Can Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Help With Fibromyalgia?

Can Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Help With Fibromyalgia? | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Fibromyalgia is a difficult disorder which science doesn't fully understand as yet, and as a result, it can become quite debilitating for those struck with it.

Because fibromyalgia is comprised of several – or many – different symptoms, treatment is usually offered with a combination of medications, lifestyle changes, and natural remedies.

It's for this reason that we see a lot of clients who are interested in using hormones to treat fibromyalgia - because they're in pain, they can't get relief, and in some cases it may be the most helpful treatment for them.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that presents as pain, sleep issues, memory loss, fatigue and mood issues.

Doctors and researchers aren't completely certain for what causes fibromyalgia, but they suspect that it changes how your brain processes pain – possibly amplifying it.

Doctors will often prescribe antidepressants for the mood issues, pain meds for the aches and pains, or physical therapy, exercise, heat, relaxation and stress reduction for the remaining symptoms.

What usually causes people to seek medical advice is the pain and fatigue. Conventional medicine options typically tend to focus on treating the symptoms, which may give people a great deal of relief, but doesn't look as closely at some of the underlying causes, leaving people reliant on pharmaceutical pain medication that may increase in dosage over time.

Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can differ from person to person and from gender to gender, but can be quite severe and include any of the following:

· Deep muscle pain, including morning stiffness

· Painfully tender joints that make exercise difficult

· Arthritis-like symptoms

· Bursitis-like symptoms

· Tendinitis-like symptoms

· Tension headaches or migraines

· Fatigue that isn't resolved by more sleep

· Restless leg syndrome, particularly at night

· Sleep apnea

· Waking feeling exhausted and tired

· Irritable bowel syndrome or interstitial cystitis

· Anxiety and depression, other mood disorders

· TMJ issues (temporomandibular joint, more common in men than women)

· “Fibro fog,” which is a term used to describe the reduced ability to concentrate on cognitive or mental tasks.

Hormone therapy and fibromyalgia? | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Causes & Risk Factors For Fibromyalgia

Women are more prone to fibromyalgia than men, indicating that there could be a hormonal influence on this condition.

Fibromyalgia can sometimes pop up after a physical trauma, such as an accident or surgery; in other cases, it's an emotional trauma that seems to trigger it, or psychological stress.

Infections can also aggravate - or even trigger - fibromyalgia.

In other cases, the symptoms will start up with no single event, but will accumulate over time.

Frustratingly, the cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown. A 2012 paper by Jahan, Nanji, Qidwai, and Qasim in the Oman Medical Journal suggests that because of the changes in sleep patterns and in neuroendocrine transmitters characteristic of fibromyalgia, there may be a connection between the regulation of the endocrine system and the condition, but more research needs to be done.

How Does Bioidentical Hormone Therapy Help?

BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy) is a treatment that serves to replace the hormones in your body – hormones that control and regulate most of your body's processes.

The idea with BHRT is that it helps your body regulate itself by replacing the hormones it needs to function properly – the hormones your body produces naturally, or at least the hormones it's supposed to produce naturally.

BHRT can help with fibromyalgia as hormones such as progesterone, have been found to exert an anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Detecting low levels of these hormones can warrant the use of this treatment

After testing, analyzing and creating a BHRT plan that's designed specifically for your case, you will hopefully find relief from your fatigue and pain symptoms caused by fibromyalgia.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

Reaching out to Annex Naturopathic is the first recommendation we'll make in treating your fibromyalgia – because we have resources at our disposal that medical doctors won't necessarily offer up.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that can wreak havoc with your life by making it difficult to exercise, get through a day at the office, or even perform basic everyday functions – all because some of its main symptoms are fatigue and pain, which can be completely debilitating when they occur together.

Here at Annex Naturopathic we often in tandem with your family doctor to create a treatment plan designed to help you recover from fibromyalgia.

Call us now to set up an appointment to look at bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, and let's begin to work toward replacing your pain and fatigue with action and adventure.


If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


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Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Get more information about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic doctors

AIP Chicken and Dumplings

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Fall is the perfect time to cozy up with a warm cup of tea or a bowl of soup. What is more delightful than a generous helping of Chicken and Dumplings? My southern, sweet tea drinkin', Cracker Barrel lovin' Nana would be fooled by these dumplings. They were perfectly textured, just the right amount of chewy and doughy.

I threw in multi-colored carrots that reminded me of all things fall because, lets face it, who doesn't love fall?

Fun fact: cassava flour contains a good source of vitamin C, which not only helps you keep the fall-time bugs away but also promotes collagen production in the body! So basically, you will look younger if you eat this soup. Just kidding…or am I?

