I am often asked why I dedicate the majority of my work to hormone balance in women. In my opinion, hormones are the foundation of health. If we use the analogy of building a house, the food you eat, your sleep, exercising, and supplements are your bricks. But even with the best bricks in the world, if your foundations (hormones) are ‘shaky,’ then you won’t be able to build the house well.
Imbalance in the Endocrine System
When we talk about hormones, people often just think about male or female sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone – but there are numerous hormones that affect our systems such as cortisol, the stress hormone, insulin which controls blood sugars and is very inflammatory to the body in high levels, and thyroid hormones that can affect mood, energy, and weight. All these hormones are part of what we call endocrine systems, and a deficiency or imbalance in one of them can have an impact on the other hormones too.
My work involves assessing the patient’s hormone balance by looking at their symptoms and blood tests. I like to look at all the hormones mentioned above as they all interact with each other. My aim is to balance a patient’s blood sugars, sex hormones, reduce inflammation by keeping inflammatory hormones such as cortisol and insulin in balance and make sure the thyroid hormones are in balance, as this impacts weight and energy. I use nutrition, implementing exercise regimens, improving sleep, and methods of managing stress to help improve my patients’ lives and long term health.
Benefits of Hormone Balance in Women
Did you know that a large study by the Endocrine Society showed that taking hormone replacement therapy at the point of menopause reduced the participants all-cause mortality by 40% compared to women who didn’t take any hormones? Hormones are good and they can improve your cardiovascular, neurological, and bone health, as well as help with energy, sleep, mood, memory, focus, sex drive, hair, and skin.
The reason I spend a lot of my time working with menopausal women is that I feel that women are really valuable members of society. A woman in her 50s usually has more life experience and wisdom than younger women. Yet society continues to unfairly judge women mainly on their looks and weight. We need to break down the barriers around menopause and stop seeing women as ‘washed up’ as they age.
I will never forget a powerful woman in her 50s who works in the City of London in Finance. She told me about giving a big presentation to her colleagues when she suddenly had a flush. Her face turned red and sweat dripped down her forehead. Her male colleagues in their 20s were sniggering at her. Hearing about this degrading and humiliating experience from a brilliant, bright woman changed me. After that, I vowed to help as many strong, powerful, wise women as possible. You should not be judged by age and hormonal state.
Some women feel they have to just suffer at this time of life, or see taking hormones as a failure. Studies show that taking hormones at menopause can also be beneficial to cardiovascular health, bone density, and neurological health. Hormones should not be feared. But you do need to see an expert who can help you weigh the pros and cons.
More to Come
Over the next few months, I will share how to use nutrition and supplements to help hormone balance in women. We will discuss which lifestyle changes will help, and what the different hormones do. I look forward to being of service to you and answering your hormonal questions!
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