What are hormones? Hormones are chemical messengers

What are hormones? Hormones are chemical messengers. Meaning they travel through the bloodstream to relay messages to cells, tissues and organs. It’s as simple as that.

It’s important that we produce hormones in the correct amounts but also dispose of excess hormones in order to create hormonal balance. If this process is dysregulated, then we can run into trouble.

If you start to notice they are acting up for you, this requires further investigation!

Common hormonal imbalances seen in women

Excess estrogen

This occurs when you are either making too much estrogen in the body, receiving too much from the environment, and/or you are not eliminating it properly from the body. 

Symptoms of excess estrogen may include heavy periods, water retention, breast tenderness, migraines, fibrocystic breasts, mood swings, weight gain, and PMS.

How can you lower estrogen levels? Increasing fiber intake, avoiding exposure to environmental estrogens, increasing plant protein intake, buying local and organic, and supplementing when necessary.

Estrosmart is a supplement that can help lower estrogen by supporting the excretion of any surplus of estrogen with the help of specific ingredients such as turmeric, rosemary, green tea extract, and broccoli sprout extract. 

Low estrogen 

This can result from thyroid disease, chronic stress, eating disorders, low body weight, menopause, and vegan diets. 

Symptoms of low estrogen may include painful intercourse, irregular periods, mood swings, hot flashes, depression, insomnia, and decreased bone density. 


How can you increase low estrogen? 

Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common suggestions, however this is mainly recommended for menopausal women. Dietary recommendations include the consumption of phytoestrogens such as organic soy or flaxseeds, increased dietary fat, as well as magnesium and vitamin D rich foods or supplements. 

Maca is also a common supplement that is used for low estrogen especially for menopausal women. Maca has been shown to have beneficial effects on energy levels, mood, hot flashes, anxiety, depression and libido by balancing hormones and increasing fertility (1).

Low progesterone

Progesterone is created by the ovaries after ovulation which means if you are not ovulating your levels will be low. 

Symptoms of low progesterone include spotting, PMS, anxiety, heavy periods, recurrent miscarriages, water retention, excess abdominal fat, and insomnia.

How can you increase progesterone? Supporting ovulation, reducing consumption of stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, seed cycling, magnesium, and vitamin C. 

Vitex is a herb that can help to coax ovulation and boost progesterone (2). Be cautious with Vitex though as it can worsen hormones in certain cases such as PCOS.

 

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Laurence Annez is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner and Health Coach, specializing in PCOS and women's hormones. She also has a degree in Creative Writing with extensive experience writing on health and wellness topics. 

Her mission is to show women that they too can take control of their health and thrive with PCOS. Laurence does this through guided nutritional coaching, personalized and sustainable diet and lifestyle recommendations, and mindfulness coaching. Visit her website or follow her online.