When Acne Hits in Your 20's and 30's

When Acne Hits in Your 20's and 30's

Alexis Reid

I am guessing that you never expected to still have acne in your late 20’s and 30’s? Many of my patients sailed through their teens and early 20’s with perfect skin only to be saddled with what we call “late onset adult acne”. I have a confession to make, I am one of those people. I always had great skin, which is really helpful when you have a skincare line! Then suddenly when I started my practice, my face broke out and didn’t stop for close to 3 years. Why was this happening?!  There I was a “skincare expert” with a face full of acne. I needed this to get fixed, and fast.

 

My research into adult acne over the last 5 years has lead me to a few conclusions about adult onset acne. The most important of which are that it is either

  • Hormone Related
  • Food Related

Allow me to expand, hormones play a critical role in skin health and there are a lot of things working against women from a hormonal perspective in their late 20’s and early 30’s. This is often one of the most stressful times in their lives. They are either working their tails off to establish themselves in their career, having and raising small children, or doing both at the same time. There are often financial struggles that come from paying off student debt while trying to get your first mortgage. The bottom line is this additional stress wreaks havoc on hormones. The stress hormone cortisol rises when we are under stress, it is linked to the fight or flight response. Increased cortisol leads to increased insulin. If you are under chronic stress, then your cortisol is constantly elevated. This means your insulin frequently elevated, which in turn, elevates your testosterone. Testosterone increase acne by increasing oil production on the skin, the acne’s food source.

Acne that is related to increased testosterone tends to develop on the chin and jawline area. Think of the area of a man’s face that is covered by a beard, that is where your testosterone linked acne will be. If it is not bad enough that all this stress is increasing cortisol and increasing testosterone, in your late 20’s and early 30’s your progesterone levels start to naturally decline. When your progesterone levels decline, your estrogen levels “look higher” this also makes your insulin levels spike. Having your hormones starting to work against you makes it all the more important to avoid foods that aggravate acne prone skin.

I also see a number of women who are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Symptoms of PCOS include: acne, weight gain and hair growth. These are all symptoms of elevated insulin and testosterone. Your acne could be the first sign that you are headed down the path to PCOS. For more about PCOS and how to help reverse it, click here.

 

So how does food play into all of this? Well as I mentioned last week, foods that increase your blood sugar, increase insulin and increase testosterone. But that is not the whole story. When your body has been under stress for many years, this stress causes damage to your digestive system. There is a layer of cells that line your intestines that are supposed to keep proteins within the digestive track. Stress aggravates this layer, leading to it having gaps in it, known as “Leaky Gut”. When your gut is leaky, proteins that are supposed to stay in the digestive track make their way into the bloodstream. These proteins are very inflammatory and can lead to acne.

So What Should You Do

  • Stress Reduction: this does not have to mean yoga and meditation. The best stress reduction is whatever works the best for you. That could be hiring a house cleaner, delegating certain tasks, a night out once a week or exercise. What’s most important is that you implement some strategy to lower your stress
  • Eat the Right Foods: Food is fuel. Don’t give your body garbage
  • Lift Weights: Weight bearing exercise is one of the only ways, besides eating better, to lower your blood sugar. This in turn lowers your insulin and testosterone levels.
  • See a Naturopathic Doctor: I have helped many patients find the ideal eating patterns and exercise for themselves, as well as, prescribing targeted supplements for stress and hormonal balance. I also usually do acupuncture on these patients as it works quite well with helping to regulate hormones.

I hope you found this post helpful. Please share it with your friends and family who may be dealing with adult acne. It can be fixed!

