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Month: July 2018

Hormones 101: Estrogen

How much do you know about some of the hormones that drive your menstrual cycle?

 

They do so many things for us, yet can feel like a bit of a mystery, right?

 

Let’s take a step back and have a look at estrogen, one of a woman’s primary female hormones.

 

A quick note: when we talk about estrogen, we’re mainly talking about estrodiol, the form of estrogen produced by the ovaries. This form of estrogen drives puberty and our menstrual cycle all the way to menopause.   

 

There are two other forms of estrogen that are useful in different times of our lives: estrone (the dominant form of estrogen during menopause) and estriol (we have a high amount of this form of oestrogen when we’re pregnant).

 

Contrary to what many may think, estrogen is a wonderful hormone, responsible for so many body functions and events, from puberty, menstruation, perimenopause and menopause.

 

During our menstruating years, estrogen is mainly produced by a woman’s ovaries.

 

Did you know that women can also make estrogen in the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys, fat tissue and the placenta during pregnancy?

 

Our bodies are incredible, aren’t they?

 

It’s worth remembering with estrogen, we can have too little and we can have too much, so our body works hard to get the balance just right – similar to Goldilocks 😀

 

So what does estrogen do for us exactly? 

 

In puberty, estrogen helps our breasts and body hair begin to grow and and gives our bodies the signal that it’s time for periods to start.

 

During our menstruating years, estrogen is one of the four major hormones that control the menstrual cycle.

 

You might be surprised to learn that it also:

  • Affects our moods
  • Helps women have strong bones
  • Keeps our cholesterol levels under control: increasing HDL (the good cholesterol) and decreasing LDL (the bad cholesterol)

 

If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle, it’s important to remember that your estrogen levels don’t stay the same throughout.

 

They’re generally at their highest point during ovulation, halfway through our menstrual cycles and at their lowest point on the first day of our periods.

 

This is why you might find that your moods are low right before or during your period and you might feel your best – your most energetic, sparkiest and brightest around the time of ovulation. Your libido will be its highest at this point too.

 

Do you notice the ups and downs of estrogen across your cycle?

 

Have you noticed it dropping as you approach perimenopause and menopause?

 

Do you have questions about estrogen and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your estrogen levels, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

 

Photo by Astro Nick on Unsplash

The 5 Types of PMS

5 Types of PMS

How do you feel in the week before your period?

 

Do you get a bit anxious?

 

Maybe a bit bloated or swollen?

 

Do you doubt yourself more or feel really down or depressed?

 

The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when PMS takes place, generally falls in the 7-10 days before a woman gets her period. This phase can feel very different, depending on the individual woman.

 

Do you want to know why?

 

We of course, need to consider different genetics, diet, lifestyles and backgrounds.

 

The other reason is that there are 5 different types of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). This means that while I might experience a bit of pain and breast tenderness, another woman might spend this time feeling a bit anxious, having cramps or craving sweets and cake.

 

Some women experience low energy, depression, headaches and bloating / swelling, while others find that their mood is all over the place and they feel teary one moment and angry the next.

 

This time in our cycle is when our estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest and any nutritional deficiencies or existing hormonal imbalances can make any PMS symptoms worse. 

 

Understanding the 5 types of PMS can help you get a better sense of what’s going on with your body during this time of the menstrual cycle. And then you can deal with whatever’s going on, rather than letting these symptoms completely take over every month.

 

PMS-P (Pain)

Let’s start with the first type: PMS-P – the P stands for pain 😱.

 

Many women experience pain during their periods, however with PMS-P, the week before their periods can see them experiencing some light cramps and a reduced pain threshold, which is why things might hurt a little bit more in the week before your period (like stubbing your toe!) or you might feel a bit crampy, even though you don’t have your period.

 

PMS-A (Anxiety)

For some women, hormonal fluctuations and nutrient deficiencies can lead to an increase in feelings of anxiety, nervousness, moodiness and irritability in the 7-10 days before their period arrives. 

 

Some women describe really strong feelings of self-doubt and an unusual tendency to second guess themselves during this time of their cycle. 

 

PMS-C (Cravings)

Chocolate, crisps, biscuits, candy, sweets – no, I’m not opening up a sweet shop! These are very common cravings that women tend to get in the week before their periods. 

 

If you have this form of PMS, you might find that you have an increase in appetite, and you want more sweets (hello, chocolate!) or savoury foods. 

 

Some women also feel more tired or dizzy and then need to eat something to get their  blood sugar levels back under control.

 

PMS-D (Depression)

If you have this type of PMS, the week before your period starts might be a rollercoaster of crying, insomnia, forgetfulness and confusion.

 

At its worst, women who experience this type of PMS withdraw from the world and may have suicidal thoughts.

 

If you feel like this, I urge you not to suffer in silence. It’s okay to ask for help and to share how you feel!

 

PMS-H (Hyperhydration)

Bloating and swollen fingers are other common PMS symptoms and fall into PMS-H.

 

If you have this type of PMS, you could get anything from a feeling of being a bit bloated around the middle, to a puffier look in your face and hands to very tender breasts (mastalgia). You might even gain up to 1-2kg of water weight. 

 

Most women tend to have a few of these different types of PMS. Which ones do you have?

 

There’s really no one sized fits all when it comes to PMS – what I experience is very different to what some of my friends experience.

 

And here’s the truth: PMS isn’t inevitable and it isn’t something we need to accept as a part of our monthly cycles. Yes, really!

 

Cravings, anxiety, depression, bloating, swelling and pain are all signs from your body that something is out of balance. It could be a hormonal imbalance, a nutrient deficiency or an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut.
 

So where to start if you’re experiencing these things?

 

Firstly, take a look at your diet.

 

Are you eating enough leafy greens? Brassicas such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts? Are you constipated? Drinking enough water?

 

Keeping a food diary and looking at what you’re eating and what you’re not eating is a great starting point to beginning to fix PMS.
 

If you have questions or simply don’t know where to start, get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review.


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.
 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

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