Female hormonal health is a subject I am very passionate about. So many women are suffering in silence without knowing what to do, or just being told that what they are experiencing is normal. Pain, anxiety, depression, low libido, foggy thinking, etc. – how can these symptoms be considered normal?
I became interested in hormonal balance back in 2011 after I was diagnosed with endometriosis, an illness caused by excess estrogen in the body. At the time, I was working crazy hours in finance, and my condition worsened very quickly to the point that I experienced pain daily. My husband and I also decided that we wanted to start a family. Given my diagnosis, our chances to conceive were very slim. I had surgery, and then was advised to take hormonal treatments. I tried several ones but they all made me sick. This is when I started looking into more natural options to help me manage my symptoms and regain hormonal harmony.
Why are hormones so important?
Hormones are chemical messengers, which control a lot of functions in the body. By making sure these communication channels work in the right way, we can see tremendous improvements.
On the physical side: The health of skin and hair improves; weight management is easier; energy levels increase.
On the emotional side: PMS and mood swings decrease; overall mood improves; memory and concentration improve (as opposed to the brain fog many women with hormonal issues can experience).
Last but not least, balancing hormones can also help in dramatically reducing the pain we feel when we have our periods or ovulate.
7 Steps I Recommend To Regain Hormonal Health
1. Understand Your Endocrine System
The endocrine system is the system of organs where our hormones are produced. By understanding where each hormone is created, we can link physical ailments to a particular hormonal imbalance and, vice-versa, understand why a particular hormonal imbalance affects a particular part of our body.
2. Control Blood Sugar
Blood sugar imbalances cause in women an increase in testosterone, which will wreak havoc on the hormonal system. When that is the case, our body will be under stress, which causes further hormonal imbalances.
3. Elimination & Detox
Elimination starts with being careful about the food you eat, what you drink, as well as the cosmetics and cleaning products that you use. They all get absorbed either through our mouth or skin into our body and can disrupt our hormonal balance. This is the reason why detox is so important. We are on, a daily basis, exposed to hormonal disruptors – whether from food or our environment. Understanding how we can support our body in detoxing from these nasty substances is a must.
Nutrition recommendations to eliminate:
Sugar and artificial sweeteners
Add more of:
Vegetables of different colours and particularly, cruciferous vegetables
The first thing to know to choose a good detox is the 4 detox pathways our body uses:
Once we know that, it is easier to create our own detox program or know which one to look for.
4. Stress Management
Whenever we react to stress, our body responds by producing the adrenal hormone cortisol. This competes for receptor sites with progesterone, making the progesterone less “active” and leading, after a long period of stress, to estrogen dominance. (Cortisol also increases estrogen production.) Too much stress will also result in the exhaustion of the adrenal glands and a deficiency of cortisol, which causes hormonal imbalance.
5. Exercise Smarter Not Harder
I was reading Alisa Vitti’s book, WomanCode, and found her suggestion to exercise differently based on when you are in your cycle a wonderful idea. When I read her book in 2013, I had been somehow doing that for the past years, but without really acknowledging that phenomenon. Just the fact of knowing it, makes it easier to not feel guilty when I feel like doing a kinder type of exercise when I am menstruating. Since then, I have dug deeper into the topic and enjoy my cycles and their changing talents.
6. Vitamin P
This is my favorite type of vitamin: vitamin Pleasure. I call it vitamin P because a self-care practice should be part of an every day’s routine for women, to help them feel great in their own skin.
7. Connect with your inner Goddess
Women are said to have 2 energy centers, their belly and their reproductive organs. Connecting with our inner Goddess means allowing ourselves to feel our bodies. The inner Goddess is that inner wisdom that knows what we should do.
Practices I love which help me connect with my inner Goddess include: meditation, tapping, journaling, and yoga.
Does anything else work for you, which is not mentioned here? I'd love to hear about it!