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Ways to Avoid Manmade Estrogens


d Choose organic milk and dairy products.


d Eat organic meats and wild-caught fish.


d Avoid canned foods and plastic water and soda bottles.


d Do not use lawn or garden chemical pesticides or herbicides.


d Shed outdoor shoes before entering the house.


d Avoid furniture made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and synthetic carpeting; these materials outgas toxic chemicals.


d Use natural household-cleaning products, including baking soda and vinegar.


d Choose natural personal care products, including shampoos, lotions and cosmetics.


bearing years. “The stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine can have long-term effects on all other hor- mones,” advises Northrup. Concurrently, many women sacrifice self-nurturance in order to nurture others. The first result is often premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which Northrup calls a “lifestyle disease.” “We know that this problem seems to worsen with each subsequent child. That made the connection for me,” she adds, “that with growing families and responsibilities, women no longer take care of themselves as well; no longer get the amount of exercise they once did. The body is quite forgiving in their 20s, much less so in their 30s.” Part of the re-


sult is the attempt to reduce stress levels by eating high-fat


and high-sugar comfort foods. Weight gain, blood sugar imbalances and sex hormone imbalances follow. “Excess blood sugar changes the way estro- gen, progesterone and testosterone are


metabolized,” Northrup explains. “PMS and other problems of the reproduc- tive years often go away when you get your blood sugar balanced, but—here’s the rub—you won’t get it rebalanced unless you are addressing the very real stressors in your life.”


Due to the presence of xenoestro- gens and Americans’ general fondness for processed comfort foods, women in their childbearing years are also in- creasingly afflicted by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition charac- terized by overproduction of testoster- one and other male hormones. Insulite Laboratories, in Louisville, Colorado, reports that infertility and early onset Type 2 diabetes, another hormonal imbalance problem, are closely con- nected to PCOS.


The first priority for every woman at any age, counsels Northrup, is to get blood sugar (glucose) under control. “Get a glucometer. You don’t need a prescription. If your blood sugar level isn’t between 80 and 90 in the morn- ing, you need to look at your diet and lifestyle. Getting this under control will create hormonal balance in the vast majority of women. It’s so simple.”


Perimenopause


The next hormonal shift overlaps with a woman’s reproductive years. Symp- toms of perimenopause, or the start of menopause and the end of childbearing years, typically show up between the early and late 30s.


To find a local compounding pharmacy for customized, bioidentical hormone blends, as prescribed by a medical practitioner, visit iacprx.org. well?


These range from hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia to weight gain, fuzzy thinking and redistribution of hair on the body. Again, the presence of xenoestrogens and stress contribute. Women of


other cultures rarely experience the intensity of peri- menopausal symp- toms that Western women report. So does that make perimenopause a lifestyle disease, as


Emphatically yes, says Holly Lucille, a doctor of naturopathy, registered nurse and past president of the California Naturopathic Doctors Association. “Diet


Hormone Balance


Hormone balance is a complex network of interactions between different organ systems. To achieve optimal wellness, all systems require thorough evaluation with a com- bination of blood, saliva and urine testing. Rebalancing sex hormones is best done with bio-identical hor- mones. Thyroid can be rebalanced with a natural thyroid replacement. Adrenal dysfunction can be cor- rected with a combination of differ- ent natural supplements that would restore the adrenal glands to their normal function. Close monitoring and retesting is necessary to ensure appropriate response to treatment. Ignoring any one of these facets of hormone balancing will result in less than optimal results.


~Dr. Jeffrey Backenstoes, D.O., owner of Capstone Medical Associates, Palmyra, PA


and lifestyle are absolutely essential to a healthy hormonal system,” which she explains in her book, Creating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman’s Guide to Safe, Natural, Hormone Health. “The biochemistry of the body is based on vitamins and minerals. If we compromise food and lifestyle choices, we are not getting the nutrients necessary to have a healthy endocrine system.”


Weight gain is a particular con- cern during perimenopause. In their book, From Belly Fat to Belly Flat, Dr. Randolph and Genie James, co-founders of the Natural Hormone Institute, advocate a specific eating plan to override belly fat and related accumulating effects of excess estrogen. “In perimenopause, progesterone pro- duction usually declines rapidly, more than 120 times faster than estrogen or testosterone production. That’s what aggravates the symptoms,” Randolph notes. “Because women in perimeno- pause are usually still menstruating, they think their hormones are okay.” “The more body fat you have, the more estrogen tips the hormonal imbalance,” says Lucille. “Those fat cells hold on to toxins and place more burden on the


natural awakenings May 2012 21


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