Craving Chicken Pot Pie? Omit the dumplings and you have yourself the gosh-darn best pie filling there ever was. I hope you enjoy this soup as much as my family and I did. Cozy, autumn wishes to you and yours.

AIP Chicken and Dumplings   Print Prep time 10 mins Cook time 30 mins Total time 40 mins   Author: Kelsey McReynolds Recipe type: Dinner Cuisine: American Serves: 6-8 Servings Ingredients 2 large chicken breasts 1½ quarts chicken bone broth (broth will do just the same) 2 cups water 2 bay leaves 3 carrots, finely chopped 3 celery stalks, finely chopped 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced ½ large shallot, finely chopped ¼ cup cassava flour ¼ cup avocado oil 1 cup coconut milk ⅛ cup parsley, chopped
Dumplings: 1 cup cassava flour 1 cup cauliflower, boiled and mashed Instructions In a large stock pot, add broth, chicken, salt and bay leaves. Boil for 15-20 min or until chicken is done. Remove the chicken and bay leaves, discard bay leaves and shred chicken. Set aside. Add carrots and celery to the pot and boil for about 8-10 min. In a medium-sized bowl, add cauliflower and 1 cup cassava flour. Mix until all ingredients are combined. Kneed with hands into a large ball. Flatten the dough into 1 centimeter thickness with a rolling pin between 2 pieces of light floured parchment paper. Cut dumplings into 2 inch by 3 centimeter rectangles with a pizza cutter or knife. Set aside. In a saucepan on medium heat, saute rosemary, garlic, and shallots in about 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil. Once the garlic begins to brown, add remaining oil and ¼ cup cassava flour to create a roux. Continue to stir roux until the color begins to darken slightly and a nutty aroma is released. Add a cup or more of the cooked broth to the saucepan and reduce to low. Stir until mixture is combined into a thick slurry. Add roux, chicken, and coconut milk to the pot of broth and vegetables. Bring to a boil once again and add dumplings one by one, gently stirring occasionally until dumplings are cooked. Top with fresh parsley and serve. 3.5.3229


The post AIP Chicken and Dumplings appeared first on Autoimmune Wellness.

What Is an Alkaline Food?

What Is an Alkaline Food?

The alkaline diet is a diet that is based on regulating the acidity or the pH level of your body. The human body is slightly alkaline, with a blood pH around 7.4.

However, your stomach needs to be acidic so that it can break down foods and has a pH of 3.5 or below.

For comparison's sake, 14 is completely alkaline, 7 is neutral and 0 is completely acidic.

The theory behind the alkaline diet is that high acidity foods cause your body's pH to become too acidic. This can cause inflammation, weight gain, and disease.

Instead, you should eat foods that are more alkaline to influence the pH in your body to a more alkaline level and to keep your pH at a level where your body is able to function optimally.

The alkaline diet divides foods into two basic categories to help dieters create some structure. There are alkaline foods and non-alkaline foods.

The non-alkaline foods include:

* Animal proteins like beef, chicken, and pork

* Dairy products like yogurt, milk, and cheese

* Sugar

* Starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, and even white rice

* Alcohol

The good news for people on an alkaline diet is that it's not an all-or-nothing diet. The goal is to make sure that 80 percent of your diet comes from alkaline foods.

That means you can still eat some of the foods that you love because 20 percent of your diet can come from non-alkaline foods. So what are the alkaline foods? Let's take a look.

What is an Alkaline Food?Generally speaking, all fruits and vegetables are alkaline. It can be a little confusing, though. A lemon, for example, is an acidic fruit. However, it causes an alkaline response in your body.

In fact, lemon water can be a big part of the alkaline diet, which also stresses hydration. Other foods that are alkaline include some whole grains like millet and quinoa.

An alkaline diet is rich in fruits and vegetables along with foods that are high in minerals. Minerals are often supplemented because they're essential for cellular functions and because they can be difficult to get in your diet.

When starting an alkaline diet, the common recommendation is to ease into it. Most people are not able to completely shift their focus to a diet that is primarily vegetarian.

You can start by reducing your consumption of the non-alkaline foods one at a time. Reduce the sugar that you eat, reduce your meat consumption, and start replacing those items with fruits and vegetables.

You'll notice an almost immediate change in your health and wellbeing. You'll likely lose weight too. The alkaline diet is a lifestyle change that promises improved health. If you're struggling with energy levels, weight gain, and chronic illness, it may be the right choice for you.

