One of the most common issues today I see women (and actually also men!) come in with are fertility and hormone imbalances. Often they have no clue of the issue at play, due to the fact that standard ordered blood labs are an incredibly poor testing method of hormone markers: it will both measure active and inactive hormone without distinguishing.
This Results In An Often False-Positive Hormone Report.
And that sucks. Because now we are still stuck with the symptoms of hormone imbalance, yet we are told that "we are fine", when in fact, we are not.
We are just not getting diagnosed and tested correctly. Saliva testing for hormones is the single proven clinically most accurate way to measure hormone balance.
Why Are We Seeing Hormone Imbalances So Frequently Today?
Well, this is partly due to an environment where we are exposed to all sorts of nasty hormone disruptors such as plastic, radiation, xenoestrogens, hormones in factory meats, extreme dieting patterns, too much or too little bodyfat, and not enough nutrient building blocks to balance hormone production naturally from what we eat.
Many menstrual problems can be traced to deficient progesterone production during the second half of the menstrual cycle, also called the luteal phase.
When There's Not Enough Progesterone During This Phase, It Results In Estrogen Dominance.
Too much estrogen and not enough progesterone causes all kinds of problems for women: heavy periods, scanty periods, irregular periods, or no periods at all - and thus fertility issues.
Another pituitary hormone, prolactin, may also be elevated during this time, resulting in breast tenderness and pain, a classic symptom of PMS.
A time-tested herbal remedy that typically recommend for women dealing with estrogen-progesterone based issues, and that I have seen be the most efficient, especially in dealing with fertility issues is an herb called vitex.
How Does Vitex Help?
Now what is interesting here to point out, is that Vitex is NOT a plant estrogen. Vitex works through another important chemical pathway, the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, to balance female hormones. This herb increases luteinizing hormone production while inhibiting the release of follicle stimulating hormone, leading to an indirect increase in progesterone and a normalization of prolactin levels.
The combination of actions produced by vitex helps to restore the estrogen/progesterone balance - and thus the PMS issues many women today struggle with and think are "normal".
PMS Is NOT Normal.
Bloating and swelling, out-of-control cravings, depression, tender breasts and cramps etc. are all signs of hormone imbalance.
And having fertility issues is certainly NOT normal.
It is a loud cry from your body that it is not able to perform one of the most basic tasks which it is designed to, due to health reasons in need of attention.
References: Dittmar, F., Bohnert, K.J., Peeters M.et al."Premenstrual syndrome: treatment with a phytopharmaceutical." Therapiewoche Gynakol.1992. Lauritzen, C.H.et al."Treatment of premenstrual tension syndrome with Vitex agnus castus: controlled, double-blind study versus pyridoxine." Phytomed.1997