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Category: Menstrual Health

Foods To Help Reduce Period Pain

Foods To Help Reduce Period Pain

In the many conversations I have about periods, I’m starting to see period pain becoming more and more common. As I say a lot, period pain may be common, but that doesn’t mean it’s normal.

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Why is that? It’s hard to say for sure, but stress levels are higher, we’re trying to get by on less sleep, we’re eating on the run, eating fewer vegetables and more of us are constipated, i.e. not having a daily bowel movement.

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If you’ve been reading along for a while, you’ll know that food is a powerful way to deal with period issues, including painful periods. If you’re dealing with endometriosis, fibroids or adenomyosis, search my blog for specific posts on these conditions.

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Magnesium, nature’s relaxing mineral, can be really helpful in reducing / managing period pain. Leafy greens and nuts & seeds are a great source of this mineral. I also like taking Pure Encapsulations magnesium bisglycinate for an extra boost.

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Inflammation (when the immune system is overactive) can increase pain levels, so adding in anti-inflammatory foods such as ginger, turmeric and oily fish on a regular basis can be really beneficial.

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Zinc is another powerful anti-inflammatory. Free-range, organic red meat such as beef and lamb, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, oysters and seafood, eggs (eat the yolks!) and ginger are fantastic sources of zinc.

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It’s important to also note that it’s not just about the food that gets added into the diet, it’s also about what gets taken out. For some, sugar, alcohol, cow’s milk dairy and gluten can be very inflammatory, so if period pain is a major issue, it can be beneficial to trial reducing or removing these foods from the diet, especially if it can be done in a way that doesn’t lead to a restrictive mindset around food.

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Have you ever used changes in diet to reduce period pain? Let me know in the comments!

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Le’Nise Brothers is a registered nutritionist, mBANT, women’s health, hormone and menstrual cycle coach, founder of Eat Love Move and host of the Period Story Podcast.

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! 

Foods To Reduce Pre-Menstrual Bloating

Tender boobs, swollen fingers and face, a bloated tummy: these are all symptoms of pre-menstrual bloating.

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Can you relate to any of these?

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Pre-menstrual bloating can be caused by a number of things:

  • Already low progesterone dropping even further in the run up to the next period
  • Eating too many salty foods
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not eating enough fibrous foods
  • Chronic constipation (we should be ideally pooping everyday!)

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Adding in different fruits, vegetables and nuts & seeds can help reduce all the types of pre-menstrual bloating to a more manageable level.

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Increase Water Intake

🚰 Drinking more water can help (add a squeeze of lemon or lime to boost its effectiveness), as can eating fruits & veg with a high water content, like cucumbers, celery and cantaloupe.

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Increase Daily Fibre Intake

🥬 Increasing your daily fibre intake can do wonders.

The current UK recommendation is about 30g of fibre a day for adults. Fibrous vegetables and fruit such as leafy greens, beetroot, pears and artichokes are a lovely way to get more fibre in.

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Increase Potassium Intake

🌰 Potassium is a mineral that when depleted, is associated with sodium retention and bloating.

An easy way to add more potassium is to eat more bananas!

These powerhouses have around 422mg of potassium in a medium sized banana, which is about 12% of the UK daily recommended intake!

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How do you deal with bloating before your period? Tell me in the comments below 👇🏽

Le’Nise Brothers is a registered nutritionist, mBANT, women’s health, hormone and menstrual cycle coach, founder of Eat Love Move and host of the Period Story Podcast.
 

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! 

Foods To Support Pre-Menstrual Mood Swings

How many of these things have happened recently? Started crying at something really sentimental on TV? Gotten really irrationally irritated about something then felt fine a few minutes later? Felt fine one minute, then really angry / sad / annoyed / upset the next? 🤪

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Pre-menstrual mood swings can be a sign for many of us that our periods are on their way. Or perhaps the moodiness of the previous few days makes more sense when your period arrives. Can anyone relate to that? 😳

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Food can help stabilise mood and adding the foods I’ve listed below consistently can help shift pre-menstrual mood swings.

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Support Serotonin Production

🍳 Adding foods that are high in the amino acid tryptophan can help the body make more serotonin, our happy hormone. Eggs, oily fish such as wild salmon, nuts & seeds are all high in tryptophan. Eating these foods often and alongside carbohydrates such as rice, fruits & veg and oats can help make the conversion from tryptophan to serotonin more effective.

