“Hormones are the key to everything in women’s health. They are the foundation of our physical, emotional, and mental well-being.” (Anna Cabeca, MD).
Hormonal imbalances are a common problem that many women face
Hormones are responsible for regulating various bodily functions and processes, including menstruation, pregnancy, and brain health, breast health, bone health, heart health, and menopause. When there is an imbalance in the hormones, it can lead to a variety of health issues. In this post, we will explore the link between hormonal imbalances and common women’s health issues.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
An estimated 75% of women experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), at some point during their reproductive years. PMS is a collection of symptoms that occur in the days leading up to menstruation. Hormonal imbalances, specifically changes in estrogen and progesterone levels, are thought to play a role in the development of PMS. Common symptoms of PMS include mood swings, irritability, bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches. When PMS is severe, as in PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) women often experience severe irritability, depression or anxiety. Symptoms often go away 2-3 days after the start of menstruation, yet treatment is often needed to manage the severity of it.
Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by high levels of androgens (male hormones) in the body. This condition affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age and is characterized by the formation of cysts in the ovaries. PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles, anovulation (lack of ovulation), and high levels of male hormones (androgens) in women, which can interfere with ovulation and fertility. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a higher risk of miscarriage compared to women without PCOS.
Not only does PCOS affect fertility, but long-term, it increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
An Estimated 1 in 10 women, worldwide experience Endometriosis, usually affecting women in their 30’s and 40’s. Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue like the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, often on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bladder. This tissue responds to hormonal changes in the body, causing pain, inflammation, and scarring. Women with endometriosis may experience painful periods, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain. Estrogen Dominance, or too much estrogen compared to the ratio of Progesterone, is one of the most common causes of Endometriosis, thus eliminating exposure to toxic fake hormones is critical to prevent & even heal from Endometriosis.
Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. During menopause, the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body decrease, leading to a range of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Hormonal imbalances during menopause can also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. While this is a natural part of the aging process to reduce the production naturally of our hormones, experts in Functional Medicine, such as Mark Hyman, Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center states “Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a key component of functional medicine… it can help patients achiever optimal health and wellness”. Personally, I cannot imagine my life without Bioidentical Hormone Therapy!
Thyroid imbalances can have a significant impact on women’s health. The thyroid gland produces hormones that play a critical role in regulating metabolism and energy levels throughout the body. Women are five to eight times more likely to develop thyroid problems, than men. When these hormones are imbalanced due to an underactive or overactive thyroid, women may experience a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain or loss, mood swings, hair loss, irregular periods, and infertility. Thyroid imbalances can also contribute to a variety of other health issues, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Therefore, it is important for women experiencing symptoms of thyroid imbalances to seek medical attention in order to properly diagnose and treat the underlying condition.
Adrenal dysfunction can have a significant impact on women’s health. The adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones that regulate the body’s response to stress, including cortisol and adrenaline. When these hormones are imbalanced due to adrenal dysfunction, women may experience a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Additionally, adrenal dysfunction can contribute to hormonal imbalances, which can cause irregular periods, infertility, and other reproductive issues. Adrenal dysfunction is estimated to affect up to 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Women are more commonly affected than men, with up to 80% of cases occurring in women. Therefore, it is important for women experiencing symptoms of adrenal dysfunction to seek medical attention in order to properly diagnose and treat the underlying condition.
In conclusion, hormonal imbalances can have a significant impact on a woman’s health and well-being. It is important to recognize the signs of hormonal imbalances and seek medical attention if necessary. In Functional Medicine, we focus on addressing the root cause of these imbalances versus just giving “a pill for an ill”. Yes, sometimes hormonal replacement therapy is necessary, but that is after we address diet, lifestyle, toxic load, brain health, stress and other things that may be causing the imbalances. By taking care of our hormonal health, we can improve our overall health and quality of life! Here’s to Creating the Vitality You Crave!