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What Women Need to Know About Hormones: Part 1 of 4

Robyn Openshaw - Jun 27, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

This blog series is to educate you about female issues with hormones, and your alternatives to drug solutions. However, it should not be taken as medical advice. Please seek competent medical advice from a holistic practitioner.

But read this if you have two X chromosomes, or love someone who does! We women are loaded for risk, at every turn in the modern world, and our endocrine system is fragile. I believe that depression, fragile bones, reproductive cancers, and rapid aging are highly preventable, with a little education and a little good health care that deals with the whole organism. Hormones are never actually “corrected” with a synthetic chemical solution. Quite the opposite, in fact.

We have to be educated about what is happening to us, in an environment where thousands of chemicals have been approved for use by our government, and many of them damage our hormone balance.

(Men, too, are affected by hormone imbalances, and endocrine disruptors in our environment. Prostate cancer is heavily linked to testosterone imbalance, for instance. But this series focuses on female hormone issues.)

In the briefest possibly way, we’re going to talk about why women have more hormone issues than men. Why synthetic hormones are harmful and bioidentical hormones (and/or sometimes herbs, high-iodine plants or other natural substances) are not only helpful, but critical. We’re going to talk about what elements in our environment create hormone imbalance.

The vast majority of hormone imbalance in women is estrogen dominance. The ratio of estrogen to progesterone is critically important to maintain balance. Because of so many xenoestrogens (pronounced zeno-estrogens) in the S.A.D. and environment, most women have too much estrogen and too little progesterone.

Xenoestrogens are “foreign” estrogens that cause the body to overproduce estrogen. They are derived from petrochemicals, and they include pesticides, lawn and garden and insect sprays, soaps, plastics, meat and dairy products (since livestock is fed estrogenic drugs to fatten them), ground water, car exhaust, and smog.

These chemicals we’re all bombarded with bind to estrogen receptors in our bodies, and damage egg follicles, causing problems with ovarian function.

These xenohormones do not degrade over time. We are affected by the false hormones our mothers were exposed to when they were pregnant with us! Many species in our environment have been damaged or killed off by these chemicals, but they are reducing sperm count and reducing fertility in women.

Alcohol and prescription drugs also affect our estrogen dominance, because the liver is heavily taxed, which compromises the liver’s ability to filter out excess estrogens.

And guess what else causes to over-produce estrogen. Fat cells! They store the fake “xenoestrogens” as well, which continue to cause problems as long as they’re held there.

Tomorrow we talk about the kinds of foods known to protect against xenoestrogens!

Posted in: Health Concerns, Supplements

33 thoughts on “What Women Need to Know About Hormones: Part 1 of 4”

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  1. Thank you for this information! Can’t wait to read more. Did you eat the way you eat now during your last 3 pregnancies or are there others out there following 12 steps who are pregnant now? I am and have for over a year) and I also read A LOT about pregnancy and childbirth, but there seems to be so much conflicting information on what is most important for nutrition during pregnancy, but it is very apparent that nutrition is the #1 most important thing to focus on for optimal prenatal care and prevents so many complications. I have tried giving in to cravings (including sugar–BAD idea), eating more free-range organic eggs, and had some organic chicken, thinking surely I wasn’t eating well enough (enough protein) for pregnancy. I’ve tried adding supplements. All of these things tend to make me feel horrible. The more I shift closer to raw and strictly following 12 steps, the better I feel, the better I look, etc. Anyway, is there anyone else out there pregnant and following 12 steps?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Could you please tell me the holistic Dr. that you have recommended before, who is located in Utah? I would love to have his name and phone number. I have to tried to find that info in your past blog entry with it in it, but was unable to locate it. Your help would be appreciated! I’m very interested in this blog series about hormones. Thanks for all the info you share with us all!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I, too, am excited to read the rest!! I am a 12 stepper wanting to be pregnant, so I think all this info will be extremely helpful. I go back and forth every day with whether I want to go through with invitro or not. I am very holistic, but nothing so far in my natural quest for pregnancy has seemed to help. I do not want to fill my body with synthetic medication in order to become pregnant. It’s just doesn’t seem right, but it helps so many women get pregnant. Such a dilemma … Looking forward to the rest of the info!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Due to “un-bearable hot flashes” I was put on an estrogen patch a year ago. Although, I have mixed feelings about it, it has stopped the “hot flashes” for the most part that I have experienced for 17 years-and I just couldn’t take it any more and had to do something!

    With that being said and having a hysterectomy 17 years ago…is there anyone out there that has the same problem and addressing it with whole foods?

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is very timely for me as I am new to green smoothies and starting to have some hormonal changes now that I am 47. I am looking forward to the next parts! Thanks for the info Robin!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I have found 2 doctors whom I really love and who offer wholistic and functional medicine views on health. Dr. Lam ND, has a website with his name in it (google!) and Chris Kresser L. Ac. Both have been very helpful to me with hasimoto’s, adrenal fatigue, and estrogen dominance.

