Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Menopause Syndrome and Female Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone imbalances, including adrenal, thyroid and sex hormone imbalance, are common problems for many people. In the past, the most popular approach to correct female hormone imbalance was Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). People thought that female hormones became deficient during aging process, which is the cause for menopausal symptoms. HRT would not only bring the youth back but also solve the hot flashes. However, recent large-scale clinical trials showed that HRT correlates with high risk of stroke and cancer. Thus, many people have switched from conventional HRT to natural hormone replacement. But, is the natural hormone safer than synthetic ones?
Let’s take a look of our hormonal control mechanism, which is called the negative feedback loop. Each individual hormone is stimulated by higher level stimulating hormones. Once the lower level hormone is produced, it sends a negative signal back to the brain to say, "I’m here." When the brain senses the signal, it reduces the production of the (higher level) stimulating hormone. Hormone replacement, either natural or synthetic, simply suppresses stimulating hormone. This can cause the body to lose its ability to produce a specific hormone on its own. On the other hand, each individual hormone has to reach to a delicate balance with other hormones. Too much or too little of specific hormone may either promote cell growth and cause cancer, or cause atrophy of specific tissue. Thus, the following three questions have to be asked before any hormone replacement therapy:
Whether the deficiency is true or not?
What is the reason that causes hormone deficiency?
Whether or not the replacement disturbs balance of other hormones?
If you are unsure of the answers to the above questions, would you like to have an alternative to any form of HRT? Now the alternative is here: You can teach your body to balance its own hormones the right way, thus fully utilizing the God-given abilities embedded in our body. Solving the cause of the hormone imbalance makes more sense than simply giving hormone replacement.
Menopause is defined as the point at which menstruation ceases, and it is usually confirmed when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months in the absence of any other obvious biological or physiological cause. Natural menopause occurs as part of the aging process and the estimates of the mean age at menopause range from 48 to 52 years. However a woman may notice the changes of menopause far before it comes. The World Health Organization defines peri-menopause at the 2-8 years preceding menopause and 1 year after final menses. During peri-menopause, lots of women experience various symptoms, which include menstrual irregularities, vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes), sleep disturbances, and psychological/behavioral changes (depression).
Hot flashes are not caused only by estrogen deficiency but also by the fluctuation of the hormone. Stresses of the body, including allergies, indigestion, infection, pain, emotion and busy schedule, always trigger overproduction of cortisol, which is one of the adrenal hormones. Because cortisol and estrogen share a common precursor, OH-pregnenolone, changes of the cortisol production are probably one of the major reasons causing estrogen fluctuation, which in turn causes hot flashes. Thus, addressing adrenal stress is more important than estrogen replacement to help hot flashes.
On the other hand, estrogen fluctuation is also caused by environmental estrogen like toxins, called Xenoestrogen. Coming from petroleum product, these harmful estrogenic substances cause problems in cellular communications by over-signaling the cell or jamming the receptors. Helping the body detoxify with meridian balance and homeopathy is necessary to balance the female hormonal system.
Autoimmune response to female hormone is another factor causing estrogen fluctuation. Many women who have menopausal symptoms, PMS or infertility may also have immune response to their own hormones, glands or receptors. For those with Highly Sensitive Body, imbalance of the immune system is the first issue needs to be addressed. Without solving this issue, toxins and stresses remain, and it would be hard to solve the female hormonal problems alone. Immune System Reprogramming is the right therapy for this condition.
Besides, there are laboratory tests available to address not only the levels of the hormones but also the ratio among them to prevent from over taking certain hormones causing cell proliferation of uterus and breasts. By gaining more understanding on hormone imbalance, the replacement therapy can be avoided in many cases. This is the functional approach for hormone related conditions.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs have a long history of use in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. Chinese medicine provides a unique theory in understanding female’s hormone regulation. According to Chinese theory, human body consists of two opposite energy forces, Yin and Yang energy. A healthy person usually has a balanced Yin-Yang energy force. If your Yin-Yang energy is not balanced, your self-healing system is down and you may get sick. Yin-Yang energy forces also regulate female menstruation cycle. It is the Yin energy in dominant during the two weeks before ovulation, while Yang energy gradually becomes dominant in the two weeks after ovulation. Since Yin energy is the basic energy force for women’s body, it is not unusual to see Yin energy deficiency during the week before period comes. According to Chinese medicine, menopause is a natural process of Kidney energy deficiency, especially the Kidney Yin energy. Therefore, it is even more difficult for menopause women to balance Yin-Yang energy during their menstruation cycle. Yin energy deficiency results in excess Yang energy, which produces Heat (toxic material) in the body. The pathogenic Heat inside the body blocks energy movement in organ systems and causes a variety of symptoms such as hot flashes, insomnia, irritation, pain and depression.
Chinese approach to menopausal symptoms is to balance Yin and Yang and help your body pass through this natural process peacefully. Acupuncture improves energy movement and stimulates self-healing system of the body, while Chinese herbs provide specific Yin or Yang energy to your body and lead the body to a healthy balance. Both therapies use natural method to balance your hormone level and reduce menopausal symptoms.
With Chinese herbal therapy, specific herbal formulas are used during different period of time within your menstruation cycle to balance your hormone specifically. With Chinese Yin-Yang theory we are able to balance women’s body with herbal formula for a variety of hormone-related illnesses such as menopausal syndrome, PMS and infertility. A number of classical Chinese formulas such as Xiao Yao Wan have also been widely used for menopause and PMS around the world. A specific formula for each individual patient, usually prescribed by a Chinese doctor, would be even better to balance your energy and reach harmony in your body and mind.
In addition to hot flashes, osteoporosis is another major concern for menopausal women. Osteoporosis is caused by an imbalance between bone re-absorption and bone formation, which results in bone loss and fractures. Hormone imbalance is the main reason for osteoporosis in menopausal women. According to Chinese medicine, osteoporosis is also a Kidney problem. Therefore, the Kidney energy herbs also help to improve osteoporosis for menopausal women. Many clinical studies showed that Chinese herbs are of potential use in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
Sum it up. The alternatives to HRT are body balancing, stress reduction, allergy management, lab hormone test, plus a brand new line of herbal and homeopathic remedies to teach the body to rebalance its hormones, so that in the long run, your body will be able to function on its own than taking hormone for the rest of your life.
Dr. Harry Hong's comprehensive program specializes in the integration of a variety of natural healing therapies such as energy testing, allergy desensitization, homeopathy, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, enzyme therapy, flower essences, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and much more. The Healing Light Co is committed to provide quality special care to the Highly Sensitive Person with Highly Sensitive Body. We are located at northwest suburb of Chicago area and have a Out-of-Town program as well. For more information, please visit www.highlysensitivebody.com.