February 6, 2023
The journey through womanhood can be viewed as phases or seasons that are connected to and defined by the expression of our fertility and sexuality.
Whether the current season is puberty, menstrual years, perimenopause, menopause or postmenopause, hormonal changes that generate uncomfortable symptoms can be eased with an effective lifestyle and nutritional strategies.
Hormones are distributed throughout the bloodstream and can impact multiple cells from your brain, bones, and blood vessels and affect everything from appetite, kidney function and sleep. A complex interplay of factors, including diet, genetics, environment, and metabolism, can cause hormone imbalances.
The onset of puberty (around ages 8 – 13) is when the invisible internal landscape shifts to bring about dramatic physical and emotional changes. Other hormones, including testosterone, cause pimples and acne. Greater harmony is achieved with habits that will serve girls at this stage for life. A healthy (high-protein, low-sugar and dairy) diet, hydration, exercise, and proper sleep help balance hormones, reduce anxiety, and control skin flare-ups.
Women’s bodies prepare for potential pregnancy for as many as 500 periods in a lifetime (around 40 years after the first period). Each of the four cycle phases brings its own natural fluctuations, a lot is happening and can cause a host of disruptive symptoms.
Supplements that can restore adverse moods and symptoms are fish oil and evening primrose oil, vitamins B1, B6, and E, magnesium and calcium. Regular exercise, mindfulness practices and avoiding caffeine will also help you feel your best despite the internal activity.
During pregnancy, an array of hormones work tirelessly towards adequate placenta function, foetal growth and protecting the baby. The downside for mum-to-be is classic pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, reflux and constipation.
The hormone relaxin permits uterine expansion for the growing baby but is what causes pelvic, hip and low back pain. Keeping up gentle exercise, pregnancy-specific multivitamins, ginger teas, adequate hydration, massage and magnesium can help.
Seeking professional support is an advised approach in post-partum. As the body resets post-birth, breastfeeding hormones and the realities of caring for a newborn materialise, exercise and vitamins can only do so much.
Turning another corner
From our late thirties and into our 40s, progesterone and oestrogen shifts instigate cycle, mood, skin, weight and energy changes (perimenopause), concluding with menopause. A calcium and vitamin D-rich diet and exercise complemented with herbs like Dong Quai, Flaxseed oil and Black Cohosh are shown to be of benefit from peri to post-menopause.
For optimal vitality at every season, it’s important we support ourselves with proper exercise, nutrition and supplements. Pause, take a breath, and thank your amazing body. You’ve got this.
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