A hormone is a class of regulatory biochemicals produced in particular parts of organisms by specific cells, glands, and/or tissues and then transported by the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Insulin, cortisol, oxytocin, pancreatic peptide, parathyroid hormone, prolactin, and leptin are some hormones most are familiar with both don’t realize that they are, in fact, hormones.
When people think of hormones, they think of testosterone and estrogen. These are well known because they are the popular sex hormones that we think of as male and female specific but this is inaccurate. All humans have both hormones and those hormones aren’t the most important in either gender. There are so many hormones in our body and hormones have such a huge responsibility in everything our bodies do on a regular basis. When I talk about hormones I am never only referencing our reproductive system. I am talking about our whole body.
PCOS is an endocrine disorder. Endocrine is hormones. One of the main concerns for PCOS sufferers is their insulin resistence. Many will have insulin resistance but not have any polyps on their ovaries (yet).. What is insulin? A hormone. While PCOS could be a genetic disorder, I’m going to put my money on environmental disorder. Your environment does not exclude your family history. Babies are born toxic with 30+ chemicals in their little bodies already. Where does that come from? Mommy’s exposure to the toxins over the years. So, yeah, genetics would play a role there. I’ll go more into the toxins in a minute. PCOS can be controlled through nutrition and help with supplements.
Endometriosis is a tough one. This is where cells that should be only lining the uterus start to grow elsewhere in the body. Maybe not hormonal but I’m going to bet on it being a hormone imbalance somewhere. This one baffles me, to be honest. You know what? It baffles the medical industry too. They are only guessing the cause and what to do about it. I hate people having to resort to a hysterectomy but in the case of endo, I tend to not argue too much because it seems to be the only answer to relieving the pain and the hormonal implications after a hysterectomy are less severe than the previous pain to manage. Studies have been done which conclude that dioxin exposure is a plausible link to endometriosis.
Why do I harp on toxins? They are everywhere. We eat them, we breath them, we bathe in them. We clean our homes with them. Virtually everywhere we go in our daily routine we are using or surrounded with toxins. The plastics we use release chemicals into our foods. The harder the plastic the safer it is but those pesky water bottles we drink from are the worst culprits. The carcinogen chemicals leach into the water. In extreme temperatures, this process is quickened so if you put your water bottle in the freezer it will release more chemicals. If you leave your bottle in the hot car, it will release more chemicals. If you pay attention, you can even taste the difference. We have toxins in pretty much everything in the grocery store these days. We load up our foods with nifty stuff to make them more appealing AKA addictive and we keep buying it. Preservatives, the chemicals our foods are grown in, the added sugars and sweeteners, the extra salt. I could write a whole lot more on our foods so I’ll stop there for now. Where do you think our pee goes and what do you think is in it? It contains our medicines we take (including birth control) and the toxins our bodies are capable of cleansing from our system. It goes right back into our environment and we ingest it again, not to mention the animals and vegetation and the effects this has on them (Ref: Our Stolen Future)
So, what do these toxins have to do with hormones? Xenohormones. These are what cause us so many problems. These are the “false” hormones found in our environment that block the important receptor sites in our cells that our hormones need to travel through the cells. This is the primary concern with toxic exposure. They really mess up so many different systems in our bodies. I have debated with my husband all the time about toxic exposure because he thinks our bodies are equipped to handle the level of exposure we have. I, obviously, disagree. Here’s why. I think we do have an amazing system that flushes toxins out of our bodies but we can’t keep up constantly forever. Our bodies will only be able to handle so much. So, yes, I think that if you only look at the toxins from the car exhaust or plastics, our bodies are well equipped to handle that. What we cannot handle is the water, food, plastic, chemical household cleaner, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, nail polish, the power plant in the next city, the car exhaust, road construction, pesticides, medication, vaccines and let’s not forget the naturally occurring viruses and bacteria. I cannot think of one aspect of our lives where we are not exposed to unnecessary health inhibitors.
I believe this is why we see cancer on the rise. I believe this plays a role in autism and other mental disorders. I believe there are so many health implications we go through in this world that have been brought on by our own doing and people are in denial about it.