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Environmental Causes Of Male Infertility

Enviromental Causes Of Male Infertility | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

Male infertility is on the rise across the globe with average sperm counts dropping by more than 50 percent over the past 40 years.

Many diagnosed with male infertility often have no idea what is causing it.

Although male infertility has established itself as a prevalent and growing issue, it often goes unaddressed.

There are numerous factors that affect fertility, but environmental causes in particular may create a staggering impact on the body's ability to conceive.

Recognizing these environmental factors and their effects on your body can make a significant difference if you're struggling with infertility.

If you're interested in changing your lifestyle to address your reproductive health issues, you may benefit from natural treatment options for male infertility.

Let's delve into the different kinds of environmental factors that may be causing your male infertility.

What Is Male Infertility?

Simply put, male infertility is the inability to conceive despite frequent and unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer.

There are many possible causes of male infertility.

Low sperm production or abnormal sperm function may be the culprit, and they can be influenced by everyday lifestyle choices.

Symptoms Of Male Infertility

Male infertility often shows no signs other than simply not being able to conceive a child.

Occasionally there are symptoms associated with male infertility, such as erectile dysfunction, difficulty with ejaculation, discomfort or swelling in the testicular area, and recurring respiratory infections.

Factors That Contribute To Male Infertility

There are a number of environmental factors that contribute to male infertility.

If any of the following are present in your life and you're experiencing male infertility, there may be a causal relationship.

1. Smoking

We all know the negative side effects that come from smoking cigarettes.

However, did you know that cigarette smoke can lead to male infertility?

Men who smoke have a lower sperm count, decreased sperm function, and a higher concentration of abnormally formed sperm.

Prenatal exposure to smoke can also lead to future issues with fertility and reproductive health.

Although smoking is not likely to be the sole cause of male infertility, it is a significant contributing factor.

Male infertility linked to enviromental causes | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

2. Endocrine disruption

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, also known as EDCs, are everywhere in our society.

Some common EDCs that you may recognize are phthalates, triclosan, and BPAs, which are found in many kinds of plastic.

EDCs interfere with your endocrine system, which regulates your body's hormones.

Even the smallest exposure can lead to serious consequences down the road for your whole body, from your brain to your reproductive system.

3. Chronic stress

Chronic stress is incredibly harmful to your health, and its role in your fertility is no different.

Stress may affect the concentration and quality of your sperm, thereby contributing to issues with conception.

Even if you're otherwise healthy, the impact of chronic stress on your hormones can interfere with your sperm's ability to fertilize an egg.

4. Hormone imbalance

Male infertility can result from low testosterone or other imbalances in your hormonal system.

Your hormone balance is affected by diet, stress, alcohol use, and the aforementioned endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

If your hormones are out of whack, your sperm count and quality will be as well.

Some signs that you're experiencing a hormonal imbalance include erectile dysfunction, low libido, and excessive hair growth.

5. Obesity

As instances of male infertility have been on the rise, so have obesity rates.

Obesity in men means lower testosterone and higher estrogen levels, which affect how testes - and, as a result, sperm - function.

This is because excess adipose tissue increases the activity of an enzyme called aromatase, leading to the hyperconversion of testosterone to estrogen.

Along with impaired sperm quality, obesity may also introduce the issue of sexual dysfunction.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

With male infertility rates rising and showing no sign of stopping, we have to embrace the conversation about how to address it.

Dealing with infertility can be incredibly frustrating, especially when there are often no signs or symptoms, other than the inability to conceive, that could potentially help you figure out the cause.

Recognizing which environmental factors may be affecting your infertility is the first step towards finding a solution.

Here at Annex Naturopathic, we can help you investigate and understand the causes, environmental or otherwise, of your male infertility.

We can also help you take a preventative approach to avoid having to deal with any issues related to your fertility down the line.

Contact Annex Naturopathic to find out what your treatment options are for your male reproductive health concerns today.


If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


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Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Get more info on health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: Toronto naturopathic clinic

How To Control Acne During Pregnancy

How To Control Acne During Pregnancy | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

You're older now, settled down with your partner, maybe even bought a house.

And it's time to start a family.

Just in time to hear back from an old friend.


You thought you left those annoying red bumps back in high school, but here they are, back with a vengeance.

Due to changes in your body, acne during pregnancy is a common issue many women have to deal with.

So what causes acne during pregnancy?

And what is the best way to treat it?

Let's have a closer look.

What Causes Acne During Pregnancy?

Are you dealing with acne during your pregnancy?

