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Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

I am constantly being asked by clients about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), from which many women suffer where cysts on the ovaries cause pain during ovulation, PMS, and excess hair growth on the face, legs and arms.  It’s been known for some time that PCOS is associated with high insulin levels, which stimulate the ovarian production of androgens (male hormones).  In a study of obese and non-obese women with PCOS (Nobumasa et al, 2002), various hormones were measured with interesting results: the average levels of testosterone and androstenedione in obese women were significantly higher than those in non-obese women.  This is yet another indicator that obesity can contribute significantly to hormone imbalance.  PCOS disappears rapidly in most women when they cut sugar and refined carbohydrates from their diet.

Can Progesterone help recovery from PCOS?

PCOS is a condition which is rising alarmingly all over the world.

PCOS is generally considered a syndrome rather than a disease, because it manifests through a group of signs and symptoms that can occur in any combination, rather than having one known cause.

Symptoms vary and include some or all of the following…

  • oligomenorrhoea (absent or infrequent periods) or amenorrhea (no menstrual period).
  • enlarged ovaries (usually 1.5 to 3 times larger than normal).
  • cysts (fluid-filled sacs), giving the classic “string of pearls” appearance to ovaries with many cysts. Cystic ovaries can lead to…
  • chronic pelvic pain – although the exact cause of this pain isn’t known, inflammation is the most likely cause.
  • anovulation (lack of ovulation), which is relatively common as the follicles mature only occasionally, this leads to…
  • low progesterone levels, as it’s only after ovulation that the follicle, now called the corpus luteum, produces progesterone. But low progesterone levels lead to…
  • high levels of luteinising hormone (LH) as the pituitary is trying to stimulate ovulation. High LH suppresses follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) so this leads to arrested follicle growth in the next cycle. But LH also stimulates the thecal cells in the ovary to produce androgens which leads to…
  • high androgens (hyperandrogenism), particularly high testosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), leading to excess facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, deepening of the voice, weight problems including obesity and a smaller hip to waist ratio, acne, oily skin, dandruff, suppression of ovarian function, leading to anovulation which leads to…
  • infertility (the inability to get pregnant within six to 12 months of unprotected intercourse, depending on age) and low progesterone levels

Natural treatment

  • Above all have a vitamin D test done, and take a minimum of 5000 IU’s per day, bringing the level in the blood to 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) or above. A lack of vitamin D is found in PCO, with many authorities believing it could be the main contributing factor. A lack also leads to hyperparathyroidism which is often present in PCO. High levels of parathyroid hormone suppresses thyroid activity, leading to a higher than normal TSH level. The year round level of vitamin D should be 50ng/ml (125nmol/L) or higher
  • A lack of vitamin D reduces the benefits of progesterone
  • Use between 150-250mg/day progesterone, this helps stabilise blood sugar and suppresses androgen production. It also helps to correct ovarian malfunction
  • Take the B vitamin inositol, this aids in reversing insulin resistance and stabilizing glucose levels. Studies have shown this restores gonadal function.
  • Take the antioxidant amino acids L-arginine and N-acetyl cysteine, studies have shown these restore gonadal function.
  • The amino acids L-glutamine and L-glycine are very helpful. The brain can use them in place of glucose for energy, so they stop all binging, tiredness, cravings for sugary foods and alcohol. Glutamine also heals the lining of the gut, it boosts the immune system and is the most abundant amino acid in the muscles, so helping with muscle weakness. These two amino acids are also two of the three precursors to glutathione, which apart from vitamin D, is the most important antioxidant the body makes. The third amino precursor is cysteine, which is essential to take.
  • MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride) is another excellent source of energy which is not converted to fat, but can be used directly by the cells for energy, take 5-60ml/day. It’s extracted from coconut oil and comprises 60% caprylic acid, which kills candida, and 40% capric acid.

It could take a while for things to sort themselves out, so have patience. Researchers have found it takes from four to six months for the ovaries to start functioning correctly.

Additional Information

Progesterone

Apply 150-250mg of progesterone per day. The higher dose might be needed.

It should only be used at ovulation, for the last 14 days of the cycle, taking day 1 as the first day of bleeding.

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A short Synacthen test is a blood test performed for the investigation of adrenal insufficiency.

The adrenal glands are small cone shaped glands which sit above each kidney. They rmake and release stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol which are released to enable us to ‘fight or flee’. When the adrenals have been weakened they simply do not function properly – they’re fatigued. The main reason with poorly functioning adrenals is stress: worry, fear, anxiety, panic all the things that we experience almost daily in this 21st century lifestyle we all lead.

