Photos by Dr. Sandrine

For Self-Care Classes, visit our sister site:

Center For Holistic Instruction

Female Hormone Concerns

Female hormone concerns are some of the most common issues that we deal with in our clinic on a daily basis. There are many different hormonal problems that can be addressed with a holistic approach. The approach is simple. We need to examine hormonal imbalance from the perspective of how the body produces and breaks down hormones in a natural manner and then look to find out why the body is no longer doing this and then support the body in a way so as to allow the body to heal and restore normal balance.

The manufacture and degradation of hormones needs to be examined and the systems responsible for these processes need to be supported. The liver and the adrenal glands deserve particular attention. The liver is responsible for the breakdown and elimination of sex hormones such as estrogen. The ratio of estrogen to progesterone is particularly important and these hormones can be measured using either blood or saliva. The ratio must be properly balanced for optimum health. The rate of production and the rate of hormonal degradation must be balanced. Improving the detoxification pathways of the liver and optimizing and supporting the adrenal glands are essential.

In order to determine what has gone awry with the hormonal system, hormones are often directly through blood or saliva. Depending upon our findings, supplementation can balance the hormone system. The ultimate goal is not to supplement with hormone on a long term basis, but to help balance the body's systems that would normally regulate by themselves.

Female Hormones

With many common female health care concerns, hormones lie at the root of the problem. Now ladies, we know that hormones tend to get blamed for just about everything, and how many times have you heard “it's just your hormones, don't worry.” We feel that women have heard this so often that they assume that hormonal problems are just something they have to put up with and that there is no relief to be had. Often times, this is exactly the option we are given by our medical providers.

There is definitely more to hormones than you have been lead to believe, and there certainly are ways of evaluating and treating hormonal fluctuations that may be to blame for many conditions such as: irregular periods, infertility, menopause, and menstrual pain. The key is a thorough evaluation and diagnosis of what the specific hormone imbalance is. We have easy ways to evaluate hormone levels to better understand your body's cycle. Without evaluating your body's hormone levels, prescribing a treatment is simply guessing. Many women are placed on birth control pills to regulate cycles without any knowledge of what hormonal irregularities are causing the problem or women are given hormone replacement as soon as they begin to show signs of menopause, assuming that lack of hormones is the problem.

Once we understand what is going on with your hormones, we can tailor a treatment program using a natural approach. This way you can avoid many of the negative side effects of pharmaceutical hormone therapies.

So don't assume that your hormones are just something you have to live with, let us help.

Female Hormone Issues

Information Courtesy of Diagnos-Techs, Inc. (Clinical and Research Laboratory)

Are infertility, PMS or fibroids a concern to you?

Our Expanded Female Hormone Panel not only reveals any hormonal imbalances but also accurately indicates the basis of the problem. Hormone balancing is reduced to simple scientific principles using our well-structured report and recommendations. Customized Hormone Therapy is available:

Presently, female hormone therapy is not individualized to the needs of each woman because current diagnostic tests do not provide sufficient data. Consequently, most women are empirically treated without regard to their individualized physiology and specific needs. The FHP™ for the first time will allow us to customize a therapy for each female patient.

  • Functional infertility
  • Influence of lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc.) on the cycle
  • Menstrual problems originating in the brain
  • Early pregnancy problems - spontaneous miscarriage
  • Cycle irregularities, following the use of birth control pills
  • Dysmenorrhea, i.e., painful and heavy periods
  • Migraine headaches
  • Endometriosis and cystic ovarian disease
  • Early osteoporosis

Advantages of the FHP™ Test

  1. Convenience: requires no blood draws, therefore, no repeated clinic visits and avoids the inconvenience of the 24 hour urine collection.
  2. Economy: the fee for the 11-sample test is less than that of 2 blood determinations or a urine analysis for Estrogen and Progesterone.
  3. Physiological Accuracy: research has demonstrated that the free hormone fraction predominates in saliva. Hormones can be found free or bound to protein. The free hormone fraction is very important to ascertain because it is the bioactive fraction that most significantly influences living cells. The salivary female hormone levels correlate at 93% with the free hormones in the tissues.

One or two blood determinations or a 24-hour analysis of urine for these hormones cannot give an idea of the ovaries' hormonal productivity. The FHP™ gives a good approximation of the ovarian capacity over a whole cycle.

To determine if the FHP™ Panel is appropriate for your female hormone concerns; call us today to schedule your consultation.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Controversy has surrounded traditional hormone replacement therapy for many years. Recent studies indicate that not only is traditional hormone replacement therapy ineffective in combating osteoporosis and heart disease, it is dangerous to your health.

Recent studies about hormone supplements and their side effects:

  • June 2003: Breast cancer in women taking estrogen-progestin pills may be harder to detect and more aggressive; from an analysis of data from the government's landmark Women's Health Initiative study.
  • May 2003: Estrogen-progestin pills, once thought to sharpen the mind, are linked with a doubling of the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia in older women; from another analysis of WHI data. September 2002: Among women with breast cancer, better survival rates are found in hormone users than in nonusers, suggesting users' tumors might be less aggressive; from an Oregon Health and Science University study of 292 women.
  • July 2002: The Women's Health Initiative study of more than 16,000 women links estrogen-progestin pills with an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.
  • January 2001: A study of 5,212 postmenopausal women finds increased breast density in those taking hormones, but says the changes may disappear once hormones are stopped; from researchers at a Seattle HMO.

