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The number 1 cause of hormonal imbalance is STRESS!!


Stress affects a woman’s endocrine system instantly. It is an evolutionary quirk related to times of famine and limited food sources.

A woman’s fertility is reduced as soon as the body is placed into a state of long-term stress. Literally, your sex hormones are turned off in order for your stress hormones to activate.

So with this in mind, it makes complete sense to focus on managing stress as a core component of your approach to hormonal balance.

Stress is one of the most significant contributing factors towards developing a hormonal imbalance.

The entire glandular system is interconnected, so when one gland is overstimulated, such as the adrenals in stress, then there are consequences in other glandular outputs.

During times of stress, the adrenals produce more cortisol, and since the body is now essentially in fight-or-flight mode, it starts to reduce sex hormone production.

This is a natural survival response. In hard times, the body inhibits sex hormones to reduce the fertility rates; and then in good times, hormones balance and fertility levels increase.

If you ever wondered why infertility rates are so high, persistent levels of stress is one of the main reasons.

What is cortisol?  

In its normal function, cortisol helps us meet life’s challenges by converting proteins into energy, releasing glycogen and counteracting inflammation.

For a short time, that’s okay. But at sustained high levels, cortisol gradually tears your body down. 

Cortisol is one essential we can’t live without. But too much of a good thing is not healthy.

Apart from causing hormonal imbalance, sustained high levels of cortisol destroys healthy muscle and bone; slows down healing and normal cell regeneration; co-opts biochemicals needed to make other vital hormones; impairs digestion, metabolism and mental function; interferes with healthy endocrine function, and weakens your immune system.

After a period of time, the adrenals eventually become fatigued, which may be a factor in many related conditions – including fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, premature menopause and others. It may also produce a host of other unpleasant symptoms, from acne to hair loss.

HHY - Hormonal Stress Effects

For menopausal women, this is a particular problem – because during and after menopause, the adrenals need to produce small amounts of oestrogen – so when they are depleted, it leads to more extreme menopausal symptoms.

Women today are doing too much. Women’s bodies were not designed for long-term stress levels, and the result is imbalanced hormones.

Unfortunately, we often cannot change our life circumstances; however, there is one thing that you can do. MEDITATE.

Research has shown conclusively that meditation helps to reduce stress hormones and increases a beneficial hormone called DHEA, which is the building block for hormone production and a natural anti-ageing hormone.

So what is the best type of meditation?

Well, it all depends on the individual, but a form of meditation that stills the mind, stills the body, and leaves you with a sense of balance and calm.

Yoga and meditation together are particularly beneficial. We have created this simple guided meditation to help you start the process.

Guided meditation or relaxation is perfect for beginners and keeps your mind focused. Find a quiet place and put on some headphones and see how you feel after the relaxation. Take a look at a post l prepared with a selection of short meditations to get you started.

Estrogen Dominance & Thermography

What Your Breasts are Trying to Tell You

Lifetime exposure to estrogen has been identified as a significant risk factor for the development of cancer.

More and more today, women and their health care providers are choosing to monitor hormonal levels. When we measure the level of estrogen and progesterone in the blood, urine, or saliva we are looking at the hormonal balance in the whole body.  These are all useful tools providing useful information.

But the question remains… what is the effect of these hormone levels on the breasts?

The breasts have their own estrogen story.

Serum levels of hormones may not actually match the tissue levels.  Breast tissue can have up to 50 times the estrogen concentration as serum.  Normal fatty tissue in the breasts can actually produce estrogen which will be missed on blood testing and can contribute to risk. Some women have estrogen receptors that are more sensitive or bind estrogen more easily. They may even test as low estrogen levels but their breasts are actually being over-stimulated by the estrogen they do have.

Salivary tests have been used to assess tissue hormone levels but don’t take into account that the breasts produce estrogen locally while salivary gland tissue does not.

Lab test such as these are still very helpful in determining a therapeutic intervention and monitoring its effects and should not be discontinued.

Thermography can offer your physician a powerful tool ….one that can help identify Breast Specific Estrogen Dominance.

This is done with thermography by identifying the vascular development in your breasts.

Thermography imaging is a way to look at the effects of estrogen on the breasts. Identifying the vascular development in your breasts can be critical in establishing your risk for breast disease.

Being proactive.

If a woman has a higher than expected stimulation of the breast tissue, she can work with a qualified health provider to determine if excess estrogen is suspected. Once intervention is put into motion, the effectiveness of this action can be then monitored by a later thermogram.  Basically, a window into seeing if what you did actually worked.

By using thermography to see the level of estrogen in your breasts, you have a tool that compares and contrasts to other tools.

Studies have shown that high levels of estrogen are a key risk factor for breast disease. 

Thermography is a direct measure of breast physiology & is helpful as both a detection and monitoring tool.

