For many women, the way their hormones influence their bodies often comes across as slightly mysterious. Other than the fact that oestrogen is the “female hormone”, of course. Yet despite their subtle touch, the impact of hormones on health is often keenly felt. If you’re ever felt puzzled over the amount of influence such resultant conditions have over your life, perhaps this short guide will help provide some clarification.
Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
For one, PMS is real and is not some made-up condition. In fact, experts have claimed that up to 90 percent of women suffer from at least one physical and psychological symptom. Environmental oestrogen disruptors, also known as xenoestrogens, are known to aggravate symptoms. Holistic means of quelling said symptoms come by way of vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, evening primrose oil, and calcium supplementation.
One enduring myth about PMS is how women are rendered incapable of making sound, rational decisions once afflicted by it. However, Dr. Cobi Slater of the Essential Health Natural Wellness Clinics argues otherwise, stating that a person’s individual stress factors play a much more significant role in affecting the decision-making process.
Post-partum depression (PPD)
Like other forms of depression, no one “chooses” to have PPD nor will it go away if left alone or ignored. The truth is that PPD may be related to a particular sensitivity to hormone fluctuations. In line with this, receiving early treatment can help you achieve a full and safe recovery. Due to social stigma, PPD is one of the least talked about issues regarding hormonal imbalance. This results in many sufferers feeling alone and powerless. However, mothers who are experiencing PPD are encouraged to actively seek out support groups, both online and offline, as this will form the perfect complement to other forms of administered treatments recommended by health care practitioners.
In addition to community support, cognitive behavioural therapy can help to deal with depression. Omega-3 supplementation, especially those with a higher concentration of DHA, is also commonly prescribed and can also be used as a preventive measure for expectant women. Acupuncture and massage can also help to relieve the symptoms of stress and pain that tend to accompany PPD.
Some believe that menopause is something that happens overnight. However, it is in fact a gradual process. While symptoms do include weight gain, changes in libido, sleep pattern disturbances and more, it can be treated and managed appropriately. Chasteberry, passion flower and black cohosh can help to improve mood and increase progesterone levels. Vitamin D with calcium can also fight against osteoporosis – something that menopausal women need to actively guard against. Reducing xenoestrogen exposure while providing adequate adrenal support via adaptogenic herbs can also help promote hormone balance. Most importantly, menopause is a natural and healthy phase of a women’s life and should not be viewed or treated as a disease of some sort.
When it comes to setting the scene for a well-balanced body, hormones and all, the usual guidelines apply: practice proper nutrition, stay active, get plenty of rest and minimise stress. It may be old hat, but it’s also stood the test of time!