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Support Gut Health

🥕Research shows that 90% of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, so supporting a healthy gut is another great way to support moods. Increasing fermented foods such as kombucha, kimchi, miso and kefir can help, as can adding soluble fibres such as bananas, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichoke and chicory root.

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Support Blood Sugar Balance

🍽 Managing your blood sugar levels by eating meals with lots of vegetables, high quality protein, good quality fats and lots of fibre can help keep mood stable.

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How do you deal with mood swings before your period? Tell me in the comments below!

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Le’Nise Brothers is a registered nutritionist, mBANT, women’s health, hormone and menstrual cycle coach, founder of Eat Love Move and host of the Period Story Podcast.
 

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! 

Foods To Support (And Bring Back!) A Missing Period

In clinic recently, I’ve been seeing more and more women of menstruating age with missing periods, who desperately want their period to return. The reasons for their missing periods vary from:

  • Seeing carbohydrates as the enemy
  • Improper vegan / vegetarian diets
  • Transitioning off hormonal birth control (p.s. you don’t have a proper period on the pill – that’s a ‘pharmaceutical bleed’)
  • Excessive exercise and excessive stress.

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Food can play an important role in bringing back a regular menstrual bleed and menstrual cycle, as can reframing the role of certain food groups. 👀

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Eating Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are not the enemy and provide a tremendous amount of nutrients that can replenish a body that has had key nutrients depleted by certain diets, hormonal birth control and excessive stress. Focusing on complex carbohydrates, i.e. foods with more complex chains of sugar that take longer to digest, can help rebuild lost nutrients. Try adding in sweet potatoes, oats, quinoa, lentils and beans to at least one meal a day.

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Managing Stress

Stress, whether physical stress from excessive exercise or emotional stress, can wreak havoc with hormones, putting the body into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This means that the brain will signal to the ovaries that they don’t need to make as much estrogen. This can lead to the loss of a period. It’s important to address the causes of stress, i.e. do a bit less high impact exercise & incorporate gentle movement such as restorative yoga, walking and swimming. Being honest about sources of emotional stress and finding ways to deal with them can also help.

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From a food perspective, adding magnesium, whether through food or a high quality supplement can help, as well as supporting gut health with fermented foods and leafy greens.

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Transitioning Off Hormonal Birth Control

When transitioning off hormonal birth control, it is essential to replenish the nutrients that have been depleted. Zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B6 are some of the nutrients that can be depleted by hormonal birth control. Adding in high quality red meat, poultry, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, eggs and wild fish can help rebuild nutrients over time.

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Does any of this feel familiar? Email me on lenise@eatlovemove.com or click here to sign up for a free 30 minute hormonal health chat.

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

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!

The Third Phase of The Menstrual Cycle: Ovulation

Photo by Rodrigo Borges de Jesus

For the last two posts, we’ve been talking about the first two phases of the menstrual cycle, the menstrual and the follicular phases.

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Are you finding that having this information is helping you understand better about what’s happening in your body? 

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I really feel empowered when I know what’s going on and I don’t have to guess. Do you? 

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Let’s move on to talking about the ovulatory phase, otherwise known as ovulation!

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So what’s actually happening when you ovulate?  

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Simply put, one of your ovaries releases a mature egg!  This is the big moment of your menstrual cycle and what the follicular phase has been building up to! 

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Your luteinising and follicle stimulating hormones are at their highest points, as is your oestrogen, which has risen to help thicken the endometrium, the lining of the uterus (the place where a fertilised egg will implant!). 

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For most women, their energy will be at its highest point and they’ll be raring to go! 

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Communication skills are at their peak during ovulation, so this is the time to schedule in that big presentation or important meeting with a boss or client. 

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Here’s a question I get asked a lot: how do I know when I’m ovulating? 

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There are two major signs to look for: 

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  1. Discharge: this tends to become more of an egg white consistency and can be whitish in colour 
  2. Temperature:if you track your cycle using the fertility awareness method (FAM), then you will see your temperature rising during this phase of your cycle

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Food wise, do you notice that you tend to crave fresh fruits and vegetables during this phase of your menstrual cycle? There’s a reason for this! 

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Eating a rainbow of fruit and veg helps support your immune system and keeps you as healthy as possible – your body wants to have the healthiest possible environment to fertilise the mature egg it’s just released!  

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Do you notice a boost in your energy levels and communication skills when you’re ovulating?  

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What do you think? Is there anything else you want to learn more about this phase of your menstrual cycle? 

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Next up: the final phase – luteal! 

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Are your hormones up and down? Do you want to talk more about ways to improve your hormone health? 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!