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Kim, where are those practitioners?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hey Robin, I have a question about a green smoothie feast. It’s a lil embarressing but need to ask. Will a diet of mostly green smoothies with a bit of solid food (ie. a salad) make your stools ‘really’ loose. I do not have the diarria but it is not solid either. I do have digestion issues and I’m trying to reboot my system to heal things up. I’m trying to figure out if it’s my digestion problems or a lot of green smoothies. I hope the further I get eating this way I will see success and more ‘normal’ stools. Any one else have this problem or maybe it’s just me! Any suggestions are greatly appreciated 🙂 Pam

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      yes, you’ll have looser stool eating mostly raw green or plants….very normal and not bad. Diarrhea (liquid) and gas and bloating is bad. Looser stool is representative of lots of fiber. Cleaning out.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hey Robyn! Thank you for talking hormones. I started bio identical

    s about 1-2 years ago. I’m 39. I started them because I just wasn’t feeling well. I was estrogen dominant and low on dhea. I started the progesterone and dhea and later added testosterone to see if it would help with moodiness and low sex drive. It was borderline low. I tried going off of them for 3 months and by the 3rd month my family was begging me to get back on them. I was really bitchy and not tollerant. Do you think that I will need to be on them forever? I eat very little animal products and try really hard to stay away from xenoestrogens and phytoestrogens. I am a hairstylist part time and am exposed to those chemicals several times a week.

  9. Very excited about this series Robyn! And for the ladies asking about dealing with hormonal issues through diet I can attest to it. I’m high-raw vegan now but as I entered peri-menopause I would have terrible bouts with depression, anxiety, migraines, and food cravings. The more raw I eat, the less the symptoms. I use a cream called Balanced Woman from Hallelujah Acres, and if I sense symptoms coming on I’ll swing into a juice feast for a few days, or juices and smoothies. It makes all the difference for me!


  10. Anonymous says:

    THANKYOU! I appreciate your input. I guess I’m not so odd. I do have gas but that’s one of the problems I’m trying to get rid of. I’m going gluten free, mostly sugar free (only berries) and trying to clean out the yeast over growth. I’ll keep going and see what happens 🙂 Thanks for letting me poke my head in with a question 🙂 Pam

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou!!!! I guess I can relax. 🙂 I’m also gluten free and have Candida issues so alot of issues are going on. Gas is one of my digestion issues so hopefully I’ll get to higher ground with the green smoothie feast! Any recommendations on the length of a green smoothie feast? Pam 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    I”m 52 and was starting the hot flash phase, (i was taking sublinguel compound hormones). Then I started drinking my green smoothies, stopped my hormones, cut way down on my gluten…lost weight and the hot flashes have stopped. I feel great! I never put the weight and hot flashes together. Thanks Robyn!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I also suffer of hot flushes, I also afraid of synthetic hormones, Help!

  14. For more information on this topic, here is a talk on bioidenticals and their advantages over synthetics. The talk is 40 minutes, the Q & A session is a little over an hour. Lots of useful info on the topic of bioidentical hormones. I also have added a breast cancer prevention video, Keeping A Breast, that may be useful.

    Bioidentical Hormone Optimization

    Keeping A Breast – Natural Ways to Prevent Breast Cancer

  15. Robyn,

    I have been prescribing and individualizing bio-identicals (adrenal, thyroid, vitamin levels) treatments for several years in South Florida. Of course nutrition is a major part of the treatment plan too.Just thought I’d let you know.


  16. http://n/a says:

    Please do share more! I have an estrogen dominant syndrome that is diagnosed as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Also was diagnosed with hypo-thyroid (low). Was rec. to go on synthetic hormones for life at the age of 33?!?!?! That was not the answer for me and at the risk of trying to recommend things for other women, I still feel compelled to share what has helped me and to encourage women that help and balance are possible!

    My greatest success has come from doing my own research. I have had huge progress by taking a natural progesterone cream, balancing herbs, daily exercise. I keep my liver very clean by eating about 2-4 bunches of dandelions a week, and put milk thistle in my salads, etc…

    I also eat dulse – a sea vegetable. I recommend going to Mt. Rose Herbs website (google search) for the highes quality, best price and order the dulse flakes and use as a condiment.

    I am also dedicated to keeping my blood sugars balanced. I get why green smoothies can be helpful but for me it is way too much fruit and sugar. Insulin resistance can be at the core of some of these issues too so i would be interested to hear Robyns take on this.

    I started going to bed early and getting up early to get in sync with the natural rhythms of the planet which runs on an electrical current. I get outside every chance I can for the same reason of balancing and charging my whole system.

    I stopped coffee but not caffeine – now I drink mate and it serves my overall balance much better.

    I feel like a new person. Changes came slowly.

    Thanks for addressing this – We are here to do great things in the world and when our hormones are out of sync, simply put, life sucks and we can not do the full spectrum of work we are meant to do here in this wonderful world.

