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WellAdvice with Dr. Keith Horinouchi

Balancing Hormones Naturally

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Effect of hormones on your body

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Female hormonal balance between the estrogen hormones and progesterone is essential in order for women to obtain and maintain health and wellness. The three human estrogen hormones have numerous effects on the body which require the balance of progesterone to prevent the hyper effects of estrogen dominance which can lead to a host of health problems. Good health occurs when the hormones in the body are produced in adequate amounts and are in balance. Think of this as hormonal harmony, as if the hormones are a symphony orchestra. If one section of the orchestra, say the brass section, is too loud, then this will drown out the other sections of the orchestra and ruin the symphony.

Effects of Estrogen

The human estrogen hormones have the following effects in the body:

- Stimulates growth of the lining of the womb or uterus

- Causes breast tissue to develop and grow

- Promotes fat storage and weight gain

- Promotes fluid retention

- Causes thickening of the blood

- Decreases bone loss, but do not stimulate new bone growth

- Increases emotional sensitivity

- Activates progesterone receptors

- Inhibits sex drive

- Stimulates the production of thyroid binding globulin by the liver, inhibiting the action of the thyroid hormones



Progesterone has the following effects which counterbalance the estrogen hormones:

- Matures the uterine lining preventing excess buildup of tissue

- Inhibits breast tissue overgrowth, preventing fibrocystic breast disease

- Has a diuretic effect which mobilizes fluid, decreasing swelling

- Enhances the action of thyroid hormones, increasing metabolism

- Stimulates the production of new bone, protecting against osteoporosis

- Increases the sex drive

- Protects against breast cancer and uterine cancer

- Thins the blood, preventing blood clots

- Supports the function of the adrenal glands

- Elevates mood

- Promotes pregnancy



As Women Age

A woman's ovaries generally function best between a few years after puberty until around age 30. As a woman ages so do her ovaries. By the time a woman reaches 35 years of age she is over halfway through her menstrual life and her ovarian function begins to falter. The progesterone hormone production falls most dramatically over the last half of her menstrual life, between the ages of 35 and 50. This decline in progesterone occurs for two reasons. Firstly, the ovaries are aging and functioning less effectively than they did earlier in life. Secondly, as a woman ages she begins to have menstrual cycles during which her ovaries do not ovulate, that is, they do not give off an egg. This is called an anovulatory cycle. When a woman does not ovulate during a menstrual cycle, her ovaries will produce no progesterone. These are the causes of what is termed progesterone deficiency. In these cases, the hormones that have the greatest influence in a woman's body are the estrogen hormones. When this occurs a woman will experience estrogen dominance, meaning her female hormones are imbalanced in favor of the estrogen hormones. Many women have experienced estrogen dominance since puberty. In most women, this condition develops as they move through their menstrual lives.

The approach of menopause

The estrogen hormones and progesterone decline as a woman ages. But progesterone declines much more rapidly than do the estrogen hormones. As a woman approaches and enters the change of life, menopause, she may begin to experience the symptoms of declining estrogen hormones manifested by hot flashes and vaginal dryness. By this time progesterone is no longer being produced by the ovaries. Even as she has symptoms of declining estrogen a woman still has estrogen dominance because there is no progesterone to balance the lower levels of estrogen. When a woman enters menopause her ovaries no longer function. Yet, she still makes estrogen hormones, primarily estrone, in her fat cells at approximately 50% of what she made premenstrually.

Estrogen Dominance/Progesterone Deficiency

Depending on the degree of the progesterone deficiency, estrogen dominance may manifest itself with one, some or all of the following hyper effects:

- Premenstrual breast tenderness

- Premenstrual mood swings, irritability, depression

- Premenstrual fluid retention and weight gain

- Premenstrual headaches, including migraines

- Heavier periods often associated with clotting

- Irregular menstrual cycles

- Menstrual cramping

- Fibrocystic breast disease

- Uterine fibroids

- Loss of sexual desires

- Anxiety and panic attacks

- Infertility

- Insomnia and restless sleep

- Bone loss, osteopenia and osteoporosis

- Adrenal gland fatigue

- Autoimmune disorders

- Triggering of allergies associated with more frequent respiratory illnesses

- Urinary frequency

- asy loss of urine when coughing, laughing or sneezing

- Recurrent bladder infections

- Frequent headaches, including migraines, throughout the month

- Dry eyes

- Increase in body fat

- Sagging skin and wrinkles

- Decreased mental sharpness

- Gall Bladder Disease

- Polycystic Ovaries

- Elevated cholesterol

- Elevated blood pressure

- Breast cancer

- Cancer of the uterus

- Hypothyroidism



Many of these symptoms and conditions commonly occur in women of all ages. They may be common, but they are not normal. These symptoms are an indication of declining ovarian function which leads to an inevitable deterioration in health as women age. In order for women to obtain and maintain health and wellness as they age, it is essential that they preserve female hormonal balance as soon as the presence of its symptoms occur.



Not just the uterus, but every cell in a woman's body has receptors for and is influenced by the estrogen hormones, by progesterone and by testosterone. Most importantly the sex hormones affect the brain, stimulating the production of neurotransmitters, neurochemicals and neurohormones, which enable a woman to think clearly and have elevated moods. When the sex hormones decline, become imbalanced or are no longer produced, brain function deteriorates, manifested by a decrease in mental sharpness, inability to focus, poor short term memory, brain fog, mood swings, irritability, depression and anxiety. This is why it is so important to provide women natural progesterone supplementation when indicated for premenstrual symptoms and progesterone replacement after menopause. Although progesterone and estrogen are the two dominant hormones that women produce, it is important to remember that women also produce small doses of testosterone. For women, the production of testosterone peaks at ovulation in order to stimulate a woman's desire for sexual relations.



Testosterone Effects in Women

Testosterone has the following effects on the body:

- Relieves panic or anxiety attacks

- Gives a sense of well being

- Decreases body fat and cholesterol

- Increases and enhances libido

- Increases muscle tone (bladder, heart, etc.) and bone mass

- Enhances cognitive thinking and math ability

- Converts inactive thyroid (T4) to active thyroid (T3)

Recommendations for balancing hormones naturally

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