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Like every other woman walking this beautiful planet, you have hormones. At times your hormones can have you feeling amazing and in an instant they can take you to your dark side. Understanding your hormones can be totally overwhelming. First up, there are hundreds of them, all which have various purposes and effects, which our bodies are at the mercy of. If you find yourself blaming your hormones way too often for bad moods, headaches, pimples, period pain, insane hunger and weight gain, I’m here to help! I go by the title of ‘The Hormone Revolutionist,’ and I’m here to help your hormones sing happier than a Pharrell Williams hit. The best way to truly make inroads when it comes to your hormones, is to understand them a little better. I want to help you know your body better so you don’t have to feel like you’re under Darth Vader’s super force each and every month (or day for that matter).
Obviously we’re not all doctors and it can be a little tricky to know if it’s a case of too much gluten or true hormone imbalance when we attempt to assess the situation. But if we dig down a little deeper at the signs and symptoms our bodies reveal to us, we might see that we are constantly being fed very interesting information as to what is going on in the internal landscape of our body. So whilst your ovulation pain isn’t news to you, what might strike you as revolutionary is that it isn’t there to punish you, but rather it’s there to tell you something isn’t working at it’s best and it’s time to play detective. There is always a reason and very often a solution. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the most common symptoms I see, that tell you that your hormones are begging for some tender loving care;
This would be the most common symptom I see clinically and a huge clue when it comes to the balance of your hormones. Mid cycle or ovulation pain typically points towards too much oestrogen in the body. For most women, excess oestrogen is the driving issue of their hormone woes. There are a host of things that can contribute to high oestrogen including stress, exposure to chemicals (think toxins in skincare, hair care, cleaning products, poor liver detoxification) but also excess consumption of foods that feed oestrogen like soy or alcohol, plus other factors like sleep and poor diet. Choose one or two of these key offenders and find a suitable alternative to really begin to show oestrogen who’s boss in your life and begin to rebalance your hormones.
It’s hard to have the perspective that symptoms are sometimes temporary. Especially when we look or feel like rubbish. Stress ages us faster than we can blink and it affects our hormones in crazy ways. High cortisol (one of your major stress hormones) accelerates aging because of the impact it can have on our glucose levels. If that’s not enough, long-standing stress affects the brain. This means not only do you feel old and look it, but your cognitive function and memory too becomes a thing of the past. This is a good time to check in with your stress levels and get savvy. Apply the 8 x 8 x 8 rule to keep you in check. That is 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play and 8 hours of rest.
There’s a simple answer, yes. We’re back blaming high oestrogen. But it doesn’t end there. The issue here is actually that high oestrogen leads to low progesterone (because we constantly crave balance!). Acne doesn’t tend to ‘work alone.’ Usually when it shows up there can be other unwelcome symptoms including PMS, long menstrual cycles, possibly Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), weight gain, lower abdominal pain, anxiety… and more! There are a few simple tricks you can add to your diet to help send your oestrogen packing and support healthy progesterone. Chasteberry (vitex) is a herbal supplement that helps support healthy progesterone. But the trick lies in using this alongside methods to help reduce oestrogen since they are both dependent on each other. When oestrogen is in check, naturally progesterone will rise. These same factors we mentioned above apply.
You’re tired during the day but come 9pm, you’re ready to party. This most commonly comes about as cortisol impacts your sex hormones, most specifically progesterone, the hormone that not only helps you ovulate, but is also important for a host of functions including regular menstrual cycles, concentration, good water regulation (hello bloating or fluid retention) and feeling happy. It also assists with sleep, surprise, surprise! You now also know that if your progesterone is low it’s also often in the presence of high oestrogen. To really get your progesterone feeling the love, check in with your stress. It is most often the contributing factor.
One of the key symptoms of a sluggish thyroid is cold extremities, alongside brain fog, fatigue, poor memory, missing menstrual cycles, and the list goes on since every cell in your body requires your thyroid to work properly. Problem is, our tests don’t always reflect what our thyroid is doing. Many women report thyroid symptoms yet their results come back within normal range. Here’s where I say symptoms never lie. It’s important to understand why your thyroid might be messing about. Again, perhaps it is high stress, poor gut health, overworked adrenals and other ongoing infections etc. But you can action change. Start with lessening inflammatory foods from the diet like gluten and sugar and see if it brings about any change. 20% of people with thyroid troubles find that by removing gluten effectively fixes the issue. Whilst this is a short-term solution (it doesn’t actually fix the root cause) it’s certainly a great starting point. If you need more guidance on your thyroid, check out my mini e-class, Debunking your Thyroid.
The truth is, whilst we can look at our symptoms and feel like our body is letting us down, it is actually doing what it should be, under stress. If these niggly signs weren’t there to show us, we would be none the wiser. The key lies in understanding what symptoms are showing us and prompt us to action change. We can’t keep doing the same thing, expecting a different solution. So with that in mind, I encourage you to try one new thing you can action today and do it for 21 days. That’s enough time to create a new habit and bring about wonderful change.