The Second Phase of The Menstrual Cycle: The Follicular Phase

Photo by Diana Simumpande

In my last post, I took you through an overview of what happens during the first phase of the menstrual cycle, aptly called, the menstrual phase.  

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Did it help you understand a bit more about what’s happening during that time of your cycle? 

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Let’s talk about what happens next! 

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As you all know by now, I used to be be blissfully unaware of what happened in my cycle after my period ended.  All I cared about was that the terrible week of my period was over and I could get on with my life (and put the horrible period underwear away!).

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What I didn’t know is that what happens in the next phase sets up the groundwork for the rest of the menstrual cycle. 

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When we enter into the follicular phase (phase two of the menstrual cycle), our estrogen, testosterone and follicular stimulating hormone  (FSH) begin to increase again in preparation for ovulation (i.e. your body is getting ready to release an egg). 

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Do you feel an increase in your energy levels around this point?

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That increase in energy is connected to  rising hormones, preparing us to get out of the house, get social and look & feel our best! You might find that you get quite horny around this time too! Yeah!

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For many women, this is the time of their cycle when they feel their most vibrant, energetic and like their best selves. 

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Your confidence is at all time high so if there’s anything you’ve been hesitant about, try it now

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You also may feel more creative and the rising testosterone also means that you’ll be up for more risk taking and trying new things.

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Have you noticed this come up for you? 

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There’s a lot going on in your body during this phase of your cycle, so nourishing your hormones with lots of dark leafy greens and brassicas really helps (and the fibre keeps you regular!).

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Grass-fed beef & lamb are also superstar foods during this phase – they help replace the iron that has been lost during menstruation and can keep your energy levels high too! 

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What do you think? Is there anything else you want to learn more about this phase of your menstrual cycle? 

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Share your questions about the follicular phase of your cycle in the comments below!

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Next up: ovulation, or when one of our ovaries releases an egg! 

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Are your hormones up and down? Do you want to talk more about ways to improve your hormone health? 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!

The First Phase of the Menstrual Cycle: The Menstrual Phase

The Menstrual Phase of The Menstrual Cycle
Photo by Erol Ahmed

I didn’t learn much about my menstrual cycle when I was in school. Anyone else in a similar position?

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What I did learn about my cycle, I cobbled together from books, magazines (shout out to Sassy magazine!), chats with my girlfriends and eventually, some pretty serious googling when I was trying to get pregnant. 

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I often think about how great it would have been to learn about all of this much earlier. To learn that there are four phases to the menstrual cycle. Or that the menstrual cycle isn’t just about getting a period.  Or that ovulation is a hugely important part of it. Or that what you do in the 60 -90 days before your current menstrual cycle will have an effect on it. 

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Over the next few posts, I want to breakdown each of the four phases for you. 

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Are you with me? 

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Let’s start with the menstrual phase, which starts on day one of your period.

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During this phase, if you haven’t fertilised an egg in the previous cycle, your body takes this time to shed the lining of the uterus.  This is the menstrual bleed and typically can last between 4 – 7 days. 

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What’s happening with your hormones during this phase, because let’s face it: there’s always something happening in this area! 

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Estrogen (the hormone that controls the menstrual cycle) and progesterone (the hormone that is released after ovulation) are at their lowest points, so you might feel a bit low with not a lot of energy. 

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You might feel discomfort, pain, a lack of energy, a bit moody or that your emotional responses are a bit more heightened., i.e. you might get teary at a random TV advert. 

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Socially, you might find that you withdraw a little bit from activities or you want to stay at home, especially on day 1 & 2 of your period.  

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All of this is completely normal and part of the ebb and flow of our menstrual cycle.  

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What’s not normal is having lows that are too low, excessive bleeding or pain that is too much.If you feel like this, I would encourage you to explore what’s going on and work with a professional (like me!)to get to the bottom of it. 

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Interestingly, research shows that evaluation and analytical skills are at their strongest during this part of the menstrual cycle, so it’s a great time to take a step back, take stock and reflect on where you are in your life / career / etc. This would be a great time to schedule a call with a mentor or coach if you feel emotionally up to it. 

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It’s so fascinating to see that once you understand what’s going on during your period, you can start to listen to your body and connect more, rather than fighting it. 

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So many of us have negative feelings about our periods and I would love to encourage you to let go of that and find ways to be positive. If positivity is a step too far, then at least try a little bit less negativity. 

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Food, breathwork and movement  (I had to talk about this –  I’m a nutritionist & yoga teacher!) are incredible ways to support your body during this phase of your menstrual cycle.

