Let’s Talk About Hormones

Hey Ladies, Let’s Talk About Hormones

For all women, your overall health and vibrancy – and ultimately, quality of life –  is affected by hormones. Did you know that even a slight imbalance can have effects throughout the body?

The truth is, It is a brutal cycle that all women experience. Understanding your hormones and getting control of hormone imbalances is crucial to living your best life. I’m here to help you get there!

So if hormones are SO important, why aren’t they talked about more? 

Sadly, society has placed a taboo on openly speaking about our bodies and sexuality. Women often struggle alone with health issues, not getting the care they need to live happier lives. 

I am here to tell you it is okay. We MUST talk about hormones out in the open. Our hormones, menstrual cycles, and symptoms are all a sign of our overall health and a healthy period is a healthy YOU. 

Let’s get started with an introduction to some of the most common hormones we hear about:

Up first is estrogen.  Estrogen is responsible for developing our womanly shape – think breasts, hips, and butt! It is also essential for our immune system, bone density, and brain development.  During our cycle, estrogen matures the egg in the ovary and builds our uterine lining. There are three different types of estrogen:

E1- Esteron – dominant during menopause

E2- Estradiol – the most biologically active form

E3- Estriol – produced mainly by the placenta during pregnancy

Up next: Progesterone is amazing and kicks in in the second stage of our cycle. It impacts our internal temperature, so it has a thermogenic effect on our system. It is also known as nature’s valium because it has a sedative mood-balancing effect by stimulating our GABA receptors, keeping us calm. It can also aid with sleep. Progesterone prepares the endometrium for the potential pregnancy after ovulation, meaning it triggers the lining to thicken to accept the fertilized egg. It’s essential not only for our cycle but for our overall health.

Next up: Get this… testosterone! Ladies, males are not the only ones that need testosterone. We do, too, in small amounts, though. Testosterone supports good egg quality, helps with maintaining muscle mass, and keeps our mood and libido in check. It peaks slightly with estrogen before ovulation and converts to estrogen after. 

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and is part of our survival mechanism. The role of cortisol is to alert us to danger and to manage our stress responses. It does this by raising our blood sugar, increasing our blood pressure, and regulating the inflammatory response in our body.  However – we all know that chronic stress is not good. The body can only take so many consistently high levels of cortisol before it eventually bottoms out.

Insulin’s job is to move glucose from the foods we eat into the cells for us to use as energy. When we binge on sugar over a long period of time, we become insulin resistant. The receptors that were moving the glucose into the cells for energy become burnt out. They are tired and do not want to work anymore. High levels of insulin affect how our body produces androgens (hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction) and create high testosterone and estrogen levels in our body. 

So that’s it: a quick look at estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin. Did you catch the insights along the way as to how these powerful forces in our bodies can get out of balance  – creating a hormone imbalance that affects our overall health?

Stay tuned, next up: How do you know if you have a hormone imbalance?

-Nurse B

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