👉 Tip#1: Got hormone imbalance? Why Your Hormones May be Out Of Whack
Today we explore 4 reasons why your hormones may be out of whack. Hormone imbalance usually involves some problem with estrogen. Either too much estrogen (also known as estrogen dominance), crazy swings in estrogen or unbalanced ratios estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
What hormone symptoms are we talking about?
- Low (or NO) libido (you have mastered the nightly game of “I’ll just play dead”)
- Breast tenderness (“Who has been shrinking my bras!”)
- Thinning hair (“Why is there is more hair in my shower drain than on my head”)
- PMS (“If you look at me again, I will have to kill you…. No, really…I WILL kill you.”)
- Heavy (aka murder scene) periods (“I always wondered if I could bleed through my pants in under 30 seconds”)
- Crazy hot flashes (“Mom, why is the AC on in January??”)
- The ever ballooning weight gain (“Oh look, I gained 5 lbs when I glanced at your dessert!!”)
- Panic attacks and anxiety
- Painful or Irregular periods
- Fibroids and ovarian cysts
- Acne (it’s like being a teenage girl again except with wrinkles and chin hair)
- Headaches before or during your period or the middle of the month of your cycle (you single handedly have cornered the market on Advil and Excedrin migraine)
- Hair where you DON’T necessarily want it (“Those chin hairs weren’t there when I left for work this morning”)
If any of this sounds familiar, here are the 4 things you need to address to fix your hormones. Read on….
What am I talking about?
- More and more research points to the gut as the cause of every modern chronic health problem, and your hormones are no exception.
- Did you know that there is a complete set of bacterial genes in your intestines that code for enzymes that process estrogen? Your microbiome (your unique group of bacteria in your gut) can cause you to have too much or too little estrogen based on the specific species that rule the roost.
- When you have high levels of “bad” bacteria, estrogen gets recycled back into your bloodstream. This can create inflammation and make estrogen sensitive tissue grow out of control.
- This can lead to crazy heavy periods, breast tenderness, water retention, irritability, headaches, fibrocystic breast disease, fibroids and PMS.
Who am I talking about?
If you have some of the symptoms below, THIS COULD MEAN YOU!! By the way, you can have NO gut symptoms, but still have gut issues. So that’s fun!
- Are you bloated after certain meals?
- Have IBS? Ulcerative Colitis? Crohn’s disease? Celiac Disease?
- Reflux? Indigestion? Burp much? On acid lower medications often?
- Constipation? Diarrhea?
- Frequent vaginal yeast infections or Urinary tract infections?
- Eczema, Acne and skin problems?
- Any autoimmune disease?
YOUR LIVER DETOX
What am I talking about?
- Here’s the headline: your liver has to process your hormones. When that doesn’t happen correctly, you have hormone problems.
- If you get partially broken down hormones, guess how well they behave? They will plug into the cell receptor sites and give your tissue the wrong information. AND they prevent the normal hormones from doing their job correctly. Again, here is where standard blood tests will show normal levels, but what goes on beneath the surface is hormone imbalance. Cue the scene at your gynecologist’s office where you feel like hell but your blood work is “perfect”!!
Who am I talking about?
You all know me by now. I’m pretty much talking about everyone. Except JLO. She seems to be immune to all this. However if you happen to not be JLO, and you are…..
- eating food (think pesticides)
- drinking water (think polluted)
- wearing make up or using any personal hygiene products (slather on those chemicals baby!)
- breathing air (obvious)
You have detox issues. We are surrounded by heavy metals (mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium), volatile organic compounds (mold toxins), pesticides, chemicals, endocrine disruptors like BPA in plastics, and over the counter and pharmaceutical drug use. All of these things create a heavy liver burden.
YOUR SUGAR AND INSULIN BALANCE
What am I talking about?
- High sugar levels lead to insulin resistance. When the body is exposed to high insulin levels, enzymes that make testosterone get turned ON (hello chin hair, scalp hair loss, weight gain, irregular periods and acne). And just so you know, alcohol spikes both sugar levels and insulin to make your hormone situation worse. Just sayin. If you drink wine, then enjoy the nightly hot flashes that will come with it.
- Insulin can turn on enzymes that convert testosterone to estrogen leading to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance is related to PMS, painful periods, heavy periods, irregular periods, depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, bloating, swelling, breast tenderness, fibrocystic breast changes, fibroids, endometriosis and uterine polyps and just generally being in a bad, bad mood.
- Adrenal gland hormones get turned on by too much insulin. Big fluctuations in insulin will drive massive swings in cortisol levels. Cortisol shifts can damage the healthy conversation between the brain and the ovaries, which messes with the hormones the ovary makes.
- Insulin makes fat and fat makes estrogen. The more sugar you eat, the more fat you create. The more fat you make, the more estrogen the fat cells make. This then leads to estrogen dominance. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Who am I talking about?
