Hormones are incredible messengers, intricately involved in thousands of essential processes in our body. Hormones
affect our sugar levels, instruct our cells to make energy, keeps our calcium levels normal and our hearts beating and can help detoxify our system. They have an effect on nearly all our bodily systems so hormonal balance is crucial.
Hormone fluctuations are a normal part of women’s cyclical patterns, however hormone imbalance can have dramatic effects on a women’s day to day life. Herbs, nutrition and lifestyle changes can have a very positive impact on hormone health, energy levels and disease prevention.
Targeted Herbal Medicine Can Support:
Irregular, erratic periods
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Heavy periods and painful periods
Hormonal skin conditions, acne, rosacea
Gut imbalances, IBS, bloating, microbiome imbalance, candida overgrowth, recurrent thrush
The Perimenopausal Transition
Herbs can be used throughout the transition to reduce symptoms as they arise, including hot sweats, anxiety, low mood, lack of libido, dry skin, joint pains, erratic periods and many more.
A major misconception is that oestrogen declines straight away in perimenopause, however it is often low progesterone to higher oestrogen ratios that cause the initial symptoms. The menopausal transition is not a straight line of oestrogen hormonal decline.
Actually, progesterone will decrease first in our 30s, which causes many of the initial symptoms and is followed by a slower decline of oestrogen levels (there are actually more than one type of oestrogen).
The four key stages of Menopause
NB, ages are approximate as every women is different
The menopausal transition can be characterised by large fluctuations in hormone levels, as the body tries to maintain balance. These erratic hormone levels are the real reason behind many symptoms of the perimenopause.
After practising for many years I have seen this pattern develop...
Start of the Perimenopause 35 to 40
Surprisingly, our hormones really start to change at this age. In particular, our progesterone starts to decrease causing a situation of relative oestrogen dominance which can result in:
Heavier periods, increased breast tenderness, extreme PMT, cystic acne particularly around the chin, slow weight gain, increased anxiety and low mood. Anger particularly around ovulation.
Perimenopause 40 to 48
This is when we really start to get some of the typical menopausal symptoms, oestrogen is decreasing and progesterone is low:
Skipped periods or periods coming closer together with a definite menstrual pattern change, changes in temperature regulation, occasional hot sweats, low mood, weight gain or very hard to lose weight, angry PMT, less patience, insomnia, lack of sex drive.
‘In it’ Menopause 48 to 52
This is generally considered the most acute time of menopause and really the last years of female reproductive life. Beware however, you can still get pregnant!
Periods very erratic, flooding, insomnia, depression, more significant loss of libido, skin changes, aching joints and risk of osteoporosis.
However the good news if you have supported yourself well and have good routines in place you will not have the same intensity of symptoms.
Post menopause 51 plus
No more periods, but a different cycle. A new start for many women, pehaps with older children, or more experience in their career, this can be a good time to invest in yourself.
Post menopause, the adrenal glands and fat cells then become the primary source of oestrogen production. This is one of the reasons why women naturally increase body fat during this time and why leaner women often have a more difficult menopause.
Since the adrenals also play an important role, levels of stress can influence how a woman copes with the menopause and what symptoms she has. In fact, adrenal health can be key to how a woman experiences her menopause.
Functional and Gut Testing
Functional tests can be very useful in the further investigation of hormonal balance and will involve allowing me to select the most appropriate herbs for your prescription. These tests can look at one or more particular functions, ranging from hormonal balance to toxicity to gastrointestinal and metabolic functions.
The results will be analysed, combined with your case history and used to formulate an informed and effective treatment plan by me and I will share these results with you to empower you to learn more about your health.
Here are some examples of tests I use regularly:
DUTCH Test Complete - a very useful hormone test which looks at hormone balance, detoxification pathways, cortisol and adrenal hormones.
Adrenal Stress Test
Vitamin D Profile
Comprehensive Stool Analysis and Parasitology
Intestinal Permeability and Absorption Capacity
I use a range of clinics including Regenerus, Genova and Nordic Labs. I also sometimes suggest at home testing with Medichecks and Thriva.
Please Note these tests incur an additional cost to the consultation. I aim to select only the most appropriate test/s for you
and usually we run these after our first consultation when I have a deeper understanding of your symptoms and what tests may be most appropriate.
How I Prescribe
I use a wide variety of herbs and medicinal mushrooms, in tincture, capsule, powder and tea form. Many of the herbs I use are known as tonics and adaptogens, herbs that support the body’s resistance to stress.
These include herbs such as ashwagandha, liquorice, shatavari, schisandra and many many more…
Each prescription is unique to you. No two prescriptions are ever the same. I always treat the individual, not the condition.