If I can reach out to just a few people and teach them the importance of and how to reduce their exposure through the RIGHT foods and using natural products then I might be saving someone from a lot of pain. I might be saving a life.
By now you all know that I am not a fan of birth control containing synthetic hormones. I really hope reading this article gives you some perspective as to why I feel so strongly about it. You might not have side effects now, while using it. You will say that it doesn't effect everyone negatively. You're right. Right now, in the moment, you don't see it. That doughnut doesn't feel bad in the moment either but it had an impact later. Read on to learn more about the nasties of birth control. You can have a doughnut while you read it too... but only one.
The effect of using birth control pills on a woman's subsequent
menopausal period is in large measure an unstudied phenomenon,
but birth control pills – which work by suppressing your native
hormones, can themselves lead to many health problems. Many of the
problems of estrogen dominance, including fluid retention,
depression, headaches, and urinary tract infections, are experienced
by women using birth control pills. Everything we've said about the
negative effects for menopausal women of using progestins applies to
the progestins used in birth control pills. Having altered your
normal hormonal cycles when using the Pill, you are more prone to
symptoms at midlife as well as potentially more serious health
This is because the synthetic estrogens and progestins used in the
Pill can interfere with the body's own progesterone receptors.
This particular topic is a personal one for me. I have my own story with the nasty side effects of the oh so mighty birth control shot. I believe the shot and implants are the worst forms of birth control that have been offered to women. They are both so terrible bad for our bodies. If you've ever met me, you already know I'm not a fan of any version of synthetic birth control anyway. I'll try my best not to tell you what to do with your own body but I will advise and advise away because I just don't want anyone to experience the pain and anguish I experienced over the years.
A lot of the ailments women experience are treated as separate and individual issues instead of the connection being made to hormone changes and imbalance in the body. Rather than realizing our birth control is the culprit for our depression, we are given anti-depressants. Instead of realizing our sciatic pain is induced by our birth control, we get treatments for that. Weight gain, inflammation, acne, hair loss or hair gain in not so great places, mood swings, depression, constipation, IBS, dry skin or oily skin, chronic vaginitis or yeast infections... the list goes on. All these things are treated separately by doctors and the question never comes up as to what type of birth control you are on.
One of the very first discussions I have with my personal training clients is their hormones. My story with Depo Provera is exactly why I look in that direction. My experiences with Depo began my research and training in the hormone balance world. Want to lear mo
Provera, or medroxyprogesterone, is a synthetic version of progesterone; its actions bear little resemblance to the natural hormone. Most physicians mistakenly call Provera progesterone, so it¹s not surprising that the media doesn't understand, let alone emphasize, the difference either.
Comprehending the available information on HRT requires an extensive understanding of hormone physiology. Unfortunately, very few physicians and even fewer in the media can explain HRT or converse intelligently about the variety of viable and healthy alternatives to HRT already in existence.
Even more disturbing are many of the "solutions" or alternatives to HRT offered in popular magazines. No one has mentioned using the real ones to combat hormone deficiencies. Instead, recommendations include Prozac for depression, Lipitor for cholesterol, high blood pressure drugs to treat hot flashes and, of course, the recently patented (and profitable) designer estrogens and biphosphates to treat osteoporosis. The side effects of these are alarming.
Conventional medical doctors have known for decades that progesterone counters the negative effects that excessive estrogens can cause throughout a woman's system. With consistent use of inappropriate hormones like Provera, however, this knowledge dwindled to the myth that progesterone only protects the uterus and is therefore unnecessary if a woman has had a hysterectomy. The entire foundation of HRT has been faulty from the beginning because of misinformation like this.
It's not the least bit surprising that using mismatched and artificial hormones has delivered less than optimal results. What is surprising is that it has taken medicine this long to figure that out. Almost everyone intuitively understands that using diesel truck parts in a finely tuned sports car would hamper performance, if not stop it altogether. Yet, we're repeatedly given the equivalent of diesel parts for our finely tuned human bodies.
Patent laws in this country favor the creation of synthetic artificial chemicals to the exclusion of anything natural. Since anything that occurs in nature cannot be patented, it will never be astronomically profitable. This simple fact has affected medical education and practice since its inception.
