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Women's Health


Dr. Hitkari, is a Naturopathic Physician who has a particular interest in women's health, especially the management of symptoms associated with perimenopause (time before menopause) and menopause.  Menopause is a natural biological process whereby a woman’s ovaries decrease in function leading to a significant decline in the production of sex hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  These three hormones decline at different rates often leading to a hormonal imbalance which can cause a number of symptoms such as those listed below.


In order to diagnose and treat hormone imbalance, Dr. Hitkari runs a salivary, urine and/or serum hormone panel to acquire baseline data on hormone levels.  Then, based on the patient's symptoms, hormone levels, and patient comfort, treatment is implemented to try and help restore hormonal balance which may include botanical support, supplements, acupuncture, and/or Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).  Dr. Hitkari has taken extra training in BHRT through the American Academy of Anti-aging Medicine.  BHRT is different from the conventional Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), such as Premarin. BHRT uses medications that are made from natural compounds and have the same chemical structure as hormones made by the human body.  This means that bioidentical hormones are “human identical” and work like the body’s own hormones.


Below is more information on hormones and how they can affect your body.


Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted from glands in your endocrine system directly into the bloodstream.  Once they enter your bloodstream, hormones are carried to different organs and tissues where they attach to their specific receptors and exert their effects of regulating numerous biological processes in the body such as:


  • Development and growth

  • Sexual function, reproductive growth, and health

  • Cognitive function and mood

  • Metabolism and body temperature regulation

Both women and men can experience hormonal imbalances that may lead to a myriad of symptoms including:

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety and/or depression

  • Weight gain

  • Temperature changes - cold intolerance, hot flashes, night sweats

  • Sexual dysfunction - loss of libido, pain with intercourse, decreased lubrication, erectile difficulty, etc

  • Changes in cognition - foggy thinking, changes in memory, decreased ability to concentrate

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

  • Irregular periods

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Infertility

Such symptoms as these may be due to imbalanced hormones being produced by the ovaries/testes, thyroid, and/or adrenal gland.

An example of one of the most common hormonal imbalances seen in women is estrogen dominance, where our bodies have too much estrogen.  Estrogen dominance can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, breast tenderness, cyclical headaches or migraines, irregular bleeding, water retention, weight gain and more.  It may also increase your risk of developing female-related cancers including breast and ovarian cancer.  

Estrogen dominance is a condition that can result from the body overproducing estrogen, overexposure to estrogen in our environment from our foods or hygiene products, or not enough progesterone to balance out our estrogen levels.  Other hormone imbalances that may predispose a woman to develop estrogen dominance include imbalances in thyroid and adrenal gland hormone production.  Like the ovaries, the adrenal glands also make many steroid hormones including estrogens, progesterone, and cortisol. Therefore, well-functioning adrenal glands are important for hormone balance, as well.

Thyroid health is also very important to overall hormone balance.  There are increasing rates of a condition referred to as hypothyroidism where the thyroid is under-functioning. The main symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, fluid retention, hair loss and/or dry skin.  In our medical system, the standard screen for thyroid health is to test your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which is secreted by the brain to influence the thyroid glands hormone production.  To appropriately diagnose and effectively treat hypothyroidism, it is also important to determine your levels of free T4 and free T3 which are the hormones actually being produced by the thyroid.  It is very common to see a normal TSH level with lower than optimal levels of free T4 and/or free T3. 

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