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Listening to your body, remembering to breathe acknowledging the type of movement & food you crave and nourishing it with nutrient packed fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, complex carbohydrates and good fats will have only positive effects. 

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What do you think? Is there anything you want to learn more about this phase of your menstrual cycle?

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Look out for my post about the next phase of the menstrual cycle!

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Are your hormones up and down? Do you want to talk more about ways to improve your hormone health? 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!

Happy gut, happy hormones!

How much do you know about what’s going in your gut?

 

We have millions of microbes there, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. All of them have a good and bad element and they have an impact on our physical and mental health.

 

Our gut health, far from being something to be forgotten about, has a major impact on our hormone health.

 

That means that the gut microbiome, the collection of microbes, including bacteria, in our large intestine, has an effect on how you feel throughout your menstrual cycle.

 

Interesting, isn’t it?

 

The gut microbiome is connected to the estrobolome, the collection of bacteria that helps us metabolise estrogen. Or in a nutshell: good gut health can support good hormone health.

 

So how do you improve the health of your gut?

 

Eat more vegetables!

 

Fibrous vegetables and fruit support gut health, as do fermented food and drink, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir,  kimchi and picked vegetables.

 

What do you do to support your gut health?

 

Do you want to talk more about your hormones and gut health? 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!

Do you have a normal period?

Who knows a normal period feels like?

 

In my work with women of different walks of life, I see a general perception that periods are supposed to be painful, emotional and annoying.
It’s frustrating because periods don’t have to be this way!

 

A healthy period should be relatively pain-free, apart from a few aches, non-disruptive and generally an event that you notice every month, but one that doesn’t cause a huge amount of upheaval.

 

So what is a normal period?

 

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself to figure out what’s going with your period.

 

1. Am I in a lot of pain?

A painful period is a sign that something else is going on, especially debilitating pain.

 

2. Am I bleeding heavily for my whole period?

Generally speaking, the first and second days of a period are the heaviest.

 

3. Am I bleeding for more than 7 days or less than 3 days?

Menstrual bleeds are generally between 3 – 7 days long. Anything shorter or longer can be a sign of hormonal imbalance, nutrient deficiency or a symptom of another issue.

 

4. Do I have heavy clotting?

Heavy clotting is generally associated with heavy bleeding and can be linked with another issues such as endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, PCOS, ovarian cysts or hormone imbalance.

 

5. Do I get very, very tired and lethargic for my entire period?

It’s normal for energy levels to dip in the first few days of a period. They’ll start to rise again towards the end of a period as the body moves into the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. If energy levels stay low, with a feeling of lethargy and sluggishness, that can be a sign of nutrient deficiency or hormonal imbalance.

 

Do you want to talk more about what’s going on with your period? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review to talk about what’s going on with your menstrual cycle.

 

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 rawpixel on Unsplash

How To Use Your Menstrual Cycle To Your Advantage At Work


Do you ever wonder why there are times when you feel totally on top of your game at work and ready to tackle anything your clients or your boss throws at you?
 

And why there are other times when it’s a struggle to get anything done, let alone concentrate on that big project that needs to be finished by the end of the day?

 

It’s normal to have ups and downs in your energy levels and ability to focus, but did you know that there is a connection with how you feel and your menstrual cycle?

 

Learning to use our menstrual cycles and its four phases has the potential to give women a competitive advantage at work.

 

Yes, really! 

 

The menstrual cycle has been called the fifth vital sign, so understanding it and each phase can help women understand things like when the best time is to negotiate a pay raise, when we’ll be at the top of our game for a big new business pitch or when we may need to step back a little and do more reflection and analysis.

 

Here are the basics:

There are four parts to the menstrual cycle, with a full cycle lasting anywhere between 24-34 days. The primary female sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) will rise and fall depending on where a woman is in her cycle. The peaks and troughs in these hormones will also correspond with physical, mental and emotional  changes.

 

Knowing when these changes are likely to happen and harnessing them can give you an advantage in your work and personal life. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

 

Menstrual Phase

Day 1 of the menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period, which can last anywhere between 3 – 7 days. It’s during this time of your cycle, the menstrual phase, that you may feel a bit tired and flat. Your energy may be low during this phase, but your evaluation and analytical abilities will be at their strongest, so it’s a good time to take stock and reflect on where you are in your life and your career. This would be a great time to schedule an appraisal or chat with a mentor.

