she needs in order to even make hormones.
It is believed that 60% of women suffer from menstrual migraines. Too little and too much estrogen can both cause menstrual migraines. With these estrogen fluctuations, there is often progesterone fluctuations as well. The key to determining the correct route of management is to determine why estrogen is low or high or a combination of both.
Perimenopause and menopause symptoms
Roughly 10% of women suffer from perimenopause or menopause symptoms. Our adrenal glands are responsible for roughly 50% of our sex hormones once we’ve hit menopause. Chronic fatigue, blood sugar issues, chronic stress (physical, emotional and chemical), inflammation will all affect how well our adrenal glands will produce those sex hormones.
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10-20% of women suffer from endometriosis. The Sampson Theory states that endometriosis is caused by retrograde menstruation. While this is a common believe in the health care community, it is not enough of an explanation. Most women will experience retrograde menstruation, but not all will end up with endometriosis. This is why digging deeper is so important. There have been associations with high mast cell involvement, immune system involvement, progesterone resistance, and an up-regulation of an enzyme called aromatase.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS affects roughly 10% of the women in the United States. There is a very large link between PCOS and blood sugar swings. These blood sugar swings will up-regulate an enzyme called 17,20 lyase, which will increase testosterone levels in a woman. There is also a large link between BPA levels in a woman with PCOS. BPA’s are harsh on the liver, where we get rid of excess hormones.