Posts in Hormonal Imbalances
Fertility Hormones: which to test + what they all mean

Blood work is a valuable tool to quantify hormone levels and fertility markers, which together give insight as to how our ovaries are functioning and the quality of the eggs they contain. If you are currently trying to conceive or thinking about getting pregnant in the next few years, testing your hormones can give you a lot of helpful information that will assist you in making informed decisions about your family planning.

If you’re new to learning about these hormones then all the abbreviations and numbers are enough to leave you feeling dizzy, but I’m going to explain what they mean for your health and fertility, and let you know exactly how you can test them yourself.

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Foods for Hot Flashes

Hot flashes suck, it’s hard to understand if you’ve never experienced one before. They can stop you in your tracks or send you running home for a change of dry clothes. If you’ve been dealing with hot flashes, whether from menopause or other hormonal imbalances, then you’re probably desperate to find something that works.

Luckily you’re in the right place, because I treat them all the time, in people of all ages. In many cases diet and herbs can majorly improve hot flashes and hormonal imbalances if you know what to look for, I’ll explain how!

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Period Problems? How to Deal

Does your period suck? Well then we should talk, because I hated my period for a very long time, and now me and my period are friends. We can hang once a month when she comes to town and it doesn't destroy my whole damn life.

My journey of healing my cycle is what made me so passionate to learn all the ways Chinese medicine can help those who menstruate, and to share this knowledge with anyone who will listen. I believe it's our birthright to have a period that’s manageable, if not enjoyable. And honestly? It’s really not as complicated as it's all made out to be.

Depending on why your periods or cycles suck, whether they are painful, emotional, or totally irregular, I’ll walk you through exactly what you can do to feel better each month.

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Pain During Sex - WTF?!?

The medical term is dyspareunia, which means difficulty, discomfort, or pain during intercourse. It's a condition I see quite frequently in my clinic and while many people who experience this symptom cross their fingers and hope it will go away on its own, that's not the reality for everyone.

As confusing and frustrating as dealing with painful sex can sometimes be, I find there are only so many causes. If we work our way through the list we can typically get to the bottom of what's actually going on. In many cases I've seen my patients find relief and actually heal from experiencing pain during sex, I'll explain how.

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Let's Talk About Vaginal Dryness

There's pretty much no topic off limits in my clinic, and believe it or not, vaginal dryness is a common topic I discuss with my patients. Women of all ages complain of it, and for lots of different reasons. There's no one-size-fits-all treatment that works, but luckily, some basic understanding of your hormones and how they effect the body usually helps to get to the bottom of why you're experiencing this discomfort.

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10 Other Reasons Birth Control is Used

In honor of last week's news that Trump is rolling back employer requirements for birth control coverage, I want to share some of the other reasons birth control gets used besides just preventing pregnancy.

To be clear, I believe that women should have affordable and easy access to birth control no matter why they choose to take it. But it truly enrages me to hear so many arguments against coverage made on the basis that it is simply used when women want to be promiscuous, thus they should learn to "control themselves" or "settle down and have a family."

These arguments are made by ignorant men who will never be at risk of experiencing some of the painful and/or dangerous conditions that birth control can help to manage or treat. Denying women access to medication that can reduce pain, save money, prevent surgery, and in some cases can even be life saving, is truly cruel, inhumane, and totally fucking sexist.

So let's talk about it. Let's make them impossible to ignore. Let's teach men and children about these conditions. Let's de-stigmatize birth control coverage for every woman whose life depends on it. It's our right.

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PMS Sucks! How to Treat it Naturally

While there are phases of the menstrual cycle when our hormones can leave us feel energized, confident, and cheerful, there are also phases of our cycles that may cause us feeling depleted, irritable, and self conscious. The premenstrual phase (the one and a half to two week period prior to bleeding) is most notorious for these feelings, the dreaded PMS.

Premenstrual Syndrome can look very different for different women, but the most common symptoms are emotional changes, mood swings, general irritability, anxiety, or sensitivity, breast tenderness, digestive upset, food cravings, headaches, or acne. While one woman may complain of one or two of these symptoms, some women can attest to nearly every annoying symptom on that list.

But PMS isn't something we're sentenced to as women, in fact there are a number of things you can do to balance your hormones naturally and start feeling better!

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Intro to Basal Body Temperature Charting

Women's hormones change so significantly during the course of their cycles that just by looking at graphs of daily temperatures you can see when ovulation occurs, if implantation has taken place, or when the period is about to start. It can even spot subtle signs of hormone imbalance, for example, if enough there's not enough progesterone being produced to sustain pregnancy.

Not just any temperature though, specifically our basal body temperature (BBT) is what must be measured to better understand what our hormones are doing. Basal refers to the bottom, in this case it's the lowest our temperature gets each day. For most people, that happens to be when you first wake up in the morning, after your body and metabolism have been resting several hours.

I wrote earlier about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM,) which uses temperature charting as a major component of tracking the menstrual cycle and determining a woman's fertile window. Click the link above to learn more about FAM and if it's right for you.

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The Connection between Acupuncture & IVF

Acupuncture is an ancient holistic medicine that creates balance in the body through gentle treatment with minimal side effects. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are ultramodern medical techniques that manipulate conception with hormonal medications and surgical procedures.

One is aggressive and invasive, but very precise; while the other is holistic, calming, and nourishing. Much like Yin and Yang, these medicines are built on very very different foundations, but nonetheless compliment each other quite well. In fact, many Reproductive Endocrinologist (aka, fertility doctors) make room in their busy clinics for acupuncturists like me to treat patients at key points during the IVF process.

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