 

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata, and is currently accepting new patients

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended insurance benefits

 

 

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How To Feel Your Best Postpartum

How To Feel Your Best Postpartum

Alexis Reid

postpartum tired mom

It seems that today in our society all of the focus is on pregnancy, and the time immediately following the birth of the baby. It is part of our culture to plan baby showers weeks in advance and plan a visit to come see the baby as soon as he or she is born. But what happens after a few weeks? All too often now, after a few days to weeks the partner has to go back to work and mom is left on her own with the new addition. All those people who were at her baby shower are nowhere to be seen! Not so long ago, people tended to stay in the community they grew up in, and grandmas, aunts and sisters were available to drop by and help mom out.  This is an area where a postpartum doula can be very helpful. Postpartum doulas help to care for mom and baby, cooking, running errands, light housekeeping and much more. Here is a link to a good FAQ on what postpartum doulas do. There also seems to have been a shift in society to be able to be “super mom” and do it all. Not only is this not possible (I can hear you all breathing a sigh of relief… you are normal!), it’s not healthy for mom and baby.

 

 

While it is important to get mobile again after giving birth, it is also important to not try and overdo it. The first three months of the baby’s life can be thought of as the 4th trimester, a lot of growth and development happens in this time period. There are also a lot of changes for mom. This is the time to have a “baby moon”. A Baby moon is time for mom and baby to get plenty of rest, the partner to be very involved, and both parents to get in tune with their baby’s cues. This can reduce the risk of postpartum depression and help to reduce the feelings of being overwhelmed and exhausted which are super common in the first 12 weeks.

 

 

In the final stages of your pregnancy it is a good idea to get your house prepared for the new arrival. Healthy and easy to digest freezer meals are a great gift to give a new mom. Having the stress of meals and housekeeping duties reduced is essential in the first 12 weeks.

 

 

Top 10 Tips For Postpartum Recovery

 

 

1) Rest and sleep are very important. Make these your number 1 priority.

 

 

2) Drink plenty of water. It is necessary for your breast milk supply, to help keep urine flowing to reduce the risk of infection, and help to keep stools soft.

 

 

3) Eat whole foods that are nourishing and easily digestible such as fish, cooked vegetables, oatmeal, and chicken soup/broth

 

 

4) Avoiding constipation is important Include fiber in the diet. Eating 1-2 prunes a day can help to reduce the risk of constipation.

 

 

5) Make a nutritive tea. Combine equal parts nettle, red raspberry and oat straw.  Steep 1 tsp in 1 cup of water, have 3 times a day. This tea is safe and helpful for breastfeeding.

 

 

6) Use a Sitz Bath Soak to help aid in the healing of tears. This blend of herbs can also be used in a peri bottle. Keep the peri bottle on the back of the toilet for use after urination.

 

 

7) Get outside. While it is important to be resting, there are many benefits to mood from spending 20-30 minutes outside/day. Gentle walks should be ok for most women in the first 12 weeks.

 

 

8) Continue taking your prenatal supplement. Your body still needs increased nutrients in the postpartum period

 

 

9) Fish oil, with at least 750 mg EPA, can help reduce the risk of postpartum depression

 

 

10) Probiotics, Vitamin B12, Iron and Vitamin C may also be required. Speak to your naturopathic doctor to help determine your individual needs

 

 

Postpartum depression/anxiety are also quite common after birth and are nothing to be ashamed of. Common symptoms can be rapid mood changes, anxiety regarding how to care for baby, feeling very overwhelmed, and having “muddled” thinking. It is thought to be due to a dramatic drop in estrogen and progesterone and an increase in prolactin (the hormone that facilitates breast feeding). There are many ways to naturally manage postpartum anxiety with foods, vitamins and herbs. Mom should be seen by her family and/or naturopathic doctor if she is experiencing any of these symptoms.

 

 

The best medicine is always prevention. Be sure to work with your naturopathic doctor during your pregnancy to help set yourself up for an optimal delivery and speedy recovery in the postpartum period.

 

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

 Dr Alexis practices in Stittsville at Living Science Wellness Centre. Call 613.836.7901 to schedule your appointment.

 

 

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What Has Happened To Me?! Understanding Your Postpartum Body

What Has Happened To Me?! Understanding Your Postpartum Body

Alexis Reid

 

First off, I want to start by saying your body has just done something truly remarkable! Let’s take a second to think about and acknowledge what you have managed to do in the last 9 months….grow a human! Think about how much energy that took, how many nutrients the little guy or girl drained from you, and how much harder your body had to work for the last 9 months.