Listen to your body.

Five exercises to strengthen immunity and flush your lymph system during flu season

How simple home exercises, including neck rolls and yoga poses – collectively known as ‘intelligent movement’ – can boost the immune system

Heather Thomas Shalabi

Heather Thomas Shalabi

Heather Thomas Shalabi, managing director of Flex Studio in Wong Chuk Hang, performs kapalbhati breathing exercises. Photos: May Tse

Heather Thomas Shalabi, managing director of Flex Studio in Wong Chuk Hang, performs kapalbhati breathing exercises. Photos: May Tse

It’s no secret that exercise is important for overall health and wellness. But exactly how movement keeps the doctor away can often be overshadowed by its aesthetic benefits.

To gain insight into how intelligent movement helps us live well for longer, we need to take a look into the workings of one of the body’s major networks: the lymphatic system.

Why? Because moving in general stimulates the flow of lymph fluid, giving a tremendous boost to the immune system.

Our lymphatic system is a network, consisting of lymphatic vessels and nodes that remove waste from the body. Lymph fluid (a form of blood plasma) collects this waste from cells and transports it. Two other functions of the lymphatic system are to maintain fluid balance in tissues and organs and for the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients.

Inactivity can significantly restrict lymph flow, and lead to a build-up of waste and toxins believed to play a role in inflammation and disease.

How exercise helps us manage this is simple: through muscle contractions and manual manipulation, lymph manages to isolate and eliminate infection and cellular waste. Deep breathing, exercise and massage, therefore, are great ways to encourage lymph flow and to maintain the health of this essential system. The movement created by combining deep breathing with stretching, such as yoga, has proved to enhance lymph circulation. Many experts also claim that jumping on a trampoline is the perfect exercise for restoration and maintenance of the lymphatic system, as it stimulates the rebound of lymph fluid with low-impact, repetitive action.

To better understand the lymphatic system, we need to look at its finer workings. The system consists of organs – lymph nodes – a fluid called lymph and transportation vessels. It is similar in many ways to the blood circulatory system, in that it is an extensive network of vessels that traverse almost all our tissues, allowing for movement of lymph fluid.

This fluid drains through lymphatic vessels in a way that is very similar to blood returning through veins to the heart. Unlike the circulatory system, however, lymph has no direct propulsion of its own. Lymphatic fluid moves through the vessels by being squeezed when we consciously use skeletal muscles or move smooth muscles through breathing or other involuntary actions. The efferent – or “outward moving” – lymph vessel walls and valves also facilitate the movement of lymph once the nodes have filled with fluid, and prevent lymph from travelling backward.

Luckily, there are simple exercises you can do each day to stimulate lymph flow and hopefully stave off illness:

Neck roll.

Neck roll.

Neck rolls: stand or sit tall with arms by your sides. Gently bend your head left, chin tilted down, shoulders relaxed. Slowly roll your head clockwise; complete a full circle. Repeat as desired, changing direction halfway.

Pelvic tilts: lie flat on your back, feet hip width apart, knees bent. Flatten lower back against the floor and tilt spine upwards – abdominals are in a C-curve. Lower and repeat several times.

Single leg circles.

Single leg circles.

Single leg circles: Lie on your back with legs straight. Raise right leg high and straight as possible. Ensure abdominals are engaged and lower back pressed firmly into the floor. Make several small, clockwise circles in the air with toes pointed. Repeat in reverse direction and then with other leg.

Forward bend (uttanasana).

Forward bend (uttanasana).

Forward bend (uttanasana): Stand straight, arms by your side, feet close together. Raise arms to the side and slowly bend forward and down, from the hip. Bend knees if you can’t touch the floor with straight legs. Nod your head yes and no. Breathe. With abdominals engaged, slowly and mindfully rise to standing.

Cleansing breath (kapalbhati breath): Sit tall in a comfortable cross-legged position, forcefully exhale repeatedly through the nose (strongly contracting the stomach) and keep a steady pace. The ideal number of rounds is 500 exhales (per day) but start with increments of 100.

Lifting kettlebells.

Lifting kettlebells.

Lifting kettlebells: Holding a kettlebell in both hands, squat with legs wide and with back as straight as possible. Hold for several seconds, slowly stand to straighten, lifting the kettlebell to shoulder height or higher. Repeat several sets.

Find your lymph nodes: The major node clusters are in six areas, concentrated in rotational joints or the thoracic area, where involuntary breathing movement occurs. In the case of an infection, nodes swell – so-called swollen glands – due to a build-up of lymph fluid, bacteria or other organisms.

• Cervical region: nodes are along the lower border of the jaw, in front of and behind the ears and deep in the neck along larger blood vessels, draining skin on the scalp, face, tissues of the nasal cavity and pharynx.