Once one considers the fact that the body was created to balance its own hormones it becomes apparent that with some additional investigation and work, hormones can be balanced naturally.

Hormones are constantly created and broken down by the body. Sometime the rate of production and the rate of degradation fall out of balance. This can happen due to liver toxicity since the liver is the primary organ involved in hormonal breakdown. After the ovaries stop producing the majority of hormones, the adrenal glands use cholesterol to form the hormones now necessary. Cholesterol imbalance, stress, weak adrenals and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to decreased hormone production and eventually imbalance.

Since postmenopausal women do not have fluctuating hormones, it is usually rather simple to determine hormonal imbalance. A simple test using two ml of saliva can give us accurate levels of three forms of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone. When these levels have been determined a supplementation schedule can be established to balance the hormonal levels.

Here at the Center for Holistic Care, PLLC we test for bio-identical hormones and help create a natural and healthy hormonal balance

Infertility

Infertility is an agonizing and frustrating problem that seems to affect more and more couples and the cause seems to be unexplainable in many instances. Fertility experts can accurately diagnose and treat some of the more common medical conditions such as low sperm count in men and dysfunctional fallopian tubes in women, but when the cause is not so obvious, natural medicine may hold the answer.

Women are diagnosed as infertile after not being able to conceive after one full year of unprotected sex. The causes can vary dramatically. Oftentimes subclinical hypothyroidism is the cause. Hormonal balance can be checked and balanced by testing hormones throughout the cycle by collecting saliva samples at various intervals through a test called the female hormone panel. Imbalances can then be treated by various methods of supplementation. Vaginosis is a chronic condition of vaginal bacterial imbalance that can result in excessive immune response in the cervical area. These imbalances can be the result of antibiotic abuse, chronic yeast (Candidiasis) and even the lack of beneficial bacteria.

Women are not the only people treated for infertility. Low sperm counts and poor sperm motility are often problems with male infertility. Male hormones can also be imbalanced. A simple saliva test called the male hormone panel can be performed to assess the many different hormones that play a role in male fertility and virility.

Unexplained infertility is a heartbreaking problem that has many different causes that go undetected. On a simple level, improving ones general health can be beneficial in helping one conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

Menopause

Menopause is a natural occurrence that transitions a woman back to a time in her life where she can no longer conceive and bear children. Although it has been problematic for many, it should not be looked at as a disease. God had a plan for women to transition naturally and that plan needs to be examined and we need to determine what happened between puberty and pre-menopause to create this imbalance. When this is figured out, a plan can be set in place to restore balance.

Hormones are constantly created and broken down by the body. Sometimes the rate of production and the rate of degradation fall out of balance. This can happen due to liver toxicity since the liver is the primary organ involved in hormonal breakdown. After the ovaries stop producing the majority of hormones, the adrenal glands use cholesterol to form the hormones now necessary. Cholesterol imbalance, stress, weak adrenals and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to decreased hormone production and eventually imbalance.

Since postmenopausal women do not have fluctuating hormones, it is usually rather simple to determine hormonal imbalance. A simple test using two ml of saliva can give us accurate levels of three forms of estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, and testosterone. When these levels have been determined a supplementation schedule can be established to balance the hormonal levels.

Change does not have to be a difficult time and it is encouraging to see a woman transition back into a healthy postmenopausal period without the use of dangerous hormones - the way it was intended to be.

Post-Menopausal Issues

Courtesy Information of Diagnos-Techs, Inc. (Clinical and Research Laboratory)

The right balance of hormones is important to long-term emotional, mental and bodily health.

Literally, menopause means the cessation of the monthly menstrual cycle and signals the end of a woman's natural childbearing years. Menopause is neither a disease nor an illness; it is a natural and usually gradual change in glandular function. It has its origins in the beginning of menses and culminates in a series of hormonal changes that result in the cessation of menstrual flow. This transition produces a variety of bodily manifestations and symptoms, and is due to changes in production of hormones and the timing of their release.

Various body parts undergo change and can produce one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Endocrine
    • Bleeding irregularities
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Hot flashes/sweats
    • Changes in sex drive
  • Nervous system
    • Insomnia
    • Nervousness, irritability
    • Headache
    • Mood changes
    • Depression
  • Metabolic changes
    • Skin aging/cosmetic changes
    • Osteoporosis
    • Altered fat and carbohydrate metabolism

What can you do about it?

There are several therapeutic options which may minimize or even eliminate many of the symptoms:

  1. Treat symptoms using synthetic hormones without hormone level testing.
  2. Treat symptoms using natural hormones with any testing.
  3. Treat and correct symptoms using natural hormones with testing for hormone levels before and after treatment.

