Hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, insomnia, mood swings, no energy LifeWorks Wellness Center has been using an alternative medicine approach to stop these menopause symptoms for years. Recently patients have been coming to our clinic carrying Suzanne Somers’ The Sexy Years in hand. They are all seeking the same treatment: Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy with bioidentical hormones.
Thanks to Somers’ book, more women are aware of bioidentical hormones. But the shift from synthetics to bioidentical hormones is also due to the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study. In this study, synthetic hormone drugs were found to increase breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease at such astronomical rates (26% increased risk for breast cancer alone), the study was cut short three years early.
Taking bioidentical hormones, Somers writes, “I started to feel relief immediately. I began to sleep better, the hot flashes subsided, and slowly my sex drive returned. My thinking also got better, and the horrible itch on my legs went away. . . . I now realize that this is the secret elixir we have all been looking for.”
Lisa Mikle, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, has years of experience with bioidentical hormones and runs the Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy program at Adrenal Wellness Center. Mike says, “One reason for the appeal of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is that, simply, bioidentical hormones make sense.
“If you’re trying to replace hormones you’ve lost in your body, choosing hormones that mimic the exact structure and function of the hormones you’ve lost is the best way to go. Each natural hormone therapy program is specifically tailored to meet an individual’s unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all pill,” Nikel says.
Synthetic hormone drugs, on the other hand, are a one-size-fits-all pill. Synthetics are not bioidentical to your hormones they have a different structure and do not function the same.
In fact, Premarin, a synthetic progesterone side effects, is made of pregnant mare’s urine. Some women protest the exploitation and mistreatment of the 80,000 horses abused to produce this urine, for a drug that pulls in $1 billion yearly, but most just find the idea of putting horse urine in their bodies unnatural, and unappealing.
“Usually women experience an almost immediate benefit with bioidentical hormones, some symptoms more than others,” Mikle says. “Almost immediately within several days women can begin to sleep better, and the hot flashes go away. Weight regulation and lost sex drive also begin to return to normal.”
The process for Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy begins with an initial hormone analysis. From there, Nikel prescribes the correct dosages of the bioidentical hormones you need.
Being healthy is something that needs to be worked toward on a daily basis. If our bodies are out of balance and don’t produce the things we need to keep ourselves on track, problems will arise. Hormone imbalances are commonly a problem that people don’t even know they have and yet can wreak havoc on the body. A common condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) arises when female hormones are out of balance. That’s why it’s important to discuss PCOS Natural Remedies that you can try so that you can take charge of your hormone levels: https://www.drlam.com/articles/adrenal_fatigue.asp.
The Need for PCOS Natural Remedies
When the hormones progesterone and estrogen are out of their proper levels to the extent that PCOS takes hold, it can be dangerous. The issues related to PCOS involve everything from menstrual, fertility, and cardiac concerns to appearance difficulties. About one in ten American women suffer from PCOS. It’s time to take notice so that you can either implement PCOS natural remedies or help prevent the development of PCOS altogether.
Implementing PCOS Natural Remedies
1. Start With Limiting Sugar
The first thing you should focus on is your sugar intake. Everyone is always talking about ways that you should modify your diet but added glucose really does have a poor effect on the body, especially on gut health. Gut health is important to maintaining healthy hormone production because the majority of essential building blocks of hormones are absorbed through the gut. Along with a healthy gut, limiting sugar will also help to control your insulin levels.
Women with PCOS often have very high insulin levels so anything you can do to mitigate those levels will help you in reducing sugar in this first step.
2. Monitor Inflammation
Another thing to limit or avoid is food products that contain high levels of soy or soy derivatives. Excess soy intake will not only cause inflammation – which is unhealthy – but it will also cause your estrogen levels to spike. When levels of estrogen compared to progesterone are not symbiotic, complications can quickly arise.
It is interesting to note that estrogen can be both anti-inflammatory as well as positively inflammatory depending on the condition the body is in. Increased inflammation in the body may lead to a wide variety of symptoms and exacerbate PCOS. As such, it is vital to be prudent and monitor inflammation in the body.