New moms are constantly bombarded with the idea of “bouncing back” and how long that is going to take, all while being given the message, the sooner the better by the media. But the truth of the matter is it took 40 weeks for your body to adjust to your pregnancy, and it takes at least that long for your body to recover. Also, there shouldn’t be the assumption that your body will ever go back to the way it was before. It is not assumed that your body will be the same when you are 60 as it was when you were 20! Similarly, after having a baby, your body has gone through a huge life change and may not return exactly to its pre-pregnancy state. Many women’s ribcages expand, their feet grow, or their hair changes texture and these are all normal.

With that being said, there is still a tonne that can be done to help you feel your best postpartum! One of the biggest barriers to feeling like yourself is lack of sleep. Take a minute to think about how you felt when you didn’t get enough sleep pre-baby. Maybe you were up late studying for exams or getting work done. Chances are that you didn’t feel so great! That was only one of the challenges you are facing now, so don’t be so hard on yourself.

How to get Better Quality Sleep

1) Sleep in a cool and 100% dark room

2) Avoid Screens for ½ hour before bed. Screens stimulate your body to make              cortisol, which hinders sleep and can increase the risk of postpartum depression

3) An Epsom salt bath can help you feel more relaxed, by allowing your body absorbing magnesium, which helps with sleep

4) Have the baby sleep wherever you get the best rest, be it in your bed (safely), beside your bed or in another room (if they are old enough)

5) Go to bed when you are tired. Do not try to “push through” and get things done in the evening as often this leads to a second wind which keeps you awake.

 

How to Have More Energy and Get Back to Feeling Like Yourself

1) Seek Help! Don’t try to do it all yourself. A great shower gift for a new mom is some prepared meals, or help with cleaning. Looking after a new baby is a full time job.

2) Drink Plenty of Water. This will help you feel better and also helps with breast milk supply.

3) Bone Broth is your friend. Bone broth contains an abundance of minerals and is easily digestible. Check out one of my favorite easy ways to make bone broth here. The beef bones can be easily substituted for chicken. 

4) Eat Whole, Easily Digestible Foods. Soups, stews, and cooked veggies are great in helping with recovery and helping to make sure your body is getting what it needs.

5) Keep taking your prenatal vitamins. Your body needs those extra nutrients for at least the first 3 months. After 3 months you should be assess by your health care provider to see if you should continue with single supplements (iron, B12, fish oil are commonly needed).

6) Enjoy a Nutritive Tea. This nutritive tea is high in calcium, iron, selenium, chlorophyll and helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy state. It is safe with breastfeeding and you can have up to 3 cups a day. To make this tea mix together equal parts: Alfalfa (helps promote breastmilk production), Nettle (high in iron), Red Raspberry (helps tone the uterus) and Oatstraw (high in minerals). Take 1 tsp of the blend and steep it in 1 cup of water for at least 10 min. Strain and enjoy.

7) Deep Belly Breathing. Taking deep breaths, where your stomach goes out, not your chest, can help to lower the stress hormone cortisol. Lowering cortisol helps you to get better sleep, reduce the risk of postpartum depression and encourages breastmilk production.

 

This is the first in a series of posts I will be doing on all things postpartum. I hope you found this informative and have left with some tips that are easy for you to implement.

 

If there is anything relating to postpartum that you would like me to write about in a future post, please leave a comment below.

 

Talk Soon,

Dr. Alexis

 

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.  

