When our hormones are balanced we feel great, but anything less-than-steady can affect everything from reproductive health to our energy levels, weight, mood, and much more.
As women become more privy and in tune with their bodies, there is an understanding and realization that hormones steer the ship in how we feel on a day-to-day basis — hormones really are that crucial!
At Huneycutt Family Medicine, women’s health is a vital part of our practice — from family planning to dealing with the onslaught of menopause, we’re here to support you in every stage. Learn more about how hormones play a role and impact our health.
Beyond Your Monthly Cycle
We’re all familiar with the symptoms of PMS — bloating, hormonal migraines, low-energy levels, and being a little on edge, but hormones go beyond our cycle and affect us almost on a moment-to-moment basis.
Hormones affect our sleep quality, oral health, and heart health, among many other biological functions, and now we know that they have a role in nearly every system of the body.
Knowing your hormones and getting them optimally balanced, may be the key to health for women.
The Clues Hormones Provide
When hormones are properly balanced, they help us thrive — we’re able to sleep better, manage stress, and even process food optimally. When they’re too high or too low, regardless of age, they can cause serious health impacts.
When estrogen is balanced it supports a healthy sex drive and improved immune function, in addition, estrogen prepares the uterus for conception.
Estrogen signals different systems to grow — from bones to breasts. Too much estrogen leads to fertility issues, difficult PMS, and even breast cancer, while too low of estrogen and it may cause osteoporosis.
One of the best ways to help balance estrogen is to maintain a healthy body weight — being underweight can decrease production and being overweight can interrupt estradiol balance.
Progesterone helps create the lining of your uterus and prepare it for conception, and when there is no conception, progesterone levels drop, triggering menstruation.
Balanced progesterone levels can lead to a solid night’s sleep which is amazing, but when unstable, it can lead to constipation, gassiness, and water retention.
To better balance progesterone, focus on stress-management techniques such as meditation, a daily walk, or restorative yoga.
Women need healthy testosterone levels, too! Balanced testosterone levels support a healthy sex drive and regular ovulation.
When levels are too high it leads to a common hormonal issue called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). In addition to causing acne and an overgrowth of hair, it can leave you feeling fatigued and depressed.
An excess amount of testosterone in women has been linked to obesity, so maintaining a healthy body weight is crucial. If your levels are low, eating a diet abundant in zinc is helpful.
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) causes an egg to grow, and luteinizing hormone (LH) causes the egg to be released from the ovary, triggering ovulation.
When these hormone levels are balanced they also help support the balance of progesterone. When FSH is elevated, it has been known to cause acne, insomnia, and memory issues.
To better balance both FSH and LH, skip the booze, particularly if you’re trying to get pregnant — more than two drinks per day will greatly affect these hormone levels.
Prolactin is the hormone that initiates lactation and is signaled from the pituitary gland in the brain.
If prolactin levels are too high it will quell your sex drive and mimic menopause symptoms. It can also suppress ovulation.
When prolactin levels are balanced after childbirth, they can help you shed your pregnancy weight more quickly.
Better balance your prolactin levels by getting a good seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
How Huneycutt Family Medicine Can Help
If you’re dealing with a chronic health issue, it may be related to your hormones. There is a market for at-home hormone testing such as EverlyWell or FLO Living, however, to get an accurate hormone picture with support behind it, seeking a general practitioner is key.
Because you don’t always know what you should be tested for, the at-home kits can sometimes miss what you actually need to test. Huneycutt Family Medicine wants you to feel empowered about what is happening in your body, however, manipulating your hormones on your own isn’t ideal either.
Your hormones are very delicate and even manipulating them slightly could cause an adverse reaction that takes you further away from the original goal of balancing them. Furthermore, under unstable hormones could be hiding a medical issue that needs attention, care that only a trained health care professional can treat.
Get proper answers and informed results when you work with your general practitioner!
Let’s partner today in hormone testing and get to the root of your health concerns!