3. Be Careful With Your Diet
If you already have a restricted diet then you should look carefully into any changes before implementation. This is especially true if you have diabetes, a high risk factor for PCOS, because insulin and blood sugar levels are so closely related to diet. Contact your healthcare professional if you have any concerns related to changes that you wish to make.
4. Movement Is Key
Get out there and start moving around. You don’t have to look at exercise as something that you have to do or want to avoid. It can be fun. Just taking a walk through a park or around your block will have untold effects on your PCOS and hormone balance. You’ll want to be careful when considering exercise as a PCOS natural remedy because if you already have hormone imbalances, heavy exercise can make things worse. Try to focus on light activities like walking and just spending some time outdoors.
5. Make Sure You Sleep
Oftentimes it’s more important to get proper sleep at night to start getting things back in line. People often think that there isn’t a way to just immediately get restful sleep. This is sometimes true; it all starts in your head. If you can begin to focus on relaxing and calming your mind it will not only help reduce stress and allow for better sleep but it will also help lower levels of harmful hormones like cortisol.
6. Think About Attitude
Attitude is a very important aspect of health no matter who you are. If you have a positive outlook on what you’re doing, then you are far more likely to stick to whatever your program is. Whether it’s healthy diet, relaxation, sleep, or light exercise; you won’t be able to keep up positive progress if you don’t believe in yourself.
7. Mind Your Stressors
It’s no secret that we all feel worn down when there are large amounts of external stress in our lives. Stress has a very strong effect on PCOS because of its relationship to insulin resistance. There is a lot that takes place during the onset of stress. The NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response is a large contributor to hormone imbalances when it is overworked.
Starting in the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands, and several other organs are all called into action. Hormone production spikes along with a suppression of the immune system. The aspect of the NEM Stress Response we want to focus on here involves the Ovarian Adrenal Thyroid (OAT) axis. When your body is chronically stressed, these three organs can become dysregulated and lead to a variety of symptoms, including PCOS.
To continue the effects of stress as it relates to PCOS, it should be noted that cortisol output slows progesterone production which also has an effect on hormonal balance and can be a trigger for PCOS. It’s so important to focus on yourself and do what you can to lower your stress.
8. Stay Positive
Meditation, reading, and taking care of yourself, in general, will also work as PCOS natural remedies. You don’t have to think of everything in a clinical perspective. Sometimes an out of balance lifestyle that is full of negativity and stress can be as harmful as a poor diet.
When you begin to consider yourself and how you can manage your PCOS or prevent it altogether, think about the types of emotions and worry that you’re carrying around. This could be one of the keys to unlocking your better health and potential to recover.
9. Empower Yourself
Some conditions of stress are due to psychological issues and genetics. Though the intent of the article is to empower and inspire you to help yourself deal with stress, the involvement of a third party professional may be beneficial as well. If you are suffering from high anxiety and need to seek assistance, remember that you don’t have to do it on your own.
Always choose the safest way to implement any advice that you read so that you can ensure a positive future.
In this day and age, most people are not often exposed to life-threatening situations that require the “fight or flight” mode to help them survive. But the body’s survival mechanism doesn’t differentiate much between real and perceived threat, it triggers the same response to both, by releasing stress-hormones like adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol.
The stresses of modern life have very similar effects on the stress response as survival danger had on our ancestors, but because we are exposed to these stresses daily, we are much more at risk of adrenal fatigue than ever before.
Financial pressure can feel like an existential risk, work problems that threaten our social statue can evoke the same fears that were felt when our standing in the tribe was uncertain, and nagging relationship issues eat away at our mental and emotional robustness in a myriad of ways. And just because these stresses become the norm day in and day out doesn’t mean our bodies stop reacting to them in the way they have been programmed to.
Chronic stress weakens the adrenal glands and, eventually, the entire NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, of which the adrenal glands are an important component.
