Hormones play a much bigger part in our lives that we even realise. When we think of hormones, many of us simply think of reproductive hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone. We tend to forget about our endocrine system as a whole, which includes sleep hormones such as melatonin, our fight or flight hormone adrenalin and our blood sugar regulating hormone insulin – just to name a few.
As I have built up my practice, I have come to realise that most of us, including myself, need to have our hormones balanced at some point in our lives. We have become so used to the hormone imbalances which we live with that we do not even realise there are treatments, and lifestyle factors, which can put into practice to improve our hormonal health.
Do you know that we are surrounded by artificial hormones called xenoestrogens every day? Xenoestrogens disrupt our endocrine system and produce oestrogen-like effects. These can be found in regular household cleaning products, our make-up, plastic containers, pesticides on non-organic fruit and vegetables, shower gels and much more. If you are taking the contraceptive pill which is made of artificial hormones and adding all of the everyday xenoestrogens to the mix, you may end up with a hormonal imbalance such as oestrogen dominance. The build up of xenoestrogens have been indicated in various conditions such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriage, sleeping disorders and diabetes.
Phytoestrogens are plant oestrogens, which can also influence our hormonal health. These plant oestrogens can be found in a variety of sources, most commonly evening primrose, soy products, liquorice root, dong quai and many more. In some cases, they can be good for us, but this very much depends on your own individual hormone health which can be assessed during consultation.
How can you avoid or minimise your intake of artificial hormones? In addition to using paraben and sulphate free beauty products, eating organic food, avoiding pesticides and using paraben free plastic, homeopathy can be used to help re-balance your hormones. There is not one single go-to remedy, as we are all different and experience different symptoms. During a consultation with me, all of your symptoms, medical history and lifestyle factors will be discussed to come up with the best treatment plan for you.
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The Journal of Biological Chemistry275, 35986-35993 doi: 10.1074/jbc.M006777200, November 17, 2000.
Dietary Phytoestrogens, Mindy S. Kurzer and Xia Xu, Annual Review of Nutrition 1997 17:1, 353-381