Northwest Center for Optimal Health: Natural Medicine Specialists





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Natural Medicine Q&A
Ask Dr. P
by Kasra Pournadeali, ND
Natural Medicine Specialist

Greetings Journal reader. I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy some of the sunlight we've recently been blessed with, as it's an important source of Vitamin D necessary to help your bones stay strong. But, don't forget your sunscreen! Other aspects of bone health, I'll discuss in next month's column, with other upcoming columns to include topics like natural hormone replacement, weight management, and anti-aging medicine. Make sure to look for them. This month's Ask Dr. P is dedicated to answering a few of your specific questions over the past two weeks.

Q: Dr. P, I've recently been hearing a lot about over-the-counter progesterone cream, and a prominent physician's website recommends it. Do you? Elizabeth

Elizabeth, I do not recommend hormone creams, unless you are treating the skin. I'm familiar with the website you mention, which is designed to promote the sale of the progesterone cream, which that doctor sells. There are several problems with the hormone creams. First, if available over-the-counter, the actual hormone (estrogen/ progesterone) content is typically not listed on the label. This makes it hard to determine what dose you're getting. Second, absorption of the creams is inconsistent depending on the thickness of your skin, where it's applied, and how much subcutaneous tissue or fat is beneath your skin. Because of these variables, it is difficult if not impossible to achieve consistent levels of the hormones in your body. Third, at least two articles describe how patients' have experienced increased hormone levels even months after stopping the creams. This demonstrated how the creams can build-up in the system. I've seen quite a few women who started the creams, felt OK, and then began having symptoms due to hormone overdose. I've also seen some women who had relief with the creams, but had dangerously high levels of hormones in their body, which we found after testing. I recommend either hormone pills or under-the-tongue drops, and specialized testing both before & after starting hormone replacement therapy.

Q: Dr. P, My name is Krista, and I'm looking for help with my digestive problem. Any food causes gas, abdominal pain & cramping, and my regular doctor says all the tests are normal. What should I try?

Dear Krista, most of the tests ordered by your conventional physician are designed to show if you have a life-threatening illness. It's not surprising that the results were all "normal." Many things could be happening with you, and a good naturopathic doctor can help you get back on track. For example, if you recently suffered a "stomach flu," sometimes it can take months for your digestive tract to recover. You will need to support it with things like enzymes, or plant medicines, which support optimal digestion & promote healing. You may also be experiencing enteric dysbiosis, or enteric permeability defects, where there is either an imbalance in the bacteria or damage of the lining in your digestive tract. This can lead to intolerance of certain foods. Another possibility is that you have some nutritional deficiencies, which are impairing the ability of your digestive tract to stay healthy. There are still other possibilities; a careful history and some more innovative tests will serve as a guide in determining exactly what is needed in your case.

Q: Dr. P, My Chiropractor's wife thinks she has a yeast infection, but does not have typical symptoms of itching, discharge, etc. Her cycles are 45 days apart, and she's concerned about cancer. What tests should she have done? Aisha

Hello Aisha, it's impossible to know what is happening with her unless she gets a PAP & pelvic exam. During the exam a "wet mount" / KOH prep can be performed, which is basically looking under the microscope at some of the cells acquired during the exam. Yeast, can be identified immediately. The PAP test is also a screening test for cervical or uterine cancer, and should be performed yearly on every woman once she has begins menstruating. Some doctors believe that women can stop screening PAPs after menopause, but I do not share that opinion. Women can still get cervical or uterine cancer after menopause, and I like to ere on the side of prevention. If ovarian cancer is suspect, an ultrasound can be ordered. Talking to her will determine if it's appropriate. If her menstrual cycle length has always been 45 days, that is less of a concern than if it's length has recently changed. If so, it might mean she has a hormone imbalance, increased stress, or problems with liver function, which in turn, causes hormone imbalance. Either way, she needs to be evaluated.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Northwest Center for Optimal Health at (360) 651-9355.

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