It's what every woman has learned to dread. The walk through menopause. For some women it is a slow and laborious crawl through the land mines of what is deemed to be a 'natural' process while for others, there are little or no symptoms. Why is that?
Healthy hormonal activity is dependent on healthy liver function. Sex-related hormones are produced in the liver therefore, it makes sense that addressing liver function will ease hormonal imbalances. It is the accumulated wear and tear on our system that begins to manifest with particular grandeur at this stage of life. It makes you wish that you had listened to the signs well in advance of the menopausal shifts!
Menopausal symptoms are quite like those that accompany adrenal stress. The adrenal glands assume the ovaries function by continuing to produce miniscule amounts of estrogen. Most of the intolerable symptoms are a result of the depleted system prior to this change.
The medical protocol of giving women hormone replacement therapy as a solution does in fact create more problems long term. It is the excess of estrogens and stagnation of blood that are the major causes of breast, ovarian and uterine cancers. Estrogens are present in nearly every food. Once trapped in tissue, they overstimulate cell division which leads to abnormal growth of fibroids, cysts or cancer. Because the liver and brain also have estrogen receptors, accumulations can occur here as well. It makes little sense to add more estrogens to the body via medication.
Menopause is a natural physiological process that occurs when there is no longer a need for estrogen once the child bearing years are over. It is clearly evident that our lifestyles strongly influence what our experience will be. How diligent were you with your foods over the years? Have you really taken care of yourself?
The Estrogen - Thyroid Connection
How many women do you know on thyroid medication? As if menopause wasn't enough!
Liver and ovaries determine the functioning of the thyroid. Thyroid problems are very closely linked to estrogen and progesterone levels. A shortage of thyroid hormone may be the cause of excessive estrogen stimulation, therefore a cog in the wheel of symptoms.
Thyroid hormones cause fat calories to be used whereas estrogen causes them to be stored. Estrogen competes with the thyroid hormone at the receptor site, therefore never quite allowing completion of the chemical exchange. Bottom line is that, if there is a surplus of estrogen, thyroid hormones don't get a chance! This is where symptoms of hypothyroidism begin even though serum levels may report that all is well. On the other hand, having adequate levels of progesterone prevents estrogen's side effects.
So how do you know when you have a progesterone deficiency or hypothyroidism? A serum test determines impaired thyroid hormone activity rather than truly representing a true deficiency. The Barnes Thyroid Temperature Test is a simple way to determine thyroid function and is deemed to be more accurate. If you are experiencing imbalanced thyroid and female hormonal activity, then estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency is most likely a factor.
"I’m putting on weight, I can't sleep, & I'm depressed!"
Prior to menopause, estrogens and progesterones are produced by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Menopause reduces the ovarian activity and the adrenal glands become the major supplier of these hormones. If the kidneys are unhealthy, the adrenal glands that sit directly on top of the kidneys, are unable to take over the production of both estrogen and progesterone.
Consequently, feelings of anxiety and panic can result from the overworked adrenal glands. Too much heat energy from overworked adrenals and a sluggish liver translate into hot flashes. Hot flashes can also be a result of excess sugars in the body.
If the liver fails to eliminate all the estrogens, then these excessive estrogens stimulate fat cell production especially around the lower abdominal area and upper thighs. Estrogen binds to sodium which causes water retention, another cause of weight gain. Interestingly, estrogen production does decline somewhat after menopause but progesterone production declines much more because fat cells continue to produce estrogen and not progesterone. This situation of "Estrogen Dominance" is the major cause of cancers of the reproductive system and breast.
Being unable to fall asleep or stay asleep is a condition that plagues numbers of people. Chinese medicine suggests that any chronic sleep disorder is a result of an imbalanced liver, spleen, heart or kidneys. Because the liver filters the blood all night long, a weak congested liver will manifest in poor sleep or insomnia. Also, this tendency can be a result of the buildup of acidic wastes from foods. Do you wake up hungry at 3 a.m.? It is likely your sugars are too high.
Lack of sleep and imbalanced estrogen and progesterone easily contribute to depression. Depression is a sign of blocked liver energy and most medications will only contribute to more liver congestion. Bile storage creates a problem with liver congestion which again contributes to depression.
Excess estrogen in the body negatively affects the copper/zinc ratio in the body, both of which are important cofactors for brain enzymes. This results in exaggerated stress reactions, severe mood swings and depression.
All of the above symptoms can affect premenopause, peri-menopause or menopause to varying degrees.
HRT, the Pill ...are NOT the Answer
Do your homework! Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not the answer. Medications are damaging to the liver and kidneys, and in the long-term spell life or death.
A new study shows that the most popular hormone combination doubled the risk of dementia in women over 65, instead of decreasing it. The finding comes less than a year after researchers halted a study of Prempro because early results showed that the drug created a higher risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. There is presently much debate as to whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
These problems are not only limited to the mature woman. Teenage girls and young women alike are being lured down the path of misinformation. An article by author Sherill Shellman nicely states that modern science, rather than perceiving hormonal imbalances as aberrations created by the many abuses of modern-day living, has convinced women that the underlying problem is menstruation itself, and that natural reproductive cycles are dangerous and disease-producing and must be medicated. Women are also told that their reproductive system has become the enemy and is the primary cause for all their physical problems and emotional turmoil. The solution: shut it down. The method: steroidal hormones.
Long term use of the Pill ensures later difficulties with fertility. Contraception formulas may increase the risk of coronary artery disease, breast cancer, cervical cancer, skin cancer, immune dysfunction, liver toxicity, stroke, blood clot, osteoporosis, gum disease, high blood pressure and ectopic pregnancy. Some potential side effects include nausea, vomiting, migraines, breast tenderness, allergies, weight increase, changes in sex drive, depression, hair loss, facial hair growth and vaginitis. Some women may find that their symptoms worsen, and many of these effects may persist long after discontinuation of the Pill.
