Sohère Roked is an Integrative Medical Specialist and NHS GP who specialises in hormones and nutrition. Sohère talks to Willowberry natural skincare about why hormones are the foundation of our health, how hormones affect the skin, how we can help keep our hormones in balance and how we can feel really ‘well’.
How does holistic medicine differ from traditional medical practices and what made you take an integrative approach?
Holistic medicine embraces many different principles, such as looking for the root cause of a disease or symptoms; incorporating lifestyle choices such as nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management; combining conventional treatments with Eastern or alternative therapies such as acupuncture, hypnotherapy, etc; and not just focusing on the physical aspects of health, but realising our emotional and spiritual health impact our wellbeing, too.
I had been frustrated working in conventional medicine, as I felt I was just giving people drugs and not actually improving their health. When I heard about ‘holistic medicine’, also known as integrative or functional medicine, it was a no-brainer for me to pursue further studies so I could work in this way.
Why are hormones so vital to good health?
I see hormones as the foundation of our health. If your foundations are shaky, it doesn’t matter how good your ‘bricks’ (your nutrition, exercise, supplements, etc.) are to build your ‘house’ (your health) - it won’t work. Hormones encompass your female or male hormones, insulin which controls your sugars, appetite hormones like leptin and gherlin and cortisol - the stress hormone.
How can hormones affect the skin?
An imbalance of oestrogens and progesterone can cause skin to become dry and thin - this is particularly prevalent after menopause. Low oestrogen also reduces collagen production in the skin. Too much of the hormone testosterone can cause skin to be oily or spotty.
How can someone recognise if their health niggles or skin issues are caused by hormonal imbalance?
My patients come to me for hormone testing for this reason. But it’s useful to look out for indicators such as if your symptoms are worse around your menstrual cycle, or if things worsen with stress.
Us women have to deal with so many hormonal disruptions – periods, pregnancy, menopause, etc. – how can we try to keep our hormones in balance?
Good lifestyle will definitely help in this way. This includes good nutrition - high protein, healthy fats and low sugar. Exercise naturally regulates hormones. Certain supplements can help to balance hormones, such as the supplement DIM, which breaks down excess oestrogens and angus castus, which can help balance hormones and reduce pre-menstrual tension.
If a woman uses hormonal contraception, can she still balance her hormones or are they out of her hands?
When on the pill, your own hormones are completely switched off so it’s hard to balance your hormones. The only hormonal contraception that doesn’t do this is the mirena coil.
You have a treatment programme that focuses on combatting ‘flatness’ – tell us more about that.
I work with my patients to personalise their health care. So many of us are busy; we’re not ill but we don’t feel really well either, so my programme works to balance your hormones, test your vitamin and mineral levels and even look at your genes, so you can have a personalised plan for nutrition, exercise and supplements.
I also run ‘ALiVE Retreats’ where people spend 5 days with me in Fuerteventura or Costa Rica and we focus on nutrition, yoga, goals and connecting to yourself again. Everyone on the retreat has a consultation with me and there are daily health talks, too.
What are your top tips for self-care to thrive in life?
Simple things work: start with the basics such as making sure you drink enough water and get good sleep. I’ve recently developed a supplement program to ‘hack’ my sleep to improve the quality of it.
Try and get your 5 a day and take a superfood supplement for your antioxidants. Manage stress with exercise, mindfulness or walking in the park. Studies show stress is as bad for us as smoking! Supplements like ashwagandha can help. And remember to have fun! A healthy life is also a fun life so see your friends, laugh and go out dancing!
Willowberry natural skincare is dedicated to your skin’s wellbeing to help it feel content, comfortable, happy and balanced. Just how we all want to feel in ourselves, too! The Willowberry Wellbeing blog aims to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced and happy life for enhanced wellbeing.