- Thyroid disease
- Menstrual cycle dysregulation
- Yeast infection
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Menopause and Perimenopause
- Cervical dysplasia
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
Women’s health are conditions that are specific to women. Many are related to female hormone balance (estrogen, progesterone, etc). Since female hormones levels changes over the monthly cycle, fluctuations of hormone levels leading to undesirable symptoms can occur. Excessive estrogen levels cause severe PMS (premenstrual symptoms) and rapidly shifting concentrations of all female hormones cause perimenopausal symptoms. Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes are related to insufficient levels of estrogen. Insufficient production of estrogen or progesterone can reduce fertility while excess estrogen is related to yeast or urinary tract infections.
Hormone analogue can be prescribed to compensate for or suppress symptoms. For irregular periods, PMS and menopausal symptoms they are given a synthetic progestin or estrogen/progestin combo. They are effective in reducing symptoms but they can increase risk of blood clots and may cause unwanted side effects like breast tenderness, unwanted hair growth, nausea or irregular spotting.
Reduced estrogen from menopause contributes to accelerated bone loss in women. However, doctors have found the risk for blood clot formation too high to use hormone replacement as a first line treatment. Increased dietary calcium, vitamin D and bisphosphonates are prescribed to maintain bone density.
Infections are often treated with antibiotics or antifungals. While antibiotics can be effective in fighting harmful bacteria, it will kill the good bacteria that are responsible for keeping infection and inflammation at bay. This is highly undesirable for the body. With the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the choice of antibiotics becomes limited.
For hypothyroidism, the general treatment is thyroxine (T4), a synthetic version of inactive thyroid hormone. The body is responsible for absorbing the hormone and then converting it into the active triiodothyronine (T3). Sufficient nutrient is required for this process.
Naturopathic doctors seek to find the root cause of hormone imbalance. Diet and lifestyle change can have profound effect in hormone balancing. Gentle herbs such as vitex have shown to reduce symptoms of PMS and perimenopause. In some cases, naturopathic doctors can prescribe bio-identical hormones. Bio-identical hormones which mimic human hormones can be used by patients who do not respond well to hormone analogues. They can be taken internally or used as a patch or a cream.
Dietary supplements such as calcium, vitamin D and isoflavones (a plant source of estrogen-like compounds) can be used to compensate for reduced estrogen production. This can help buffer the loss of bone.
For women that experience frequent infections naturopaths can go into detail about habits promoting infection (hygiene, insulin resistance, etc) as well as prescribing herbal treatments such as barberry extract.
In cases of hypothyroidism naturopathic doctors have the option of prescribing nutraceuticals such as selenium to optimize thyroid hormone conversion. For the patients that do not respond well to thyroxine, dessicated thyroid which is a source of active T3 can be used. Since this is more potent it is recommended to only use under the guide of a licensed practitioner.