Pill users tend to experience many bowel disorders as well as deficiencies in B1, B2, B6, folic acid, B12, Vitamins C, E, K, zinc, selenium, magnesium and the amino acid tyrosine, which is essential for proper thyroid function. It is most alarming to read the work of such researchers as Dr. Coutinho who suggest "chemical castration" as an acceptable solution to female problems.
Do your research and be informed. Take time to consider your options should you be in a situation where medication is considered the only choice. Know that exploring ALL avenues is essential. Do your homework - it could mean your life.
The Importance of the Liver for Hormonal Health
A healthy liver is essential for adequate blood flow to the heart. The heart can only pump the blood that it receives. There is a strong connection structurally between the heart and the liver. A congested liver can interfere with the venous blood flow to the heart therefore causing heart palpitations or even heart attack. This stagnated and toxic blood, in turn, affects the tissues and functioning of the heart.
Vision problems, memory loss, brain tumors and Alzheimer's are some of the consequences of poor liver function. Chronic fatigue indicates that there is little capacity for oxygen and nutrient uptake. Skin problems are a result of excess toxins being eliminated through the skin follicles that become inflamed. Oily skin is caused by too much testosterone in the system which is a precursor to estrogen. The list goes on, but it is strongly evident that vitality of the liver is of utmost importance.
Alcohol, chemicals and over the counter drugs such as painkillers weaken the liver and contribute to its congestion. HRT has the same effect. Being that 90% of our population already suffers from a stressed liver, it is easy to see the direct correlation between hormonal health and liver health. The importance of cleansing is critically clear.
The function of the liver includes:
- Metabolizing proteins, fats and carbohydrates
- Detoxification - neutralizes toxins for safe disposal
- Manufacturing and secreting bile to aid with fat soluble nutrients and elimination of toxic material
- Purifying blood, filtering bacteria ,etc.
- Acting as a blood bank for 20-30% of body's blood
- Manufacturing blood clotting agents, proteins
- Controlling triglycerides, cholesterol and other blood fats and body fat levels
- Manufacturing, metabolizing and storing hormones
The liver is grand central station for most body functions and is responsible for hundreds of biochemical reactions. It is the only organ that will regenerate itself even when only 25% of it remains in tact. It is also the most abused organ. Medication and diet affect the liver as does every emotion experienced in the human body.
Essential Fatty Acids Assist in Hormonal Health
Dr. Barry Sears, in his book "Omega Rx Zone", believes that most chronic diseases are characterized by two factors: A decrease in blood flow and an increase in inflammation. That is where fish oil comes in, as it affects a specific group of hormones. The more fish oil that is consumed, the more "good" and the fewer "bad" eicosanoids (a type of hormone) a person will have in their body.
The key to health in general will be in getting enough omega 3's from fish oils in the diet. The use of fish oils as a dietary control of hormones is simple and essential to female health and a smooth transition through a woman's monthly cycle or menopause.
Typically, we ingest up to 25 times more omega 6's than is necessary, therefore contributing to disease processes and aggravating hormonal symptoms.
Omega 3 fish oils greatly benefit any hormonal imbalance situation, and in the process also improve skin, elimination functions, etc.
Unopposed Estrogen Dominance
Natural estrogen overpowers the progesterone. HRT traditionally supplies women with extra estrogen which in turn exacerbates the problem, creating what is known as unopposed estrogen dominance. It alters cells to such a degree that often a routine pap smear represents them as being pre-cancerous. Then the medical practitioner prescribes a hysterectomy for a condition that they themselves created. Does this make sense?
Estrogen therapy has been shown to worsen gynecological conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis. There is a long list of symptoms that are a result of HRT and/or the Pill.
Alcohol interferes with estrogen metabolism and causes an immediate imbalance of estrogen to progesterone.
Be sure to avoid the following foods as they have estrogenic activity: Don Quay, licorice, ginseng, royal jelly, fennel, anise, flaxseed oil, clover, evening primrose oil, soy products, etc. Yes, soy. Contrary to popular belief, soy will worsen any copper/zinc imbalance and can interfere with thyroid function. It is known to disrupt endocrine system function.
There are answers to being 'hormone ruled'!
If you experience any of the following, it is likely that you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance that can be adjusted by diet and specific nutritional supplementation.
- PMS, caused by high estrogen to progesterone ratio
- Swollen thighs, love handles
- Trouble sleeping
- Amenorrhea, or the absence or stoppage of menstruation
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Excess weight
- Water retention
- Lapses in memory
- Bouts of rapid heartbeat
- Loss of sex drive
- Unusual fatigue
- Aching sore muscles, tendons and joints
- Hot flashes, night sweats, cold flashes
- Mood swings, irrational behavior and sudden tears
It is alarming to track the movement in research programs that implicates that women's hormonal and menstrual cycles are pathological in nature, suggesting that these natural processes are not only unnecessary, they can and should be medically assisted or ceased. These researchers portray that menstruation is the problem from the onset of womanhood, therefore it should be terminated. Consequently, young females are put on the pill as early as eight years old and continue until such time as they wish to have children. Now we have a new problem called "infertility". You guessed it. There are drugs for that, too.
Take this very seriously.
Take control of what you may be experiencing hormonally and be determined not to be swept away with conventional solutions. We have natural answers to address your imbalances.
Proper cleansing and nutritional support will reclaim your health!
Wishing you the best in health,
The Wolfe Clinic