We blame our symptoms from poor digestion, weight gain, acne, and every other change in our body on a hormone imbalance. But, this isn’t anything new. Since the 1800’s, women have been “plagued” by hormonal symptoms and doctors and husbands alike have always blamed women’s symptoms on hormones.
Women say it all of the time: “It must be my hormones.”
We blame our symptoms from poor digestion, weight gain, acne, and every other change in our body on a hormone imbalance. But, this isn’t anything new. Since the 1800’s, women have been “plagued” by hormonal symptoms and doctors and husbands alike have always blamed women’s symptoms on hormones. History even recognized “hysteria” as a diagnosis for women having hormonal symptoms or going through menopause (hence a “hysterectomy”).
The commonality of hormonal symptoms has given us free reign to blame every last little symptom we experience on “that time of the month”, or going through our “changes”.
Have you often said things like, “I feel exhausted this week, but it must be because I’m getting my period”, or “I’ve been gaining weight over the last year, but it must be from menopause”. While there may be some truth that these hormonal changes can cause changes in our body chemistry, there is always the possibility that the hormones merely act as a trigger for other underlying imbalances to take hold. This means that while hormones can cause symptoms, these symptoms actually have an underlying cause.
In my Master’s studies in nutrition, I recall one teacher explaining to us that the reproductive system is the only ENTIRE body system that you could remove and still live (via hysterectomy). Think about this: you cannot remove your digestive system, your nervous system, and so on. In times of stress (this may be internal stress or external stress), your reproductive system is the first to go. Meaning that your body doesn’t worry about reproduction when there’s something more serious going on. This could be an underlying infection like Lyme Disease, chronic dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal system, heavy metal toxicity, or other stressors.
This means that at “that time of the month” when the body needs to focus energy and attention on the reproductive organs that the immune system takes a hit. Symptoms arise from the body shifting focus on our “lady parts”.
I remember personally working with one woman who would say that every month around the same time, she would get irritable, moody, and have “PMS”-like symptoms. After uncovering through testing that she had been exposed to parasites, we determined that her monthly symptoms we actually related to the parasite life-cycle. Once we were able to manage the underlying cause, her PMS symptoms vanished and her hormonal symptoms regulated.
Another major player in hormonal symptoms is mold exposure or mold toxicity. Women who have been exposed to mold in their home, school, or workplace often have symptoms that manifest as terrible PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, or fibroids. Mold and mycotoxins (the toxic components of mold) affect the pituitary gland in the brain, which is the control center of your hormones. When the pituitary gland is dysfunctioning, hormones are often overproduced causing excess estrogen that can contribute to heavy periods, intense premenstrual syndrome, and the aforementioned conditions.
Here at Integrative Wellness Group, we perform in-depth analysis like blood work, salivary hormone testing, mold and toxin testing, and analysis on underlying infections to help determine if your symptoms are related to a hormone imbalance, or another cause. We can determine a specialized support protocol for balancing hormones (and supporting underlying causes, too). You can learn more about our functional medicine program here.