Acupuncture and Nutritional Medicine can provide natural and effective relief of:
Too many women suffer needlessly from conditions such as these that seriously affect their quality of life. Incorporating acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutritional supplementation as well dietary modifications and lifestyle changes can help to balance and restore the hormonal system naturally. Natural therapies can lessen or eliminate the need for medications and the use of synthetic hormones that can lead to further imbalances of the endocrine system.
Unhealthy diets, imbalanced blood sugar, nutritional deficiencies, ongoing stress, long term use of birth control pills, impaired detoxification and the prevalence of environmental chemicals that burden the body are among the factors responsible for the rampant hormonal symptoms suffered by women today. Some of these compounds, termed xenoestrogens, mimick estrogen in the body and disrupt hormonal signaling. Due to these factors many women have developed a dominance of estrogen or unbalanced estrogenic effects that can cause menstrual irregularities and other systemic health problems as well as impacting fertility. For other women signaling of the pituitary hormones, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) that in turn signal estrogen and progesterone production are disrupted. Other hormonal factors, including thyroid and adrenal function that interrelate and impact the dysregulation of female hormones are often involved and should be evaluated.
Precisely identifying the causative factors is crucial to rebalancing the delicate nature of the endocrine system. Routine blood panels and saliva hormone testing are diagnostic means to begin investigating a woman’s hormonal picture. Based on these findings along with metabolic assessment surveys and a detailed health history, an individualized treatment plan can be developed to address her issues.
Menopause is not a disorder, yet many women experience unpleasant symptoms associated with this transition due to changes in the production of hormones, the timing of their release and imbalances in their overall health. Because of concerns raised by the potential risks of synthetic hormone replacement many women are looking for natural alternatives for a healthier menopausal transition.
For very few women is menopause just about supplementing estrogen. Ovaries tone down their production of hormones but don’t shut down completely and women are capable of producing sufficient hormones throughout life including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Other sites in the body are meant to act as back-up systems to the ovaries and assist in hormone production. These back-up systems include the adrenal glands, body fat, skin, the brain and peripheral nerves and if a woman’s endocrine system is functioning optimally it is possible to experience this transition with relative ease and few symptoms.
Just like cycling women, menopausal women are greatly impacted by environmental toxicity, poor nutrition and stress that disrupt metabolic and endocrine function and many women likely arrive at menopause with one or more systems already in distress. Increased hormonal fluctuations are the tipping point that can bring on a myriad of symptoms and a decline in health. The first step in care is to correct any underlying health issues including establishing balanced blood sugar, ensuring healthy thyroid, adrenal and liver/gallbladder function, detoxifying the body and managing stress responses. Once a foundation of health has been recreated and the endocrine system is properly supported, hormonal balance will often reestablish itself.
Acupuncture, nutritional and herbal medicine and dietary modifications are effective and natural ways to bring the body back into equilibrium and provide the basis for healing the endocrine system. An individualized treatment plan is developed based on each woman’s situation as menopause can present in so many different ways.
For many women herbal medicine is enough to bridge the gap by supporting the endocrine system to supply the necessary hormones. Some women may still need bio-identical hormone replacement. Because hormones are such powerful substances it is crucial to test before and during treatment to ensure that they are present in sufficient amounts so that symptoms are managed but not in excess which can put a women’s health at risk.
Saliva testing is a convenient and accurate way to assess cycling female hormones. Because FSH, LH, Estrogen and Progesterone levels fluctuate dynamically throughout the month, trying to measure these hormones in one blood sample will only provide a snapshot of what is occurring on that particular day of testing. By gathering saliva samples throughout the menstrual cycle a clearer picture emerges as to how these hormones are orchestrating the cycle and whether or not they are waxing and waning at the appropriate times and being produced in adequate amounts. This detailed tracking of each hormones activity helps to identify and glitches in the signaling of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis which is the most common cause of hormonal irregularities in cycling women.
For women who are no longer cycling a single saliva sample is adequate to assess their hormonal status. It is still important at this time to measure the pituitary hormones, FSH and LH along with estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to determine the efficacy of the body’s hormonal feedback loops between the brain and the ovaries. Adrenal hormones including cortisol and DHEA, are also crucial indicators in assessing a menopausal woman’s hormonal health as they play an important role in supplementing hormone production once ovarian production decreases.
It is important for a woman to know her hormonal status not just to feel good and mitigate symptoms but also to be aware of any scenarios that may put her at greater risk for estrogen sensitive cancers like certain breast and uterine cancers. It is generally accepted that there is an increased risk of proliferative diseases in breast and endometrial tissue when estrogen is overly dominant. A Proliferative Potential Profile calculates the ratio of estrogens to counterbalancing progesterone to determine if a woman is at risk.
Researchers at Rockefeller University have found that the body metabolizes estrogens into several different metabolites that can impact cancer development. One metabolite, 2-hydroxyestrone (2-OHE1), tends to inhibit cancer growth. Another, 16-a-hydroxyestrone (16-a-OHE1), actually encourages tumor development. A woman’s “biochemical individuality” determines which of these metabolites predominates. Studies have shown that measuring the ratio of these two metabolites provides an important indication of risk for future development of estrogen-sensitive cancers. The studies also show that this risk is modifiable.
The Estronex 2/16 Profile is a measurement of two important forms of estrogen: 2-OHE1 (the “good” estrogen) and 16-?-OHE1 (the “bad” estrogen) measured in a simple one sample take home urine test. The ratio of “good to bad estrogen” is determined from a single urine specimen. Studies have shown that women with low 2/16 ratios have much higher rates of breast cancer. Low 2/16 ratios also indicate increased long-term risk for other estrogen-sensitive cancers, including uterine, ovarian, cervical, and even head and neck cancers.
It is important to stay informed and up to date on breast exams including self exams, mammograms and incorporating Thermography technology* as well as lab tests like the Estronex panel and Proliferative Potential Profiles to keep a watchful eye on how our bodies are metabolizing and clearing estrogens. Once armed with information patients can work together with nutritional and dietary protocols that can lower the risk factors and with follow up testing be sure that they are achieving their goals to maintain low risk levels.
*to learn about thermography technology visit www.thermogramcenter.com
How can acupuncture correct hormonal imbalances?
Many hormonal problems are due to slight imbalances in the delicate endocrine system, which may alter a pathway by which the body produces and metabolizes hormones. The slightest irregularity or stressor can throw the entire system off so it no longer functions properly causing a cascade of symptoms for women. Research has shown that acupuncture influences these hormonal pathways, and assists our own internal energies to restore endocrine function.
Acupuncture can assist in correcting and fine tuning the complex interplay of hormonal signals of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, crucial to creating healthy hormonal responses.