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Tired, Can’t Lose Weight, Hair Falling Out and Suffering From Constipation….It Could Be Your Thyroid

Alexis Reid

Many people think that losing weight is a simple matter of taking in less energy (calories) than you expend. While calories consumed and used are a key to weight loss they are not the only factors. Hormonal balance is key to help achieve lasting weight loss. One of the key hormones involved in weight loss are regulated by the thyroid gland.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid

Thyroid disorders are the second most common endocrine (hormonal) disorder after diabetes. It is estimated that 10% of the North American population is suffering from a thyroid condition. The news only gets worse for post menopausal women, when rates go up to 20%. This increase is post menopausal women is likely due to the influence of estrogen and progesterone on thyroid hormone. Post partum is also a trying time for the thyroid, and many women will experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.

 

Thyroid Problems Commonly Present in the Postpartum Period

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that is at the base of throat, approximately just below the Adam’s apple on a man. It’s main function is to be the master controller of the metabolism.  The thyroid works in a feedback loop process. The thyroid gland gets a signal from the brain (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone- TSH) to release it hormones, primarily thyroxine (T4) and also some Triiodothyronine (T3). The T4 that was released than travels in the blood and gets back to the brain to tell it that the thyroid is responding and it can stop releasing TSH. If for some reason the thyroid gets the “message” from the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone but doesn’t release T4 and T3, then the brain keep pumping out more TSH to try and make the thyroid listen up and respond. This is what is happening when someone has Hypothyroidism. It can be confusing because even though it is HYPOthyroidism, the TSH is high. It is considered to be hypothyroidism because the levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are lower than they should be. This is the most common kind of thyroid disorder.

Lab Tests:

TSH: first line testing, done to try and determine is the thyroid is responding properly to its stimulus.

T3 and T4: the “active” forms of thyroid hormone, T3 is much more active than T4

Reverse T3:  Sometimes, especially when the body is under stress instead of converting T4 to the more active T3, it will convert it to reverse T3, an inactive form of T3.

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO): These are antibodies present within the body that work against the enzyme that helps convert T4 to T3. These are commonly seen when someone has an auto immune destruction of the thyroid gland (called Hashimoto’s disease) or post partum.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

There are many symptoms, but the most common are:

-weight gain

-fatigue

-constipation

-dry skin/hair, thinning hair

-depression and decreased concentration/memory

-irregular periods

-cold hands and feet

-elevated cholesterol

Treatment Options

1) Synthroid/Levothyroxine: Supply the body with the inactive hormone T4. This is a good solution if your problem is that your body is not responding to its TSH stimulus and releasing T4. If however, your problem is with the conversion of T4 to T3, this will not be of much help. This is the reason that many people who are on synthroid do not find an improvement in their symptoms, even though their TSH levels improve

2) Iodine: is a nutrient essential in the product of thyroid hormone. Three iodine molecules are addd to make  T3 (Triiodothyronine) and four are added to make T4 (thyroxine). Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism. In many areas of the world, particularly the Great Lakes region, the soils are deficient in iodine. This is the reason salt was iodized. However, many people are now eating sea salt, which is not iodized. On the contrary too much iodine can also be harmful to the thyroid, leading to hyperthyroidism. For this reason, iodine supplementation should be done under the supervision of your Naturopathic Doctor.

3) Selenium and Zinc: trace minerals required in the production of thyroid hormone. Slenium is required for the conversion of T4 to T3

4) Tyrosine: an amino acid that is necessary for thyroid hormone synthesis. Tyrosine is also required for cortisol synthesis, which the body selectively makes over thyroid hormone. This is one of the biochemical links between stress and thyroid dysfunction

5) Botanicals: There are many herbs that can help with thyroid function including but not limited to Bladderwrack, Blue Iris, Guggul, Nettle, and Ashwagandha

6) Food Sensitivities: sensitivities to foods create an auto immune reaction in the body which can be detrimental to the thyroid. People with thyroid problems should avoid goitrogens (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, millet, soy). Gluten has also been shown to be linked to hypothyroidism.

7) Adrenal Health: Stress has a negative impact on the thyroid gland, and also on the adrenal glands. IN practice, it is often seen that once someone’s adrenal glands are well supported that their thyroid starts responding better

8) Hormonal Balance: progesterone makes thyroid receptors more sensitive to thyroid hormone. It is essential to establish the proper balance between estrogen and progesterone for thyroid health. PCOS can also throw off hormonal balance. Not sure if you could have PCOS? Check out my blog post.

