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Women's Health

Katolen Yardley, Medical Herbalist specializes in women’s health care for all stages of reproductive health from adolescence to the childbearing years to the transition through menopause. She offers natural non invasive herbal medicines and holistic health programs for menopause and perimenopause, natural childbirth and provides care for mother and child during the prenatal and postpartum periods.

More women are seeking natural treatments instead of hormone replacement therapy. They want to minimize the unnecessary use of pharmaceuticals and hormones, and to avoid surgery whenever possible. Women seek relief from menstrual complaints and menopausal symptoms. Some are looking for help with infertility, others a natural approach to childbirth, pregnancy and postpartum issues. Herbal medicine is effective in treating most women’s health conditions, whether acute or chronic.

Hormonal Imbalances

“Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change.” — Katherine Mansfield

During our teenage years and throughout other times of our life, a woman may periodically experience changes with menstrual regularity, leading to an absence of a menstrual cycle (amenorrhea), premenstrual tension, bloating, cramping and mood fluctuations (dysmenorrhea), flooding or heavy cycles (menorrhagia); all signs that the reproductive system requires extra attention.

Herbal medicine provides gentle support by nourishing reproductive tissues and impact hormones by acting directly on the pituitary (master gland) governing the release of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Lutenising hormone (LH), which influence ovarian function and the adrenal glands, to help regulate menstrual flow, minimize cramping and stabilize mood changes during the month.

Herbs can also support liver function; the liver is involved in reproductive health by functioning to break down excess circulating hormones to speed their removal from the body, for minimizing fluid retention and provides direct antispasmodic action for pain management and cramping.

Herbal Medicine can be used for hormone imbalances as pre menstrual tension, cramping, fluid retention, irritability, migraines, skin problems, irregular or heavy menses, pelvic congestion, fibroids, endometriosis and cysts. These conditions are best addressed through a consultation where a specific holistic health program is designed for your unique health picture.

Some of the women's health conditions which can be addressed by using herbal medicine and holistic support by Katolen Yardley in her Greater Vancouver practice include:
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Amenorrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Anovulation
  • Bone health
  • Breast health
  • Cervicitis
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Depression
  • Dysfuncional uterine bleeding
  • Endometriosis
  • Fatigue
  • Habitual miscarriage
  • Healthy pregnancy
  • Heart health
  • Holistic conception
  • Hormonal imbalances and irregularities
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • Lactation support
  • Mastitis
  • Menstrual irregularity/pain
  • Menopause transitioning
  • Migraines
  • Morning sickness
  • Natural birth control
  • Natural family planning
  • Nursing difficulties
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Perineum healing
  • Premenstrual syndrome
    Prenatal and postnatal care
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Postpartum depression
  • Sexual disorders
  • Stress management
  • Urinary incontinence, interstitial cystitis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Vaginitis (bacterial, yeast)
  • Weight loss

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.”
— Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 

What has unfolded in our society such that even our natural life cycles are now viewed as needing medicating?

Transitions of Menopause

Peri Menopause: is the process of the gradual cessation of menstruation, which may last 6-10 years, during which the menstrual cycle changes in character and over time menstruation will cease. During perimenopause, the time prior to menopause, many women ovulate irregularly, and although hormone levels eventually decrease, estrogen levels generally do not lower until the last year of perimenopause; as menopause nears, the estrogen levels rise very high and then decline rapidly.

Post menopause: The time after cessation of menstruation, marking the beginning of the second half of a women’s life, there is no other stage in the life of a women that has as much potential for empowerment, understanding and moving into ‘ones power’ than this time.

Menopause: known as the change of life, which generally occurs in women ages 47 to 50 (with a range between ages 40-55). A woman is said to be menopausal when 6-12 months pass without a period. Blood tests can be done to measure levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luetinzing Hormone (LH) and used as a tool to confirm if a woman is within menopausal range, although elevated FSH and LH on blood test results do not 100% guarantee that a women is menopausal. Theoretically a woman can become pregnant up to one year after her last menstrual cycle.

Herbal Medicine for menopausal Symptoms

Optimal nutrition and herbal medicine can play a role in minimizing adverse menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, play a role in prevention of heart disease and osteoporosis, lessen vaginal dryness and support the nervous system for insomnia, headaches and depression. In particular, a group of foods known as phytoestrogens can assist to balance hormones and lessen menopausal symptoms.

Phytoestrogens are plant molecules that have a structurally similar character to human estrogens, but are not hormones; phytoestrogens bind with our bodies’ estrogen receptors, creating a balancing effect on hormone levels.

Though plant phytoestrogens are not identical to human hormones, they can work by activating our bodies own estrogen receptors and have the ability to act both as estrogen agonists (proestrogen) and estrogen antagonists (anti estrogen). Phyto estrogens are capable of exerting a weak estrogen like effect; thus if the bodies total estrogen is low, as commonly found in menopause, the phyto estrogens will provide a net increase in estrogen in the body. Plant phytoestrogens are also referred to as anti estrogenic, due to their ability to occupy estrogen receptor sites, they lower an excess net effect of circulating estrogen and can compete for binding in our bodies estrogen receptor sites against the more potent synthetic xeno estrogens (toxic estrogens found in our environment).

Herbal Medicine for Menopausal Symptoms can assist with:
  • hot flushes
  • heavy menses or flooding
  • depression and fatigue
  • headaches
  • insomnia, anxiety and stress related conditions
  • memory and concentration enhancement
  • heart palpitations and elevated blood pressure
  • urinary frequency
  • peace of mind and improved quality of life


Herbs are often used in combination for addressing the broader picture of a health issue. Which herb is most appropriate for use depends upon the larger picture and is best assessed through a health consultation to ensure that any possible underlying health concerns are being addressed and the most appropriate herbs are being blended together for your program.

What are Xenoestrogens and how can Xenoestrogens Aggravate Hormonal Imbalance in Menopause?

Avoid environmental xenoestrogens (endocrine disruptors generally made from petrochemical byproducts), which are stronger than our body’s own hormones and very toxic estrogen mimickers. Some xenoestrogens activate hormone receptors, stimulating hormone levels and creating a state called estrogen dominance; others block receptors preventing our bodies’ hormones from carrying out their tasks.

Our exposure to estrogens is skyrocketing through the inundation of environmental xenoestrogens; in fact estrogen levels of perimenopausal women in North America are considered on the high end of the spectrum when compared to worldwide trends.

Women may become estrogen dominant due to an earlier onset of menstruation, the use of synthetic hormones and a lifetime exposure to environmental estrogens, this estrogen dominance may lead to a proportionately greater decline in estrogen levels as we enter menopause, further aggravating menopause symptoms. Estrogen stimulates cell proliferation (cell growth) as well as an increase in estrogen receptors. A long term over exposure to environmental estrogens may predispose to cancerous changes in susceptible tissues.

Looking for ways to reduce contact with environmental and chemical endocrine disruptors (xenoestrogens)?

In her health consultations, Katolen Yardley believes in empowering her clients through the sharing of background health information, providing actionable tips and expert advice so her clients have the tools necessary for informed decision making.

Recommended Reading

The Menopause Industry: How the Medical Establishment Exploits Women by Sandra Coney
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause by John Lee and Virginia Hopkins
Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Tori Hudson
The Greatest Experiment Ever Preformed on Women: Exploding the Estrogen Myth by Barbara Seaman

Additional Women’s Health Links

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