Women's hormones and natural medicine - Lucy Barrett

Balance Your Hormones Naturally

One of the areas that natural medicine comes to the rescue is with women's hormonal issues. We're talking Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PMT, PMS, menstrual irregularities, hormonal acne and the list goes on. Often these disorders are treated with mere symptom blockers – things like longterm Oral Contraceptive use or traumatic surgery. The key to healing all of these hormonal issues is to look for the real cause, and treat it. It may seem simple to say, but often hormones aren’t tested correctly and other factors are overlooked. Contributing factors like liver and adrenal function, mood disorders, dietary triggers and gastrointestinal health can drastically effect the endocrine system.

Let me share with you a story about a girl...

This particular young girl began her period at aged 9 and this trend ran in her family. A normal period it was not, and she was hospitalised after 4 weeks of non-stop bleeding and prescribed synthetic progesterone to stop the heavy period. She remained on some form of contraceptive hormone pill until she was 20 years old, when a GP in the UK where she lived suggested she take a break. The thought was terrifying! She had never really known her true menstrual cycle before. But she took the GP's advice and went off the pill. Things seemed good for about a year, until she arrived back to Australia and began suffering with heavy periods once more. It was also at this time that her skin broke out in cystic acne and her iron levels were constantly low. This caused brain-fog, fatigue and her self esteem was heavily impacted by her skin.

She went back on the pill at her doctors advice. At age 24 she began studying and decided once more to take a break from the oral contraceptive pill. She persevered through the pimples and PMT symptoms and for the first time, visited a traditional Naturopath who treated her with herbal medicines and nutrients. Her acne subsided somewhat, however the periods remained a problem. After 2 major episodes of heavy bleeding that needed to be treated with high-dose progesterone, she was hospitalised with a heavy period episode that saw her haemoglobin and iron drop dangerously low. She was rushed in an ambulance from her local country hospital to the city as her heart began to suffer.

After further investigation at the hospital, she was administered a blood and iron transfusion. She left the hospital weary and upset.

The next few months were a roller-coaster of emotions as she finished her studies and wondered if she would be able to conceive a child easily, as this goal was now relevant to her and her longterm partner. Unfortunately, only 4 months after the previous hospitalisation, at age 26 she again was hospitalised after her period did not stop and this time received 4 bags of blood. Further investigations ruled out structural issues with the endometrial tissue, uterus and cervix. She never suffered with pain and had no ovarian cysts, fibroids or endometriosis. Everything seemed normal, so she was discharged from the hospital with no better advice than to have a Mirena inserted or go back onto the pill until she decided to try for a baby. After countless specialist gynaecology appointments, mayan abdominal massages, yoga, meditation retreats and various other healing sessions she finally sought out the advice of another naturopath who specialised in functional testing and had a more evidence-based approach to natural medicine. The naturopath tested the woman's hormones and sure enough, her oestrogen was off the chart, Progesterone was very low and numerous stress hormones were out of balance. Immediately the naturopath prescribed specific herbs and nutrients to address these issues and while her iron stores remained low, her period was relatively normal for a few months before she fell pregnant, easily! She went on to experience a low-intervention natural birth and has again fallen pregnant with her second child. The conception of her first born was about 10 months after the episode of nearly losing so much blood that her heart failed.

Now....you may have already guessed it, but that story is about me. And it is my honour to share it with you, as my years of suffering has given me a deeper understanding of the type of Naturopath I want to be and a deep faith in the power of a holistic and natural approach to women's hormonal issues. I feel well equipped to now pass on all that I know to women everywhere and hopefully help them through these life-altering conditions.

You don’t have to suffer. There are answers.