Naturopathic Doctors can help getting you feeling better especially if you are already on Synthroid and not seeing a change in your symptoms

 

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

 

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.

 

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Managing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome with Food and Herbs

Managing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome with Food and Herbs

Alexis Reid

 

 

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a complex endocrine disorder that affects 5-10% of reproductive aged women. As surprising as the name is you can have PCOS without even having polycystic ovaries! In order to be diagnosed with PCOS you have to have 2 of the following 3 findings

1) Oligomenorrhea or anovulation (meaning long cycles, 35 days plus, or not ovulating)

2) Hirsutism and/or hyperandrogenism

3) Polycystic Ovaries

Another hallmark of PCOS, although not included in the diagnostic criteria, is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance happens when the cells of the body do not respond well to insulin, causing the body to have to produce even more of it. If the body is unable to utilize its insulin properly it can lead to high blood sugar, and if this goes on for a long period of time can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

PCOS is often undiagnosed, as there is not one lab test or imaging that can be done to either rule it in or out. One of the big misconceptions is that you have to be overweight to have PCOS. This is absolutely not true! There are many normal and underweight women who also suffer from PCOS. If you are having difficulties with infertility it would be good to get a throughout work up from your doctor and/or naturopathic doctor to rule out PCOS, as it is the leading cause of female “sub fertility”.

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

-irregular periods

-head hair loss (male pattern baldness)

-acne

-infertility

-hypo or hyperglycemia

Conventional Treatment

1) Birth Control Pills. If fertility is not desired at the moment, birth control pills are prescribed. Birth control pills act to cease ovulation, thus preventing the formation of ovarian cysts. However this is just masking the problem, not helping to correct, as when you stop taking the pill the cysts will return. They also give the body more estrogen, which helps to lower the relative effect of the excess testosterone that is typically seen with PCOS.

2) Spironolactone. This drug is an androgen receptor antagonist. It helps by blocking androgen receptors and in effect reduced hirsutism. Spiro cannot be taken by anyone with a chance of becoming pregnant, as it can cause birth defects.

Naturopathic and Lifestyle Treatment Options

1) Reduce intake of refined carbohydrates/high sugar foods. A paleo style diet, with a very high vegetable intake may be best for PCOS

2) Exercise!! Especially exercises that use your big muscle groups. Strength training is great for PCOS as when we strength train the muscles can use up excess glucose, by shunting it directly into the muscle. It is important to do resistance based training a minimum of 3 times a week to help regulate blood sugar levels

3) Cinnamon: can help balance blood sugar levels

4) Ground Flax Seeds: can help increase elimination of excess hormones

5) Inositol: a nutritional supplement that can help reduce testosterone levels

6) Herbs: There are plenty of herbs that can help balance testosterone levels, reduce luteinizing hormone, encourage ovulation and balance estrogen and progesterone. It is not wise to try and treat yourself with herbs as one herb can have many different actions/effects on the body. Speak to your naturopathic doctor.

I hope this gave you some good information on what PCOS is and what can be done about it. PCOS is quite common and can be successfully managed with the help of your naturopathic doctor

 

Talk Soon,

Dr. Alexis

 

Dr Alexis practices at Living Science Wellness Centre in Stittsville. Call 613.836.7901 to schedule your appointment.

 Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits

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Adult Acne, No One Told Me I Would Have Wrinkles and Pimples!?

Adult Acne, No One Told Me I Would Have Wrinkles and Pimples!?

Alexis Reid

Most people think of acne as a teenage problem, this is not so. Many adults suffer from acne well into their 50’s and some of them never even had it as a teenager! While it can be frustrating and hurt your self esteem there is plenty that can be done to get to the root of the issue! Keep reading to learn why acne happens, and what you can do about it.

