Updated: Jan 24
It's amazing how hormones can control your health and your life. Your hormones can regulate everything from sleep cycles to mood swings to libido to weight gain.
There are many phases of women's hormones as it fluctuates through the years.
Puberty, on average, starts around age 10 1/2 with the body making sex hormones (mostly estrogen), which assists in the physical change of a females body and sets the stage for child bearing.
The 20's & 30's are considered a woman's child bearing years and hormones are usually at an optimal balance for this. However, as early as 35 years old, the hormones can start dropping off and reducing estrogen levels putting a woman into the perimenopausal stage of life.
Perimenopause is when the hormones are fluctuating greatly. The body is giving giving an influx of estrogen as one last shot towards child bearing, yet really wants to taper off and go into menopause. It gives us the most symptoms of things like hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, sleep disturbances and wacky cycles, just to name a few.
Here are symptoms of having hormone imbalances:
High Estrogen (the most common)
Mood swings (usually more emotional, crying, or weeping)
Tender or lumpy (cystic) breasts
Having high estrogen over a period of time can lead to more serious conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, thyroid diseases, blood clots, and heart disease.
Waking up groggy
Mood is 'on edge' or irritable/angry
Having high progesterone over a period of time can lead to osteoperosis.
Loss of muscle & muscle weakness
Loss of bone density
Hair thinning & hair loss
Low semen count
Low sex drive
Hair loss and thinning
Loss of muscle mass and weakness
Low blood count
Difficulty with erection
Abnormal hair growth (usually on face)
High sex drive
And for men, an excessively high testosterone would include:
Male pattern baldness
High sex drive
Aggressive attitude & high risk behaviors
High blood pressure
Swelling of legs and feet
Heart and liver problems
So what to do? Most visit their doctors looking for answers and testing for hormone levels. While that is important, it's also important to note that when testing for hormones, it's only a snapshot in time. A snapshot of one day in your monthly cycle where hormones are fluctuating day to day and week to week. You have to know when the test is taken in conjunction with your cycle, otherwise when a test comes back, for example, saying your progesterone is low; is that the week in your cycle when progesterone is supposed to be low?? Or is that the week when it's supposed to be high? It can be frustrating not being able to pinpoint an exact hormone test that measures the overall hormones in the body. My general practitioner didn't know when to take the test. So make sure that your doctor is educated on when the right time to take the test is in relation to your cycle to get the most accurate test results otherwise the results may be inaccurate.
This is one of my favorite charts for the menstrual cycle. Obviously this is the "norm", but when it comes to different ailments and perimenopause, sometimes it makes you feel like you could throw this out of the window!
To help balance the hormones (with or without a test), here are a few things you can proactively do and be aware of, (that your doctor probably WON'T tell you).
Since 90% of my customers have high estrogen, so I always tell them to check their diet. Soy will raise your estrogen levels. So read your nutrition and ingredient labels to check for items like soybeans, soy lecithin, soybean oil, etc. Also check the label to see if the product has been processed in a place that also uses soy in other products. Just because soy isn't in the ingredients, doesn't mean that it's not there. Products may have a cross contamination from another item manufactured in the same facility. Even more, many animals are fed soy. This means soy is in their muscles (meat) and organs. Did you know that 80% of soy produced, is for feed? The animals most commonly fed soy are chickens and pigs, however some also feed soy to fish!
Hormones are also given to cows and goats to further continue milk production beyond feeding their babies. Also, growth hormones are fed to many animals to help make them bigger, and therefore give the farmer more money when it's sold for food. Make sure to find products with labels that say, "no hormones or antibiotics" used in the production the animal products. Overall, limiting meat and dairy will further enhance your health and wellbeing.
In addition to foods, xenoestrogens are man made chemicals that disrupt our endocrine system, raising our estrogen levels and also altering our immune system, reproductive system and neurological system. For example, plastics that contain BPA are known xenoestrogens. Along with BPA, xenoestrogens can also be found in makeup, beauty products, room deodorizers, shampoos, perfume, hair sprays, flame retardants, toys, insecticides, building products and more. More examples of xenoestrogens can be found here & here
Second, exercise. Yoga is fantastic for helping to balance the body, both physically and mentally. Certain poses can help manage blood flow changes and hot flashes. However, any exercise is important. Exercise balances all of our hormones, including cortisol (responsible for stress regulation) insulin (blood sugar), and thyroxine/thiiodothyronine (thyroid). Also, exercise will move your lymph system, which helps to detox your body. So, even if it's just 20 minutes a day, do it! Move your body. Stretch, walk, lift weights, do yoga, just make your body more flexible, pliable and get that blood pumping!!
Last, adding herbs to your diet to help regulate hormones.
Estrogen and progesterone are on a balance scale, when estrogen is high, progesterone is low, and vice versa. So if you are low in estrogen, adding progesterone will help to balance your hormones.
Herbs like chaste tree berry (vitex), maca, asian ginseng and ashwagandha are great at balancing all hormones. Then you can get more specific herbs for different hormones like estrogen, progesterone or testosterone.
Monarch Herbs has many great herbal blends to help with all of your hormone needs.
If you have been to a doctor and are working to boost a specific hormone, you can choose Queen Bee Tincture to boost estrogen, Pro-Flow Tincture or Pro*wl Salve to boost progesterone or Stallion Tincture to boost testosterone. However, if you aren't sure where your hormones are (or are all over the place!), I recommend taking the Wild Woman Tincture to balance all of three hormones across the board.
If you are needing something to boost progesterone, Monarch Herbs has the Pro*wl Salve or the Pro-Flow Tincture. You only need to choose one. Choose if you'd like to rub on the salve externally, or take the tincture in your mouth.
Clicking on the item below will take you directly to the item in the Monarch Herbs' online store.
Queen Bee Tincture - estrogen booster
Pro-Flow Tincture - progesterone booster
Pro*wl Salve - progesterone booster
Stallion Tincture - testosterone booster
Wild Woman Tincture - balances all hormones: estrogen, progesterone & testosterone
Celestial Tea - balance all hormones: estrogen, progesterone & testosterone
Tigress Salve - period cramps (can be taken in conjunction with any item above)
Golden Girls Salve - Breast Care