At the Great Conversation: Hormone Hell Dr. Ann Stanger provided us with some very beneficial insight into hormone health. An important point made that night, as Dr. Ann Stanger put it, “You are in charge of your health care.”
(As we are sure you are aware, the discussion and information below do not constitute or replace medical advice from your personal doctor.)
If you would like to speak to her one on one with Dr. Ann Stanger- contact her office at 608-233-2378, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website.
Some key points we talked about:
Symptoms Hormones Affect (a few we discussed. . .)
- Sleep: Both not being able to sleep and being tired all the time.
- Emotions: Feeling not in control, down, and anxious to name a few.
- Superficial Symptoms: Examples include hair loss/gain, acne, and increases or decreases in weight and body composition.
- Female Related: Experiencing hot flashes, heavy periods, no periods, irregular periods, vaginal dryness, and your biological clock.
How We Can Take Charge
Lifestyle changes are the first and most important thing we can address. It can have a tremendous impact on our internal pharmacy. This includes diet, stress reduction (yoga/meditation/breathwork/unplugging), exercise, work we love, and surrounding ourselves with inspiration and great people/relationships.
- Proper Rest: Giving ourselves a break from constant fight or flight mode as well as too much cortisol pumping through our veins. As Kathleen said, “Make unplugging not an option, but something you just do, every single day.”
- Exercise & Diet: Per Dr. Stanger, not too rigid. Find out what suits you and if that doesn’t work adjust it (i.e.Paleo does not suit everyone. Intermitent fasting does not suit everyone. Gluten free does not suit everyone. Find out what works for you.) And yes, focus on clean eating. . . organic, grass-fed, etc.
- Avoid Toxic Behavior: Both environmental toxins like BPA and emotional toxins from people/relationships. . . Something else to consider: Is your work/work environment toxic?
- Hormone Tests: One piece of the puzzle, but only one piece. Can help diagnose what is off but paying attention to/reporting how you feel (your symptoms) is even more important.
- Cortisol: Commonly known as the “stress” hormone. Affects the levels of many of the other major hormones. Should be higher early in the day and lower at bedtime. Consider lifestyle changes talked about above to help regulate.
- Estrogen: The “go” hormone. Too much and we feel irritable, can’t sleep, have more belly fat, more arm fat, breast tenderness/enlargement, etc.
- Testosterone: Supplies drive and focus. When too low we experience low focus, low mental clarity, low drive in life and towards sex. When low, our body composition shifts. . . less muscle, more fat and fat in weird places. In women, it stays fairly level through life and should not drop at menopause. It does gradually decrease in old age.
- Herbal & Amino Acid Supplements: For sleep- GABA, theanine, taurine, 5-hydroxytryptophan. For hot flashes- dong quai, black cohosh, licorice root. To increase progesterone production- chaste tree extract.
- Bioidentical Hormones: Synthetic hormones that are chemically the same as the ones our bodies produce. A completely different approach than previous “one size fits all” drugs that were not bioidentical, like Premarin (which came from horse urine). Bioidenticals are an option to be explored when solid lifestyle changes have not made an adequate impact.
For exact dosage recommendations of the options discussed contact Ann (contact info above) or talk to your local health food store or community pharmacy.
Vitamin D: Important. We are not getting enough in Northern climates.
- Dr. Stanger recommends 2,000-5,000 iu daily with food.
- Helps to regulate inflammation, immune response and mood.
- Consider a Happy Light or light therapy to get some light on your skin during the darker months.
Resources To Note
- Ann Stanger, MD
- Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky
- All books, website and newsletter of Dr. Christiane Northrup
- The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried, MD
- The Vitamin D Solution by Michael F. Holick, MD
- A Woman’s Touch, 302 S. Livingston St in Madison, 608-250-1928
Look for the next Great Conversation to come in early 2015!