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Functional Medicine For Women: 5 Ways Functional Medicine Benefits Women's Health

Posted by Agnes Lussier-Dow NP-PHC on 26 April 2023
Functional Medicine For Women: 5 Ways Functional Medicine Benefits Women's Health

Women’s Health Matters. 

Have you spoken to your health care provider about low energy levels, weight gain (or loss), hot flashes, hair loss, mood swings or painful periods only to be told it’s “just part of being a woman” or that your symptoms are “all in your head”?  In Canada, too often, women’s symptoms and concerns are dismissed by conventional medicine. But we know that women deserve better than that. And, judging by the number of women looking for alternatives to conventional medicine we think you do, too. 

Functional medicine offers women a different approach to health and wellness. Because it prioritizes patient-centred care that goes beyond treating symptoms, functional medicine provides the long-term health solutions that women need and deserve. 

In this post we’ll look at five specific ways functional medicine supports women’s health: 

  •  Balancing women’s hormones levels
  • Supporting healthy menstruation and fertility  
  • Prioritizing women’s sexual health and wellness 
  • Providing options for women managing stress and its symptoms 
  • Helping women achieve optimal health with nutrition 

If you’re a woman considering a switch to functional medicine, read one and learn how we can help you. 

A woman stands on the left side of the image. She is wearing a pant suit and looks professional. On the right there is text that says ""Functional medicine provides the long-term health solutions that women need and deserve."

Functional Medicine Offers Real Benefits For Women’s Health 

Functional medicine always strives to look beyond the symptoms and discover–and address–the root cause of your disease or discomfort. We want our patients to feel good in their bodies, mind and spirit. And, ultimately, we want you to achieve optimal health and wellness. 

Learn more about the benefits of functional medicine.

Let’s take a closer look at five specific conditions that inspire many women to move away from conventional medicine and toward functional medicine.  

Balancing Women’s Hormone Levels With Functional Medicine. 

Hormones have many important effects on women's health. From your metabolism to your sex drive, your digestion to your emotional wellness, a woman’s hormones play a vital role in virtually every system in the body. This is why working with patients to address health issues caused at least in part by hormonal imbalance is a large part of my practice.

It is also why, regardless of the symptoms that bring a woman to our functional medicine clinic in Peterborough, one of the first things we check is hormone levels. 

Some of the hormones we check include: 

Estrogen and progesterone - Most commonly referred to as female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone affect a woman’s fertility, menstrual cycles and significant life changes like menopause. 

Thyroid hormones - Thyroid hormones are responsible for the regulation of metabolism, energy levels, and even body temperature. 

Cortisol and adrenaline - Also known as “the stress hormones”, an imbalance in these hormones can result in adrenal fatigue.  

Serotonin  - Sleep, mental health and muscle function are all directly impacted by serotonin levels in a woman’s body. 

After ordering a complete hormone panel to assess current hormone levels, we can work to restore balance through changes to your diet and lifestyle. And, if needed, we can explore treatment options like Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Restoring balance to your hormone levels helps to restore energy levels, healthy menstrual cycles, positive mental health, cognition and so much more. Prioritizing healthy hormones is one way functional medicine benefits women's health. 

Learn more about women’s health and hormones here. 

A Functional Medicine Approach to Menstruation and Fertility. 

Fertility issues ranging from painful periods, PCOS and menopause bring many women to functional medicine. Because conventional medicine usually understands these conditions as gynecological problems, the treatment options offered are limited. But, when underlying hormonal issues are considered, the situation looks much more hopeful. 

Before deciding on a treatment option, a functional medicine approach considers: 

  • Hormone levels (including thyroid health) 
  • Diet and nutrition 
  • Lifestyle
  • Personal and family medical history 

Building a BIG picture of a woman’s whole health makes it easier to address symptoms by treating the root cause. 

Learn more about functional medicine and PCOS. 

5 ways functional medicine benefits women's health

Women’s Sexual Health and Functional Medicine

When we think of women’s sexual health the first things that come to mind are directly tied to fertility. And while menstruation, pregnancy, birth and menopause are all very important events in the story of women’s health, sexual desire and pleasure should also be part of the conversation. Especially as it relates to ageing women. 

Sexuality and sensuality are important parts of a woman’s self-identity at any age. And, while it may not be talked about as much or in the same way as it is for men, a change in sexual desire or performance can have deep emotional effects. This is especially true for women adjusting to the other physical and emotional changes that come with menopause and ageing.

A common cause for low sex drive in women “of a certain age” is a decline in testosterone. Because functional medicine always considers the whole health picture – including your hormonal health – if hormonal imbalance is the root cause of your lagging sex drive or causing symptoms including vaginal dryness or painful intercourse, we can identify and treat it directly. 

Learn more about functional medicine and women’s sexual health. 

Women, Stress and Functional Medicine. 

In Canada, women are more likely than men to report feeling stressed. And, when you live with consistently elevated stress levels, it can take a toll on your body and mind. That’s why, regardless of the cause, managing stress is important for a woman’s health. 

We can’t always change the cards life deals, but functional medicine can help to support your system and allow you to better manage stress and the effects it has on your body. 

Functional medicine helps women manage stress by 

  •  Assessing and addressing your cortisol levels
  • Giving your immune system a boost with diet changes and nutritional  IV therapy 
  • Establishing healthy sleep habits to support your physical, emotional and cognitive health 
  • Supporting your adrenal glands with Vitamins C, D and B12

Learn more about managing stress and supporting your adrenal glands.

Nutrition And Women’s Health 

Food is medicine. Food provides you with the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and amino acids (and more!) needed for a healthy and functioning body. Therefore, when we talk about women’s health and functional medicine, we have to talk about nutrition! 

A woman with adequate nutrition is more likely to have 

  •  more energy and stamina
  • a stronger and more resilient immune system 
  • more balanced hormone levels 
  • better cognition, memory and focus 
  • healthy skin and hair 
  • a more positive state of mental health 

Women have specific nutritional needs at different stages of life. And, something that is often overlooked is the connection between the food you eat and your body’s ability to produce, use and metabolize hormones. 

For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower offer plenty of essential nutrients and fibre to support a healthy gut. And, they also support liver detoxification which helps to flush excess hormones like estrogen from the body. 

With something as simple as intentional changes to your diet, your health and wellness can dramatically improve! 

Learn more about our health programs.

Functional Medicine Benefits Women’s Health And Wellness. 

Women’s health and wellness should be valued just as highly as men’s. If you are a woman looking for an approach to health care that will acknowledge your experience and treat you as more than a set of symptoms, functional medicine has a lot to offer. At NP Optimal Health & Wellness your concerns will never be dismissed. Together we will work to discover the root cause of your complaint and decide on the best treatment options to get you back on track. You deserve optimal health. Functional medicine can help you achieve it. 

If you’re a woman in Peterborough or the Kawarthas and are ready to work with an NP PHC focused on functional medicine and optimal health, contact Agnes Lussier Dow at NP Optimal Health & Wellness today. 

Contact NP Optimal Health & Wellness Today 

Author:Agnes Lussier-Dow NP-PHC
Tags:women's healthhormonesfunctional medicine