“Your mother has 6 weeks to live, she should get her papers in order”, this was a verdict of an oncologist when Erika’s mom was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer. Not willing to give up, Erika, who at that time was a college junior studying fashion, spent many days in a library to look for an alternative cancer treatment.
A heartfelt disappointment in conventional medicine and a desire to find a holistic approach solution prompted Erika to eventually change the focus of her studies and to become a naturopathic doctor.
Dr. Erika Horowitz practices naturopathic medicine at Radiant Health in San Francisco and specializes in Functional Endocrinology, Mental Health, and Digestive Health & Detoxification.
#1 Hormonal imbalance is a major cause of illness
“As naturopathic doctors, we are looking for a root cause of a problem and an imbalance that led to a disease.”, says Dr. Erika Horowitz, “And as a naturopath with a focus in hormone balancing, I pay attention to the connection of mind and body, and provide treatment based on a complete individual assessment rather than general symptoms”.
When assessing her patients’ health, Dr. Horowitz always pays close attention to the function of their hormonal system. “Unfortunately, on a daily basis we are exposed to too many endocrine disruptors in our environment, this affects how our own hormone production is regulated”, says Dr. Horowitz.
Examples of some endocrine disruptors are:
- Milk with bovine growth hormone
- Synthetic hormones in our food and water
Constant stress and artificial hormones have a profound effect on our health and aging. “I am starting to see a lot of young adults who are in their mid-twenties coming to our office with adrenal fatigue symptoms. Several years ago you would not expect to see these symptoms in patients till their middle age”, shares Dr. Horowitz.
Combine daily environmental stress with age-related changes in hormone production and you have a perfect formula for various health issues, including UTIs.
#2 Postmenopausal women are an easy target for UTI
UTI and hormone imbalance are frequently connected. Hormones play an important role in women’s ability to maintain a healthy vaginal flora and to resist infections, including urinary tract infections. That’s why, when examining women in their 40th who complain of recurrent UTIs, Dr. Horowitz always performs a vaginal exam.
“It is important to establish the health of the vaginal tissue. Low estrogen can cause thinning of the vaginal tissues as well as affect the beneficial vaginal flora causing a change in pH and allowing other bacteria to grow. In some cases, due to hormone imbalance, the tissue atrophy causes the urethra to be exposed, that in turn makes it easier to contract a UTI”, says Dr. Horowitz.
#3 Treatment strategies need to focus on restoring hormonal balance naturally
Vaginal suppositories with hormones can help to revive the vaginal tissue. Dr. Erika Horowitz prescribes compounded vaginal suppositories (made to order by a pharmacy) that contain bioidentical Estriol (E3), hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, vitamin A and coconut oil. This treatment normally helps to restore and heal the vaginal tissue in about six to eight weeks.
A diet could also help to normalize your natural hormone production.
Consider adding the following to your daily menu:
- Essential fatty acids (sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, borage oil, flax oil).
- Antioxidants (fresh berries like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries).
- Minerals and vitamins.
- Herbs that help to balance your hormones.
- Decrease the amount of processed food, sugar, and carbs that you consume daily.
While the natural approach to balancing your hormones through diet, nutritional supplementation and lifestyle changes might take two to three months to demonstrate results, it’s well worth trying. It is always better to help restore your own hormone production than to take prescription hormones. However, if the diet is not delivering needed results, Dr. Horowitz might suggest bioidentical hormones.
Every person is unique and your hormone production could be changing at a different pace than your friend’s. There is no “one size fits all” solution for hormone imbalance. In her practice, Dr. Horowitz makes sure to measure her client’s progress regularly and adjust the treatment accordingly. Therefore, if you started having problems with recurrent UTI when undergoing age-related hormonal changes, you might want to consult with a naturopathic doctor who will help you to address the issue holistically.