How the adrenals are weakened:

Adrenals can also be weakened by the use of stimulants – caffeine being a big culprit. In the short term, coffee makes us feel better from the stimulation it gives. Over time, however, the constant stimulation drains the adrenals which leads to fatigue, irregular blood sugar, anxiety and even sleep disruption. Sugar and refined foods and carbohydrates are other culprits which deplete the body of B vitamins and drain the adrenals.

A short synacthen test is not a readily available routine blood test – but is a good way of investigating the efficiency of the adrenal glands and it’s a test I feel people who suspect they have adrenal fatigue should be aware of.

It’s best performed in the morning as the cortisol responses between the morning and the late afternoon differ (by as much100 nmol/L at 30 min sample post Synacthen).

Blood needs to be taken 3 times during a one hour period to be prepared to spend to spend some time with the phlebotomist! It may be a good idea to have someone with you also as blood sugar levels would be quite depleted post test.

An excellent book on the subject of adrenal fatigue is: Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by Dr James L. Wilson who has also formulated a nutritional supplement to help this condition.

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January Special Offers: Book one treatment and get another half price

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If you’re looking for something nice and different to give to loved ones as presents for Christmas, why not give a gift voucher of a reflexology or Indian head massage treatment? Now available for £30.

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There are many factors that contribute to the signs of infertility. Some are:
• Venereal diseases
• Genetic abnormalities caused by environmental poisons
• A deficient diet
• Stress
• Low sperm counts or abnormal sperm
• Hormonal imbalances

Progesterone and infertility are linked through the Pill which can result in temporary infertility after having stopped taking it. Hormone imbalances induced by environmental poisons are a major factor in the infertility of many people. It is also vital for a woman to keep her body fat above 20% of her total weight, otherwise menstruation will cease.
One of the least known but commonest causes of infertility is a lack of progesterone during the second half of the monthly cycle. This is known as a ‘defective luteal phase’.

For pregnancy to occur oestrogen first builds the lining of the uterus, then after ovulation the role of progesterone is to thicken that lining ready for the fertilized egg. Inadequate progesterone reduces fertility.
Research into the causes of infertility has shown that often conception occurs in a fertile woman only to be followed by failure of the egg to embed itself in the lining. A lack of progesterone and infertility go hand in glove as this hormone is vital for pregnancy, but if the interval between ovulation and menstruation is too short (less than 12 days) it means that not enough progesterone has been produced. This could result in a miscarriage as early as the next menstruation.

So, you could be fertile whilst showing all the signs of infertility!

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I’m now studying acupuncture which has really extended my knowledge in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Having tried several acupuncture practitioners in the past, I’m now fortunate enough to have found a wonderful acupuncturist who treats me.

We all suffer from irritability and moodiness from time to time, but if you find that you suffer from a short temper and frustration on a regular basis then acupuncture may be for you. Irritability may often be the consequence of chronic stress in our lives. Over time, these emotions can escalate into more serious emotional conditions such as extreme anxiety and even depression which can then manifest into other health problems like digestive disorders, insomnia, and a low immune function. In TCM emotional disorders can be associated with a number of different patters of disharmony; however, anger, irritability and frustration are all signs that our energy, or life force (referred to as qi (pronounced Chi) inTCM) flow is hindered or not flowing as smoothly as it should. The liver is responsible for the smooth flow of qi throughout the body and for balancing our emotions. When the liver’s function of moving qi is disrupted, qi can become stagnant. This is referred to as ‘liver qi stagnation’. Liver qi stagnation is one of the most common patterns of disharmony seen in today’s patients. In addition to irritability and moodiness, signs and symptoms may include congestion in the chest, sighing, abdominal distension, nausea, sour regurgitation, belching, diarrhea or constipation, feeling a lump in the throat, irregular periods, PMS and breast distension.

Aside from the heart, the liver is closely related to the emotions. A lack of smooth flow of the liver qi will not allow the mind to ease. If liver qi is stagnant it will cause depression, anxiety and sadness. Acupuncture is excellent for relieving liver qi stagnation. Treatment for irritability and moodiness associated with liver qi stagnation focuses on unblocking and moving qi and supporting the liver and spleen organ systems with acupuncture, lifestyle and dietary recommendations along with herbal formulas. I suffer from liver qi stagnation from time to time and a couple of sessions of acupuncture always clears it up for me, (Liver 3, Large Intestine 4, and Four Gates) along with a good exercise regime and deep breathing exercise, eating green leafy vegetables which stimulate the liver and herbs like the Free and Easy Wanderer (Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan).

