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The Key to Women's Health: Balancing Hormones

The Key to Women

Wednesday, October 4th 2006

HRT risks outweigh benefits
When researchers announced that the risks of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) outweighed the benefits, it marked a turning point in how women seek relief from menopausal symptoms. The number of menopausal women is growing rapidly due to our increasing and ageing population.

Women often develop a myriad of health issues linked to hormone imbalance. Although a majority of these are believed to start in midlife with the onset of menopause, they can begin during adolescent years or even at a younger age. The severity of hormonal problems tends to increase with age.

What is DIM and how does it work?
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a natural plant nutrient found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.

DIM works by increasing the body's production of healthy estrogen and decreasing the two forms of "bad" estrogen which are linked to tumour growth. Research suggests DIM may reduce the risk of breast, uterine, and cervical cancers. These cancers are estrogen related, and that is why it is so important to reduce estrogen dominance.

Importance of DIM in pre and post menopausal women
In premenopausal women, the first age related hormonal imbalance involves a decreased production of progesterone. This can cause irregular periods and premenstrual mood disorders. Diindolylmethane (DIM) supplementation may help support progesterone production and maintain progesterone levels throughout the perimenopausal years. This balancing effect can benefit disorders associated with estrogen-progesterone imbalance including chronic, recurring breast pain, fibrocystic disease and endometriosis. Women on estrogen hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may benefit from DIM supplementation.

Uses of DIM by women and men
DIM is not only beneficial in reducing symptoms of estrogen dominance in women with such conditions as uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, breast pain, moodiness, and loss of sex drive, it can also benefit men by improving estrogen-dominance related health issues such as hair loss, atherosclerosis, prostate problems, lowered libido and impotency.

DIM promotes a more desirable action from testosterone in both men and women. According to Michael A. Zeligs, MD "testosterone exerts its actions differently depending on whether it is free or bound to carrier proteins in the blood." When estrogen is metabolized into the good hydroxyl forms, it has the ability to set the testosterone free from the carrier proteins. This free form of testosterone improves mood, fights depression, boosts libido, improves cardiovascular health, improves memory, and supports muscular development.

Managing Cyclical Mastalgia (breast pain) with Absorbable DIM: A Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial
Otherwise healthy, pre-menopausal women with cyclical mastalgia (cyclical breast pain) were given absorbable diindolylmethane (DIM) or placebo for consecutive three month periods in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Breast symptoms were monitored using daily entries in a "breast pain diary" as the assessment tool. Urine and blood samples were collected to confirm safety and the impact of absorbable DIM on estrogen metabolism. Results showed clinical improvement with absorbable DIM. Improvement was not seen with placebo. A statistically significant reduction in duration of breast pain, severity of pain, swelling, and soreness accompanied absorbable DIM use, based on comparison of visual analog pain scores from treatment and placebo periods. Supplementation with absorbable DIM was found to be an effective intervention for cyclical mastalgia.

Reproduced unabridged from the October - December 2006 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Balancing Hormones:

Black Cohosh Standardised
Dong Quai Root
Estrosoy Plus
Female Hormone Test Kit
Maca Gold
Meno-Life 24 Hour Menopause Support
Woman's Hormone Support

Related health information can be found here:

7-Keto DHEA, the fountain of youth hormone
DIM Plus to assist in cancer prevention
Hormonal Changes
Menustrual Problems
Suffering from menopausal or menstrual problems? Then consider Dong Quai - the queen of female herbs
Wild Yam can help relieve PMT and other menstrual problems

Related articles can be found here:

Balance your hormones the Peruvian way - the amazing Maca
Help for men's hormonal power
Hormone Balancing
Hot flushes? An internationally recommended herb
The traditional balancing herb for women

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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