The Hormone Web - what all hormone imbalances have in common

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Suite102 - 822 Richmond St W

822 Richmond Street West

Toronto, ON M6J 1C9

Canada

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The Hormone Web: What PMS, difficult periods, perimenopause, PCOS, endometriosis and menopause have in common.

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When hormones are out of balance, most people find it interesting that we don’t dive right into supplements and and hormone treatments directly. In this talk you will learn about the “hormone web” - all of the external factors that influence your hormones, and how in most cases by restoring balance in the surrounding systems and starting upstream with things like blood sugar balance, stress levels, gut function, toxin exposure will get the most profound and lasting results.

When I’m asked what affects hormone balance, the answer quickly becomes ‘everything’. Since all of your body systems are interconnected, there is communication with hormones when almost anything goes out of balance. One simple way to think about it is that your body will protect reproduction, meaning change hormone expression to prevent pregnancy when there is too much stress, insufficient nutrition, infections or other stresses on the body. This will change levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.

Here is a long list of things that affect hormone balance:

  • Acute and chronic stress
  • Genetics
  • Nutrition / diet (especially insufficient calories, carbohydrates or protein)
  • Nutrient deficiencies (ex. magnesium, vitamin B6, folate, zinc, selenium deficiencies)
  • Food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Sleep (quantity and quality)
  • Gut microbiome
  • Exercise (too much and too little)
  • Infections (viral, parasites, bacteria, SIBO, etc)
  • Weight and body fat distribution (especially visceral and abdominal fat)
  • Blood sugar balance and insulin resistance
  • Thyroid function & autoimmunity
  • Inflammation
  • Toxins (especially xenoestrogens)
  • Mitochondria function
  • Aging
  • Trauma
  • Smoking

So where do we start?

With an overwhelming list of factors that affect hormone balance, in most cases the starting point is the same. We begin in this order first:

  1. Gut function: treating the gut microbiome, infections, constipation, IBS and nutrient absorption.
  2. Adrenal support: addressing stress levels and self care, cortisol balance and rhythm, and DHEA levels.
  3. Liver: looking for sources of toxins (environmental chemicals, pesticides, plastics current and past); supporting phase I and phase II liver detoxification; in cases of estrogen dominance looking at genetics; addressing alcohol and caffeine intake.
  4. Insulin and blood sugar regulation: insulin resistance affects SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) levels which then affect free hormone expression; also impacts ovulation in PCOS.
  5. Thyroid function: overt thyroid disorder, subclinical hypothyroidism, low free T3 levels and the start of autoimmunity with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are addressed next as they greatly impact ovulation and estrogen metabolism.

In this talk, you will learn about how all of these factors are influencing your hormones, regardless of where the imbalance is - endometriosis, fibroids, PCOS, perimenopause, and steps you can take now to restore balance. The wonderful thing is that as we create hormone balance, we are also improving overall health and wellness. Everything is truly interconnected.

About Dr. Shawna Darou, ND:

Dr. Shawna Darou is a Naturopathic Doctor with a focus on women’s health, hormones and cognitive wellness. She is co-owner of the Darou Wellness integrative health clinic in downtown Toronto where she has practiced for over 15 years. Dr. Darou is also trained in Functional Medicine, and has years of experience supporting women through all types of hormonal issues.

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Suite102 - 822 Richmond St W

822 Richmond Street West

Toronto, ON M6J 1C9

Canada

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