Common Female Reproductive Issues:
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes physical as well as psychological symptoms that range from migraines to mood swings. The onset is usually a few days or a week or two before menstruation, where there is a decrease in estrogen and an increase in progesterone production. The severity of symptoms may fluctuate with each cycle and can vary from mild to severe.
After consultations with a Health Renewal doctor and the relevant investigations have been carried out, nutraceuticals will be prescribed accordingly. These could include vitamins, minerals, fatty acids like omega-3, serotonin modulators (5HTP) and antioxidants like theanine. Another possible cause of PMS is estrogen dominance, a condition in which there’s too much of the female hormone in the bloodstream. In this case, phytoestrogens (estrogen derived from plants) and natural progesterone from yams are an option.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Those suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have an abnormally high androgen level (testosterone and DHEA) and can present with acne, increased facial hair (hirsutism), loss of scalp hair (alopecia) and menstrual irregularities. This hormonal imbalance can also affect fertility as it may cause absent menstruation or periods where no ovulation occurs.
Women with PCOS are also prone to insulin resistance. Insulin is the ‘key’ that tells your cells to open up and use blood sugar for energy. If your insulin levels are chronically high, the key gets worn down and stops working. This means your body will now struggle to use the food you eat and ends up storing it instead, resulting in weight gain.
Treatment includes a focus on diet, exercise, medication and supplementation. Oral contraceptives are a traditional treatment that attempts to ‘normalize’ the cycle however it doesn’t address the underlying causes and often masks the symptoms.
Endometriosis is an estrogen-driven condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. This displaced tissue behaves as it normally would - thickening, breaking down and bleeding with each cycle. The surrounding tissue can eventually form scar tissue and adhesions that can result in organs and pelvic tissue sticking to each other.
The definitive diagnosis of endometriosis is made via laparoscopy. Treatment must take into consideration the patient’s age, symptoms and whether or not there is a desire to fall pregnant. Conventional medicine focuses on pain relief in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, oral contraceptives, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and antagonists (hormones that affect the ovaries), progestin therapy and Danazol (a synthetic steroid).
At the Renewal Institute, we devise a more holistic management plan that considers the results of the blood tests as well as the symptoms.
Perimenopause ultimately leads to menopause. Both phases affect women differently but some of the first signs are hot flushes, mood changes, anxiety, insomnia, low libido and skin changes. The decline in hormone levels can result in osteoporosis, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Booking a Health Renewal consult with the doctor will involve investigations like blood tests. Your gut health is also taken into consideration along with adrenal and thyroid support as these can have an effect on your hormones too.