 

Physiology of Acne

The physiology of acne is quite similar in most people who experience the condition, what differs is what causes the skin to go haywire. Acne occurs when the pilosebaceous gland get inflamed. When this gland is inflamed it produces and secretes more sebum. When more sebum is being produced it is easy for the pore to become blocked. Excess sebum production excites the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. We all have low levels of these bacteria on our skin, but seeing as they feed off of sebum, if sebum production is low then the bacteria are kept in check. However, if sebum levels become higher the bacteria are essentially at an all you can eat buffet….and they invite their friends! The bacteria cause the body to mount and immune response. This is what is happening when you have acne that gets red, sore and pus filled. Conventional acne treatments aim to target the bacteria and kill them off. This can help reduce the amount of acne you are getting but it is not getting to the bottom of the issue.

Why Does Acne Happen

So what is causing the excess sebum production in the first place? The short answer, lots of different things! The liver is the hormone processing factory in the body. If the liver is not functioning optimally hormone levels can get out of balance. Androgens, the male hormones, increase the thickness and quantity of sebum, leading to an increase in acne. This is why acne is a common symptom of PCOS, where women have elevated androgens. The stress hormone cortisol is also well known to increase sebum production. Think back to times when you were very stressed (exams, your wedding day) chances are your skin wasn’t looking its best. Foods that are high in sugar help to feed the Propionibacterium acne, increasing the amount of acne. A lesser known cause of acne is dehydration. When we are dehydrated the sebum gets more sticky in quality and gets trapped in the pores, triggering an inflammatory response.

How to Make it Better

The only way to improve acne for good is to get to the root cause of the symptoms. Treatment will differ greatly if your acne triggered by a food sensitivity versus a hormone imbalance. If you have been suffering from acne for some time and it just doesn’t seem to be getting better consider booking an appointment with your naturopathic doctor. A naturopathic doctor will help you figure out what is causing your acne and then design a treatment plan for you that gets to the bottom of the problem. Skin improvements can take time so it important to be patient and really give your treatment plan time to fully work, typically 3 months.  Here is a list of some natural therapies that can help to reduce your acne

1) Reduce your stress! Getting your cortisol under control is one of the best ways to reduce acne. Ways to reduce cortisol include: abdominal breathing, meditation, yoga, regular moderate physical exercise, and going to bed at a decent time (before 11 pm). Cortisol is a double edged sword as when it is increased it can increase your androgens, especially in women

2) Increase your elimination: Make sure you are eating plenty of fiber (25 g/day). The liver is also an organ of elimination and helps to process hormones properly. Foods that are good for keeping the liver in tip top shape are: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale), beets, dandelion and milk thistle tea, apples (with the skin) and B vitamins.

3) Keep hydrated: being dehydrated slows elimination and it also can cause a thickening of the sebum, making it more likely to get caught in the pores. Aim for 2 L of water and/or herbal tea per day. Keeping hydrated also makes the skin look better in general, giving it more of a glow and plumping up wrinkles

4) Eliminate Sensitive Foods: Common food sensitivities include gluten, dairy, soy and corn. If your body is sensitive to a food, when you eat it, it causes an inflammatory response, which can be manifest in the pilosebaceous glands of some people. Try eliminating these common allergens for 3 weeks and see if you notice a change in your skin. Alternatively, if you do not feel that you can eliminate these foods, you can see your naturopathic doctor for IgG food sensitivity testing.

5) Hormones: hormonal imbalance of both female and male hormones can wreck havoc on the skin. Many women will know that fluctuations in their hormones throughout the course of their menstrual cycle can trigger acne. This is a common problem, but is in no way NORMAL. Working on getting the liver functioning optimally can help with hormone regulation, however it may not be enough for everyone, There are many herbs that help modulate hormones, and salivary hormone testing is available, where hormone levels are measured every 3 days over the course of the month, to help pin point which hormones are causing the problem. Learn more about the basics of hormones and how they work?