It is in the drug company's interest to convince medical doctors and the public that natural herbal remedies and bioidentical hormones are either useless or extremely dangerous and uncontrolled. Never mind hundreds, and in many cases thousands, of years of safe and effective herbal use by humans. As for the hormones, I¹ll put my money on three million years of human evolution over 50 years of questionable pharmaceutical research.
From "The Dangers of Hormone Replacement" by Todd Mangum.
Posted 11/21/02 at http://www.alternet.org/environment/14598/
This is an older article but it is still worth the read. We know the positive things they tell us about birth control. It is prescribed to regulate the cycle of those who are hormonally imballanced. It is prescribed to teens to help fight acne.
Birth Control Pills, B6, & Heart Disease Sunday, May 25, 2008 Byron Richards, CCN
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition adds further evidence linking the use of birth control pills to an increase in heart disease. Researchers were quite surprised to see a societal deficiency in vitamin B6 in women of childbearing age, especially women who have or were taking birth control pills. Former birth control pill users had significantly elevated homocysteine, which leads to the build up of arterial plaque and consequent heart disease.
The FDA will not warn women of this important vitamin deficiency because the FDA finds it intolerable to recommend vitamins in the name of public health. This is true even though an intake of 5 mgs of pyridoxal 5' phosphate per day, as found in a high quality multiple vitamin or B complex product, could save millions of women's lives.
The only reason that folic acid was ever recommended for the general public, after the FDA allowed thousands of cases of neural tube defects for a decade after it had the data, was because Congress threatened to haul the head of the FDA before a panel of mothers so it could explain to them why their babies were injured.
Oddly enough, the FDA has never required that the makers of birth control pills prove that they are safe with appropriate follow up
If you are considering an IUD instead of birth control pills because you want to avoid hormones, this is not the right choice for you. The Mirena actually has a slow release capsule that emits hormones.
Another thing to consider is any IUD is going to cause a hormone reaction within your body so, even though it may not be synthetic, you might have some reactions you aren't thrilled with. There are risks with everything. Be sure to educate yourself before jumping into something, especially when dealing with your health.
Mirena is an IUD (they call it an IUC - "Intra-uterine contraceptive) that releases progestin for the purpose of birth control.
For someone using progestins, it would be pointless to use progesterone. The progestin is occupying the receptor site where progesterone needs to fit in, essentially blocking it from entering.
Now let's talk about why not to get a Mirena!
IUD's shut down our body's own progesterone making... even a non-hormonal IUD like Paraguard.
Here's what Dr Peat has to say in From PMS to Menopause: Female Hormones in Context
"The effect of an inter-uterine irritant is to signal the ovary to suppress progesterone production, to prevent pregnancy while there is problem with the uterus. "
He also says:
"Luteolysis has been demonstrated to result from uterine irritation by a foreign object. ...The IUD often causes the same kind of symptoms as the oral contraceptive pill--obesity, depression, etc., and this seems to be the result of progesterone deficiency from luteolysis."
Luteolysis is the failure of the corpus luteum, the main producer of progesterone.
From Dr. Lee's co-author, Virginia Hopkins:
MIRENA® USES SAME PROGESTIN AS NORPLANT
This high-tech form of contraception should not be taken lightly.
The Mirena* IUD, which its manufacturer calls an IUC (intra-uterine contraceptive) is being heavily promoted to young women in the U.S. as a wonderful high-tech, no muss, no fuss, put-it-in-and-forget-about-it for five years form of contraception. But it’s really just a levonorgestrel uterine implant, the same old side-effect ridden progestin that was in Norplant, a tiny implant that is injected into women’s upper arms and then causes many of them months if not years of misery.
According to Bayer, the company that makes the Mirena IUD, “MIRENA® is an effective, long-acting and reversible method of birth control… that delivers 20 µg/day of levonorgestrel directly into the uterus and protects against pregnancy for up to 5 full years. Due to the local action of levonorgestrel on the endometrium, there is often frequent irregular bleeding or spotting during the first 3-6 months of use. The number of days with bleeding or spotting decreases gradually, and by the end of the first year approximately 20% of women will experience a total absence of bleeding. …A decision to use MIRENA® must include consideration of the risks of PID [pelvic inflammatory disease]. Candidates should have no history of ectopic pregnancy or a condition that predisposes to ectopic pregnancy.”