You may have a sugar insulin imbalance if you have the following symptoms:
- Carbohydrate and sugar cravings
- Afternoon headaches
- Hunger between meals
- Lightheadedness, shakiness or irritability if skipping meals
- Middle of the night awakenings after a few hours of sleep
- Sugar or coffee cravings in the afternoon
- Tendency to overeat in the afternoon or evenings
What causes sugar insulin problems?
- Eating processed foods, and foods high in sugar, industrial seed oils and flour
- Sedentary lifestyle, poor exercise habits
- Less than 8 hours of sleep a night, disrupted sleep patterns
- Chronic stress and limited stress-reducing activities
- Low intake of healthy fats, vegetables and fruits
- Nutritional and vitamin/mineral deficiencies
- Using artificial sweeteners, alcohol and caffeine
- Constant eating
- Intestinal inflammation and infections
- Food sensitivity, food intolerances
YOUR STRESS HORMONES
What am I talking about?
- All of your hormones are controlled by your brain. The pituitary (part of the brain) sends out signals to your adrenal gland, your thyroid, your ovaries, and your pancreas to execute the brain’s desires. When stress levels are high, your brain is telling your adrenal to make massive amounts of cortisol and adrenaline, 24/7. It’s like the apocalypse is happening inside your body and all hands are on deck!
- Cortisol is one of the main hormones produced during times of stress — commonly known as the “fight or flight” hormone. It has a lot of important things to do to keep us safe and out of danger. And that’s all well and good when the stress is short-lived. But when stress becomes chronic or continuous, and cortisol is around all the time, our body starts to become resistant to the impact of other hormones.
- Cortisol disables the hormone receptors from connecting with the hormone itself. This means that hormone blood levels can be normal but the impact or effectiveness of the hormone is NOT normal. It’s as if the plumber (let’s say your hormone) comes to your door (the cell receptor) but the door is jammed and the plumber can’t get in to do her work. Okay, so metaphors and analogies are not my thing. I’m great at knocking the crap out of a pinata though, so. I think that’s an even exchange.
- High cortisol inflames your intestines. And we all know how THAT works for hormone balance……
Who am I talking about?
Maybe it’s easier to say who I’m NOT talking about. Here goes…..
- Do you live in a completely unstressed environment with perfect children, the perfect pets, perfect neighbors, perfect friends and no relationship issues?
- Have a perfect home that requires no work or upkeep and are independently wealthy and don’t have to work ever?
- Have no health issues whatsoever?
- Get the perfect amount of exercise every week, sleep blissfully 8 hours a night?
- Never sit in traffic?
- Have a chef cook you beautiful, farm to table, organic nutritionally balanced foods and drink purified water each and every meal, 7 days a week and you never eat out in restaurants or have a sip of alcohol or sugar?
- Have never had any untoward event in your life or experienced loss ever?
Then I’m not talking to you. All others may apply…..
SO WHAT TO DO? Start with these 5 basic steps.
So much of our health is related to lifestyle. But if you don’t know where to start and need to dig deeper, then work with a practitioner who knows what this is all about.
Get your gut in order by eating a well-balanced, nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory diet
- Eat whole foods, not food that comes in packages or bags and can sit on a shelf for a year.
- Eat 7-11 servings of vegetables a day
- bump up the healthy fats like olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, fatty fish, and nuts.
- Look up the word “paleo” — you may have heard of this if you haven’t been in a coma for the past 5 years. And if you HAVE been in a coma, then remove all sarcasm from prior sentence.
Avoid modern foods that create inflammation: Say NO to….
- vegetable oils (canola, safflower, corn, sunflower, soybean oil)
- refined sugar, refined flour
- processed foods (bread, pasta, bagels, chips, cookies, cakes, etc)
- artificial sweeteners or ANY sweeteners really
- foods packed with preservatives.
This will help restore your sugar and insulin balance and improve cortisol levels.
Manage your stress
If you don’t get stress under control, cortisol won’t be under control and your hormones will be all over the place and make you sad, fat, pimply, bald and just generally not fun at a party.
Sleep at least 8 hours a night
and work on the quality of your sleep. Nothing disrupts hormones more than poor sleep and not enough of it. Most of your body’s detox and repair happens during restful sleep.
Get your detox on!!
- Drink 64 ounces of filtered water a day
- Try a sauna 2 to 3 times/week
- Go organic, check out the “dirty dozen list” put out by the EWG and get rid of the highest pesticide containing fruits and vegetables.
- Eat responsibly raised animal products (grass fed, organic, free-range and wild).
- Check out Butcher Box for home delivery.Avoid plastic food containers and water bottles or foods wrapped in plastic
- Don’t microwave in plastic, or microwave at all (a microwave is also called a food murderer–nothing changes the protein structure or destroys the nutrients faster than a microwave)Invest in cleaner personal hygiene and household cleaning products — read labels.
