The struggle and misconception
Too many women are experiencing painful cramps, heavy bleeding, bloating, excess break out, breast tenderness, migraine headaches, mood fluctuation or irregular periods, PCOS and other types of hormone imbalances that leave them confused and frustrated with their body for years, even decades.
As women enter their 40s, their hormones fluctuate greatly, and perimenopause and menopause symptoms start to take over, like hot flashes, low sex drive, weight gain, mood swings, brain fog, and insomnia.
Most women have come to believe that all of these symptoms are an inevitable part of being a woman.
As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, I am here to tell you that they do not have to be! I often treat these common hormone related conditions (not limited to) in my TCM practice:
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Adult acne
- Dysmenorrhea, period cramps
- Heavy bleeding
- Yeast infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Insomnia, hot flashes and brain fog associated with menopause
These symptoms are telling you that your body is out of balance. Once we bring the balance back and optimize your hormone health, periods and menopause can become a completely different experience. It’s my goal to help women have smooth menstrual cycles every month and a seamless transition to menopause.
What are hormones and what is hormone imbalance?
Hormones are secreted by exocrine glands, including but not limited to your adrenals, pituitary gland, ovaries/testes, pancreas, etc. The hormones work together to form one mass communication system, called the endocrine system. Hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, androgen, insulin and cortisol, are vital chemical messengers that control the body's communication pathways and have regulatory functions in major parts of the body,
including: immune function, inflammatory processes, metabolic processes, fluid dynamics and sexual functions and characteristics.
The relationships between different hormones are very complicated. For example, Cortisol is a counter-regulatory hormone to insulin with the opposite effect. Cortisol releases glucose into the bloodstream and raises blood sugar while insulin is designed to lower blood sugar by transporting glucose out of the bloodstream and inside various cells.
Another example, Estrogens and androgens are well known to exert opposing effects in several tissues. Studies also found that there might be a direct antiandrogenic effect of estradiol on sexual hormones targeted tissue cells.
Due to the nature of complex networks between different hormones, even slight imbalances in these hormones can create a ripple effect that leads to widespread symptoms.
Conventional treatments for hormonal imbalance are often to replace or suppress, as seen with the birth control pill, thyroid medication, insulin replacements. Unfortunately, for many people this only bandages the problems, leading to dependency on medication while secondary symptoms progress, all while exposing people to risk factors such as stroke, osteoporosis, weight gain, mood disorders, low sex drive, and potential reproductive health issues.
Signs of symptoms of hormonal imbalances may include, but are not limited to:
- Androgen imbalance: PCOS, acne, hirsutism, weight issues, irregular/absent menses, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, weight gain, fatigue, mood-related problems
- Estrogen imbalance: PMS, period cramps, Endometriosis, allergy/skin rash, mood swings, weight gain around the hips, water retention, heavy menses, nervousness, sweet cravings, low libido, hair loss, hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, depression, urinary incontinence, heart palpitations, foggy thinking, sleep disturbances, memory lapses, hair loss, dry skin, vaginal atrophy, vaginal dryness
- Progesterone imbalance: PMS, mood swings, infertility, water retention, fibrocystic breasts, irritability/nervousness, sweet cravings, hypothyroid symptoms, low
- Thyroid Dysfunction: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goitres, thyroid nodules, and autoimmune thyroid disorders: Grave's Disease, Hashimoto's thyroid
- Adrenal Fatigue/deficiency: fatigue, brain fog, hypothyroid symptoms, trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, difficulty losing weight, low sex drive, low motivation
- Insulin Resistance/Excess: weight gain, nerve damage, increased urination, dry mouth, PCOS
Dalu’s Chinese Medicine treatment for hormone imbalance
Instead of just looking into hormone levels and supplementing or altering them, Chinese medicine takes a more holistic and balancing point of view. TCM assessment and treatment also focus on emotion and stress management, circulation and inflammation which are factors that influence hormone health.
The process starts with a thorough health history interview and careful physical assessment (tongue, pulse and abdominal examination), based on the history and findings, Dalu will provide a compound treatment with acupuncture and/or herbal formulas that not only addresses the hormone issues but also covers digestion, circulation and inflammation issues if presented by patients. Dalu believes there are no isolated problems when it comes to chronic health issues, therefore the body system needs to be examined and treated as a whole in order to achieve a true balanced, self-sustainable state of health.
Dalu Wang, R.TCMP R.Ac, is a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and acupuncturist located in Toronto. If you are looking for a natural holistic solution for your hormone health, he can help you with his TCM treatment. Book an appointment online or call 647-779-1919 to start your journey to better health.