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Greetings, hormone fans! This week, I'm fresh off the virtual plane from a Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) conference in Las Vegas, and do I have some eye-openers to share with you!

1. Estrogen: The Multitasker of the Female Body

Did you know estrogen manages 400 functions in the female body? Yes, you heard right! Beyond its well-known role in reproductive health, estrogen is a key player in skin health, brain function, and even the maintenance of bone density. Post-menopause, the decline in estrogen levels can feel like you are walking through mud and for good reason. Estrogen controls everything from mood to metabolism.

The most staggering revelation? To mimic estrogen's symphony of functions post-menopause, a woman might need up to 30 different prescriptions. Imagine juggling 30 bottles of pills every day just to feel "normal" and stay healthy.  Research unravels the complexity of estrogen's roles and supports a holistic approach to hormone replacement therapy that might be more beneficial than the current use of horse estrogen as a source of estradiol for human females.

BHRT combines Estriol and Estradiol for a more balanced approach to estrogen replacement. This approach can lead to effective symptom management while minimising the risk associated with just using estradiol (the strongest estrogen in the body). Estrogen matters but it is important to get the right amount and the right kind!

2. The Hidden Risks of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a familiar foe, but its long-term implications are often underestimated. Experts at the conference highlighted a dangerous connection: untreated PCOS significantly elevates the risk of ovarian, endometrial, and breast cancer. This isn't just a reproductive issue; it's a critical health concern.

The call to action? Early intervention. Starting treatment of PCOS as early as age 25 can drastically reduce these cancer risks. It's an important reminder that PCOS isn't just an inconvenience but a condition with serious health implications if ignored. (Remember, early detection and treatment are your best defences against these risks.) If you think you may have PCOS or have been diagnosed with PCOS but not treated, it might be a great time to reach out for an initial hormone assessment at Happy Hormones East. (It is now even easier to book an appointment on the website launched last week: or follow me on Instagram at #tammytalkshormones.)

3. Gluten and Infertility: A Surprising Link (This one really blew my mind!)

Now, for a twist I didn't see coming: the connection between gluten and infertility. It appears that gluten might be the unseen saboteur in many couples' journeys to parenthood. According to research discussed at the conference, eliminating gluten from the diet can increase pregnancy odds by 50 percent. That's a staggering statistic that's led to significant policy in the UK; it won't even consider infertility tests until the woman has been on a gluten-free diet.

This revelation is a game-changer and highlights the intricate relationship between diet and reproductive health. For many, the path to pregnancy might just require a stroll through the gluten-free aisle. (As always, dietary changes should be discussed with a healthcare provider.)

This year's BHRT conference was a treasure trove of insights, underscoring the complexity of hormone health and its profound impact on our lives. From the many roles of estrogen to the critical importance of early PCOS treatment, and the surprising link between gluten and fertility, the learnings were as enlightening as they were actionable.

Stay tuned for more hormone talk, and remember, knowledge is not just power—it's health.

In my next column I am going to talk about the heart health and estrogen, including a review of HRT risks. Don’t miss it. And remember, Hormones are the new norm! Reach out for an initial consultation, we can help you with your symptoms.


Tammy O’Rourke is a Nurse Practitioner with a Ph.D. in Nursing. She spent the first 20 years of her career in primary care. About seven years ago she started having symptoms of several hormonal imbalances, for which her doctor prescribed medications to address anxiety, depression, and sleep issues. These medications left her feeling numb, more tired, and angry at a system that wasn’t addressing the root cause. Tammy was in perimenopause, that 8–10-year period before menopause that leaves women feeling tired, out of control, moody, lacking in self-confidence, and unwell.

She made the move to invest in her health and discovered bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, which helped significantly with her symptoms. So much so that she decided to learn more about hormones. She became certified in the United States through World Link Medical and she has been helping men and women with their hormone problems for more than four years. Tammy is passionate about her hormone practice and continues to help women and men across the country.

She recently relocated to Cape Breton Island with her husband, who grew up in The Pier.


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