Women’s hormonal health is profoundly complex – and it’s something that many of us don’t know enough about. From puberty to pregnancy to menopause, our hormones are constantly in flux, ebbing and flowing throughout our lives. For many of us, this can cause a great deal of discomfort and confusion. PMS and hormone imbalances can take a serious toll on our emotional and physical wellbeing, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts. In this article, we’ll be exploring the different ways we can navigate PMS and hormone imbalances, so you can feel empowered and in control of your own hormonal health.
1. Unraveling the Mysteries of Women’s Hormonal Health
Women’s hormonal health is one of the most important aspects of overall wellbeing, but can also be one of the most challenging to understand and maintain. It’s essential for women to understand how their hormones work as they journey through life and as they age.
- Menstruation: our monthly cycle, is controlled by four crucial hormones: estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. It’s important to be aware of how your body responds to hormonal changes and to never hesitate to seek medical attention if something doesn’t seem quite right.
- Perimenopause and Menopause: as a woman ages, her ovaries produce less and less of the hormones that control her regular cycle. Hot flashes, disturbed sleep, mood changes and other symptoms can all be associated with perimenopause and menopause.
Though it can be daunting to try and comprehend and accept these changes, there are solutions. Hormone therapy is a treatment consisting of medications that contain female hormones and may be used to treat symptoms of declining hormones.
It’s essential for women to familiarize themselves with their own levels of hormones, to observe any changes and to always seek medical advice if something doesn’t seem quite right. Taking the steps to understand our bodies and how they react to hormonal changes can help us better care for our health and wellbeing.
2. Understanding the Cycle of PMS
is central to managing and treating it. PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome and it is the collection of physical and emotional signs and symptoms that many women experience leading up to their period.
The Steps of the Cycle
- 1st Step – Follicular Phase;
- 2nd Step – Ovulatory Phase;
- 3rd Step – Luteal Phase.
The Follicular Phase is the first step in the menstrual cycle. It starts on the first day of your period and ends with ovulation, which takes place on the 14th day. During this time, levels of Estrogen are highest, while levels of Progesterone are low. This phase is also associated with changes in mood, energy levels, and the ability to focus and concentrate.
The Ovulatory Phase is the second step in the menstrual cycle. It starts on the fifteenth day and ends with the start of the Luteal Phase on the twenty–first day. During this phase, levels of both Estrogen and Progesterone are at their highest. Many women may experience PMS symptoms such as depressive or irritable moods, fatigue, and bloating during this time.
The Luteal Phase is the third and final step in the menstrual cycle. It starts on the twenty–second day and ends on the first day of your next period. During this time, levels of Estrogen and Progesterone begin to decline, and many women may experience symptoms such as depression, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and food cravings.
is essential for managing and reducing PMS symptoms. With some modifications to lifestyle and diet, most women can find relief from their PMS symptoms.
3. Hormonal Imbalances and Menopause Explained
Many hormonal imbalances and changes in women’s bodies occur during and after menopause. Although the specifics of these changes can depend on individual needs and experiences, a few common features are outlining this stage of life:
- Decreased production of the hormones: As women go through menopause, their bodies gradually reduce the amounts of the female sex hormones—oestrogen and progesterone—produced in their ovaries. This is why many menopausal symptoms result from a shortage of these two hormones.
- An increase in Follicle Stimulating Hormone: In response to the decreased production of the sex hormones, the body releases an increased amount of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Generally, this hormone is critical for stimulating ovarian follicles, as well as for fertility. After menopause, FSH receptors become no longer operational, meaning the functioning of the ovaries is diminished.
- An increase in Luteinising Hormone: This endocrine hormone starts to rise during the perimenopause period, which is the stage preceding menopause. LH is released to stimulate the ovaries, and it plays an important role in the production of eggs, as well as the release of progesterone. After the menopausal period, LH also starts to rise, although its effects on the body are less visible.
The repercussions of these hormonal imbalances and ups and downs vary in seriousness and severity. Some are mild and short-term; others may take longer to subside. The most common ones include hot flashes, mood changes, insomnia, a declining sex drive, and various other physical symptoms. As each woman experiences menopause in unique and sometimes unpredictable ways, it is impossible to predict what type of complications a particular woman may encounter. Yet whichever effects these hormonal changes may have on a woman’s body and emotional well-being, it is crucial to seek medical help in case of any worrying symptoms.
4. Navigating the Challenges of Hormonal Health
Hormonal health is a delicate balance and, knowing how to manage it can be complicated. Like a tight-rope walker making their way across a canyon, your hormones must be skillfully navigated to reach the optimal level of balance.
But never fear! With knowledge and the right care, these 4 tips can help you find your way through the most tumultuous hormonal moments:
- Eat Right: Eating a balanced diet full of essential vitamins and minerals can go a long way towards maintaining balanced hormones.
- Manage Stress: Stress can often lead to an increase or decrease in hormones, so learning techniques to manage it and keep your hormones in check is essential.
- Exercise Regularly: Exercise can help reduce stress and promote the production of hormones necessary for proper functioning. Even something as small as a daily walk can help keep your hormones in balance.
- Seek Professional Help: If a hormonal imbalance persists, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider who can help identify the problem and provide a plan of action to get you back on track.
Hormonal health is complicated, but with the right tools, you can get back on balance and navigate your way to a healthy, happy body. So don’t be afraid to take that first step and get started on your journey today.
5. Resolving Stressors to Find Balance and Joy
Finding balance and joy in life can feel like a full-time job but it doesn’t have to be. In order to find joy and balance, we need to understand how stress impacts our wellbeing and the importance of resolving stressors.
One of the most important steps towards finding balance is taking the time to reduce any stressors and pressure in our lives. There are a variety of ways to do this:
- Take five minutes a day to meditate and focus on your breathing
- Set boundaries and prioritize tasks that are more important to you
- Organize your living space and create a clutter-free sanctuary
- Schedule regular time with friends and family for quality bonding time
- Go for a walk and enjoy the great outdoors as often as possible
The key to a balanced life is to have an open mind to the possibilities of finding joy and peace in each situation. We need to be mindful of our thoughts and our environment so that we can better respond to the stress in our lives. Be mindful of your thought patterns and how they affect your state of mind and well-being. Reach out for help if you need it, and don’t be afraid to talk about your emotions.
Self-care is essential for getting through difficult times and maintaining a greater sense of balance and joy. Take care of your body and mind, provide yourself with comforting activities that you enjoy, and never miss an opportunity to laugh—laughter can be a great way to find balance and joy in life!
We know that women’s hormonal health can be a tricky subject to navigate. Yet, when we are equipped with the right resources and knowledge, we can tend to our bodies with more sensitivity and feel more in tune with our natural cycles. The more we understand, the more empowered we all become. Here’s to taking control of our hormonal health!