Underinformed about Side Effects
Some women will do fine with the Mirena, but I have two big beefs about it. One is that I believe women are grossly under-informed about the side effects of levonorgestrel. Some women will understand that the crampiness and nausea they may feel may be caused by the device and will decide it’s worth it in order to have relatively trouble-free contraception. However, it will just not occur to most women that their lower back pain, headache, stuffy nose, depression, weight gain and abnormal pap smear (to name a few) could be caused by the progestin in their Mirena. The health care professionals who insert them are unlikely to directly warn women about those symptoms or ask about them when they come in for a follow-up visit (if they even have one).
Marketed to Breastfeeding Women
My other big beef is that these devices are being intentionally and consciously marketed to pregnant women for use postpartum. There is even an implication in the literature that it could be inserted during a C-section. There is very little research about the effects of progestins on nursing infants, and most of what there is was done for one year in third world countries such as Egypt, Bombay and Chile, which is always a red flag to me because it’s so easy to get away with shoddy research in those settings. (If you’ve ever been to a hospital in Egypt you know what I’m talking about—primitive would be a polite description of the one I visited.) A study done in Mexico with breastfeeding Norplant users found that their infants had significantly modified thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
The one six-year followup study I could find that followed breastfeeding infants exposed to levonorgestrel (Norplant) was done in Norway and found that they had higher incidence rates of respiratory infections, skin conditions and eye infections than the control group, and later were found to have a higher proportion of “neurological conditions.”
To me it’s unthinkable to even consider exposing a nursing infant to any type of progestin. I would call this a form of corporate sociopathy—marketing without a conscience to unwitting, under-informed women who are just trying to responsibly avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Since the FDA is unlikely to take action against this practice it’s up to the rest of us to spread the word.
Warnings for Mirena Include:
Ectopic pregnancy (which can be life-threatening and result in infertility)
Intrauterine pregnancy (birth defects are a possibility)
Sepsis (an infection which can be fatal)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (which can result in infertility)
Irregular Bleeding and Amenorrhea (no periods)
Embedment (in the uterine wall)
Perforation (of the uterus or cervix)
Ovarian cysts (can cause severe mid-cycle pain)
Risk of Mortality (risk of dying is low)
Possible Side Effects of Mirena Include:
Lower abdominal pain
Upper respiratory infection
Leukorrhea (abnormal vaginal discharge)
Vaginitis (irritation or inflammation of the vagina)
Dysmenorrhea (cramps or painful periods)
Abnormal Pap smear
Increased Body Awareness
Now I understand that what I'm about to suggest is, in some ways, the opposite polarity of Mirena®, but consider the possibility that simply gaining greater body awareness could be a key to feeling better and choosing the best possible form of contraception.
One way for a woman to increase her body awareness is to keep track of health issues and symptoms, especially those which may be associated with her periods. Here's where you can find a free download of a handy chart to help keep track of symptoms. This was originally published in our book Hormone Balance Made Simple, but I've made it available on this website to help women increase their body awareness.
Another handy little tool for increased body awareness is the Fertile Focus microscope. This lipstick-sized device can be a useful tool for tracking fertility, either to conceive or avoid conceiving and it can be used over and over. You simply put a few drops of saliva on the scope and a telltale ferning pattern in the saliva indicates fertility. When that distinct pattern appears it's tangible evidence that an egg has popped.
Here’s where to find the complete physician information sheet for Mirena.
Here’s an online forum for Mirena users who have experienced side effects. Notice that many of the women didn’t realized until the Mirena had been taken out and they started to feel dramtically better, how many negative side effects they had been having but hadn’t attributed to the Mirena.
Here’s another online forum that includes some positive and some negative experiences with Mirena.
Here's a letter from a friend of mine who had a Mirena inserted and didn't even realize it contained a progestin.
Here's a letter from a woman who used Depo-Provera.
*Mirena is a registered trademark ®
Bassol S, Nava-Hernandez MP et al, "Effects of levonorgestrel implant upon TSH and LH levels in male infants during lactation," Int J Gynaecol Obstet 2002 Mar;76(3):273-7.
