How many times have you mumbled this under your breath?
Something you just have to live with….
Bloating and weight gain
Hormones are like men—can’t live with them, can’t live without them!
Even though these are the things women associate with hormones. The truth is that if you are living in a state of natural hormone balance you should have a profound sense of well-being.
What is "living in a state of natural hormone balance" for women?
Living in a state of natural hormone balance is your path to feeling well in the present and optimal health in the long term future. Sounds good…right? You may be asking what is natural hormone balance? In women, NHB involves our ovaries, thyroid, and adrenals all doing the right thing at the right time.
Your ovaries produce two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen rises and falls in the first half of “the month” and progesterone dramatically increases and decreases in the second half of your cycle after ovulation.
When you look at this diagram—what do you think? Most women say…..”No wonder I’m crazy!” Ironically, we only struggle with all the symptoms we associate with “being hormonal” when our hormones are NOT making these dramatic changes during the month. Struggling with irritability, fatigue, anxiety, sleep problems, pain, headaches and depression is not normal and is your body’s way of telling you—something isn’t right! The good news is there are real solutions!
The second factor in the natural hormone balance puzzle involves the adrenal glands and cortisol. The adrenals are two small glands that sit like two little tiaras on top of the kidneys.
These unassuming little glands have a multitude of jobs, but are important to natural hormone balance because of cortisol—a hormone produced in response to psychological and physical stress. During times of stress, cortisol keeps you awake and alert in order to deal with the problem. It helps you stay vigilant during the night, to care for a sick child. It helps you cram for final exams at the end of the semester. Cortisol can be your friend during times of crisis and stress …..as long as the stress doesn’t last too long! Chronic stress is another story.
But who doesn’t deal with chronic stress today?
In the context of chronic stress, cortisol disrupts a woman’s natural hormone balance in both a direct and indirect way. The direct effect occurs because the adrenals need progesterone to make cortisol. The adrenal glands can make a small amount of progesterone to keep up with normal demands, but cannot keep up in the face of chronic stress. In this situation, the adrenals will begin to pull progesterone out of the bloodstream to make cortisol. This leaves you with a progesterone deficiency and all the symptoms that accompany progesterone deficiencies--PMS, heavy painful periods, irregular cycles, cyclical depression, headaches, etc. So, then we end up adding “feeling lousy” to the list of stressors…..and let the vicious spiral downward begin! The indirect effect of chronic stress on your natural hormone balance is through the thyroid….keep reading to learn how!
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped organ located in the neck. The thyroid gland is small but has very broad effects in our bodies. If you are experiencing a symptom—a thyroid problem can cause it!
The thyroid gland produces an inactive form of thyroid hormone that is converted to active form in the cells of the body. Active thyroid hormone regulates your metabolism. Your metabolism is made up of all the little biochemical reactions that help the cells do their jobs. Every cell in your body has a “metabolism.” Chronic stress and cortisol have a negative effect on thyroid function by blocking the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone into active thyroid hormone in the cells.
Your natural hormone balance is affected by low thyroid function because your ovaries have cells with biochemical reactions that must function at a certain rate to produce the right amount of estrogen and progesterone at the right time. Experts believe that anywhere from 15 to 40% of women may be dealing with low thyroid function due to chronic stress. Unfortunately, the typical screening test for low thyroid function can be normal in women with this type of thyroid problem and even in some women on thyroid supplements.
Living in a state of natural hormone balance is not only important for your sense of well being, but has tremendous effects on the long term health of several key aspects of your body! Learning about hormones and whole body health is important in desease prevention and a healthy lifestyle-whether your are 16 or 60!
For the whole picture in one click, download our free e-book "Living in a State of Natural Hormone Balance in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s!"