6) Products: many people with acne tend to use products that are drying in an attempt to remove excess sebum. This can have the opposite effect. If you are using products that dry the skin out too much, then the body makes even more sebum to compensate. Benzyl peroxide can often cause this problem. Try to stick to products that contain natural astringents (reduce oil without being too drying) like witch hazel and tea tree oil. Aloe vera and rose water can also help to rebalance the sebum levels on the skin. Use a mild, castile soap based facial cleanser. People with acne are also typically afraid of putting oil on their skin. Oils that are of an astringent nature and are good for people with acne include macadamia and grapeseed oil. Staying away from synthetic products is important, as they can cause inflammation in the skin.

Eco Chic Movement’s Oily Skin Moisturizer is specially formulated for acne prone skin

I hope you found this description of why acne happens and the tips for how to reduce it helpful. As always post any questions or comments in the comment section and I will be sure to get back to you!

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices in Kanata . To schedule your appointment, click here

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits.

 

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Are your Hormones Driving You Crazy?! Dr Alexis' Intro to Hormones Blog

Are your Hormones Driving You Crazy?! Dr Alexis' Intro to Hormones Blog

Alexis Reid

What Your Hormones Are Trying To Tell You

This is the kickoff to a series of posts focusing on women’s health, just in time for Mother's Day! I will be covering everything from PMS to pregnancy. If you want to know about a particular topic feel free to leave a comment in the comment section and I will do my best to address it!

What are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers. They are messages that are released by one cell and travel through the bloodstream to give a message to another cell. You can think of a hormone much like the postman. He or she delivers a message from one cell (the post office) to another cell (your house) that tell your house what to do (for example pay its hydro bill). Hormones are responsible for regulating most processes in the body! Many hormones work in a cascade, meaning that one hormone sends a message that causes the release of another hormone and so on. It is then easy to see how if one of the hormones is out of whack and not delivering its message properly, the rest of the cells can start to misbehave. Much like if a row of dominos are lined up and one is too far so that when it falls it doesn’t hit the next domino. Everything that is supposed to happen next stops.

Women vs. Men….Are Their Hormones Really That Different?

While it is true that both men and women have plenty of hormones circulating around in their bodies, women have many more! The picture associated with this blog post sums it up quite nicely. With a man adjusting his hormones is like adjusting one dial to control the temperature in your house, where as with women it is like trying to turn 10 dials and get them to all come together to regulate the temp…..no easy task!

The Key Male Hormones

-Testosterone:  development of male reproductive tissues, increases bone and muscle mass, stimulates    body hair growth 

-Dihydrotestosterone: a more potent form of testosterone, it is the hormone that most greatly contributes to male pattern baldness

The Key Female Hormones

Estrogen: There are 3 types:  1) Estrone 2) Estradiol and 3) Estriol. Estrone should be the lowest and can increase the risk of breast cancer. Estradiol is the most prevalent and helps with the development of secondary sex characteristics and maintains bone mass. Estriol is the form of estrogen that is produced during pregnancy.

Progesterone: prepares the uterine lining for implantation, is anti-inflammatory, helps regulate the immune system, helps regulate insulin and normalizes blood clotting among many other functions.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone: responsible for maturation of the follicle that will become the egg at ovulation

Luteinizing Hormone: triggers ovulation

Key Hormones in Both Men and Women

Thyroid: known as T3 (more active) and T4 (more abundant). These two hormones are the masterminds of your metabolism

DHEA: intermediate hormone in the synthesis of testosterone and estrogens

Insulin: regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body

Cortisol: our “fight or flight” hormone, released when under chronic stress

 

Having one or more of these hormones out of balance can lead to many physical and mental symptoms. Now that you know the hormone basics, I will cover many of the conditions that are related to hormonal imbalance in these series of posts

 

As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments below

Talk Soon,

Dr Alexis

Dr Alexis practices at Life Therapies In Ottawa. Call 613.422.8939 to book your appointment 

Naturopathic Medicine is covered by most extended health insurance benefits

 

 

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