Earlier in the month, I was invited to give a presentation about hormones at a Women Empower meeting in North Austin. What I wanted to get across at the meeting, in addition to basic information about the endocrine system, is the importance of choosing the right healthcare practitioners and of trusting your intuition. Here’s a summary of the presentation. Enjoy! Dr. Robin
Deborah invited me to speak tonight about hormones and their impact on women’s lives. I realized that in only giving me 20 minutes, she is preventing me from boring you to death with the biochemical reasons why estrogen is bad, progesterone is good, and both of those statements aren’t always true. What I would like to give you instead are some bottom line things to think about.
First, when I say hormones, I am referring to the endocrine system, which is much, much more than just the sex hormones or monthly menstrual cycle hormones. The endocrine system runs a vast majority of your body functions and has long-reaching effects. You may be surprised at what symptoms are your body’s hormones giving you a signal that something is amiss.
So here’s the bottom line:
If you are tired, check your thyroid.
And just because your doctor says that your blood work says your thyroid is fine, keep checking. Find someone else to check it, if necessary. There are excellent tests available that are far more comprehensive than those offered by most doctors.
If you are depressed, check your adrenals and blood sugar.
If your doctor doesn’t know how to do this, go elsewhere. It isn’t all in your head, nor do you suffer from Prozac deficiency syndrome. Seventy-five percent of people with depression have physiological imbalances in their bodies.
If you have lost your sex drive, check your entire endocrine system with a saliva test.
Blood tests are limited, and results are very dependent on what part of the month, even what time of day, you’re test.
If you have panic attacks, check your adrenals and change your diet.
If you have asthma, again check your adrenal glands.
Asthma is not a lung issue; it’s an adrenal issue.
If you have gallbladder problems, check your estrogen and cortisol levels.
If you have high cholesterol, check your thyroid.
If you can’t sleep, check your thyroid and estrogen levels.
If you have heartburn, check your adrenal glands.
If you crave sweets, check your blood sugar.
If you have allergies, check your thyroid.
If you have hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia, check your estrogen levels.
If you have PMS, cramps, migraine headaches, irregular cycles, heavy bleeding, lack of fertility, check your progesterone levels.
Now I’ve just told you to “check” all these different systems of your body. How do you go about doing that?
The endocrine system–the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal glands, parathyroid gland, ovaries, testes, the pituitary gland and pineal gland–is a beautiful feedback system similar to an orchestra.
When stresses occur, the adrenal glands are the squeaky wheel that gets the most attention. Your adrenal glands are a survival gland. This means that you can’t live without them and that they have the priority in the body to steal hormones from the other glands. Over time, this “theft” can lead to hypothyroidism, decreased progesterone, DHEA, and pregnenolone, and sometimes even decreased testosterone.
The adrenals are a fight or flight mechanism, meaning they respond to stressful situations. Keep in mind that your body views a stressful situation as “anything that isn’t neutral.” So anything that creates heart palpitations–good or bad–such as anxiety or excitement, causes the adrenals to work harder. From their point of view, a perceived stressor is the same as a real stressor, meaning that the thoughts and feelings that run through your head constantly have a huge impact on your adrenal glands, and therefore, on your endocrine system. Adrenals glands are vital, and in this day and age, are often literally physically exhausted and running down.
It’s often when the adrenal glands start to become exhausted that people end up in my clinic, asking me, “What’s wrong? I just don’t don’t feel good anymore. All my blood work says that I’m fine, and all my doctor offers me is an antidepressant.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the medical profession attracts the kind of thinkers that need to have a clearly defined solution to a problem. Balancing the endocrine system isn’t clear-cut; it can take time and patience to uncover what’s happening in each person’s unique body. This is why so many women are turning to alternative healthcare.
Checking and re-balancing your endocrine system isn’t easy. It requires you to be an active participant in your healthcare. Educating yourself is an important first step. It’s not that you need to become an expert on medical procedures, diagnosis, herbs, homeopathics, or chiropractic care. Rather, you need to educate yourself on your options.
It’s also important to become an expert in listening to and honoring your intuition about your health and your body. Handing over your power to a medical professional will not serve you. Instead, keep in mind that you are hiring doctors to help you with your health. If they’re not serving you, fire them! Don’t discount your intuition when confronted with the cold logic of the western medical model. Research your symptoms online, read books, and ask friends for references. Austin is filled with incredible alternative and conventional resources. If you don’t agree with a diagnosis or solution, keep looking.
Honor your intuition.
Let me know how I can help you in your journey to health and well-being!
May the Blessings Be,
* The information in this article cannot be substituted for medical advice about your unique body.