Are Your Hormones Wreaking Havoc On Your Life?
Your body is a complex network of organs and glands that communicate with one another using hormones. When these hormones become imbalanced it can set off a chain reaction of health issues.
ARE YOU AT THE END OF YOUR ROPE?
Maybe you feel bogged down with PMS, heavy periods, cramps, mood swings, bloating, migraines, depression or anxiety leaving you dreading “that time of the month.” Perhaps you are in your 30’s or 40’s and find yourself changing from a vibrant woman full of energy to a sleep-deprived zombie who’s gaining weight, snapping at loved ones, and struggling with hot flashes and irregular periods. Or, maybe you’re dealing with painful conditions such as endometriosis or PCOS, or having difficulty conceiving or carrying a child.
All of this can cause you to feel like your life’s spiraling out of control, your body’s abandoned you and leave you screaming: “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?”
The answer may be two simple words: hormone imbalance.
HAS YOUR DOCTOR GIVEN YOU TREATMENTS THAT AREN’T WORKING OR MAKING YOU FEEL WORSE?
Hormone imbalance is actually very common among women, yet many doctors just offer ineffective lab tests and treatments that do nothing more than cover up the problem instead of fixing the cause. First, there are problems with standard lab tests. Your female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are more like a roller coaster, with ups and downs, than a merry-go-round. And, standard lab tests only capture what’s going on hormonally at the moment. They tell us nothing about what your hormone levels were yesterday or what they’ll be tomorrow. They also typically fail to measure some very important things (more on that later).
Then, there are the treatments. Two of the most common ways doctors treat hormonal issues is to prescribe birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. The issue is these methods do not treat the CAUSES of hormone imbalance, they only COVER UP THE PROBLEM, and, in some cases, actually make things WORSE. Take birth control pills, for example. Chances are you’ve either taken them or know women who have. But did you know these often prescribed pills can sometimes actually cause the body to no longer produce its own progesterone and/or estrogen? When a patient stops taking the pill, the body can “forget” how to work properly, creating a host of issues.
We see this all the time in women who are experiencing infertility, heavy cycles, cramping, migraines and other problems when coming off the pill. Hormone replacement therapy, even if it’s bio-identical, is also a bandage solution, adding more hormones to an already imbalanced body instead of addressing the ROOT CAUSES of the problem. We are seeing an increasing number of hysterectomies, endometriosis, female cancers, ablations and infertility than perhaps ever in history, and again, a lot of this is due to solutions that don’t address the real problem. And, that’s where we come in.
You see, your hormones are like a fire alarm – and that alarm is only going to sound if something is wrong. At Integrative Wellness Centers, we test for and treat the issues that are making the “fire alarm” go off in the first place – and standard lab tests won’t pick these issues up. In fact, they often aren’t even testing the real culprits causing your hormonal imbalance.
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Four Surprising Culprits That Can Put You In “Hormone Hell”
1) Increased Insulin. It’s likely you’ve had your estrogen and progesterone levels tested. Perhaps your doctor even told you your lab values were in the “normal” range. The problem is these tests tell us NOTHING about the all-important ratio between estrogen and progesterone. When your body has too much estrogen in relation to progesterone, it can cause a host of issues including irritability, weight gain, breast tenderness, menstrual problems, endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS and more.
That might leave you thinking that testing your estrogen/progesterone ratio is the solution. Unfortunately, it’s not. As I said, earlier, because female hormones fluctuate, lab values only show us what is happening at the moment the hormones are tested. Instead, one of the keys to finding out if estrogen dominance is a problem is to test your insulin level. Why test insulin? Because elevated insulin levels are a major driver of hormonal imbalance. Elevated insulin is often caused by the sugar-heavy and refined-carb-heavy diets so many of us eat. These foods lead to huge spikes in insulin, which in turn leads to a lowering of progesterone in relation to estrogen and testosterone. The end result: estrogen dominance. That’s why at IWC, we will look at your insulin levels to see if this might be a contributor to your hormone imbalance.
2) Xenoestrogens. The name might look like something out of a sci-fi novel, but its definition is pretty simple. Xenoestrogens are chemical compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Expose yourself to too many xenoestrogens, and you can end up with estrogen dominance and all its symptoms. Now, you might think that’s something you only have to worry about if you, say, work in a chemical plant, but the fact is you likely use and consume products with xenoestrogens many times a day. If you eat commercially sourced meat or dairy, or drink tap water, you are consuming xenoestrogens. If you use plastic wraps or dishware, you are exposing yourself to xenoestrogens via chemical phthalates. And, if you use hair, skin or beauty products with parabens, you’re coming into contact with – you guessed it – xenoestrogens. And, because xenoestrogens aren’t actually estrogens but only mimic them in the body, your standard hormone tests might come back normal. At our clinic, we can run a xenoestrogen test to determine if these chemical compounds are behind your hormonal problems.
3) Detoxing difficulties. Did you know there’s a connection between proper liver function and hormonal balance? Research has shown that if the liver isn’t working to eliminate hormones properly, it can lead to an accumulation of estrogen in the tissues which can result in hormonal imbalance. Estrogen accumulation can lead to estrogen dominance, cysts, hormonal migraines and many other issues including cancer. Most doctors never take the liver and detoxification into consideration when treating for female hormonal issues. At IWC, we can test for elevation markers linked to improper detoxification and inflammation, combined with a urine test that determines if the body is eliminating hormones properly.
4) “Hidden” issues. As you might have already guessed, the root causes of hormonal issues aren’t always what you assume they’d be. In addition to the above three “culprits,” stress (adrenal fatigue), digestive issues and thyroid problems can also contribute to hormonal imbalance. Finding these “hidden” issues takes digging a little deeper – it’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. At our clinic, we will search for these often-overlooked reasons that could be contributing to your hormone imbalance.
THE PATH TO GETTING YOUR LIFE BACK
The body’s systems don’t work independently of each other. Instead, they all work together like a machine. And, just like a machine, if one part isn’t working right, it affects other parts. You need the proper tests to get the proper course of care, and unfortunately, most patients we see aren’t getting either.
That’s why at our clinic, we take a whole-body approach to find and treat the real CAUSES of hormonal imbalance. What we offer goes beyond standard hormone lab tests and “treatments” that don’t work or make problems worse. If hormones are wreaking havoc on your life and you are at the end of your rope, we recommend you take a more holistic, natural approach to balancing your hormones and seek help from a board-certified functional medicine practitioner (C.F.M.P.) who is trained to look at all aspects of your health.
If you have questions or want to schedule a free consultation, contact us at (678) 335-4925 or click HERE to request an appointment.
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