The menstrual cycle revolves around a balance of three primary hormones, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. With these hormones there are three phases of a cycle, follicular, ovulatory and luteal phase. Any change in relationship and percentage of hormones available for use results in the presentation of symptoms.
The most common group of symptoms that I treat related to unbalanced hormones is called PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome. This is a problem with the speed that hormones are changing or the relationships between the levels of hormones in the luteal or end phase of the cycle. This can result in breast tenderness, mood swings, irritability, depression, food cravings, bloating, cramping and pain, some or all of the above. The second most common hormone treatment in my office is for PCOS, followed closely by Menopausal shifts. (See related articles for details). Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Peri/ Menopause.
When a woman is nearing the end of her menstruating years, changes in brain chemistry and hormone levels can bring on significant life altering symptoms. Hot flashes, night sweats, low libido, depression, fatigue, vaginal dryness, weight gain, personality changes can unravel the most stable individual. For these patients I use a detailed symptom assessment to differentiate between the 12 types of Menopause for accurate correction of symptoms.
The majority of the time a Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist will use salivary hormone assessment to evaluate imbalances in a hormone cycle. Blood tests for hormones are not very accurate for identifying a problem and this can make diagnosing functional hormone changes tricky. I specialize in working with the functional changes in your hormones to correct the cause of the symptoms and remove the presence of abnormal hormone symptoms.
In working with a Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutritionist you will hear the word “functional” quite a bit. What we are referring to is that not all problems show up in your blood work, and there may be a more subtle change in your system that is not bad enough to raise the red flags for your medical doctor. Hormones are a perfect example:
If I am treating a female patient for PMS and an average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, how can a blood test on one of those 28 days give me any insight into what abnormal hormone level is causing the problem? It can’t. A blood test on one day of a cycle is giving 1/28th of the puzzle. Instead, a hormone profile is used to collect saliva samples every other day of the cycle and a graph can be generated to chart where the dramatic hormone shift is occurring and correction of the problem can begin from there.
It is important to note that when your medical history and health related goals are explored, your consultations are held directly with Dr. Shaw, not an untrained individual, a staff member, a questionnaire or a computer program. You will not be signing up for a “program” and paying money up front for services not yet rendered. Your health care journey in our office is unique to your specific needs.