Natural Treatment of PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome)

Contributed by Dr. Elise Schroeder and Liz Richards, L.Ac. of Blossom Clinic

What is PCOS?

Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance condition found in women of childbearing age. PCOS is characterized by some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular periods
  • Fertility problems
  • Difficulty losing weight with a distribution of weight around the middle
  • Unwanted hair growth on the chin, jawline, chest or upper legs
  • Acne
  • Loss of scalp hair
  • Ovarian cysts (This is where the name poly cystic ovarian syndrome originated. However, since not all women have this sign, it is a bit of a misnomer)

It is typically diagnosed by the presence of any combination of these symptoms when other diagnoses are ruled out.

Twenty years ago PCOS was uncommon. Most doctors knew it as Stein-Leventhal syndrome and it was considered a very rare condition. Not so today. According to the Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services: “Between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old.” Continue reading

Perimenopause and Natural Medicine

perimenopause natural medicine

Perimenopause can last a long time, up to 10 years. During this time, women have a chance to influence the quality of their health for the rest of their lives.

You’re not in menopause yet, you still get your period every month, but certain things are changing.  You have weight gain in areas you never used to, you have episodes of insomnia, your so-called “PMS” is happening unpredictably and is sometimes more intense, libido is not what it once was. What’s happening?

You’re in Perimenopause.

Perimenopause can start 10 years before true menopause hits.  Some women start to experience hormones changes as early as 35 years old.  During this pre- menopause time, periods are still occurring and pregnancy is possible, however, hormone production fluctuates and can be normal one month and sub par the next. Continue reading

Hormones Rule: From Menstruation to Menopause

fertility yogaHormones Rule: From Menstruation to Menopause

A Healthy Hormone Dialogue

Ever wonder why you get bloating, cramps or irritability before your period?  Foggy thinking, hot flashes and weight gain getting you down?  OR are you suffering with unwanted hair growth and irregular periods.  These familiar symptoms are all signs of hormone imbalance.

To find out more about how to solve YOUR hormone imbalance symptoms, join us at the Blossom Clinic Tuesday October 4th at 7 PM Continue reading

Hormones and Fertility

fertility dietThere are multiple factors that influence physiology and culminate in ovulation and conception.  Not only internal factors, like healthy blood and vitality, but also external factors like the seasons and the amount of light in our bedrooms at night.  Reproduction is truly an amazing and complicated process.  All contributors being equal though- what ultimately decides whether a woman will produce an egg and conceive is … drum roll please… our hormones.

Hormones and Fertility

Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body.  They literally communicate information to cells. Without hormones, or when our hormones aren’t working optimally, these messages can be missed, leading to all sorts of “miscommunications”.  For example, if the hormone insulin isn’t communicating with cells, diabetes is the result.  When thyroid hormones don’t communicate there can be fatigue, dry skin, slowing of the metabolism.  When sex hormones aren’t communicating the results can be missed periods, lack of libido, or infertility.

Hormones Really are in Charge

But what affects hormones and their ability to communicate?  Well that is a long list, let’s start with just a few:

1.      Other hormones –

thyroid, insulin, pituitary hormones, testosterone, adrenal hormones like DHEA and cortisol. When one hormone is out of balance (too high or too low) the other hormones have to make up for that, by filling in the gap or overcompensating.  Hormones prefer to coexist in harmony.  They help each other to do their best jobs.  When one fails, the others compensate temporarily, but  eventually those hormones get over used as well and the result is a whole lot of  miscommunication  and disharmony – hormone imbalance.

2.      Vitamin or mineral deficiencies 

vitamins and minerals (like B vitamins, iron or iodine) act as cofactors in the body in certain metabolic processes and some hormones rely on vitamins and minerals to be produced .  As an example, iodine is needed for thyroid hormone production.

3.      Toxicity –

can affect hormone communication. Actually, it’s the body’s ability to rid itself of these toxins that affects hormone communication. These chemicals do not have any nutritious or useful qualities, so the body needs to process them out or “detox”. With increased exposure, the detox burden can become too big and excess toxins circulating through the system can affect normal physiology. The result – conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, infertility, anovulation , nutritional deficiencies, depression, anxiety, fatigue, body aches, and more.  Here is a short list of some toxins that we exposed to regularly: pesticides, hormone like preservatives in bath and body products, chemicals in gasoline and exhaust fumes, chemicals in our carpets, furniture, plastics and paint. There are other factors that can affect hormone health.  Stress, sleep, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D and immune system health, other health condition like PCOS or diabetes, to name a few.

The take home message here: For optimal hormone function and fertility, get your body in  tip top shape- address your nutritional needs, lifestyle needs and any underlying conditions that might be affecting your vitality.  

Contributed by Dr. Elise Schroeder.  For Part I of this article, click here.  Please address questions for Dr. Schroeder to theblossomclinic@gmail.com .

Free Talk with Dr. Schroeder: Understanding Hormone Imbalances

Dr. Elise Schroeder will be giving a free talk titled Understanding Hormone Imbalances at the Herb Shoppe (3327 SE Hawthorne Blvd) on Wednesday May 4th at 6:15 PM. Continue reading