Schiapacasse V, Diaz S, "Health and growth of infants breastfed by Norplant contraceptive implants users: a six-year followup study," Contraception 2002 Jul;66(1):57-65.
I decided a long time ago that I would never subject myself to the torture of a mammogram. I really don't understand why thermography hasn't become the way to go for breast exams since it does not injure the breast and can detect more than a mammogram. Yet, here we are still being forced to squeeze our poor breasts into pancakes by insurance companies.
Mammograms Are a Bust!
by Raymond Francis
Evidence continues to accumulate that mammograms cause cancer, while doing little to save lives.
Unfortunately, the medical establishment, including the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, has brainwashed most of us into thinking the opposite. As a result, millions of women march off to get mammograms every year, exposing themselves to cancer-causing x-rays.
The misinformation is so bad that when women were asked in a poll what they could do to prevent breast cancer, the number one response was "get a mammogram." (Exactly how mammograms are supposed to "prevent" breast cancer was not explained.) In truth, mammograms cause cancer; they are the leading cause of breast cancer. Mammograms have put a very large number of women at risk for cancer and many have died as a result.
Mammograms are routinely performed without the patient being warned of the radiation hazard. Yet Dr. John Gofman, a medical doctor, nuclear physicist, and noted radiation expert, in his 1999 book Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease, concluded that 60 percent of all cancer and 83 percent of all breast cancer is caused by medical radiation.
As early as 1974, Professor Malcolm Pike of the USC School of Medicine warned the National Cancer Institute that, "...giving a woman under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical."
In 1992, Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor of medicine at the University of Illinois said, "The high sensitivity of the breast...to radiation induced cancer was known by 1970."
In 1995, the Lancet (one of the world's five leading medical journals) reported that since mammographic screening began, the incidence of one type of breast cancer (ductal carcinoma in situ) had increased by 328 percent and that the incidence in women under 40 had gone up over 3000 percent. The report's conclusion regarding mammograms was, "The benefit is marginal, the harm caused is substantial, and the costs incurred are enormous..."
Similarly, Dr. Charles Simone, a former researcher at the National Cancer Institute said, "Mammograms increase the risk of developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth."
After hearing all these negatives, is there any justification for mammograms? This question was answered in the September 2000 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which reported on a study of 40,000 women between the ages 50 to 59. The mammograms found tumors that were smaller, but finding the tumor when it was smaller had no effect on the mortality rate. The study concluded that mammograms are no more effective at saving lives from breast cancer than regular breast examinations.
With findings like these, on what basis can anyone recommend a mammogram to you or anyone you care about? While there are occasions when medical x-rays serve a necessary purpose, regular mammograms do not help prevent and even contribute to breast cancer.
It looks to me like mammograms are an expensive bust. In addition to causing cancer, and not saving lives, regular mammograms can also result in useless and painful breast biopsies.
Alternative Medicine, in January 2001, pointed out that for every one case of diagnosed breast cancer, between 5 and 10 women will undergo a useless and painful biopsy. Statistically, a woman getting annual mammograms for 10 years will have a 50 percent chance of undergoing at least one biopsy.
Not only do mammograms result in useless biopsies, the clinical interpretation of mammograms often misses an existing cancer. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1996, doctors missed finding an existing cancer 21 percent of the time.
What to do? Avoid medical radiation in all forms, including mammograms and other types of x-rays, because these procedures cause cancer.
Also, watch out for certain lifestyle habits. New research on breast cancer, published in Epidemiology, found that women who drink alcohol and do not get enough folic acid (primarily found in fresh vegetables) are 60 percent more likely to develop breast cancer. You can go a long way toward preventing breast cancer (and every other manifestation of disease) simply by eating a good diet, taking high-quality supplements, and getting plenty of exercise, sunlight, and sleep.
In my opinion, mammograms constitute a criminal assault against women. Instead, have physical breast exams by your doctor, using manual examination techniques, as well as thermography (not mammography). Thermography is a noninvasive, safe technique used for measuring differences in temperature in the breast. Not only is thermography much safer, it appears to be far more accurate than mammography.
And, as always, diet is critically important in preventing breast cancer; eat plenty of fresh foods and avoid nutritionally deficient, processed foods.
