Do you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck? Are you lethargic, swollen, fatigued, moody and in pain? If you are a woman, then PLEASE keep reading…
We often hear that these are “normal” symptoms of womanhood, that we are just hormonal and emotional beings; PMS is supposed to suck, and we’re supposed to suck it up. Well, after dealing with many of these symptoms for several years and suffering two miscarriages, I said enough is enough. This was around the time I was discovering holistic medicine and beginning to learn to heal myself, since my doctors were of no help. My life completely transformed once I found Ayurveda, a system of medicine developed over 5,000 years ago in India, but curiously little known here in the west. After incorporating Ayurvedic diet, lifestyle and herbs into my own life with astounding results (and with so many more side benefits than I imagined!), I decided to go back to school to learn more. And now that I am empowered with this knowledge, it is my responsibility to get the word out, especially to women, that our innate healing capacities are more powerful than we believe and YES WE CAN heal our bodies!
What is Ayurveda?
Before we get into the nitty gritty on Estrogen Dominance, let’s begin with a little Ayurveda 101 to make sure we’re on the same page…
Ayurveda, translated from Sanskrit as “the science of life,” believes that living beings are comprised of the earth’s five elements: air, space, fire, water and earth. These elements come in the form of the three doshas, or body energies: Pitta (Fire & Water),Vata (Air & Space), and Kapha (Water & Earth), which are responsible for our inborn physiological and psychological characteristics. Doshas are affected by diet, environment, and daily and seasonal routines. Generally, when one’s doshas are in balance, the person is healthy in body and mind. However, once doshas go out of balance they start wreaking havoc on the body’s tissues, organs and systems, thus igniting the disease process. Think about a forest fire out of control with wind continuing to spread it and no water in sight. In our bodies that would look like pain and inflammation, or increased Pitta and Vata drying out Kapha. Another key principle of Ayurveda is the concept of agni, or digestive power. A weakened agni gives rise toama (undigested toxic waste) which clogs up our systems and essentially poisons various parts of our bodies. Therefore, a very simplified explanation of the Ayurvedic approach to healing is the application of dietary, lifestyle, herbal and therapeutic body treatments to balance the doshas, improve agni and rid the body of ama.
What is Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen Dominance (ED) occurs when a woman’s estrogen is insufficient to balance her progesterone. These two hormones fluctuate throughout a woman’s life, during her monthly menstrual cycle to her pre-menopause stage and into menopause. When these hormones are out of balance, a woman can suffer a from a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from headaches and mood swings to autoimmune disorders, and breast or uterine cancer. Western medicine generally treats ED with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to try to restore estrogen/ progesterone balance. While many women have responded well to the use of synthetic or bio-identical hormones in pill and/or cream form, the long-term effects of HRT has yet to be thoroughly studied. And, often this treatment fails to explore, from a holistic perspective, WHY these hormones are out of balance.
How can we apply an Ayurvedic lens to address Estrogen Dominance?
Although Ayurvedic texts do not specifically refer to hormones, the various gynecological disorders described in these texts can be correlated to the western symptoms of ED. Consistent with the Ayurvedic approach to all disease, treating ED requires evaluating each patient’s unique symptoms using several diagnostic indicators to determine which dosha(s) are out of balance, and which tissue layers and body channels they’re affecting. For example, many women with ED are overweight and suffer from swelling and nausea. These symptoms are also indications of increased Kapha (water & earth elements). Therefore, Kapha-reducing diet, herbs and lifestyle would be a key element of the treatment. Ayurveda always seeks to treat the root cause of illness based on a person’s unique characteristics, environment and circumstances, which requires a thorough consultation between the Ayurvedic practitioner and the patient.
What I have found most helpful with the Ayurvedic approach is that regardless of disease “diagnosis” there is never a one-size-fits-all treatment. Nor is there one magic pill, or even super food for that matter, that will “cure” a disease. As we women know, human beings are rarely that simple. Often, uncovering how we got into this imbalanced state in the first place is the first clue in helping us out of it. At the same time, the fundamental principles of Ayurveda are so powerful that at times it may seem too simple to be true. And therein lies the beauty of Ayurveda.
Please help me spread this knowledge and give yourself or a loved one the gift of an Ayurvedic consultation.
For a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn how Ayurveda can help bring you back into balance, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-789-8332. I also offer phone and video online consultations.
Namaste and happy healing!