A woman’s health is the barometer of her environment….
Women are complex creatures, although you probably already knew that!
Hormonal health issues affect nearly all women at some stage in their lives. Whether it be preparing for pregnancy, dealing with hormonal fluctuations, thyroid or autoimmunity, maintaining hormonal health during all stages of a women’s life lowers your risk of health problems 20 years down the track.
Our hormonal health relies on more than just healthy ovarian function; genetics, environmental toxins, chemical exposure, diet, and gut health, liver, stress and the health of other endocrine glands such as the adrenals and thyroid all influence the health of our hormones.
Women make up over 75% of those affected by auto-immune conditions, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, alopecia areata, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and so many more.
Immunity refers to the ability of the body to defend itself against harmful microbes, pathogens and foreign bodies. When a harmful agent enters the bloodstream, the immune system recognises it and initiates a cascade of reactions which leads to the production of many components to neutralise the infection. This process is known as sensitisation and directs the immune system specifically against the infective agent.
In an autoimmune disease there is sensitisation of the immune system to an otherwise harmless substance, which in the case of coeliac disease, is the protein found in gluten. Autoimmunity development and severity are influenced by a broad range of factors including genetics, environment, immune dysfunction, infection, dysbiosis, toxicity, intestinal hyper-permeability, deficiencies, dietary factors and stress.
Most of us recognise there’s a link between coeliac or at the very least, gluten sensitivity, and autoimmune or inflammatory gut issues.
But did you know this …
We know that about 95% of coeliacs have the coeliac gene. That means to develop coeliac in the first place, you pretty much need the genetics, i.e. HLA-DQ2/8; but only 10% of people who have the coeliac gene ever go on to develop coeliac disease; however 50% of women who have the coeliac gene go on to develop thyroiditis. What’s the correlation you may ask? Researchers have identified high exposure to gluten as a child as the risk factor.
Now you may be forgiven for thinking that your thyroid gland is functioning normal, sub-clinical thyroid and non-classical thyroid symptoms and pathology can be easily missed. But if you are feeling fatigued and frumpy or anxious and overstimulated, your thyroid should be first on your investigation list.
As women embrace more of a long term view to health and wellness, the interplay of environmental and lifestyle factors such as environmental toxins, pollution, chemical exposure through phthalates, plastics, household cleaning and personal care use is now recognised as contributing factors to endocrine, fertility, metabolic, mood and hormonal disruption. Navigating this field can be a maze of numbers and chemical names. Reducing exposure to these and in some individuals heavy detoxification support is required.
The naturopathic treatment of women’s health and hormones requires a holistic assessment and evidence based treatment protocols to support womens health naturally.