Updated: Jan 10
This is blog is all about HORMONES, as women we know hormones play a vital role throughout our life, through our menstrual cycles (yes, the ups and downs, highs and lows), having children, fertility, and then the peri-menopause and menopause.
As I start with, what I am calling, the peri-peri-menopause, the very outskirts of that 'wise woman' time of life, having lived a full turbulent hormonal life PMS filled life so far, I want to dive deeper to help women in all phases of their cycles. Basically that is what this blog is about, the advice Ive given myself, Im sharing with you, from one friend to another.
Our bodies are finely tuned machines....
When it comes to hormones, during certain times may feel a little imbalanced with age, diet and stress levels all playing key roles in female hormonal health. Estrogen in the body is more available than progesterone (Im not going to get too much into the 'science' in this blog, just the help and how to's, there are many other brilliant blogs and reports out there if you want to dive deeper into the 'sciency bit).
So, lets start with the SYMPTOMS of low progesterone or high estrogen
High anxiety and low mood, irritability (depression in severe cases)
fatigue, insomnia and poor sleep
crying spells for no good reason
brain fog, headaches, migraines
Weight gain, bloating, water retention
Cellulite, sagging skin, varicose veins
Irregular menstrual cycle, spotting
Frequent low blood sugar
Regularly tender breasts
Heavy bleeding & painful periods (estrogen dominance)
Difficultly getting or staying pregnant
Gall bladder problems or removal
Fibroids, endometriosis, Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
For most women, Im sure you can check a few boxes!
If you have CHECKED THREE OR MORE OF THESE YOU COULD HAVE A HORMONAL IMBALANCE
So what do you do?
All of the above symptoms can happen at any time of your cycles.
Age can be a factor for hormonal issues: Between the ages of 35-50 progesterone falls by up to 75% which can cause ‘estrogen dominance’ (ED), hot flushes, mood swings, stomach pains and weight gain. We are all aware of the peri-menopause and menopause and its effects on hormones as you or ladies around you glow at high temperatures and strip off due to the hot flushes and flashes.
So lets look at (in a very tiny nutshell) the basics of Estrogen and progesterone:
Estrogen (the ‘builder’) is what makes the grass grow
and progesterone (the ‘differentiator’) is like the mower that cuts the grass.
They both do a beautiful (hormonal) dance together. If there is a progesterone low, ED (estrogen dominance) can take over. You can get checked out with a blood test if you want solid proof of your hormonal levels, this blog is all about what you can do to help yourself NATURALLY.
The benefits of boosting progesterone:
(Dr Valentine for Life Enhancement, Scientific Health News)
Improve PMS, menstrual cycles, peri-menopause and menopause (spotting before your period is a sign you have low progesterone levels)
Promotes bone building and protects against osteoporosis
Helps protect against endometrial cancer and breast cancer
Help maintain regular monthly cycles by maintaining lining of uterus and helps normalise blood clotting
Pregnancy: Promotes survival of the embryo and foetus throughout gestation
Progesterone also helps other functions within the body:
Acts as a natural antidepressant
Helps regulate blood sugar levels and promotes fat burning for energy (thermogenesis)
helps thyroid hormone action
May help maintain sex drive
Normalizes zinc and copper levels
Promotes proper cellular oxygen levels
SIX WAYS TO HELP BALANCE
1/ CONTROL STRESS – Stress has a huge impact on Progesterone and can rob the body as Progesterone is converted to cortisol (the stress hormone), so ensure you control stress as much as you can. Use meditation, relaxation techniques such as Yoga to help you keep calm. Get rid of anything from your life that causes stress.
2/ AVOID THE FAKES!
BPA PLASTIC, PLASTICS AND TEFLON PANS
SLS CHEMICAL BODY CARE* – ALUMINIUM DEODORANT
*XENOESTROGENS are compounds found in products ADVERTISED ON A TV NEAR YOU! (these are the worst offenders for sure) such as creams, lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, hair sprays, and room deodorisers and have a chemical structure similar to estrogen and do act like estrogen. Also car exhaust fumes, petrochemically derived pesticides, herbicides, fungicides; solvents, adhesives, nail polish; paint removers, glues; dry-cleaning chemicals; practically all plastics; industrial waste (PCBs and dioxins), synthetic estrogens from urine of women taking HRT and birth control pills that are flushed down the toilet and eventually find their way into the food chain and back into the body are ALL fat soluble which means YOUR liver has to get rid of them. Keeping your liver healthy is essential and this cannot be done by supplements alone, it is achieved through healthy diet.
Evaluate your skincare and home cleaning products at www.ewg.org non-profit and independent testing authority for the toxicity and safety of thousands of products.