Please also see my posts and information on Natural Progesterone which  plays a vital role in stabilising moods and helping anxiety whether you are male or female.

Love and peace to you all.

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It’s a common problem when you hit 30 that despite your best efforts you just can’t seem to lose the extra weight around your middle.  Medical research proves you’re not alone – the average person gains one to two pounds a year after the age of 30, usually around the stomach area. 

Hormone imbalance spejcialst, Dr C W Randolph’s book ‘From Belly Fat to Belly Flat’  explains the real reason behind this problem which has less to do with calories and everything to do with a little-known medical problem known as ‘oestrogen dominance’. 

Readers of my blogs will know that I’m an advocate of natural progesterone – an essential hormone for both men and women – fostering a calming effect on the body; maintaining libido; serving as a natural antidepressant; promoting regular sleep patterns; stimulating bone building and opposing oestrogen’s predisposition to promote cell growth, thereby providing protection from uterine, breast and ovarian cancer.

If you want to know more about progesterone and, particularly, its effect on weight gain and how to lose that belly flab then check out Dr Radolph’s book: ‘From Belly Fat to Belly Flab’ by Dr C W Randolph and Genie James

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Stress is different to pressure.  Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health (Lancaster University) states:  ‘Pressure is motivating but stress is when the pressure exceeds your ability to cope’.  1 in 5 people suffer from work-related stress; if we add to this equation the pressure of home and social life, then it’s not surprising many of us are pushed to the limit.

When we get stressed, the hormone, adrenaline is released and so causes other hormones, namely, noradrenaline and cortisol to be released.  These three hormones together divert resources to the parts of the body which are needed most – this is the ‘fight or flight’ response.  The problem is that in the 21st Century we’re not hunting for our food, we are not dealing with the odd sabre-tooth tiger attack we are dealing with sitting in traffic jams, dealing with bad news, work and family problems, but our bodies do not recognise the difference: stress is stress.  This means we are constantly being exposed to a level stream of stress chemicals but there is nowhere for them to go when we’re sitting anxiously in a traffic jam – there is no release for these toxic chemicals!

Typical signs of stress include: lack of concentration, IBS and digestive problems, frequent colds and flu, tiredness, heart disease and even cancer.

If you can, identify what’s causing you stress.  Exercise is a very good way of reducing stress levels and the best thing you can do for your health.   Zinc and the B-complex vitamins are also very good for combating the effects of stress.  Ginseng is an adaptogen so it increases the body’s resistance to stress and Rhodiola can help improve focus and concentration under stressful conditions.

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Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells within the pancreas. Insulin is released into the blood stream and travels throughout the body. It is an important hormone that has many actions within the body. Most of the actions of insulin are directed at metabolism (control) of carbohydrates, fats (lipids), and proteins. Insulin also is important in regulating the cells of the body including their growth.

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the cells of the body become resistant to the effects of insulin, that is, the normal response to a given amount of insulin is reduced. As a result, higher levels of insulin are needed in order for insulin to have its effects.

Causes

There are probably several causes of insulin resistance and there is thought to be a strong inherited component. Some medications can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is seen often in the following conditions:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Oestrogen
  • Menopause and the years thereafter
  • The Pill
  • HRT
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Infection or severe illness
  • Stress
  • Steroid use

A combination of raw vitamins, minerals and amino acids mixed daily with some fruit juice not only ensures the insulin response works at its optimum level, but also boosts energy and assists with weight loss. And, it’s not too disgusting to drink either!

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Readers of my blogs will know that I have suffered from adrenal stress and have looked into a number of ‘alternative cures’. I’ve looked into and talked about Macca but I never actually got around to using it because I discovered Ashwagandha first. I’ve been using Ashwagandha for several months and I do believe it’s gone a long way in helping me. I’m starting to feel ‘normal’ again.

What is it?
Ashwagandha (meaning: strength of a horse) is a known herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Found in India, it’s an evergreen shrub the roots of which are used medicinally. It has a reputation for improving strength, energy and stamina.
It’s an adaptogenic herb suitable for long-term use (avoid if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding).

Stress
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen: a class of herbal medicines that improve energy and help the body adapt to stress. It relaxes the nervous system and increases strength and stamina. Excellent for promoting restful sleep; its antioxidant effects help immunity and increase white blood cell count and reduces arthritic pain and inflammation.

Research published in the journal of Phytomedicine (2000) found Ashwagandha was ‘comparable to some orthodox drugs for treating anxiety and depression’.

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