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Hormone Health

The use and efficacy of (dietary) phytoestrogens in menopause

Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that are structurally similar to estradiol. As they can interact with estrogen receptors (ER) and influence other signalling pathways, supplemental phytoestrogens and the plant foods they come from represent an alternative therapy to hormone-replacement treatment (HRT) in perimenopausal and menopausal women. Estradiol plays multiple roles in the overall health of women including protection of the cardiovascular system and of bone density. Therefore its decline, associated with menopause, can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, decreased bone density and osteoporosis. Common symptoms include vaginal dryness and atrophy, changes in mood, increased fatigue, insomnia, central weight gain, hot flashes

Debunking Five Myths About Hormones

PMS Doesn’t Exist PMS is not a myth! PMS affects up to 12% of women. Psychiatry and gynecology have developed distinct diagnoses. Symptoms of PMS develop in the luteal phase, which is the phase following ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs around between day 12 to 14 of the menstrual cycle.  Symptoms of PMS are both psychiatric and physical, and they can develop at any time in a woman’s life, from the beginning of menstruation to menopause.  Women who experience at least one of the symptoms of PMS (listed below), which leads to significant impairment during the luteal phase and with resolution

Endometriosis and Migraines

Endometriosis and migraines share many similarities in epidemiology, pathogenesis, and the physical or psychiatric co-morbidities that can accompany them.1 In this article, we will explore the links between the two conditions and natural substances that could potentially alleviate them. Endometriosis Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity and commonly associated with chronic pelvic pain and infertility.2 This tissue arises only in women of menstrual age, can grow or bleed cyclically, and may cause adhesions.3 Typical symptoms include pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, and infertility.4 Overall, six to 10% of women of reproductive age

Balancing Hormones with Botanical Medicine

The beauty of being a woman living with the cycles of the Moon and the Earth is sacred. Within every person lives a divine feminine womb space worthy of consideration and care. Similar to the principles of yin and yang, there is a balance of feminine and masculine energy within us all; fire and ice, movement and rest, the Sun and Moon. When we honour both the physical and energetic womb space as identifying women, we welcome smooth flow and balanced hormones. In today’s modern world, hormone imbalances are becoming increasingly prevalent. An imbalance can look like anything from mood

The Complexities of PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that has undergone many changes in diagnostic criteria over the last 30 years. Previously, the diagnosis was based on the presence of polycystic ovaries (PCO): an increased number of follicles in each ovary and/or an abnormally large ovarian volume. But the multi-system involvement in PCOS has led to multiple versions or subtypes of the disorder. PCOS and PCO are associated with metabolic and hormonal dysfunction including insulin resistance and the resulting high levels of androgens, such as testosterone. The result of this dysfunction is the characteristically high number of immature follicles within the

Endometriosis: Inside Out

Endometriosis is a painful disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial (uterine) tissue in locations outside the uterus. This can include on or around the ovaries, on other structures within the pelvic cavity, and even in other locations around the body. Endometriomas, also described as hemorrhagic cysts, can be intrusive and adhesive to surrounding structures; and because they are made of endometrial tissue, they respond to cycling ovarian hormones.  There are many different stages and severities of endometriosis depending on infiltration of tissue, adhesion to surrounding organs and structures, the number of lesions and the symptoms experienced.  As a result,

Stress and Hormone Regulation

Stress is a natural part of our lives, and although it gets a bad reputation, stress isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Stress helps us deal with new situations and threats. It keeps us alert and on our toes. It can even be considered healthy: the ability to adapt to stress can make the body (and mind) stronger – but only if there is a proper “recovery” period afterwards. Where we get into trouble health wise is in situations of chronic stress; when there isn’t enough recovery but a maintenance or resistance to stress for so long, followed by a phase

The HPA-axis and Hormone Balance

Contextualizing the neuroendocrine system is no easy feat, as there are hundreds of signals and factors that enable each organ to communicate sending positive and negative feedback signals. Imagine if you will, each organ is centered on a teeter-totter in the middle of many scattered across a playground, with strings connecting them all. The tension in the strings is constantly changing as each organ needs to stay balanced. When lifestyle, and environmental factors push any organ in one direction, the strings help the other organs compensate releasing more or less of a hormone- while we have developed impressive resilience to

Thyro Support™: A Novel Approach to Improving Metabolism

We put on weight when we regularly consume more calories than we use through our normal bodily functions or expend during our daily physical activities. Over 60% of adult Canadians are overweight or obese and obesity is one of the major risk factors for a number of diseases. Unfortunately, losing weight by eating fewer calories and burning more energy is easier said than done. Many of our lifestyle habits make it difficult to shake those extra pounds. When we are stressed, it’s easy to reach for the sugary pick-me-up, or skip out on a few extra hours of much needed

Menopause: What Are My Natural Options?

Menopause is a normal, natural and inevitable event that affects all women reaching middle to late adulthood. In a very basic sense, menopause occurs as a result of aging. Changes in the structure and function of the female ovaries  lead to a drastic drop in estrogen  levels and permanent cessation of menses. Unfortunately, its associated symptoms can make this process quite uncomfortable for many women and can negatively impact their social life, psychological health and overall well- being.1 The most common concern in postmenopausal women are hot flashes; these cause an episodic feeling of heat, intense sweating and flushing of

Combating Adrenal Fatigue with Vitamin C and Glandular Extracts

Stress is practically unavoidable in our high paced culture. Chronic stress triggers a hormonal cascade that places excessive demands on the body’s nutrient and vitamin stores which can have serious health consequences. The main organ and hormonal system that is imbalanced during chronic stress are the adrenal gland. The adrenals produce key hormones including cortisol, DHEAs, and mineralocorticoids, which regulate many functions in our body. High demand on the adrenal gland during times of stress may cause adrenal fatigue. It’s important to understand that adrenal hormones are essential for our survival but the trouble is that chronic stress causes them to

The Happy Love Hormone: Oxytocin Obsession

Can you feel it? Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is upon us and we’re feeling the love everywhere we go these days. It must be our oxytocin levels going out of control! Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle” or “love” hormone because it is released when your get a great-big hug or a snuggle session with another person (playtime with our pups can also release oxytocin!) But what is the science behind why this hormone boosts our mood and what can we do to start feeling the love? Oxytocin is the feel-good, touchy-feely, “cuddle hormone”  that is released

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