Why should you test?

Hormones are powerful substances that control multiple functions throughout the body. Hormone levels should be sufficient and balanced. Too much or too little of them is not conducive to long-term emotional, mental and bodily health.

By not measuring the hormones before and after treatment your hormone picture is, at best, an educated guess, since hormone levels from woman to woman can vary 200 – 1500%. In fact, many women need only one hormone, while others require 3 or 4 different kinds. Just as you cannot balance your bank account without numbers on your bank statements, hormone testing provides both a basis for treatment and proximity to your goal.
One can then…

  1. Customize natural hormone dosing to meet individual needs.
  2. Optimize hormone levels for minimum dose to relieve symptoms. Avoid overdosing.
  3. Achieve appropriate and compatible physiologic levels of several hormones.
  4. Increase sense of "well-being" by removing underlying hormone deficit and balances.

What do we test for and what does it tell you?

We test for male and female natural hormones from one to eight of them, depending on the need. WE utilize your saliva as a sample for measuring hormones, such as Testosterone, DHEA, Progesterone, Estriol, Estrone and Estradiol.

The brain derived regulating hormones (FSH and LH) are also measured to help assess efficacy of control and feedback between the brain and ovaries.

Saliva hormone values reflect the tissue concentration of your hormones. Blood and serum contains the total hormone, but your tissues are only bathed with the active or effective fraction as found in saliva. Active fraction measurements are superior to blood and urine measurements both in diagnosis and treatment.

How can we help you?

Let us take a look at a common example:
A woman suffers from several symptoms – migraines, hot flashes and emotional fragility. She is having irregular periods, one every 6-8 months. Her doctor treats her with natural estrogens, but he does not do any testing to determine quantities or types of hormones that will meet her specific needs.

The symptoms are under control, but her risks are the following:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Endometrial cancer (uterine cancer)
  • Fibroid growth
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Over 15 years, at least twice the risk of breast cancer

What could we have found out if we had tested her saliva hormone levels?

We would have known that she has too much estrogen, not enough progesterone to balance the estrogen, low DHEA, and marginal testosterone.

But, she felt good on the estrogen, many will say. Yes, however, the silent killers (cancer, blood pressure, heart disease) rarely make anyone feel bad at the start. Her best course is a new treatment plan, designed around the objective saliva hormone measurements.

How do you benefit?

There are five distinct areas that you will benefit from using the saliva tests.

  1. They are affordable and less expensive than blood or urine tests. Blood testing for 6 hormones costs $250-300 more than saliva testing.
  2. Collection procedure spares you the pain of venipunctures with a needle.
  3. Results are more clinically reflective of your hormone status and needs.
  4. Results can lead to an individualized and customized treatment plan using natural hormones.
  5. You will minimize over dosing and under dosing. This will insure that you use only the proper hormones in the appropriate amounts.

To determine if the PHP-1™ or the Expanded PHP-1™ Panel is appropriate for your post-menopausal hormone concerns; call us today to schedule your consultation.

Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhea)

Dysmenorrhea is painful menstrual cramps. Young women are often those most affected and the problem is attributed to an imbalance of enzymes called prostaglandins. Other factors that can affect the pain include hormonal imbalance and nutritional deficiencies. The pain is often so severe that it is the number one reason women miss work. Forty percent of adult females have menstrual pain and 10% are incapacitated for 1-3 days each month. Headache, back pain and pain above the pubic bone are often associated with dysmenorrhea as is PMS. Testing women for hormonal imbalance can often pinpoint the cause of the problem. Proper nutrition and the proper fats in ones diet such ad fish oils often help. Chiropractic adjustments have long been accepted as a very effective treatment for menstrual cramps. Dysmenorrhea is not just an inconvenience; it is a symptom of an underlying problem and needs to be accurately diagnosed and treated.

Pre Menstrual Syndrome

Pre Menstrual Syndrome, also known as PMS, is an all too common problem that women experience prior to menstruation. When examining the causes of PMS, one must look at the variety of influences that can affect hormone, mood and energy. It is unfortunate that women suffer PMS and seldom get the support and information necessary to fix the problem on a permanent basis.

Before one can fix the problem, the cause must be identified. PMS is a symptom of imbalances and should not be considered to be the primary problem. Looking at this problem from a holistic perspective means looking at the entire menstrual cycle and whether or not is functioning normally. The female hormone panel is a test whereby saliva is collected eleven times throughout the cycle and analyzed for fluctuating hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These levels are plotted on a graph and compared to a normal cycle. With this information, adjustments to ones cycle can be made thus returning the cycle to normal.

Other factors can influence PMS such as hypothyroidism, chronic systemic Candida, fatigued adrenal glands, medication and past use of birth control. Mineral deficiencies such as magnesium can also influence PMS.

PMS is a syndrome which means that it is a group of seemingly unrelated symptoms. It is a sign of other imbalance and is not just an inconvenience and needs to be thoroughly investigated.

21316 Davidson Street
Cornelius, NC 28031
704.895.6788
info@centerforholisticcare.com