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Show 1266: How Women Can Improve Their Hormone Intelligence

Boosting hormone intelligence can help women live better in every stage of life. Dr. Aviva Romm explains how to blend science and tradition.
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How Women Can Improve Their Hormone Intelligence

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Hormones are essential to every cell in our bodies, but most of us don’t know much about them. We might recognize estrogen and testosterone as sex hormones, but these crucial compounds go far beyond that. Endocrinologists specialize in treating hormonally-related problems, but even they may not be focused on the hidden hormone epidemic we are facing. Endocrine disruptors in our environment are altering how our bodies react. Can we boost our hormone intelligence?

Varied Sources for Hormone Intelligence:

Our guest, Dr. Aviva Romm, is a midwife and an expert herbalist as well as a physician practicing integrative medicine. To help her patients boost their hormone intelligence, she draws upon all these sources, bridging tradition with science. As a result, she can help us understand why so many people are suffering from thyroid gland disorders and how hormone imbalances may contribute to migraine headaches.

Menopause is a time of life when many women realize they need to develop more hormone intelligence. Dr. Romm sometimes recommends topical estrogen for certain problems, as the overall dose may be lower if the hormone is delivered where it is needed. Stress can make menopausal symptoms much worse, so she counsels her patients on natural approaches to stress reduction. In addition, she frequently recommends herbal medicines to help with problems such as menopausal hot flashes. (For vaginal dryness, however, the OTC product Replens seems to work better than botanical extracts.)

Treating Adrenal Fatigue:

The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys and produce critical hormones. You might recognize the name adrenaline. Is adrenal fatigue real or is it just a buzz word? Although there is no medical condition called adrenal fatigue, the symptoms of exhaustion, weight gain, anxiety or inexplicable cravings are real and deserve attention. They might well signal a thyroid imbalance. Too often, when women report symptoms, they feel that their healthcare providers don’t take them seriously. Some of these symptoms may be due to chronic stress exposure, which can make us sick if we don’t pay attention.

Living with Hormone Intelligence:

The microbes in our digestive tract are in a two-way communication with the rest of our body. What should we be eating to support the microbes that help us keep our hormones healthy? What are the most important lifestyle changes women can practice to benefit their hormones throughout their lives?

This Week’s Guest:

Aviva Romm, M.D. is an Internal Medicine and Board Certified Family Physician with specialties in Integrative Gynecology, Obstetric and Pediatrics, with a focus on women’s endocrinology. Dr. Romm is also a midwife and a world-renowned herbalist. She is the author of several books,  including the textbook, Botanical Medicines for Women’s Health and  The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution. A practitioner, teacher, activist and advocate of both environmental health and women’s reproductive rights and health, she has been bridging the best of traditional medicine, total health ecology, and good science for over three decades. Dr. Romm’s latest book is Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s Natural Blueprint for Well-Being. Her website is AvivaRomm.com

The photograph of Dr. Romm is by Wendy Yalom.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, August 2, 2021, after broadcast on July 31. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free.

Some of our conversation with Dr. Romm didn’t fit in the broadcast, but we’ve included it in the podcast. Tune in to find out why more girls are entering puberty at a very young age. Also, we discuss the connections between hormones and the epidemic of autoimmune diseases. Finally, learn about polycystic ovary syndrome. What is it and what can you do about it? If you have comments on the show or the podcast, please feel free to share them below.

Download the free mp3

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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