- Check out these links for how to clean your home naturally or go on the EWG’s website to rate commercial cleaning products. Mother Earth News, EWG guide to healthier cleaning products.
👉 Tip #2: What’s Missing In Healthcare & How A Functional MD Can Help You.
Most of you have no idea what the heck a functional medicine MD is. The easiest way to explain this is to understand how they differ from “regular” MDs. A functional MD is someone who has gone to medical school and residency, but has gone on to learn more about how to create health without mainly relying on pharmaceutical drugs for treatment. They look to address what is causing your problems instead of using medications to mask or “manage” the symptoms. What else is different?
How many patients can you see in a day?
- The current insurance model of healthcare rewards the NUMBER of patients you see and not necessarily the outcomes for the patient. Most doctors have to see 20 to 40 patients a day to cover overhead, administrative costs and salaries and are responsible for large patient panels for the insurances that they take.
- This model of care allows them to spend at best 10 to 15 minutes/patient. This is not enough time to really look for why you are having problems, and only allows the doctor enough time to order some tests and write out a few prescriptions to manage your symptoms.
- I see 5 or 6 patients a day during my functional medicine days. We will spend minimally 45 to 60 minutes during our visit for me to get to understand your concerns and the reasons behind the symptoms you are having.
Most doctors don’t have time to focus on preventing disease.
- Conventional medicine is about dealing with disease once it hits. Your doctor is probably very on top of your screening tests like mammograms, EKG’s, colonoscopies and routine blood work, but do they talk to you about how to NOT get the disease in the first place? Those tests are looking for cancer that’s already there, or heart disease that’s already there. Or kidney damage that is already there, or colon cancer that has already started in a small polyp. The hope is you catch it as early as you can.
- What if they had the time to assess your personal risks for disease, evaluate your personal medical and lifestyle history, order more comprehensive testing that finds problems before they show up on standard blood panels or imaging studies and then devise a personalized plan to prevent and reverse signs of disease? THAT’S cool!
Food is medicine.
- If your doctor isn’t talking to you about the ins and outs of your diet choices, then they aren’t talking to you about the most important tool we have to prevent and treat disease. Food can be healing and food can create disease. What are YOU eating?
Are you being over-medicated?
- Over 75% of doctor’s visits end with a prescription. There are 4 BILLION prescriptions for drugs written out every year. And a lot of them are for addictive medications: anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depression drugs, narcotic pain relievers, and acid-reducing drugs are examples.
- Patients are often accumulating one drug after another and not really ever getting off of them. That isn’t creating health, that’s using a band-aid approach to manage your symptoms. And sadly, what else can you expect a doctor to do when they have 15 minutes to spend with you?
- As a functional MD we we try to address lifestyle issues, fix nutrition, rebalance vitamin and mineral levels and use natural supplementation first.
Why are you sick?
- DRUGS FIRST, CUT IT OUT SECOND! Before I discovered functional medicine, my main treatment strategies involved giving patients birth control pills for any gynecology issue, anti-depressants for mood problems, hormone replacement for menopause and removing female organs surgically for when these other things didn’t work. This is basically what we are taught.
- FIND THE CAUSE FIRST, FIX THE PROBLEM SECOND. Now I have the time to review a patient’s health history from birth to the present, dig into their family history and genetic tendencies, review their current lifestyle and nutrition status and recommend testing that looks more deeply into what may be causing their symptoms. I then devise a health plan that addresses your specific underlying causes through a personalized nutrition plan, appropriate exercise prescriptions, optimizing sleep patterns and effectively addressing stress reduction. I try to use vitamin and natural supplementation when appropriate and incorporate prescription medications if necessary. I use health coaches to help support my patients in the areas they need to change and to help them make healthy habits stick. We look at the body systems step by step to bring your health back into balance.
WHAT DO I DO AT A VISIT?
- The functional medicine office visit requires a LOT of one on one time–something insurance doesn’t value. Insurance companies value the NUMBER of patients seen and not the TIME spent with a patient.
- The good news is, most of you won’t need many visits to get your health back on track. Once you find the problems, dial in your lifestyle, and correct your imbalances, you don’t need me anymore! Wait……THAT’s kind of a crappy business model. I haven’t really thought this through……HA! Kidding folks! Nothing makes me happier than seeing a patient regain their health and not need me anymore.
- So if you want to try something new and want to invest in your health and feel your best, consider a functional medicine evaluation. One of my fellow functional neurologists sent me this quote about how hard it is to pay for your healthcare when you have medical insurance that doesn’t cover the kind of care you may want or need: “Instead of saying ‘that’s too expensive’ try saying ‘my health is just not worth the investment’ and see how that sounds”
Please Share the Health if you liked what you read.!!!
For more information about my wellness programs and my practice, check out my website www.drsadaty.com. Look! You are already here.
Ready for the legal disclaimer? Information offered here is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. As with any health recommendation, please contact your doctor to be sure any changes you wish to consider are safe for you!