Hormonal Health For Women

Mon, 22 Jul 2019
Hormones are chemical messengers that impact our metabolism, appetite, sleep, mood, and overall well being. Having balanced hormonal levels is key to an optimal quality of life. Women have more hormonal fluctuations over their lifetime, due to puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, and are more prone to hormonal imbalances.

The 2 main female hormones are estrogen and progesterone, which are produced mainly by the ovaries. Estrogen is a crucial hormone for womens’ reproductive systems, and sexual development during puberty.

An imbalance of estrogen may result in mood swings, hot flashes, fatigue, vaginal dryness, premenstrual symptoms (PMS) and breast swelling. Meanwhile progesterone, which helps regulate menstrual cycles, and a healthy pregnancy. Progesterone excess or deficiency may lead to abnormal uterine bleeding and irregular periods.

Our bodies possess an innate wisdom, and symptoms, such as acne, mood swings, poor sleep quality, chronic fatigue, may be it’s way of communicating that an hormonal imbalance exists. Factors contributing to hormonal imbalance include exposure to herbicides/pesticides, malnutrition, obesity, and stress.

As a woman ages, she produces less estrogen & progesterone, resulting in the symptoms mentioned above. Here are 3 tips that could be helpful for women experiencing fluctuating hormone levels:

1.Healthy Eating & Living

A well balanced, nutrient rich diet, combined with a healthy, active lifestyle, sets a good foundation for healthy hormone balance. Regular exercise may supports healthy insulin levels, a hormone required for converting sugar into energy. Exercise also stimulates the production of growth hormone, thought to be an ‘anti-aging’ hormone, which is needed for cellular repair and regulates metabolism.

Protein rich foods and good quality fats are essential for hormonal balance. Avoid coffee, sugar, and alcohol, as these can aggravate insomnia, and hot flashes, due to hormonal imbalance. As fat is a store of hormones, losing excess weight will help with symptoms of hormonal imbalance, and promote a healthy menstrual cycle.

2.Ditch The Plastic

Plastic food and drink containers often contain BPA (bisphenol A), a chemical found in plastic, that can interfere with the hormonal balance, as it mimics our body's natural hormones. When exposed to heat, BPA may leach into from the plastic bottle, which is why you should never leave your water bottle in the car, or under the sun.

If you must use plastic, look for BPA-free containers, otherwise go for glass or stainless steel.
3.Read Your Product Labels

Personal care products you use daily, such as shampoo, body lotion, perfumes, cosmetics, and moisturisers, may contain ingredients that act as hormone disruptors. Use of these ingredients over time may lead to certain health problems. Products containing  talc, for example have been linked to higher risk of ovarian cancer.

Maintaining hormonal balance may be challenging for women. Start by identifying a few areas in your life to focus on for better hormonal health, and improve new areas gradually. Take note, medications such as the oral contraceptive pill and certain acne medication, will affect your natural hormone levels, so try not to take these for a prolonged period, without taking a break.

 Written by
 Alice Ong
 Pharmacist and formulator. Passionate about making a difference in healthcare and personal  wellness through nutrition.
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