A woman experiences a complexity of shifts in her body due to the continuation, or end, of menstruation. Many women can recognize when their period is about to start, or know they approaching menopause, because of some characteristic shifts in mood and physical comfort. There are more than 150 symptoms related to premenstrual syndrome and many more related to menopause! It is downright amazing how the female body works to ensure procreation, something that can be easily forgotten when we are doubled over each month with cramps, or screaming at our kids because we are in a definite funk.
So what’s to blame for these symptoms around menstruation and menopause – hormones of course!
Hormones are the chemical messengers in our bodies that help to maintain a stable internal environment. Hormones are like instruments in an orchestra, they need to work in balance with one another. Any kind of shift or imbalance throws the whole song out of tune.
The female sex hormones are made by the ovaries and are known as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones surge and dip through the menstruation cycle. Many symptoms of ill health can stem from an imbalance of these two hormones. For example, a high estrogen level, or estrogen dominance, can cause water retention, depression, anxiety and headaches. Low estrogen, or deficiency, often shows as decreased sexual arousal, poor memory, depression, elevated blood pressure and poor sleep. Symptoms of progesterone deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, and anxiety.
Sometimes it can be hard to know if a hormone in your body is out of balance. It is an intricate system in place to keep you at your best. Seeking help from your health care provider is really the best way to learn more about how your hormones are working for you. But a few things that can affect your hormones:
– Poor diet
– Food sensitivities
– Environmental allergens
– Elevated blood sugar
– Poor liver functioning
– Drugs, including the birth control pill
– Excess alcohol
– Lack of exercise
The best measures for keeping your hormones healthy are the measures we’ve talked about here many times: lots of rest, reduce your stress, eat a healthy diet, exercise and reach for a proactive approach to health care.