Helping yourself with diet, Food is Medicine:
3/ FOODS TO AVOID – I will keep this section short and simple. The main groups of foods to avoid are listed below, they ALL disrupt natural hormonal balance, there are also many, many other benefits (in abundance) for better all round health and wellbeing:
SOY & SOYA (soya beans, edame, soya products)
SUGAR (a body poison for every system)
MEAT (commercial, contains hormones)
DAIRY (commercial, contains hormones)
4/ FOODS THAT WILL HELP - EATING YOUR WAY TO HORMONAL HEALTH
AVOID NON ORGANIC AND PROCESSED FOODS
CUT BACK ON ALCOHOL (so your liver can deal with excess estrogen)
AVOID COFFEE & CAFFEINE
No foods actually contain progesterone, but you can help support your body to support progesterone production and reduce excess levels of estrogen.
SULPHUR - (a natural liver detox) All of the cruciferous vegetables are high in sulphur and will help detoxify your body, eat plenty of cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collard, brussell sprouts, onions etc.
VITAMIN C - sweet potatoes, oranges, yellow peppers
ZINC cashews, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, beans and mushrooms
MAGNESIUM beans, nuts, brown rice, green leafy vegetables
B6 - bananas, walnuts, beans, prunes, pistachios
GOOD FATS – CHOLESTEROL coconut oil, olive oil and olives
FIBRE – Good sources of fibre are essential, quinoa and oats and many more!
VITAMIN E - almonds, sunflower seeds, plant oils and avocado.
L-ARGININE - Also the amino acid L-Arginine is beneficial found in lentils, chick peas, peanuts and pumpkin seeds.
Also a HEALTHY LIVER is essential for breaking down excess estrogen and other chemicals. If you want to find out more about healthy liver follow the link below for a most AMAZING 'Liver Loving' BOOK by Susan Laing!
Take the herb SAGE FOR
PERI MENOPAUSE AND MENOPAUSE:
For help with symptoms of hot flushes and night sweats.
5/ RESTORE A HEALTHY DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
The health of your gut is essential to your overall health as much as your hormonal balance.
All healthy people generally tend to have a healthy digestive system.
DIGESTIVE ISSUES INCLUDE: chronic constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, burping and frequent stomach aches.
A distressed digestive tract prompts the adrenals to release cortisol (which is a progesterone blocker at a cellular level). All forms of stress (emotional, physical, digestive, etc.) all can lead to estrogen dominance.
Create a better gut flora by
EAT MORE FIBRE – increase good fibre intake
PRO AND PRE-BIOTICS – Kefir, fermented foods
Try SPROUTING – Create a better gut flora, packed full of essential nutrients
Further recent findings on the digestive health and ‘estrobolome’ – a subset of the gut bacteria that helps metabolize estrogen, where gut bacteria can actually bring on estrogen dominance! “The estrobolome provides a framework for understanding how an individual’s resident gut bacteria may modulate lifetime estrogen exposure,” said Dr. Plottel. “States of estrogen excess are associated with an increased risk of developing estrogen-related cancers, so knowledge and characterization of the estrabolome represent a novel area of promising scientific and biomedical research.”.
6/ SUPPLEMENTS AND CREAMS can help greatly for some women to help balance hormones:
AGNUS CASTUS – CHASTEBERRY – VITEX
Chasteberry is said to help stimulate progesterone production and reduce the levels of estrogen in your blood by suppressing prolactin levels in the body, known to cause irregular menstrual cycles. Herbalists believe chasteberry to be a natural source of progesterone and can be taken as an extract, tincture, or pill. Avoid if you are taking any kind of hormonal birth control, if you are pregnant, or if you are currently taking medications to increase your changes of getting pregnant.
PROGESTERONE CREAMS –
If your diet is good but you still have low progesterone levels you should try a progesterone cream. Natural progesterone creams have been shown to be highly effective in helping to increase progesterone levels. Natural progesterone cream has the same molecular structure as the substance your body produces. Many progesterone creams on the market claim to be all natural but actually contain plant estrogens – the exact hormone you are trying to counter-act. Still, a high quality, natural progesterone cream can be helpful. Since natural progesterone cream has the same molecular structure as the progesterone produced by your body, it is easily absorbed. Mexican yam cream (wild yam root) contains diosgenin, which is converted into progesterone.
and last but not least,
AVOID BIRTH CONTROL PILLS – Most birth control pills contain synthetic forms of two female hormones: estrogen and progestin which stop ovulation thus preventing pregnancy. Also hormonal coils are best avoided too as these will all interfere with the regular cycle.
Thank you for reading my blog.
ALWAYS CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR
FOR ADVICE AND FURTHER GUIDANCE