Over 50% of pregnant women develop acne, so it may be a little comforting at least to know you're not alone.

The reason for this has to do with increased hormone levels, especially in the first trimester.

This can cause an increase in the production of natural oils in your skin, which in turn often leads to acne.

If you have a history of acne, or flare-ups during menstruation, then you're also more susceptible to pregnancy acne.

Try to look on the bright side - the formation of pregnancy acne means your hormones are preparing your body to support a healthy pregnancy.

Let's have a look at what else can be done.

Why Many Medical Treatments for Acne Don't Work during Pregnancy

There is no shortage of medical acne treatments available.

Pills, creams, even shots.

Unfortunately, many common medical treatments for acne can be harmful to the fetus.

Common oral treatments include retinoids, anti-androgen medications and oral tetracycline, but side effects of these drugs include miscarriage, birth defects, and premature birth.

Most topical creams are unlikely to be prescribed to you by your doctor as well for similar reasons.

So, without many of the conventional options, what can you do?

Keep reading for some natural solutions.

Natural Solutions for Acne during Pregnancy

Acne during pregnancy | Annex Naturopathic Clinic | Toronto Naturopathic Doctors

What are the best ways to combat pregnancy acne with safe and natural methods?

There are a number of treatments, however it is important to remember these will only treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause (which are hormones that are good for you in pregnancy - remember?).

Let's look at a few options:

1. Zinc

The recommended daily allowance of Zinc during pregnancy according to the Mayo Clinic is 15mg.

Zinc can help to regulate hormone balance, and as we discussed hormone imbalance is a key cause of acne during pregnancy.

It can also help with carrying vitamin A to the skin and with the renewal of skin cells.

Zinc can usually be obtained through a proper diet - foods such as beef, pork and chicken are high in zinc.

Don't eat meat? You can also find it in spinach, kidney and lima beans and many seeds, including flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

If you're worried about deficiency you can talk to us at Annex Naturopathic about supervised supplementation.

2. Omega-3

You've probably heard about Omega-3 fatty acids.

But what do they actually DO?

Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and can also help control sebum production.

These can be found in wild salmon, avocado and chia seeds.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C can help with collagen formation, controlling inflammation and strengthening capillaries.

The best way to get vitamin C is through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kiwi and cantaloupe.

There are also vitamin C creams, however these can sometimes have side effects including dryness and redness.

Because your skin during pregnancy will likely be more sensitive than usual, it's a good idea to test a small amount of cream on your neck or another discreet area and wait a couple of days to ensure there's no adverse reaction.

4. Vitamin A

Vitamin A can help stimulate skin cell grown, as well as the shedding of dead cells which can clog the pores.

Try a prenatal vitamin if you want to supplement, most will contain vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene which is safer for pregnancy.

Of course, the best source of any vitamin is always to get it naturally, through your diet.

Look for yellow, orange and leafy-green fruits and vegetables.

However, higher doses of vitamin A may lead to birth defects or other pregnancy complications, so consult with a naturopathic doctor or other qualified healthcare practitioner before you start supplementing heavily.

5. Lifestyle changes

Are you drinking enough water?

Getting enough sleep?

What about exercise?

What I'm about to say probably won't come as a surprise, but all of these can be factors in acne (pregnancy related or not).

Aim for a minimum of eight cups of water per day.

Make sure you're getting enough sleep (figure out what “enough” looks like for you).

If you're experiencing high levels of stress, exercise and meditation can help.

And yes you can exercise while pregnant, you just may need to modify your routine.

Be sure to wash and replace pillow-cases and face clothes and towels a couple of times per week as well, to minimize your exposure to acne-causing bacteria.

And whatever you do - resist the urge to pop those pimples, as this can spread infection and cause scarring.

Contact Annex Naturopathic

Are you struggling with pregnancy acne?

Tried the tricks and tips given here but still putting up with unsightly spots?

Want to try a supplement but worried about doing it on your own?

Contact us at Annex Naturopathic today.

We can set up a consultation and discuss your concerns, and outline a supervised treatment plan with the goal of keeping your baby healthy and happy, and keeping you looking great.


If you're curious to learn more about this subject or would like to consult with one of our NDs feel free to book a visit or contact us.

Yours in Health,

Annex Naturopathic Clinic
572 Bloor St W #201, Toronto, ON M6G 1K1


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Annex Naturopathic Clinic is a clinic in Toronto that offers integrative healthcare solutions from Drs. Marnie Luck, ND, and Tanya Lee, ND

Read additional ideas about health, wellness, naturopathy, and medicine at: natural doctors