As a nurse from a traditional background, I found after 40 years of clinical nursing, there were frustrations that brought me to what I call an “inconvenient epiphany”.
That was the moment when I realized that I no longer wanted to be a nursing supervisor … something was out of “sync” for me.
Have you ever felt that nagging doubt about what you at one time felt was your life’s work?
I call it inconvenient because if you follow your feelings, you end up knee-deep in change. And change is scary!
I hung out my shingle as a holistic nurse/counsellor and in through my office doors streamed women of all ages looking for solutions. They had been referred to me because after all diagnostics were completed, nothing abnormal was detected and their symptoms were still unresolved.
Now they were being offered anti-depressants and referrals to psychiatry. They knew instinctively that something must be wrong and did not know where to turn.
Of course they were depressed! Who wouldn’t be!
Over time, there was a cluster of symptoms and a pattern emerged in the histories of my clients. The link to hormones was unmistakable and often too the overgrowth of yeast (candida) was also present.
We spent the first month normalizing bowel function and in month two added a parasite cleanse. Parasites can cause many of the same symptoms as hormone balance and yeast overgrowth.If by the end of 3 months the symptoms of candida did not disappear, we would treat that too.
All through this process, I ‘held the hand’ of my clients as they made the necessary changes to life-style and nutrition. Their patience and persistence and courage resulted in the resolution of the symptoms that for many had made their lives a misery.
They had taken control. My dedication since then is to assist not only women of all ages but also men … to take matters into their own hands in a self-directed health program.
Have you ever wondered why you can’t lose weight, in spite of all your best efforts? There is a cycle of events that will be of interest to you.
Regular readers will know what I mean by estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency. For many reasons, men, women and children living in our culture experience this type of hormone imbalance and there are many safe ways to correct this.
When hormones are out of balance, watch what happens:
The Hormone/Fat Merry-Go-Round
- Excess estrogen causes us to store fat.
- Fat cells make more estrogen.
- Eating habits and stress create an acidic cellular environment
- To neutralize the cellular habitat, the body stores excess acid in the fat cells.
- The fat cells are then desirable for the body to keep as a repository for the acid.
- The body will not release the fat cells. (In spite of ALL YOU DO!)
- The fat cells continue to produce more estrogen.
- Excess estrogen then makes more fat cells.
Round and round you go! And Rounder and Rounder you get!!!!!
How do you break this cycle? Regular weight-loss programs are not the answer unless you also create the conditions for the body to agree to release the unwanted fat.
Consider weight management through natural hormone balancing and hormone health
Bio-identical Hormones (progesterone and estrogen) are derived from wild yam and soy and are altered only enough to make them molecularly the same as hormones the body produces. They are used in physiologic doses, the same amounts as the body would make under healthy conditions.
Over the last two years, there has been increasing news about the dangers of synthetic hormones, the kind found in HRT and the birth control pill. Although we know what is dangerous, many do not know the healthy alternative.
In the 1970’s, Dr. John Lee began recommending bio-identical progesterone for osteoporosis prevention. To his satisfaction and the delight of his patients, not only did bone mineral density improve but also they found that many other bothersome symptoms were also eliminated.
Among these were the resolution of hot flashes, migraines, vaginal dryness, obesity and unwanted facial hair. Libido was restored and weight normalized. Dr. Lee also recommended healthy lifestyle and the judicious use of vitamin and mineral supplements.
Progesterone is the balancing hormone for estrogen, the levels of which are in excess in the great majority of girls and women in industrialized cultures. According to Dr. Lee, only 10% of menopausal women need to add bio-identical estrogen. Most women need additional progesterone at some time in their life.
The first step is to take a saliva test, available from Trillium Wellness Consultants. This simple test shows the ratio of progesterone to estrogen. Hormone usage varies according to a woman’s age and stage. Women after the age of 40 and men after 50 benefit by using bio-identical progesterone. Younger women use progesterone short-term until they restore ovulation and their ovaries again make adequate progesterone.
Women often ask me why adding progesterone has not worked for them. I ask them, “Did you take measures to lower estrogen?”
The reality is that you can’t take enough progesterone to balance excess estrogen.
Hormone supplementation is not a quick fix and for lasting effect must be combined with healthy diet; vitamin supplements; avoidance of refined carbs, plastics, petrochemicals and packaged foods; plenty of filtered water; daily bowel elimination. (If you don’t eliminate excess estrogen, it will be reabsorbed from the intestine and recycled again and again!); exercise; sleep; stress reduction.
Hot flashes are often the reason women seek help.
“If excess estrogen is so bad, why do I get relief from hot flashes when I take HRT?” A hot flash is caused by wild fluctuation in estrogen. Think of a jagged line going up and down on a graph. If you add more estrogen and sock up the levels so they can’t fluctuate, you will stop hot flashes and at the same time increase your risk for cancer, cardiac events and many unwanted side effects.
Wouldn’t it be better to avoid the fluctuations by bringing down and modulating estrogen? Consider a self-directed hormone balancing program in partnership with your doctor. You will never look back!
A rise of estrogen at puberty is responsible for the development and maintenance of female sex organs and secondary sexual characteristics. Estrogens stimulate cell growth. They create the thickened lining of the uterus to prepare it for pregnancy.
They stimulate the maturation of the egg-containing part of the ovary. Estrogen exists in both males and females. It is produced by the ovaries, the adrenals and by adipose (fat) cells. One other hormone playing a part in human reproduction is progesterone.
Many of the symptoms women experience are related to hormone imbalance. Hormones are like messengers. They circulate in the body and fit into hormone receptor sites, just as certain keys fit into certain locks. Substances that are “estrogenic” can imitate estrogen and fit into estrogen receptor sites. This has effects we will talk about later in the series.
Coordinated functioning of hormones is like a symphony orchestra. All the instruments need to play together in harmony. For example, if the estrogen is too “loud”, the progesterone cannot be “heard”. It is the estrogen’s tendency to promote cell growth that makes its excess a promoter of cancer. This is one reason among many to do everything we can to create hormone balance.
In North America, we are exposed to hormones from a variety of sources. We get extra hormones from eating meat and poultry (injected with hormones to stimulate growth), from plastic containers that emit estrogenic substances into the food/liquid they contain, and from petrochemical by-products and pollutants which are estrogenic. This affects both men (prostate cancer) and women and causes our little girls to start menstruating at a progressively younger age.
Women’s Estrogen Dominance Quiz: Have you ever had (past or present): breast swelling/tenderness, fibro cysts, cancer, endometriosis, endometrial cancer/hyperplasia, PMS, migraines/headaches, osteoporosis, weight gain (abdomen, hips), water retention, gallbladder symptoms, menopausal symptoms, insomnia, inability to concentrate, cyclic acne, fibromyalgia, depression or fatigue?
If you have checked some of the above, there is a strong possibility that your body is not making enough progesterone to balance the amount of estrogen.
This means you may be estrogen dominant, a condition that can contribute too many health problems. I suggest that you investigate this further by consulting with your health care practitioner.
Susan Krautter, RN, BScN, Holistic Nurse
Trillium Wellness Consultants