Good-bye period cramps!

When it comes to ‘that time of the month’ most women have experienced menstrual cramps at one point in their lives or another. Painful periods are often accompanied by other symptoms such as headaches, breast tenderness, heavy/clotty flow, low back pain, mood swings and food cravings.

All of these PMS symptoms are due to a hormone imbalance called ‘Estrogen dominance.’ This basically means that your body has an excess of estrogen in relation to progesterone.

Excess estrogen could be caused by:

  1. The build up of xenoestrogens in your body
  2. Liver Qi Stagnation: a Chinese medicine syndrome where your liver cannot process and eliminate the xenoestrogens fast enough so they build up in your body causing symptoms.
  3. Low progesterone: Your estrogen could be normal but if your progesterone is low it is not able to balance the effects of estrogen and creates a relative estrogen dominance picture.

How do you know if you have estrogen dominance?

  1. Your symptoms fall under the estrogen dominance category (see above)
  2. You do a blood test for estradiol and progesterone. Blood tests should ideally be done on day 5 and day 21 of the menstrual cycle.  Your hormones change throughout the cycle and this gives a more accurate picture of what is happening in the first half versus the second half of the cycle.
  3. Saliva hormone testing: This test is run through a private lab such as Rocky Mountain Analytical and is usually ordered by a naturopathic doctor. Here is more info on their Female Hormone Panel.

What are some treatment options for estrogen dominance?

  1. Minimize your exposure to xenoestrogens.
  2. Support your liver through diet, herbs and acupuncture so it can clear out excess estrogens.
  3. Boost your progesterone levels through diet, herbs and acupuncture. Or consider Bio-identical progesterone cream if indicated for your individual situation.

To learn more speak to your naturopathic doctor today!

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Xenoestrogens, what are they and why should I avoid them?

Xeno-what?!

Xenoestrogens are chemicals that imitate estrogen and act like estrogen in your body, negatively impacting your hormone balance.  Health conditions associated with excessive xenoestrogens in the body include PMS symptoms, fibroids, endometriosis, breast cancer, early puberty, ovarian cysts, migraines and weight gain.

Probably the most famous xenoestrogen is BPA, the bisphenol-A found in plastic water bottles, plastic packaging, lining canned food and baby bottles (although Canada was the first to ban BPA from baby bottles in 2008).

BPA has gotten lots of publicity, even from the David Suzuki Foundation with their ‘12 ways to avoid hidden BPA.’

However, there are lots of other classes of chemicals that are considered xenoestrogens and can influence your hormone balance.  We are literally exposed to them everywhere, so it is impossible to eliminate them completely from our lives (unless you can live in a bubble!).

I like handing out the following list to my patients which contains many sources of xenoestrogens.  I suggest they take a look and pick 1-2 items that they are exposed to daily or in excessive amounts and make a change in their lives.  1-2 changes can go a long way to improving the health of yourself and your family.

Xenoestrogen list

What are you doing to make a positive change for your hormonal health? Feel free to share your stories and tips!

FREE Health talk: Nutrition for Women’s Health Through the Phases of Life

Join me and my colleague Terry Battles, RHN for a FREE health talk at the Ottawa Public Library!

We will teach you how to balance your hormones and optimize your health through the phases of life.

Topics include nutritional advice for:

  • Regulating the menstrual cycle
  • Treating premenstrual syndrome
  • Optimizing fertility
  • Pre and post-natal care
  • Breast health and breast cancer prevention
  • Supporting the natural transition to menopause

Two talks remain at the Main Public Library, Wednesday, May 7th at 6:30 pm and the Manotick Public Library, Wednesday, May 21st at 6:30 pm.

Click HERE to register today!

You don’t have to live with symptoms of hormone imbalance like this lovely woman 🙂

A naturopathic approach to fertility and pregnancy

Check out my latest blog post for the Ottawa Mommy Club:

A Naturopathic Approach to Fertility and Pregnancy

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