This ones for the gals…

October 14, 2014

It’s a bold statement – but I think we can all learn to love our hormones.. Yes, some of us have bigger leaps to that place than others, but being so inherently ‘you’, our hormones really are our own personal connection to the very rhythm and cycle of life itself.

Our hormones are akin to a dance – sometimes they like to do the tango whilst at other times they prefer a seemingly slow dance. They are definitely something to keep your eye on. Its good to check in on things like:

–          Has my cycle length changed?

–          Has the consistency of my bleed changed?

–          Have my physical symptoms changed?

Such changes are important. They give subtle clues as to what’s going on internally. Such changes are not there to alarm us, they may simply be heralding in a new era of life – think of puberty, pregnancy, menopause etc. – they are all normal life occurrences. These subtle changes may also be our bodies way of offering up information as to changes that do deserve some attention.

There are many vitamins, minerals and herbs that can help when it comes to balancing someones hormonal picture. In clinic, I often find that a little tweaking can bring big results. It’s completely beautiful when a woman goes from a place of crazy PMS to just ‘feeling’ that their body is about to have a cycle and actually enjoying it. I don’t believe that crazy PMS and pain are part of our ‘healthy’ functioning. To me, they are both clues that the body is out of whack somewhere or in need of some better balance, and could do with a bit of a helping hand. Symptoms like that, deserve investigation, to try and work out their ‘why’.

There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that are essential to healthy hormonal balance. Some of these include magnesium and B6.

Magnesium is essential in cases where cramping exists. Magnesium allows things to relax, it allows cramps to ‘let go’. Foods rich in magnesium include CHOCOLATE! Its not that surprising that many of us reach for it at PMS’y times now is it?! Good, cacao based chocolate is loaded with magnesium and other helpful minerals like iron and definitely deserving of its ‘comfort food’ title in this instance! I do not recommend reaching for the dairy / sugar laden stuff.. that may momentarily taste good but there aint no goodness in that.

There are many different types of supplemental magnesium – some work wonders, whilst others struggle to be absorbed. It’s always worth getting a decent quality one, it’s mostly a case of ‘you get what you pay for’.

Iron is another mineral that can help, especially when it comes to tiredness. Iron is something that you should never supplement before checking your levels via a blood test though.

B6 is another one all us ladies should know about. It’s commonly used to help with the more emotional side of our cycles such as irritability and tiredness. It does this via an important role in regulating neurotransmitters involved with our moods. Foods rich in the B vitamins that are especially high in B6 include salmon, sunflower seeds and silver beet amongst many others.

There is also an amazing array of herbs that can be of great benefit when treating hormones, most of which have a very rich history of use throughout the ages. When it comes to herbs though, always speak to someone trained in herbs (Hello Saltuary staff!) as they can affect other medications. Dosage is really important too – in other words, you need to have the right amount for you to benefit. Herbs can help with a plethora of womens business, including PMS, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, menopausal symptoms, hormonal acne and more.

I encourage you all to start to get to know your own symptoms rather than simply suppressing them. Take a moment to listen to what your body is telling you. If this is causing discomfort – go and speak to someone qualified to help. Two books that I would highly recommend every woman owning are:

–          Womens Bodies, Womens Wisdom by Christiane Northrup, and

–          The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

They are manuals for life as far as I’m concerned – easy to read and brimming with info about how our bodies work.

As a Naturopath, hormonal imbalances are one of my favourite areas to work with. I see our cycles as beautiful and intrinsically linked to nature. Sure they get us feeling more tender, more tired and sometimes a few other things too – but there is nothing in the world that is a bigger gift to remind us how connected to each other and to this earth we all really are.

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