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Functional Medicine
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Female Hormone Imbalance

The ovaries produce many hormones. Chief among them are oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. The ovarian hormones oestrogen and progesterone interact to coordinate a woman’s menstrual cycle during her reproductive years.


The brain produces the hormones follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which trigger hormone production from the ovaries. When any of the hormones coming from the brain or the ovaries are imbalanced, symptoms may occur. Several conditions are well known to be associated with hormonal imbalance including: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and menstrual irregularities.

Symptoms of female hormone imbalance

  • Acne or oily skin
  • Bloating
  • Bone loss
  • Decreased fertility
  • Depression
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Hot flashes
  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Irritability
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Loss of scalp hair
  • Low libido
  • Memory lapses
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Night sweats
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tender or fibrocystic breasts
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Weight gain


Causes of hormone imbalance
Stress again!
When we are under stress our bodies release increased levels of cortisol, which can reduce the effects of luteinizing hormone, oestrogen and progesterone. In addition when the biochemical pathways are switched to “activate the stress response” it can suppress the signals needed to stimulate ovulation.

Thyroid Imbalances
Thyroid problems can cause menstrual cycle irregularity with a complete lack of periods commonly occurring in clients with an overactive thyroid. An under active thyroid is more associated with irregular cycles and heavier periods.

Significant changes in weight
Both severe weight loss and weight gain can cause menstrual irregularities. Severe weight loss leads to a reduction in the level of oestrogen and decreased levels of luteinizing hormone – both needed in the correct balance for hormonal equilibrium.

In contrast, fat tissue far from being inert, is full of hormones and in recent years been recognized as a major endocrine organ. One of the predominant enzymes that reside in fat cells is called aromitase which again, in excess results in high levels of both testosterone and oestrogen. Excess in one or both of these hormones causes hormonal imbalance and leads to conditions such as PCOS, PMS, endometriosis, low libido and many more.

Tests
Functional tests I may use at Nutritional Values to aid treatment protocols in this area are:-
Adrenal Stress Profile
Thyroid plus panel
Rhythm plus: comprehensive female hormone profile
Complete Hormones (comprehensive overall urinary evaluation of the hormonal web metabolites)

The whole picture
At Nutritional Values I use the Functional Medicine model to assess your health. This means seeking to identify interactions between different systems in the body through comprehensive case history taking, your presenting signs and symptoms and on occasion functional laboratory testing. The goal is to identify and address the triggers and underlying causes of your health problems, that often then cause imbalances in body systems, rather than simply focusing on symptoms.

To book an appointment or speak to Tanya click here.

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