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Natural Awakenings Greater Boston - Rhode Island

Explore Underlying Issues Before Balancing Hormones

Apr 30, 2012 12:40PM ● By Gary Kracoff

When a woman is suffering from PMS or menopausal symptoms, she may think about adding female hormones to her body.  Butsynthetic hormones can bring side effects such as acne, breast tenderness, and increases in cancer risk, weight gain and sleep disturbances.Moreover, problems that are thought to represent a shortage of estrogen or progesterone can actually indicate an excess of female hormones, or the body’s inability to effectively metabolize and eliminate these hormones.

Toxic overload may be a factor in this scenario, as most people today are subjected to more toxins than the body was designed to handle. Normally the liver, kidneys and immune system work together to remove toxins as they are encountered.When toxinsexceed the body’s capacity to remove them, they are stored. People can store toxins in their bodies for years without experiencing any negative symptoms; once the burden of toxins becomes too high, they may start to feel ill.

Supporting thebody’sliver and detoxing systems istherefore essential forgood health and hormone balancing, as the liver processes and eliminates hormones produced during the female cycle.  If a woman is exposed to more toxins than she can process and her liver is overtaxed, she may experience cyclical headaches thatoccur around ovulation or the start of menstruation.  They are usually felt in the rightside of the head, and disappear shortly after the menstrual flow begins. Such so-called “liver headaches” indicate that the liver cannot process hormones due to toxic overload.

Another strategy for women with hormonal symptoms is to balance the adrenals.  The adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, are involved in the human “feed and breed” and “fight or flight” responses.  When lives are too stressful, the adrenal glands cannot adapt to the added stress of hormone fluctuations. Women who experience “hot flashes,” sleep issues, short tempers, and memory loss are likely having a “fight or flight” response from overtaxed adrenals. 

Exercise, a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep, and lowering the body’s toxic load can therefore help to reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms.There are saliva test kits to check the adrenal rhythm and stress levels. Once the pattern is discovered, there are many natural ways to help balance the body and reduce symptoms, including Traditional Chinese Medicine blends, adaptogenic herbs, nutritional and homeopathic medicines.The bottom line is finding the underlying imbalance that is preventing the body from doing its job.

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a registered pharmacist and naturopathic doctor at Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center in Waltham. Visit or call 781-893-3870 for more information.