Sex hormones, Thyroid and Adrenal Health
The Importance of Balancing Hormones
Our hormones have wide-ranging effects in the body. They act like chemical messengers to instruct organs and cells to perform various tasks including those involved in metabolism, growth and repair, sexual function and mood. Problems in hormone production, how the hormone is received as well as hormone imbalances can all occur and result in unwanted symptoms. Each hormonal system influences other systems so if one is out of balance the effects can be far reaching.
Women’s hormonal problems can include PMS, menstrual irregularities like heavy or painful periods and irregular periods, breast pain and PCOS.
In later stages problems can occur during the peri-menopause (generally starting a few years before actual menopause, which is defined by cessation of periods) and after menopause. Common menopausal symptoms include: hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, anxiety, weight gain, increased susceptibility to UTIs and thrush as well as increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease.
Nutritional Therapy Can Help
Help is at hand with a nutritional therapy consultation to help investigate the underlying problems, support hormone balance and help you feel more in control again.
Both hypothryoidism and hyperthyroidism, are also problems some of my clients' experience. The thyroid is an important gland in regulating the metabolism. An underactive thyroid is more common in women than men and it is thought that up to 20% of the population may be suffering from some degree of low thyroid function. Sub-clinical problems, those that are not yet severe enough to be diagnosed by your doctor, may also be having an influence on your health.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include low energy, weight gain, feeling cold, menstrual irregularities, constipation, thinning hair and brittle nails.
There are also autoimmune thyroid problems Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves Disease. The contributory factors to autoimmune conditions are multi-factorial and a functional medicine approach looks at several different body systems to provide support.
The adrenal glands are key for our daily stress response, energy levels and vitality. Modern 21st century living takes its toil on our adrenal glands and too many people seem to be suffering from stress, anxiety, unexplained tiredness, fatigue and a lack of get up and go. Providing the body with the right raw materials for adrenal hormone production and a steady energy supply is key. Some simple dietary and lifestyle changes can have a big impact on symptoms and for those with more complex health problems finding ways to reduce the burden on the body can be immensely helpful.
Testing for Hormone Dysfunction
Diagnostic testing is available to help pinpoint key contributory factors and may be recommended in some cases. Urinary analysis of adrenal and sex hormones and their metabolites can uncover vital information that helps fine tune dietary recommendations and target short-term supplementation plans to address symptoms and balance hormones. Genetic testing can also be extremely useful, for example, looking at the main genetic variants in genes that regulate oestrogen detoxification and those that regulate phase 1 and 2 detoxification in the liver.