Check out our articles on women’s health, hormones and how to support yourself holistically. Use the menu to learn more about these topics.
Written by Naturopaths Meah Robertson & Lucy Fitzgibbons.
The main active hormones throughout a woman’s life are oestrogen (both good & bad), progesterone, and testosterone (plus the signalling hormones LH & FSH). The balance & metabolism of these hormones contributes to many physical symptoms & conditions.
One of the telltale signs to monitor for hormonal issues is menstruation & patterns of symptoms in each cycle. Your periods are really like a “report card” of your overall health and hormone balance. Although common, symptoms such as PMS, heavy flow, clots, irregular cycles, pain and bloating are signs of imbalances, which can be addressed with appropriate support.
Our other endocrine glands including Thyroid (metabolism & weight control), Adrenals (energy & stress response) & Pancreas (blood sugar control & insulin resistance) also play a big part in our overall hormonal balance & general health. These systems are all interconnected and it’s important when we’re working on improving our hormonal health that we also holistically support the rest of our endocrine system.
Fem21 addresses multiple endocrine systems in the one formula for support, balancing & healing.
All of our hormones are made from good cholesterol (which is why healthy fats are so important in our diet). We will then convert this into either adrenal hormones or androgens (sex hormones). Our oestrogen will be metabolised into good or bad (toxic) oestrogen. With oestrogen we want to “use it, then loose it”, when oestrogen isn’t metabolised well through the liver & bowels it stays in our system for too long and becomes toxic. Oestrogen is an inflammatory hormone and high levels of this proliferative hormone can play havoc with our periods, leading to pain, bloating, irritability, heavy periods, headaches, sore breasts etc. Progesterone is an anti-inflammatory hormone and is the balancer to oestrogen, however it’s common for many women to not produce enough progesterone due to stress. This leaves a hormonally imbalanced state of oestrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency.
Below is a chart of how we make hormones in the endocrine system:
Certainly the effects of hormones fluctuating can play a big part on a woman’s quality of life & overall health. Throughout my experience as a Naturopath, Herbalist & Nutritionist specialising in women’s health, I’ve seen many women with health issues related to hormonal imbalances. With a multitude of symptoms associated with menopause, anxiety, irritability, sleep disruptions, fatigue, weight problems, irregular periods, heavy periods, painful periods, PMS, low libido, fertility issues – and the list goes on.
However in saying this it is not the fate for every woman to have hormonal issues, for the lucky ones they have no issues and sail through life and their hormonal changes with ease.
Diet, lifestyle, activity levels, stress levels, weight and nutritional status can play a big part in the severity and longevity of hormonal symptoms. In an ideal world we’d all be happy, healthy and completely in balance and therefore not have any issues. However this is not a reality for many busy working women juggling family, work, study and other commitments (me included). Read more about 10 ways to naturally balance your hormones.
At the beginning of 2014 I started work on Fem21, a product specifically for women to help support their hormone balance and other health factors which contributed to issues in the endocrine system. I’m so happy with the results of the formula which supports liver, digestion, adrenals, good bacteria in the gut, detoxification, hormonal metabolism, thyroid function, reduces oxidative stress and alkalizes the body. Read more on Behind Fem21 by Meah Robertson.
When it comes to hormones it seems simple, our ovaries just release eggs (ovulation) and therefore our output of oestrogen & progesterone from the ovaries happens cyclically and we get a period 2 weeks after ovulation. The tricky part is the fluctuations and the making of good oestrogen & progesterone which play the biggest part in how we feel cycle to cycle.