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Hashimoto’s, Thyroid, Gluten and the Gut

Kaitlyn first came to see me suffering with extreme fatigue, insomnia, and a feeling of “unwellness” many years ago. She had a young child and worked part time but felt very fatigued all of the time. She was health conscious and followed a vegetarian diet with her husband and fed her whole family that way.

The first thing we did together was to run some bloodwork and to check into how her digestive system was working with Functional Medicine Testing. Through the allergy testing we found that she was allergic to most vegetarian protein foods such as dairy, beans, gluten (seitan – in meat substitutes) and soy. And her thyroid levels were way too low. She decided to add in clean animal proteins (grass fed beef, organic free range poultry and wild clean fish) and she went on prescription thyroid medication and with some fluctuations began to feel better.

After a period of stress and adjusting her thyroid medications a few times, we decided to test for Thyroid...

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The Gut-Hormone Connection

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...

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PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a condition that is becoming more and more common. If left untreated, women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing gynecological cancers as well as developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Women with PCOS may present with one or more of the following: irregular periods, abnormal or excessive hair growth on areas of the body other than the head, armpit area or pubic area, history of ovarian cysts, abdominal weight gain, cystic acne, elevated testosterone levels, infertility or difficulty conceiving, abnormal uterine bleeding, heavy periods, male pattern hair loss, and fatigue.   Elevated serum testosterone levels in women are fairly diagnostic for this condition, however I not all PCOS patients will have elevated testosterone levels. Nor will all PCOS patients be overweight. Patients with PCOS exist on a spectrum. Some will exhibit all of the classic symptoms and some will have only a few symptoms. I had a patient once who came in for...

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Acne

Acne is most prevalent during puberty and adolescence as hormonal levels increase, though it can continue to be an issue or develop anew well into adulthood. Dietary changes can and do improve acne as well as exfoliation to remove the dead skin cells so that the pores stay unclogged.

 The primary dietary culprits for acne, in my experience as a practicing ND for decades, are wheat and gluten, sugar, and dairy, though any food the body has an allergic reaction to can exacerbate acne.

Eating foods one is allergic or sensitive to can cause the sloughing epithelial cells to adhere to each other, making a clogged pore worse. Add this to increased sebum production from the hormonal and increased androgen shifts of adolescence and you have a situation with more trapped oils and sebum blocked by stuck together dead skin cells, and acne worsens.

By enhancing detoxification pathways to calm down the hormones as well as identifying and eliminating the foods that cause the dead skin cells...

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Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding is irregular uterine bleeding that occurs in the absence of recognizable pelvic pathology, general medical disease, or pregnancy.   I am seeing more and more of this in my naturopathic medical practice as our environment is becoming more laden with endocrine disruptors such as pesticides, herbicides and other pollutants.

Most commonly I see profuse and overly frequent menstrual bleeding as a woman approaches perimenopause, but dysfunctional uterine bleeding can occur at any point between menarche and menopause.

Traditional western medicine typically treats profuse and frequent menstruation more and more commonly with uterine ablation as well as hysterectomy, when synthetic hormonal treatments fail. While removing the endometrium will certainly permanently stop the bleeding, it is not treating the cause, which in many cases is estrogen dominance. Unaddressed estrogen dominance may lead to more fibroid formation or breast cell proliferation,...

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You and Your Adrenals

I am thinking a lot about the adrenal glands these days since their function seems to tie into so many other endocrine systems such as our insulin regulation as well as thyroid hormones, the immune system and our reproductive hormones.  I used to think of the adrenal glands as just our energy  “batteries”, and when we became exhausted from too much stress, we would get tired.  But they are so much more than that.  The adrenals are most commonly known as our “fight or flight” glands, i.e. they produce adrenaline so in ancient times, we could outrun a predator.  In modern times, however, our stresses are usually (though not always)  more chronic  (deadlines, work stress, relationship stress, financial stress, and just being too darned busy and plugged in all of the time).  So I often see health problems in my patients that can be traced to a stressful period in life (grad school, heavy work stress, a divorce, a death of a...

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Breast Health Tips

Here are a few general tips for breast health.

1. Eat and drink organic. Pesticides and herbicides mimic estrogen in the body, thus increasing breast cancer risk. If you live in an agricultural area , it may be a good idea to detoxify every spring.

2. Drink at least 8 -8 oz glasses of purified water every day. Water helps to flush out the lymph system in your body and also helps to flush out the toxins.

3. Practice yoga every day. Postures that work on shoulder girdle and chest flexibility such as downward dog and back bends with the arms over the head will help to flush the lymphatic system and prevent toxins from accumulating in the breast area.

4. Eat plenty of foods from the cabbage and broccoli family which also includes brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens. These contain compounds such as DIM and SGS that help prevent cancer and also help the body to detoxify and break down exogenous estrogens.

5. Get regular screening. Early detection can make a huge...

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Estrogen Dominance and PMDD

This one is for the ladies and the men and children who live with them.For many women their monthly cycles are dreaded events with PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), which is like PMS “on steroids”. This syndrome can include severe mood swings, irritability and depressive and suicidal thoughts that reoccur monthly. In severe cases, 2 weeks out of the month are OK and 2 weeks out of the month are pure misery.

In my clinical practice the cause of this is often estrogen dominance. This is becoming even more common as we have more xenoestrogens ( estrogen producing compounds from the environment) that we are exposed to on a daily non stop basis. Xenoestrogens can come from herbicides, pesticides, plastics, pthalates in cosmetics, etc. They are so pervasive that they are very difficult to avoid.

I find that once a woman with PMDD enters treatment with me their symptoms resolve within a month or two with tweaking needed here or there of the protocol over time. One of the...

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