• Axillary region: under the arms, near the surface of the skin and deeper in the chest tissue. They receive lymph from vessels that drain the arm, walls of the thorax, breast and upper walls of the abdomen.

•Inguinal region: nodes here receive lymph from the legs, the outer portion of the genitalia and lower abdominal wall.

• Pelvic cavity: mostly along the paths of blood vessels within the pelvic cavity and receive lymph from lymphatic vessels in the area.

• Abdominal cavity: nodes occur in chains along the main branches of the arteries of the intestine and abdominal aorta.

• Thoracic cavity: between the lungs and along the windpipe and bronchi.

Extra tips

• Drink six to eight glasses of purified or filtered water per day. Hydration helps maintain proper lymph fluid levels.

• A weekly sauna or steam bath can help remove waste through pores, lessening the load on the lymph system.

Minding your Minerals

We live in the ‘developed’ world and we believe our food supply to be superior- and in some ways it is- unfortunately, when it comes to nutrient density, it is less than optimal, especially in regards to mineral content.
In the last 50 or so years there’s been an unprecedented change in how our food is grown, stored and sold. This change has enabled us to have cherries from the US in the middle of winter and lychees from China, however the vitamin and mineral content during this time has been steadily declining. The processing of foods into packaged ‘food products’ has contributed to food containing almost zero nutrition and a bunch of calories with a shelf life of many years.

In Europe, as in most parts of the world, it is now acknowledged that our soils have become depleted of many vital minerals. Plants get their minerals from the earth- if the soil doesn’t contain them, the plants won’t contain them either and neither will our bodies! The quantities of vital minerals like magnesium, iodine, calcium, potassium, selenium and others have all greatly diminished in our soils and subsequently in our fruit and vegetables. Here is an interesting comparison of the mineral content of veg from 80 years ago compared to today:

mineral-decline-in-vegetables

mineral-decline-in-vegetables

Why do we need minerals?

Minerals are vital for our body’s functioning. They are the spark plugs of life. They are required in very small amounts, but without them we would literally not exist.

A host of modern diseases have their roots in mineral deficiencies: cancer, arthritis, asthma, autism, Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease, to name a few. Unfortunately, the modern medical model ignores these vital parts required for our bodies. There are many natural health care practitioners and integrative doctors who believe that if our population had adequate levels of minerals in our bodies, a huge proportion of disease could be prevented.

What many practitioners are finding nowadays are rampant mineral deficiencies and imbalances amongst adults as well as children.

minerals

minerals

A few examples of what mineral deficiencies can look like:

-A person who is undergoing serious stress at work (even temporarily) and has poor reserves of magnesium (as 95% of the population do) with a family history of cardiovascular issues (how common is that) may begin to experience insomnia, anxiety/panic attacks, arrhythmias, muscle twitches and leg cramps.

-A child who was breastfed then moved to iron fortified cereal and drinks 2-3 glasses of cow’s milk per day is highly likely to have iron deficiency anaemia. The huge intake of calcium from the milk and the poor absorption of iron from the processed rice cereal would lead to an inadequate intake of dietary iron. This will be reflected in poor growth, low energy, poor school performance and poor immune health. This is a very common situation today.

-A person who doesn’t eat much seafood, fish or seaweed (how many kids eat these?) will be deficient in iodine. In fact, in 2006 the National Iodine Nutrition Study (NINS, the largest study of its kind in Australia) examined iodine levels of 1700 Australian school kids and found that “iodine deficiency is widespread amongst the population”. The study confirmed that “even mild iodine deficiency can lead to reduced intellectual capacity and IQ, impaired psychomotor development and increased incidence of ADHD”.

-A deficiency of zinc can lead to a multitude of problems, including immune dis-regulation, hypochlorhydria (low stomach acid- extremely common), parasites/bacterial overgrowth, weak nails/skin/hair and so many others. Zinc deficiency and imbalances are very common today.

-An imbalance between zinc and copper can lead to antisocial/violent behaviour, alcoholism, and psychological disorders. Researchers have found this imbalance to be very common in aggressive/antisocial children.

-Heavy metal toxicity (common in children and adults alike) due to food and environmental exposure will cause an imbalance with beneficial minerals, such as zinc and iron and will impact immune function, mood, detoxification, behaviour and many other facets of health.

As you can see, minerals and their balance are extremely important for our optimal health and function and if not corrected early, can cause a lifetime of health issues, often misdiagnosed.

Hair Mineral Analysis

Fortunately, there are reliable ways of testing mineral and heavy metal levels through a Hair Analysis. A Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is a test that measures mineral levels in the ’tissues’- of which hair is a good indicator.

A small amount of hair (about a teaspoon) is cut and collected for analysis. The laboratory then issues a full analysis and report on the levels and ratios of minerals in the body.  I then use this information to design a health protocol, aimed at remineralizing, re nourishing and repairing the body. This is how l approach health & healing by establishing the Root Cause of the imbalance and not just treating the symptoms.