Reprinted with permission from: Beyond Health® News
Copyright 2001, Beyond Health
Dr. Lee Treats Fibrocystic Breasts Successfully...
Dr. Lee further writes in his book:
"Many women present themselves to their doctors with breast swelling or tender, painful breasts occurring each month before their menstrual periods. Exam by palpation may find exquisitely tender lumps in the breast. Even though he knows with almost 100-percent certainty that the problem is due to fibrocystic breasts, the doctor is aware of the liability of overlooking any breast lump and therefore often orders a mammogram (especially painful in this condition). Mammogram readings are often couched in terms of caution and the advice to rule out potential underlying cancer. (Cancer lumps in breasts are rarely if ever painful.) A trial of Vitamin E and avoiding caffeine and other methyl xanthines (coffee, tea, colas, chocolate) may have little or no result. Attempts at needle aspiration of the cyst are often bungled, sometimes causing painful bruising, and lead to a referral to a surgeon predisposed to surgery, who brings up the prospect of cancer and advises surgical removal of the offending cyst/tumor. If "merely" a cyst is found (and removed), the patient is supposed to feel grateful. She usually receives no other medical treatment for her cysts other than a suggestion to try warm packs and put up with her painful monthly experiences.
If she makes the rounds of enough doctors, she will come across someone who wants her to take a drug (usually a testosterone analog) to suppress her excess estrogen. Besides being expensive, she finds that a few, mostly masculinizing side effects are part of the bargain: acne, seborrhea, hair growth on the face and body, male pattern baldness, lower pitch to voice, vaginal dryness, and sagging smaller breasts. Most women find the treatment is worse than the disease.
From my women patients, I learned that fibrocystic breasts were most often a sign of estrogen dominance; relatively high estrogen and low progesterone. In my experience, using natural progesterone routinely solves the problem . I also recommend adding vitamin E in dosages of 600 IU at bedtime, supplemental magnesium (300 milligrams a day), and vitamin B6 (50 milligrams per day)*. I cannot recall a case in which the result was not positive. Once the cysts have cleared up, you can reduce the progesterone dose to find the smallest dose that is still effective each month and continue the treatment as needed through menopause. This treatment is simple, safe, inexpensive, successful, and natural."
Today I am gearing up for tomorrow. I'll be holding my first hormone balance seminar since 2006. I never stopped learning but I did stop speaking about it. During that time I got married, had a baby, and went on two deployments so I was a little distracted. I have missed that path ever since I left it, which is why I searched for a school I could study natural medicine with while still on active duty. I also earned my personal training certification during that time too.
I should talk a little about what influenced me to get into this line of study in the first place. I started off with a company called Neways International. The company itself wasn't really what drew me in though. The team of women who I wound up working with is what really got me. They were teaching natural hormone balance and structured their business in line with those needs. I learned as much as I could from the team until I felt I was in a place where I could speak on the topic myself.
I was introduced to the Metabolic Effect team in NC through a good friend of mine who was preparing for fitness competitions. I researched the team and liked what they had to offer so I've been studying fat loss through hormone balance with them. I have not yet earned my certification for their program but that is a goal of mine. They offer both nutrition and fitness training certifications and this girl wants both.
What has me offering the seminars again after so many years? It Works! Global. I discovered these products and found them to be quality and I trust them. (It took a lot for me to believe in the products. I didn't believe a wrap would really work) I've done well with the business so I use the income earned from the business to fund the seminars and all that goes with it. I am now able to offer the seminars free of charge and do what I am genuinely passionate about.
What do we talk about? Hormones, toxins, fat loss, and everything in between. I tend to gear my topics to my audience. If I am speaking to a younger crowd I will focus more on fertility and birth control. If I know I have people with endometriosis or PCOS I will discuss those topics as well. Nothing is off limits and I love when people ask questions.
Want me to speak in your area? I will travel to hold seminars for people. Contact me if this is something you are interested in. I've done seminars in malls and salons so
Cynthia is a certified personal trainer and women's health advocate. She has studied Natural Medicine at Everglades University and has been researching hormone health since 2006.
Purely Balanced Health
A balanced life is a healthy life. Read on for tips to balance your way healthy.