    OK Ladies – let’s do it – we are here to shine! Your health is your wealth. Go for it!!!!!

    You do not always have to know how you are going to get there, just that you want to. The world will show up to help you <3

  17. Anonymous says:

    @ Adrienne…. I’ve learned that mercury fillings being removed can help women get pregnant when they have had a difficult time doing so. Hope this helps!

  18. Anonymous says:

    I began to suffer with horrible hot flashes about 8 years ago. I tried several different prescription medications to relieve them, but each prescription caused me to experience bad reactions. For the past three years I’ve been using an herbal supplement called “Moon Phases Formula” I buy at a local “Health and Nutrition” store (look under “D” in the business listings in the phone directory). I rarely now have a hot flash (not flashes). I take 3 droppers full daily. The relief I receive with this supplement is absolutely wonderful. I can’t live without it!

  19. Anonymous says:

    @Heather I’ve also been diagnosed with POS and have been taking metmorfin to keep my periods regular for almost a year (I’ve been prescribed the medication back home in Europe). After a miscarriage, my hormones went wild and I started getting acne. After Robyn’s lecture, I began eating raw foods more and more, I realized there’s nothing in life worth upsetting about and I also started drinking herbal tea-Lady’s mantle and Yarrow. Now, things are finally getting back to normal. I absolutely understand what it is like to feel like a new person and yes, changes do come slowly but it feels awesome knowing that you’ve made them! Best wishes to you and all the other green ladies! 🙂

  20. Anonymous says:

    I recently had blood work done to determine why I havent had my cycle in 2 years. Besides being a runner and vegetarian I wanted to dig deeper into the issue. I went to a doctor who specializes in hormone therapy pellets. Whats your advice? My estrogen and testosterone are below 30. I am 31 and I’ve never had children. I am trying to decide on how I should go about balancing my hormones so I can feel great again! Thank you

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      heather, pellets?? I don’t know anything about that. I know many raw foodists have very light periods, but definitely get a bioidentical specialist on it!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m looking for a more natural & safer option than synthetic hormone filled birth control pills. Any ideas? B/C pills are scary to take but they do work.

  22. Anonymous says:

    What about women like me who have had an estrogen dependent Breast Cancer? I refuse to take the hormone blockers….I know green smoothies work for me….but is there a veggie combination that is best for me?

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Dana, I don’t think anyone has ever studied “veggie combinations,” but there are many greens, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts and seeds that have been documented to have anti-cancer effects. Please read Cancer: Think Outside the Box and/or Outsmart Your Cancer….and you may wish to study and eat those food classes just listed in great abundance. I love juicing vegetables for cancer, as well as ELIMINATING (not reducing) sugar.

  23. Anonymous says:


    I need your help or actually someone I know needs your help. I work with a wonderful person who was just told her ovarian cancer has returned. Her Dr that she is going to is HORRIBLE in my eyes and hers, but she doesnt know where to go. Do you know of any Dr in the Chicago area that deals with cancer on many levels and not just with chemo and drugs? You can email me directly if you want. Didn’t know how else to get e message to you and since you had the topic of hormones????

    Thanks Sue

  24. Anonymous says:

    Are these articles archived?

  25. Anonymous says:

    I noticed others commenting about green smoothies and gas. That is the biggest complaint I have about green smoothies. They give me horrible flatulence and since I work with the public all day long it is particularly embarrassing. I don’t want to give up the green smoothies but it seems that all the greens and whole foods have created a problem. Does anyone else have this issue and what can I do about it. Thanks for any advice!

    1. Robyn Openshaw says:

      Very common detox reaction, Ellen. It’s not that green smoothies are bad—it’s that lots of fiber and nutrition causes an unhealthy, inflamed gut to react. Do Step 8 in 12 Steps to Whole Foods to heal your gut, permanently. Also drink your green smoothie with other food, throughout the day, instead of all at once? Another idea is, add good fats either to the smoothie (coconut oil, avocado, flax oil) or eat a handful of high-fat food. But again, good fats—like nuts and seeds.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Robyn, I’m writing for my 37 yr old daughter who has a ‘beard problem’. After the birth of her only child 11 yrs ago she started to develop facial hair and it has increased considerably over the last 11 yrs. She has just started using the ‘nono’ hair remover with hopes this will work. Nothing else external will stop it. What is causing this and what can she do to stop it? She would be grateful for your help if there is anything other than creams, shaving, plucking or “nono”.

    thanks for any help you can give

  27. Anonymous says:

    Hi…I have been recently diagnosed with colitis….I know you aren’t a medical dr. but is there a course of action for this? I will be getting my colonoscopy soon and have had polyps removed in the past…I am not feeling well at the moment and wondering if I can do something holistically to help..thank you

  28. Daphne… Have you considered getting off all grains and processed sugars. Please check out the Specific Carbohydrate Diet designed to natually treat Colitis along with many other GI tract issues.

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