Over the last 50 years there’s been an undeniable escalation of hormone-related health problems. The incidence of infertility, fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries and ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer have increased steadily and quite dramatically.
Even more worryingly, many hormone-related diseases are occurring earlier in life. Complaints like endometriosis, fibroids and ovarian cysts used to be extremely rare in teenage girls but they are now quite common and sometimes result in irreversible infertility. Underactive thyroid hormone production is almost endemic.
The Cancer Epidemic
The reality of the hormonal havoc we now face, especially in the Western world, becomes vividly clear when we look at cancer statistics. While some non-hormone related cancers are not greatly increasing in incidence (lung cancer, for example, is on the decline) the hormone-related cancers are very much on the increase.
Breast cancer incidence, for example, has more than doubled over the last 50 years. It now affects one in eight women in Britain at some time in their life, compared to one in 22 in the 1940s. According to the Office of National Statistics breast cancer is the most common cancer in England. The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is gradually increasing year on year with about a thousand additional cases each year. At the other end of scale of hormonal health problems an increasing number of women experience pre-menstrual and menopausal problems, while one in seven couples are infertile.
But hormonal problems don’t just relate to women. Although breast cancer rates in men are much lower, rates of breast, testicular and particularly prostate cancer are growing year on year. Over the last 30 years, rates of prostate cancer have almost tripled and this disease now affects around one in 10 men at some point in their life with a new diagnosis every fifteen minutes. Also, an increasing number of men experience symptoms of the andropause, associated with testosterone deficiency.
A New Framework for Optimum Hormonal Health
The cause of all these hormonal health issues is certainly complex, and multi-factorial and, in my book, ‘Balance Your Hormones’, I put all the pieces together to give a concrete strategy for reversing these kind of conditions experienced by so many women, and providing a framework for living and eating in a way that truly does support health hormone balance.
The key factors that I discuss are:
– The impact of hormone-disrupting chemicals in certain foods, packaging, household products and the environment and how to minimise your exposure
– The effect of stress, lack of exercise, weight gain and blood sugar imbalances
– The many nutrients we need to maintain healthy hormone balance
– The gut-hormone connection and the dangers of dairy products
– How to check for hormone imbalances and correct them with supplementation and the judicial use of low dose bio-identical hormones
– The role of hormone balancing herbs
– Why getting enough good fats in your diet is essential
– Why methylation, controlled by B vitamins, is a key determinant of biochemical balance
– The truth about the pill and HRT, the key to natural contraception (and conception) and how to restore hormone balance naturally
For each kind of hormonal health problem there’s a different set of solutions. For example, for breast cancer prevention there’s a lot of evidence that having a high intake of phytoestrogens, from beans and lentils, is good news. But if you have endometriosis you need to limit these.
There are different kinds of PMS, some linked primarily to progesterone deficiency, for others linked to oestrogen deficiency. Finding out which makes all the difference. In my book I explain how to do this and the tests that are available through nutritional therapists that help get you back in balance.
The book is a total re-write of the earlier 1998 edition (now 380 pages, rather than 179 pages) and includes cutting edge research and strategies to keep your hormones in balance.
Knowing the factors that are related to hormone imbalance, particularly oestrogen dominance, can help you make good choices about diet, nutrition and which bioidentical hormones it would be valuable to supplement.
‘Balance Your Hormones’ by Patrick Halford is available from http://www.patrickholford.com/