I also use a specially designed Blood Panel together with the HTMA, the main reason for this is blood levels of mineral will always stay within a narrow physiological range. For example, blood calcium and iron levels are regulated tightly by the body because if these vital minerals were out of range in the blood, our heart would stop and our brain wouldn’t receive any oxygen! The body maintains optimum levels in the blood at the expense of peripheral tissues. That’s why using the HTMA together with the Bloodwork is a good barometer of how the body is functioning, remember change in function happens long before a disease will be diagnosed, so using this as a disease prevention model together with assessment of The Root Cause of an imbalance leading to a disease label is very successful. This approach is about treating the individual NOT the disease.

Hair analysis is also a great non-invasive way to monitor children’s health –

Hair analysis gives us a detailed and informative look into our metabolism, toxicity, nervous system function as well as being an indicator of mineral reserves.

I regularly use Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis & Bloodwork  with great results in my clinic.

Doctors warn not to skip regular appointments and health checks

Doctors are warning not to skip regular appointments and health checks with fears tens of thousands of people are putting off tests they need to manage cancer, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

It comes as coronavirus testing continues to expand across the country and GPs increasingly rely on tele-health to keep patients safe. The real and long term cost of the pandemic is yet unknown. Please be sure not to put your very real health conditions on hold because they seem less important right now. Your physical and mental health are very important. There are many ways to prioritise your health without burdening the healthcare system.
This pandemic has shown us just how important it is to avoid chronic health conditions that are huge risk factors and how important it is to support the immune system.

With regard to your Breast Health don’t forget the importance of carrying out regular Self Breast Examinations. See the link below detailing exactly how to preform this accurately.

Consider a Breast Thermography assessment see the article l wrote earlier this year explaining the use of Mammography and Thermography in breast health assessment:

.https://thermographyireland.ie/2020/01/thermography-vs-mammography/

Prioritise your diet and support your immune system- book your Inital Consultation now:

How To Do A Self-Breast Exam

Regular self-breast exams are something every woman should feel comfortable and confident doing as a part of a healthy routine. Follow our guide to discover the two-step method that will help you carry out a thorough self-breast exam. Of course, home breast checks do not replace a professional diagnosis, so if you’re at all concerned, we recommend you consult your doctor or gynecologist as soon as you spot anything out of the ordinary.

Woman doing a self-breast exam

The mirror self-breast check

Start your self-breast check by stripping down to a bare upper body. Choose a quiet and warm spot with good lighting where you can stand or sit in front of a mirror. Look at your breasts in the mirror and check:

  • Your breasts are their usual size, shape and color
  • Your armpit area, raise your arms above your head to check thoroughly here
  • If there are any noticeable visual changes, like swellings or distortions you should consult with your doctor. (While some soreness can be caused by PMS, look out for redness, dimpling, nipple changes, rashes or bulging of the skin.)

Don’t worry if there are differences in shape and size between your breasts. Our bodies are not completely symmetrical and its common for our breasts to be different to each other. What’s important is that you look for changes to your breasts and any developing symptoms in these home breast exams. This means it’s important we carry out monthly breast exams so we know what’s different.

Self-breast exam steps: check for breast lumps with your fingertips

To carry out the best physical breast exam on yourself at home, you should check your breasts in different positions. You can easily check while lying down when you wake up in the morning or before you go to sleep at night.

When you’re lying flat the breast tissue spreads evenly making this a good time to check for breast lumps. You can place a pillow under your back to make the surface flat and comfortable.

It’s also important to check for breast lumps and changes while you’re standing or sitting up – you might find this more comfortable and easier to do in the shower when your skin is slippery. Tip: You could also try using massage oil or baby oil.

Use your opposite hand to feel your breast, so your right hand to check your left breast and vice versa. Keep fingers straight and together and use the fingertips with a firm, smooth touch.

Either start from the nipple, moving outwards in a circular motion, or opt for a more up and down approach. There is no right or wrong way to do the exam, so choose what feels most comfortable for you.

It’s important you cover the entire area from your abdomen to your collarbone and from your armpit to the center of your chest.

If you’ve noticed anything unusual, don’t panic – 8 out of 10 lumps aren’t cancerous. However, please take the time to speak to your doctor or gynecologist if you spot any changes during the exam.

Regular mammograms, especially in women over 40, are also an important part of screening for breast cancer and these can catch irregularities even earlier.

When is the best time to carry out a breast exam?

This is shortly after your period has finished as your breasts are less likely to be swollen or sore due to PMS symptoms and we’re less sensitive to pain during this period.

Thanks for reading our self-breast exam guidelines. If you’re interested in learning more about your body, your hormones and your breast health visit us at – www.thermographyireland.ie. 

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