This time of year we have a lot of people fanning themselves. Especially women. Especially women in their 40’s and 50’s. Even on cool days. Why? HOT FLASHES! Those who experience them dread them, and those who don’t pray they never will!
Our hormones today are in disgusting disarray! Menopausal symptoms, PMS, infertility, thyroid problems, diabetes and hypoglycemia! And these are just the major ones. They are rampant today! Unfortunately, it is all our fault! It is certainly not intentional, but our lifestyle has led to this alarming increase in dysfunction. Not only associated directly with hormones, but indirectly as well – such as cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis and a myriad of other diseases.
Why are our hormones so disrupted and what can we do about it? The answer is simple, but not easy.
First we have to explore some of the basics. Our body makes hormones. Given the right materials, it makes exactly what we need, dispenses it exactly where we need it and does it exactly perfectly. Our bodies don’t need us to direct those functions; it is part of the body’s innate intelligence. But along with innate intelligence comes common sense on our part. That common sense should tell us that in order for our body to do what it knows to do; we need to give it what it needs. It needs essential fatty acids, minerals, proteins, water, vitamins, enzymes and carbohydrates on a daily basis in order to do its job. Our body is made up of all these materials. Every cell in the body regenerates continually, each and every day and needs these substances by which to do that. Hormones are no exception.
How can we expect our body to make hormones if we don’t ingest the materials by which the body can make them? It would be like trying to build a wood frame home and forgetting the wood! Along with that, is the health of the organs and glands. They too need these materials by which to rebuild themselves, continually, and to function properly. Each organ in the Endocrine System (hormone-producing organs and glands) has a mineral by which they are dependent upon to function. If that mineral is missing, function goes awry. When an organ or gland doesn’t function correctly, we call it disease or a symptom. Symptoms are nothing more than the body telling us something is wrong. To take a drug or artificial hormone to cover the symptom doesn’t help the body address the underlying problem. It is like putting a piece of duct tape over the warning-indicator light in your car. The problem is still there, you just can’t see it any longer.
So what if we’re providing these nourishing materials and it still doesn’t work? There are several things that disrupt normal hormone production. One of these is call xenohormones. Xenohormones are hormone-like substances from our environment that either blocks the hormone receptors or that causes “estrogen dominance” (which means that estrogen, whether too high or too low in concentration is in imbalance relative to the other hormones, especially progesterone). Some examples of environmental xenohormones are petrochemicals, room fresheners, perfumes, plastic water bottles, scented candles, etc. Eliminating these and many others is essential to restoring health, but most of the time we need additional help.
Sometimes we need to detoxify those chemicals. Sometimes we need acupuncture to restore function. Sometimes we need nutritional supplements designed to rebuild and restore function. Most of the time we need all of those or a combination of them.
The good news is, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER! PMS symptoms such as cramping, mood swings, chocolate cravings, swelling, breast tenderness, etc. are neither normal nor healthy. They are symptoms of a deeper imbalance and inadequacy of organ/glandular function. The same is true of menopausal hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, brain fogginess, etc. These are not normal (though they are so common we mistake them for normal).
Lab tests are not generally good indicators of “normal”. You can have imbalances in your hormones that don’t yet show up in lab tests. The thyroid is a perfect example. You can have a low functioning thyroid for many years before lab tests pick it up. Most lab tests for estrogen are based on “potential estrogens” not on the active form, so you can get inaccurate readings when using blood to tests for hormone balance. If you feel your hormones are out of balance, there are many ways to correct it naturally. If you learn nothing else, learn that your body would prefer hormonal balance and will try its best to restore function if you do your part. Also know that you don’t have to suffer!
©2006 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.