Hormone Imbalances are becoming increasingly common problems in our world today. By understanding how different therapies work, what options are available in both conventional and traditional medicine, you can make an informed decision on how to improve your condition.
The Hormonal (endocrine) system is a truly amazing part of the human body. It is made of glands that secrete chemical messengers called ‘hormones’ into the bloodstream or surrounding tissues. Together with the nervous system and the immune system, the endocrine system helps the body to cope with different events and stresses. Along with these glands, several organs are vital to your endocrine system. They produce, store and excrete hormones to maintain the proper function of your body.
A smallest disruption in the body can lead to an endocrine disorder.
Endocrine disorders are usually grouped into two categories:
Endocrine disease that results when a gland produces too much or too little of a hormone, called a hormone imbalance.
Endocrine disease due to the development of lesions (such as nodules or tumors) in the endocrine system, which may or may not affect hormone levels.
Conventional medicine may usemay use hormone therapy to treat certain conditions by replacing the deficient hormone thereby reducing the patient’s symptoms. Although most of the drugs prescribed today have roots in the plant world, the chemical structure of the compound has been changed to specialise and heighten its actions, then becoming a potent medication. Many people have benefited greatly from medicated hormone therapy but for others there can be a wide range of adverse side effects. An example of this is the treatment of Endometriosis.
In this condition Hormone therapy works on the principle that endometriosis is lessened during pregnancy or by menopause. Therefore, the aim of drug therapy is to put patients into a hormonal state of pseudo-pregnancy or pseudo-menopause. Side effects that patients may sometimes experience relate to these conditions.
The naturopathic approach would be to first look for the underlying cause of the problem. As we are all individuals it stand to reason that what may work for one person may not work for another. Looking at an individual’s whole health picture, getting to the bottom of what is causing the condition, is a key component of natural therapy. Saliva testing is a common way to assess hormone status. According to the World Health Organisation it is the preferred way to assess hormone balance.
Phytotherapy (the use of medicinal plants to heal and restore balance) can be used in either the whole food form (Nutritional therapy) or in the form of extracts and supplements (Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy). Plants hold amazing healing properties and more and more research is being conducted around how plants can act to naturally balance hormones.