how to treat hormonal imbalance with a naturopathic approach

“Lately the people in my life have been bristling at the fact that I’m super cheerful one minute and crying the next. My mom canceled our lunch plans because she was worried about who might show up. My best girlfriends sat me down for a talk because they were worried about my mood swings. Even my husband has noticed a change. 

“The problem is, we are trying to have a baby.

“I thought for a while my abnormal mood was related to the pressure of getting pregnant. But now I’m wondering if my hormones are out of balance. It adds a whole new layer of complexity and new implications to our fertility journey. “

As a naturopathic doctor, I hear stories like this one from patients all the time. They have exercised all of their conventional options for treatment, but haven’t found anything that gets to the root of their symptoms – just quick fixes.

Taking the conventional approach, after a routine blood panel, a primary care physician might recommend putting a patient on birth control for any symptoms or disruptions related to female hormones. Some of those symptoms might be:

  • Heavy bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Mood swings 
  • Headaches
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Irregular cycles

You might not want to take birth control to maintain your hormonal balance, though. 

But what else can you do?

This is when a naturopathic approach is helpful. By integrating modalities, a naturopathic doctor can help to get the right treatment options for you as an individual.

Naturopathic medicine offers functional testing that goes beyond a normal blood panel and helps to uncover complications that might be more deep-rooted. We address the underlying causes, not just your symptoms.

For symptoms of hormonal imbalance, I like to start with the DUTCH test. DUTCH is a urinary analysis used to determine not only the levels of hormones present in the body – estrogen, progesterone and testosterone – but also to learn how your body metabolizes those hormones. 

Mapping hormones over a period of time helps us understand how they are processed rather than just looking at a snapshot of hormones present from a basic blood work panel. This big hormonal picture, in conjunction with blood work, helps your naturopathic doctor develop an individualized treatment plan to address your symptoms.

Patient education is the cornerstone of naturopathic care. Therefore, naturopathic physicians teach their patients how to make conscious lifestyle choices, giving them confidence needed to reach and maintain an optimal state of health. Obviously, there might be issues related to your symptoms that are out of your control. But there are plenty of symptom factors that can be managed when using the proper tools.

If you are experiencing symptoms of severe PMS or hormonal imbalance, here are some things to try from a naturopathic approach to help alleviate them:

Diet/ Nutrition – Food is medicine. What you put into your body directly affects all of your metabolic systems. Your gut is arguably one of the most important components of your health. Try adding or increasing cruciferous vegetables to your diet for hormonal balance. These include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.

Herbs – There are a number of herbal supplements that can support hormonal balance especially when significant symptoms are present. Schedule a free 15 minute new patient consultation with Dr. Fisel to learn more about herbs that are right for your particular body and situation.

Acupuncture – By its very nature, the goal of acupuncture is to restore energetic balance throughout the body. When you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance, such as pre-menstrual syndrome for instance, acupuncture can help alleviate your symptoms and restore your energy to its natural state. Learn about the integrative treatment options Dr. Fisel has to offer.

As a naturopathic physician I can help you get to the root of your symptoms and work through functional testing beyond the basic blood work your conventional doctor may have ordered. I will use the big picture of your hormonal health to help you determine the best course of treatment for you as an individual.

Are you living in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about integrative solutions for your health care needs.

Call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule a consultation.

PMS? Oral Contraceptives Not The Only Option!

PMSPre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is thought to affect about 90 per cent of women at some point in their lives, with a significant proportion of these suffering regularly from severe and debilitating symptoms. PMS is typically the result of abnormal hormone fluctuations, such as elevated prolactin levels, or low progesterone during the second half of the menstrual cycle. Another possibility is estrogen dominance, where the liver has a difficult time metabolizing estrogen, leading to a disproportionate amount of estrogen in the system.  And these are just a few of the possible scenarios that can lead to PMS. So why, then, does conventional medicine treat virtually every person with PMS the same? [Read more…]

Understanding and Effectively Treating PMS

PMS , Premenstrual syndrome, women’s health, period, menstrual cramps, hormones Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is one of the most common female problems, affecting 30-40% of women during their reproductive years. The most severe cases occur in approximately 2% of women between the ages of 26 and 35. PMS is characterized by recurrent symptoms that appear 7-14 days before a woman has her menstrual period. These symptoms often include decreased energy, irritability, increased appetite (usually sugar cravings), acne, and bloating. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), while technically a separate diagnosis, can also be attributed to the same hormonal fluctuations that cause PMS. [Read more…]

PMS and Vitex

Clinically, I’ve seen such great results with this herb, so it’s nice to see further confirmation that it’s truly effective!

Vitex and PMS in Chinese Women

Chinese women suffering from moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were studied in a prospective, double-blind, placebo controlled, parallel-group, multi-center clinical trial. A Vitex agnus castus extract, VAC BNO 1095, contained 4.0 mg of dried ethanolic (70%) extract of VAC, corresponding to 40 mg of the herbal drug and was given once daily throughout the three cycles during the treatment phase. Two hundred and seventeen women were randomly assigned to the treatment group or the placebo group.

The mean total Premenstrual Syndrome Diary (PMSD) score decreased from 29.23 at baseline to 6.41 at the end of the third cycle for the Vitex group and from 28.14 at baseline to 12.64 at the end of the third cycle for the placebo group. The difference in the PMSD score from baseline to the third cycle was significantly lower in the treatment group than in the placebo group. The Premenstrual Tension Syndrome Self-Rating Scale (PMTS) decreased from 26.17 at baseline to 9.92 for the treatment group and from 27.10 to 14.59 for the placebo group; similar positive results to the PMSD scores.

Comments: Vitex extracts have so far been the best investigated botanical therapies for PMS and several placebo controlled clinical trials have been done that confirms its efficacy. The current study adds to the clinical relevance of this plant in the treatment of moderate to severe symptoms of PMS. In addition, no significant adverse events were reported.

He Z, Chen R, Zhou Y, et al. Treatment for premenstrual syndrome with Vitex agnus castus: A prospective, randomized, multi-center placebo controlled study in China. Maturitas 2009; 63:99-103. 

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