 

Follicular Phase

Then we move on to the follicular phase, which lasts about 7 days. Your estrogen levels begin to increase, contributing to an increase in your energy and concentration. You may find that your creative juices are flowing. Use this time to try something new, whether it’s a course or new piece of client work.

 

Ovulatory Phase

Midway through your cycle, when you ovulate, your energy levels will reach their peak (along your estrogen & progesterone levels), so now’s the time to get that big project done or do that intricate task that needs a lot of focus. Your communication and negotiation skills will be at their strongest right now, so if you’ve been itching to do a talk or want to negotiate a pay rise, schedule it for this time of your cycle!

 

Luteal Phase

During the last part of the menstrual cycle, the luteal phase, you may find that your energy levels start to drop, especially as you get closer to your period. This is the time to lean hard on your routine, especially if you start to feel your mood start to drop.  Use this time to power through your to-do list and take action to complete something you’ve been procrastinating on.

 

Putting It Into Practice 

An easy way to start putting all of this into practice is to simply begin tracking your menstrual cycle, if you aren’t already. There are a wide variety of apps out there, so have a scroll through the app store and find the one that’s most intuitive to you and your lifestyle.

 

The information you’ll get from tracking your cycle will help expand your awareness of your body and knowing which of the four phases you’re in can help bring deeper understanding to why you’re feeling the way you are.

 

I see this again and again in my clients: when they listen to their bodies and have the knowledge to understand the messages they’re getting, they learn how to stay on top of their health. This improves their work lives and personal lives.

 

Understanding your menstrual cycle and its four phases can help you stay on top of your game at work and prioritise your tasks accordingly. Knowing what skills are likely to be stronger during each phase will give you an advantage that lets you can play to your strengths no matter where you are in your cycle.

 

Do you notice that certain parts of your job are easier depending on where you are in your cycle?  

 

Do you want to learn more about how to use your cycle to your advantage in your work and personal lives? Get in touch for a free 30 minute hormone & menstrual health review to talk about what’s going on with your menstrual cycle.

 


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! 

 

Hormones 101: Progesterone

 

In the last post, I talked about estrogen, one of our two major female sex hormones.

 

Today, I’d like to have a closer look at progesterone, estrogen’s counterpart.

 

How much do you know about this essential female sex hormone? 

 

There’s often lots of discussion about estrogen, but not enough similar discussion about its partner hormone, progesterone.

 

Although progesterone is most closely associated with pregnancy and preparation for pregnancy, it is also important for a healthy menstrual cycle.

 

So what’s the deal with progesterone? 

 

The majority of progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum, a little structure that comes from the follicle of the egg that was released. This helps prepare the body for pregnancy if the eggs gets fertilised.

 

We also produce progesterone in very small amounts in the ovaries & the adrenal glands. In pregnancy, the placenta also produces progesterone.

 

If you think back to the four phases of the menstrual cycle,  your progesterone levels don’t stay the same throughout. 

 

They’re generally at their highest point a few days after ovulation, the halfway point of our menstrual cycle. Your progesterone levels drop  if you don’t fertilise an egg and are at the lowest point on the first day of our periods.

 

If the woman doesn’t get pregnant that cycle, the corpus luteum disintegrates, progesterone drops, and this is the signal for a woman’s period to start.  

 

If a women does get pregnant, then progesterone will help the blood vessels on the lining of the womb grow and stimulate glands that will nourish the embryo with nutrients.

 

It also prepares the womb for the fertilised egg to implant and helps maintain the pregnancy, rising all the way until birth.

 

So what else does progesterone do for us? 

 

Its other major function is to help regulate the menstrual cycle, so you want it to be balanced with estrogen.

 

When you have too little or much, you can experience PMS symptoms such as mood swings, insomnia, bloating, blood sugar imbalance, anxiety, acne and cramps.  Check out my post on the 5 Types of PMS to learn more.

 

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

 

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

 

If you have questions about progesterone  and feel like you don’t know what’s going on with your progesterone 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! 

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! 

I Tried It: Seed Cycling For Hormone Balance

pumpkin and sunflower seeds for hormone balance

Do you feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster throughout your menstrual cycle?

Do you suffer from mood swings, acne, fatigue and nausea in the week before you get your period?

Maybe it’s time to try seed cycling to address this hormone imbalance.

Despite specialising in this area and helping my clients improve their menstrual and hormone health, I realised a few months ago that I had to address my own hormone health. You see, I was ashamed of the hormonal acne I would get like clockwork in the week before my period. I thought to myself, “how dare I give my clients advice, when I’m struggling with the same things myself!?!”

