The Gut-Hormone ConnectionNov 22, 2016
How your Gut Issues are Connected to Hormone Imbalance
Maureen, a 46 year old mother of 3, had recurrent digestive problems and IBS along with acne and irregular, painful periods with a hellish case of monthly PMS. It all began around the time her dermatologist prescribed longterm antibiotic therapy for stubborn acne. While her acne only showed modest improvements with this common approach of prescribing antibiotics for years on end, her digestion got worse and worse until she had almost constant loose stools, bloating and cramping no matter what she ate! As time went on she became even more fatigued as her adrenal glands crashed due to chronic stress during her young adulthood during the many life transitions she went through during her 20’s.
As time went on she noticed that she began to gain a significant amount of weight. No matter what she ate or how much she exercised, it did not come off.
Finally, during her initial visit with me, I suspected that her thyroid levels might be off and due to her digestive issues and her presenting health issues, I decided to run thyroid levels plus Thyroid Antibodies which came back positive. Maureen had developed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease due to her chronic gut problems.
When the gut microbiome goes awry, the adrenals are stressed. When the Adrenals go, the Thyroid goes. When the Thyroid goes, the Reproductive Hormones go. This is the root of the hormonal imbalance cascade.
- Gut health issues and imbalanced flora sends the adrenal hormones into overdrive and increases cortisol levels
- Increased Stress increases cortisol levels and worsens sleep.
- Increased cortisol levels increase carb craving, insulin resistance and weight gain.
- Chronic stress eventually depletes the adrenal glands. Flat cortisol curve eventually happen in Stage 3 Adrenal Fatigue.
- Stressed adrenal glands increase inflammation, which eventually attacks the thyroid, joints, kidneys. It is common to see an increase in chronic pain when the body suffers from chronic stress due to inflammation levels. Inflammation levels can also lead to an increased Cancer risk! The Standard American Diet (SAD) also contributes to this.
- Chronic inflammation increases cytokines which increases risk of autoimmune disease – Hashimotos. Can lead to weight control issues.
- Thyroid deficiency increases the risk of Estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency which increases risk of heavy periods, fibroids and estrogen dependent cancers, irregular periods. It causes hormonal imbalance.
- Enter Naturopathic Functional Medicine
Many of my patients who fit this hormonal/gut picture have already seen multiple practitioners. They get prescribed pharmaceutical drug on top of pharmaceutical drug and instead of getting better, they get worse. No mention is made of how the gut health and digestion is connected to their hormonal issue. No mention is made of nutritional interventions. And health continues to fail.
Imagine how good you could feel if you found a practitioner who could determine and treat the root cause of your current illness! Hormonal imbalances are often a multifactorial problem. Just treating the hormonal imbalance with hormonal interventions can fall short. One needs to look into the gut function, the adrenals, and not least of all, nutritional interventions.
The first steps often involve Functional Medicine Testing. Functional Medicine Testing can include in depth Stool Testing, Food Sensitivity Testing, Adrenal Function and Stress Testing, and yes, Hormonal Balance Testing, just to name a few. This is often what we do during the research phase while I am researching and creating an individualized protocol for my patients. Once we have all the information that we need, I can put together a plan that addresses the current health issue as well as treats the underlying cause, thus giving the opportunity for complete healing and health and lifestyle support.
Natural therapies work very well with these issues, and many patients can eventually reduce or eliminate their need for pharmaceutical support.
Once you know the root cause, and are willing to make the lifestyle changes, the sky is the limit to how well you can feel, how much energy you will have and what you can accomplish.
Maureen eventually discovered that by uncovering and clearing up the underlying gut issues that tanked her adrenal/thyroid function , she was beginning to heal. She was able over 6-12 months time to regain her energy levels, and as her thyroid and adrenals balanced, she was able to begin to lose the weight that she had gained. And her monthly cycles became more in balance. This was a huge change for her since she had been unable to lose weight no matter what she did. She followed a diet that I prescribed for her and began to notice great results.
I work with lots of patients near and far with gut health and/or hormonal issues. If you would like to work one on one either in person if you are local, or long distance through video or phone, I am still accepting new patients. You can also opt to have a FREE 15 minute phone consult with me to see if you and I are a good fit for each other! To schedule any appointment, you can do this online at https://intakeq.com/booking/NaURW8 or by calling my office (303) 443-2206 M-F 8:30-5 Mountain time to speak with my receptionist. I hope to hear from you soon! Be well!