In the new age of functional medicine, patients are still confused by the approach I take as I evaluate their complaints of peri menopause. Most female patients in their 40′s have an imbalance in progesterone and estrogen and this leads to symptoms of agitation, sleep disturbance, brain chatter, anxiety, mood swings. As part of my investigation of symptoms I will often ask them about bowel complaints. Huh? What does a little bit of gas and digestive problems have to do with my hormone imbalance doctor?
I’m glad you asked. I will often see an elevated C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation) in a peri menopausal women who shows a hormonal imbalance. This biochemical marker lets me know that the imbalance may very well be due to more than just peri-menopause. This is the functional medicine approach to 21st century medicine. This is how we get to the cause of the problem and not just resting the symptoms. I often find that intestinal inflammation due to allergies or bacterial imbalances or digestive issues can generate an immune response. This in turn causes adrenal production of cortisol. This causes a further imbalance with progesterone and estrogen. I often find a drop in thyroid function with the push on adrenals as well.
My approach at this point is to investigate the GI system as I begin to correct the hormonal imbalances. Often this is the key to going from a good to a great response in therapy.