A woman’s body is a very complicated system of balancing variables. Though this is also true for men and children, women can experience more symptomatic cyclical events often inspiring them to seek help from Naturopathic Doctors.
There are many external influences that have a profound impact on a women’s health:
Diet is huge.
In many circumstances, if a woman is willing to commit to a serious change in diet, many female health symptoms can completely disappear. It is very common to see estrogen dominance in women in this corner of the world, so altering the diet to reduce circulating estrogen as well as reducing the intake of estrogen-promoting foods can really make a huge impact on symptoms.
In other circumstances we have to work to re-establish the cyclical balance of estrogen and progesterone. In this scenario we will often have two separate diets each month: one diet for the first half of the month to support estrogen and boost endometrial growth, and a different diet for the second half of the cycle that works on clearing estrogen and boosting progesterone (often done in conjunction with herbs). Each woman is different, and so is her diet, so for each case we work together (patient and doctor) to create a plan that is achievable and that creates wellness.
Stress is powerful.
Stress is meant to be a short response to an intense stimuli. For instance, if a bear were chasing us we would require a good shot of our stress hormone cortisol to get our heart to pump more blood to our muscles so that we could fight or flee. Without that healthy stress response we would be toast. However, either we will escape, overcome or be defeated by the bear in a short amount of time. This is not a marathon. This is what our stress system was designed for.
In contrast, the most common type of stress for women in our community is a chronic lower intensity stress. We are not built for this type of response. So what happens overtime is that we deplete our resources to form cortisol. When we run out of ingredients our adrenal glands seek out other substances that look similar. Interestingly progesterone and cortisol are a close match! So we poach our female hormone to make stress hormone. This contributes to a relative progesterone deficiency, and often premenstrual and menstrual symptoms. Reducing or ideally eliminating sources of stress has an enormous impact on the female cycle.
A Naturopathic Doctor works with you to create a strategy for improving diet and reducing stress, and we also create a plan to level the hormonal playing field often using herbs, acupuncture, supplements, bioidentical hormones, etc. These add-on therapies are usually required short-term to bring you back to balance, and then the lifestyle and dietary modifications continue long-term to hold you in a state of good health.
- Pregnancy/prenatal care
- Irregular periods
- Painful periods
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Low libido
- Pelvic/vaginal pain
- Insomnia (especially if you wake at 2-4am)
- Unexplained weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Hair loss
Our bodies prefer to be in balance and working efficiently. The challenge is determining the obstacles to health and safely removing them.