Let us start with what they are. Hormones are chemical messengers that usually originate in one place and cause an effect in another. Hormones are the orchestra that play the music of the body. When the orchestra is in sync, the world is a wonderful place. Hormones wake you up and put you to sleep, they control your metabolism, they make you function, they keep you manly and womanly, they are fundamental to procreation and unfortunately when out of balance, they age you
Unfortunately, our way of life for tens of thousands of years has changed in less than one hundred years. Modern living has silenced some instruments in the hormone orchestra, turned up others, introduced harsh noises and given the conductor a nervous twitch. We have a combination of heavy metals and chemicals acting as hormone mimics; junk foods that drive our hormones where they were never meant to go, chronic stress that put the hormones out of sync, nutrient deficiencies that adversely impact on hormone production and lifestyles that reduce hormone production. As a result we see:
- An increase in hormone related cancers
- Young women reaching ménage sooner
- PMS symptoms becoming more acute
- An increase in fatigue related diseases
- A rise in mood disorders, notably depression
- Men developing “man boobs”
- Young women developing Poly Cystic Ovarian syndrome
- A rise in symptoms of brain fog, insomnia, hot flushes, weight gain, unexplained pain, inability to conceive, chronic acne, and a couple of hundred others.
Most of the women I see are suffering from PMS, effects of peri/menopause, menstrual health, PCOS, inability to conceive, hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue. Most of the men are suffering from man boobs, ED and prostate issues. As a man, I can say that women are so much smarter about their health. A common male response is: “Clive, forget the heart and cancer, let’s get the important stuff fixed”.
Some people turn directly to hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The studies are conflicting. My own view is that if someone is going to undertake HRT, it should be with bio identical hormones, dosed to the individual, taken with nutrients proven to inhibit possible side effects. I have heard the word natural applied to much of the estrogen given to women. I suppose that technically, estrogen, extracted from the urine of pregnant horses, is natural. But it would take some pretty strong chaps to hold me down, before they could put that into my body. Without wishing to play the animal rights card (much), go and research how the horses are treated. In the U.S. and Canada, urine is collected from 75,000 pregnant mares. These mares spend six months of their pregnancies confined to stalls so small they cannot turn or step back. They cannot lie down, they cannot scratch. They are tied and fitted with rubber devices to collect their urine. Most of the foals are turned into dog food.
As a naturopath, I would rather see the body make its own hormones. There are many nutrients/herbs (remember most drugs have their origins in herbs) that can support the body to increase and decrease hormone production.
Let me give you a simple example. I had a young woman present with excessive facial and body hair. She was worried about looking less feminine. She also had acne, abnormal menstrual cycles and obesity, which she was less concerned about. After a few tests, we determined that she had extremely high levels of testosterone. Her doctor advised going on the pill and taking some drugs to deal with the symptoms. She opted for a more natural approach and using a combination of herbs, diet and lifestyle her body came back into balance. Not only did her unwanted hair disappear, but also so did her acne, and extra weight. Her cycles normalised. At a later discussion with her doctor, he conceded that the natural approach had worked but maintained his approach would have worked quicker. We did not discuss side effects.
Many people believe that as we age, we lose our hormones. I believe we age because we lose our hormones. A balance of hormones keeps women young and beautiful and men virile and strong. Why not hang on to these attributes for as long as you can. Every woman hits menopause. Every man hits andropause. You can delay them. It is so much easier to keep optimum hormone balance than regain it. Some people take the view that aging is a natural process and should be allowed to proceed its own course. This may be a valid viewpoint, but what I say to them is this “Okay so your eyes are fading. Don’t use glasses, because fading eyesight is natural”.
What we have today is an epidemic of premature aging and diseases that are directly hormone related. Colour me purple, but I like jumping out of bed in the morning with a hunger for the day, I like feeling good, I like being able to do physical exercise (if not the exercise), I like being able to do the things a man does, I like sleeping well. I do not like pain, fatigue, disease, and losing function.
At the bewell clinic, we work with you analysing your symptoms, conducting tests to determine the current state of your body and tailor a program to suit you.