Hormone acne is a sign of imbalance between progesterone and estrogen, so I decided to try seed cycling as a way to bring my hormones back into balance.

seed cycling to support hormone balance

If you’re new to seed cycling, or wondering about the detail behind it, here’s a great guide that I’ve written up.

In a nutshell, even though your menstrual cycle is split into 4 phases, the main principle behind seed cycling is splitting your cycle into two – day 1 – 15 (with day 1 starting on the first day of your period) and 16 – 28 (or however long your cycle actually is).

In the first part of your cycle, you’ll be taking a tablespoon of flax seed and a tablespoon of pumpkin seed each day. This supports estrogen production.

In the second half of your cycle, you’ll be supporting progesterone production by taking a tablespoon of sunflower seeds and a tablespoon of sesame seeds each day.

Seems pretty straight forward, doesn’t it?

I decided to add the seeds into my morning smoothie so that it would be easy to integrate into my morning routine and I wouldn’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.  Luckily, I had all the seeds already on hand in my kitchen cupboard, so I moved them to my kitchen counter so I would remember to add them to my morning smoothie.

So far, I’ve been doing seed cycling for three cycles, and it’s taken 3 cycles to see any difference in my skin. I have to admit that when I continued to breakout after the first round of seed cycling, I was very disappointed. I decided to keep going, knowing that it takes time and patience to bring balance back to sex hormones.

So I plunged into the next round of seed cycling, which by this point, had become a habit. As long as I had my morning smoothie, adding the seeds was an automatic action that I didn’t need to think too much about.

Cue my disappointment, when my next luteal phase arrived and so did the pimples on my chin and around the lower right hand side of my mouth and cheek.

Nevertheless, I persisted.

I looked at my skin in the mirror this morning and realised that my usual luteal phase spots hadn’t appeared. And I did a little cartwheel of joy inside!

I’m taking a wait and see approach to the seed cycling and will probably continue to do it for at least three more menstrual cycles to continue to balance my hormones and support my skin health.

Would you try seed cycling to support hormone balance, skin health and your menstrual cycle?

Are you ready to make a positive change to your health? Do you want to talk more about ways to improve your hormone and menstrual health? 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 Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Exercise and your menstrual cycle.

exercise and the menstrual cycle

Have you ever thought about how your cycle affects the way you exercise?

 

The highs and lows of hormones means that at certain times in your cycle it’s better to slow things down and do very light, gentle exercise. And at other times in your cycle, you feel full of energy and ready to take on the world.

 

Menstrual Phase

 

Do you notice a difference in the way you feel about exercise during your menstrual cycle?

 

I do.

 

During the first few days of my period, I usually stick to light and gentle yoga sessions, because I find that anything else leaves me feeling totally drained afterwards, which is the opposite of how I want to feel after I work out!

 

Follicular Phase

 

I notice a huge difference in my energy levels as soon as I finish my period.

 

Do you?

 

My energy skyrockets (along with my estrogen and progesterone levels) and I feel ready to take on the world!

 

It’s during this time of my cycle, I like to try new types of exercises, new classes, new instructors and new yoga flows. I find that I’m much more open to trying new things and the energy I have helps me retain new information.

 

Ovulation

 

There’s a point in our cycles where we feel so full of energy, like we can conquer the world!

 

Can you relate to this?

 

This is usually happens around day 14-16 of our menstrual cycles when we ovulate. We’re at the peak of our powers and it’s the point when our estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest.

 

This is the time in our cycles when it’s great to go hell for leather into your hardest, most challenging class, turn the dial up to the hardest you’ve ever gone in your spin class or add a bit of extra weight in the gym.

 

Luteal Phase

 

Do you ever feel a bit sluggish and tired in the week before your period? As estrogen and progesterone start to drop, so do our energy levels.

 

This is the time when you might feel a bit moody, bloated and your skin might breakout a bit.

 

During this time in my cycle, I try not to push myself, unless I’m really feeling up to it.

 

Instead, I focus on restorative yoga flows, lots of slow paced sun salutations and brisk walking (I can’t get away from walking, living in London!).

 

The peaks and troughs of our hormones and how they connect to our energy levels show how important it is for us to listen to our bodies and not force ourselves to exercise that our bodies aren’t ready for that particular day.

 

Do you want to talk more about your menstrual cycle and getting control of any hormonal issues that are stopping you from exercising and leading a life full of energy? Book in for a free 30 minute Hormone Health Review!

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