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Ten Essentials for Women’s Health

Women’s health is all about hormones. It has always been a favorite topic of mine. As a teen and 20-something you deal with PMS, erratic periods, acne, and cramps. In your thirties you have all of the hormonal ups and downs that go with pregnancy, childbirth and breast feeding. In your forties you are may have heavy bleeding, depression or anxiety, and mood swings and in your fifties it’s hot flashes, vaginal dryness and wondering when it will all be over with. Surely it wasn’t meant to be this hard, so why is it? Many of us have minor hormone issues that can turn into major ones if they are not nipped in the bud. Here are ten products we think every woman should know about:

Adrenal Health by Gaia—This is only one of many good adrenal products, but I love this formula for its combination of calming herbs and adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help the body better handle stress. Most of us are pulled in a million different directions—kids, jobs, husbands, ailing parents, volunteering commitments, and more. Excess adrenal activity can cause high cortisol, sending us into “fight or flight” mode. Excess cortisol also reduces progesterone in the body because they share receptor sites. This can cause estrogen dominance, causing us to be irritable, have heavy periods, and become sluggish. If chronic, estrogen dominance can result in fibroids, endometriosis, and even breast cancer. When natural doctors look at the hormone cascade they first treat the adrenals, then the thyroid, and the sex hormones are last. Too many women are led to thyroid meds and hormone replacement when the real issue is burned out or stressed adrenal glands. Excess cortisol can also contribute to belly fat. Bolster your adrenals with this supplement or one of the other great ones on our shelves.

Fem Rebalance by Vitanica—An amazing herbal formula  that is great for many issues where the balance of hormones is off—hormonal acne, lack of ovulation, very long periods, and more. Its work is subtle, so you’ll have to take it for at least two cycles to get a result. Doctors often recommend birth control pills as a “go to” for any issue where the cycle is upset. Think of this product as a replacement that works with the body rather than altering the natural hormone cycle.  Save the birth control pills for what they were really designed for–contraception.

BioSil—Great for the health of hair, skin, and nails, this special form of silica “turns on“ the beauty proteins. It boosts keratin in hair and nails, and elastin, and collagen in the skin and connective tissues. Consult with your doctor about hair loss if the source of it is unknown. Hair loss can relate to anemia, thyroid problems, medications, hormone imbalance, and other things. It is best to find out why you are losing hair before doing anything about it. In addition to addressing underlying conditions, this supplement is a great one for re-growing hair.  It also promotes bone growth, and has the “side effect” of fortifying bones.

DIM Pro, milk thistle, dandelion, or BroccoMax—Did you know that after your body uses estrogen it must be broken down by the liver? The proper detoxification of estrogen from the body is crucial to the prevention of hormone-sensitive women’s conditions like fibroids, endometriosis, and many breast cancers. Herbs like milk thistle and dandelion that support liver function can aid in the breakdown of estrogen. Compounds like diindolylmethane (DIM), indole-3 carbinole, and sulfurophane directly relate to the detoxification of estrogens. They are found in cruciferous vegetables, or can be taken in supplement forms like DIM Pro or BroccoMax. There is also a great Host Defense product called Myco Woman that contains a number of mushrooms and herbs aimed at breast health. If you have a family history of breast cancer, this is a great one to check out.

Vitamineral Green powder or caps—A favorite greens formula that is great for overall health. It gives an amazing nutrient boost, oxygenates the entire body, has sea veggies for thyroid support, and tastes better than most of the others out there. It is also excellent for daily detoxing.  I love to put it in my smoothies, add it to salad dressing as a nutrient boost, or just mix it with half juice and half water. Even if you don’t do it every day, this one is a winner.

Natracare tampons and pads—When I found out that conventional feminine products contain bleach, the pesticide glyphosate (a known carcinogen), viscose rayon treated with anti-mildew chemicals, and synthetic fragrances, I was shocked. It’s no wonder women have so many issues with their menstrual cycles. Traditional brands have begun to disclose the ingredients in their products in response to consumer demand. Natracare uses only organic cotton and plant-derived ingredients, and includes all ingredients on the label. Using cleaner products on a monthly basis is sure to improve vaginal/urinary health.

Neu Eve suppositories or cream—A non-hormonal solution for vaginal dryness, painful sex, itching, burning, and prevention of urinary tract infection. Developed by a local doctor in response to patients were looking for a natural solution to these problems, it contains only natural ingredients. It helps to rebuild the mucous membranes by supplying nutrients to heal them. Suppositories require only once a week use, making them very convenient. The cream can be used daily if you are currently experiencing an issue.

Acteane—A homeopathic hot flash remedy containing several common remedies for hot flashes. Getting great reviews from our customers!

Probiotics—These “good bugs” assist with digestion, immunity, and mood. Bloating is a common complaint of women and can be greatly relieved by a probiotic. Having a strong microbiota protects us from infectious agents. Certain strains are even targeted at the bacteria that typically cause urinary tract infections. Other strains target IBS, general immunity, and gut inflammation. Since more than 70% of our serotonin is made in the gut, healthy gut bacteria can go a long way toward improving mood. Some of the B vitamins and vitamin K are made from the gut bacteria, so probiotics are important to stress relief, skin health, and bone health.

Progesterone cream—Extracted from wild yam, progesterone is instant relief from irritability, helps with heavy periods, soothes perimenopausal symptoms, lessens cramps and relieves stress. Our endocrine system is very intricate and inter-related. An imbalance in one hormone can lead to imbalance in others. Xenoestrogens are prevalent around us and can affect hormone health. Xenoestrogens are substances that act like estrogen in the body by binding to receptor sites for estrogen. We have been trained to think that a lack of estrogen is the root of so many female problems, but the truth is many of us have too much. Excess estrogen in the body can cause bloating, heavy periods, depression or anxiety, acne, PMS, weight gain, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, memory loss, and even breast cancer. It can also block the uptake of thyroid hormone in the body and may be the genesis of the many thyroid disorders we see today.

Good health is all about prevention and female hormonal issues are no exception. Putting good self- care habits in place and correcting minor hormone issues before they develop into something more serious are crucial to female health.