When you face stress, whether physical in nature – such as an illness or an unhealthy lifestyle or psychological – such as work pressure or family problems, the stress response goes into action. The first responder is usually the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The hypothalamus in the brain signals to the pituitary gland to secrete a hormone (ACTH) that then stimulates the adrenal glands to release stress hormones.
One of the body’s most important stress hormones is cortisol, and it is responsible for functions like regulating blood pressure and blood glucose levels, maintaining heart and blood vessel functions, neutralizing inflammation, and suppressing the immune system.
When there is stress, stress hormone output increases in order to meet the sudden demand. That’s why you feel your heart pumping harder and faster, your breathing becoming faster and shallower, and your appetite changing quickly.
Once the stress is gone, the excess cortisol still in circulation is taken as a signal by the hypothalamus that there’s no need for more, and so it stops making the pituitary gland send ACTH to stimulate the adrenal glands. The body then returns to homeostasis, and the different hormonal systems involved go back to their regular functions.
This is a natural and healthy reaction that is meant to help your body either face or escape a dangerous situation until you are safe, where you can then relax again. It is part of the hormonal circuit of the NEM, though it also affects the other five circuits: the metabolic, the euro effect, the cardiotoxic, the inflammation, and the detoxification responses of the NEM. The entire NEM is built to respond to stress and then go back to a state of homeostasis when the job is complete.
The problem arises, however, when the stress is chronic and there’s no outlet. Your adrenal glands start to work overtime, secreting more and more cortisol. This is the beginning of adrenal fatigue. And if it is not addressed, and the rest of the NEM has to compensate, it can also become dysregulated, and all the organs and systems that are involved in it are affected. That’s why it is important to catch and address adrenal fatigue as early as possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
The first stages of adrenal fatigue are usually asymptomatic. You may experience tiredness once in a while, but you usually bounce back quickly enough. Most people only become aware of a problem when they reach the more advanced stages and symptoms are more obvious.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include tiredness, low energy, an inability to fall asleep easily, waking up in the middle of the night, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, brain fog, mild depression, anxiety, gaining weight easily, central obesity, difficulty losing weight, hair loss, heart palpitations, a feeling of being “wired and tired,” low libido, infertility, estrogen dominance, craving salty and sugary foods, craving caffeine, food and drug sensitivities, frequent colds and flus, an inability to handle stress, and dizziness upon standing after lying down.
Unfortunately, adrenal fatigue is not yet recognized by mainstream medicine, and so it is not usually diagnosed or treated by your regular GP. And because it is not a particular condition but more of a collection of symptoms that arise from the effects of chronic stress on the adrenal glands, we refer to it as a syndrome: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).
Most people have to self-diagnose through symptoms and through reflecting on their health and mental state. If you’ve been stressed out for a while and you’re not coping very well, even if you don’t have symptoms, you might be in the beginning stages of AFS. If you’re already getting some of the above symptoms, then you can begin taking the necessary steps towards recovery.
AFS treatment is comprised of managing stress, addressing other underlying health issues, eating an adrenal fatigue diet (that is anti-inflammatory and nutrient dense), getting enough rest and sleep, and doing light exercises such as adrenal breathing and adrenal yoga.
Supplements can also be very useful in AFS recovery, as they can give you that boost you need. Adaptogens, like ashwagandha, for example, help your body adapt to stress, while adrenal glandular supplements can provide support for the adrenal glands while they regain their strength.
As your adrenal glands get healthy again, the rest of the NEM strengthens as well. AFS recovery, particularly the adrenal fatigue diet, is very beneficial for the other circuits of the NEM, especially the metabolism, inflammation, and detoxification responses.
If you’re new to this and have never had the guidance of an experienced professional, then your best option is to find a holistic health practitioner that specializes in AFS, as recovery can sometimes be a little tricky, especially if you suffer from other conditions and if you’re unsure of what supplements to take. Your recovery plan will be tailored to your particular needs and so will have much less of a risk of paradoxical or negative reactions.
The one thing to remember, though, is that you need time and patience to make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes and to see their effects. So don’t rush and don’t take on too many drastic changes at the same time. Slow and steady is the way to go.