On Wednesday, I went to the Alternatively Healthy event on female hormones. As soon as it was announced I jumped at getting tickets.
Specialising in pre + post natal as well as nearing my 30th birthday later this year, I am becoming more and more aware of how healthy feels; how my body feels and functions.
It goes without saying that hormones have a lot to answer for!
- Maisie Hill, women’s health expert and practitioner, who you may have heard of as the writer behind Period Power
- Angelique Panagos, a London-based nutritionist, specialising in weight management, stress, digestion and hormonal health, who wrote The Balance Plan: 6 Steps to optimise your hormonal health
- Megan Rose Lane, entrepreneur, self-love & mental health advocate and a new mum.
- Sophie from Natural Cycles
- Becki Rabin, founder of Alternatively Healthy.
It goes without saying, women are having more hormone based issues today than ever before thanks to modern life: stresses, lack of sleep, spending more time on our phones in bed than with our partners and the rest. Not to mention the chemicals we get exposed to that either mimic our hormones or stop them from working. In short, our hormones are a little hormonal.
First up, before I lose your attention, I wanted to point out the most important takeout from the event.
Fertility is not just for pregnancy. Being fertile means you’re functioning properly as a woman.
Basically, we need ovulation to help with creating the hormonal balance.
To live the fertility lifestyle, the key is essentially to really take care of yourself.
- Live 80/20
Key Things that effect hormonal balance
- Stress of Modern Life – means we live in an acute state of stress
- More sugar, less fat – processed food
- Imbalanced diets – our bodies need the spectrum of nutrients to function.
- It’s about consistency, not perfection
- Instead of diets, cutting out food groups, restricting food, simply look at it as nutrients.
- Digestion is key to help the absorption of the nutrients in the gut
On the flip side, things that don’t help with periods…
- Cutting out whole food groups – this can mean you don’t have the complete set of nutrients for your endocrine (hormone) system to fully function
- Blue light (from tech) – this messes with hormones as it makes your cortisol higher, instead of it dropping, which in turn prevents your serotonin from rising to help you sleep at night.
- Disordered eating
At the end of the day, we’re all individual so it’s a case of working out what works for you, however Maisie and Angela explained the key things that can affect us.
Maisie has recently written a whole book on them to help everyone understand the importance of getting to grips with your cycle. (she also mentioned a book called “Taking Charge of Fertility” which changed everything for her)
- Believe it or not, every aspect of your life is affected by your periods.
- However, it’s a case of harnessing the tool inside you and understanding how certain times provide strengths and weaknesses.
- A healthy menstrual cycle should be
- 26-32 days (although guidelines says 21-35 days which is too wide a window for Maisie’s liking)
- Not painful
- Not too light or too heavy
(I previously wrote a post on training in your cycle here but I highly recommend buying ‘Period Power’ as my post came from learnings from a course I’d been on)
For now, I’ll leave it there.
But the main point is, it’s good to talk about periods. About what goes on, how we feel and the rest, as more often than not, it helps us understand what is normal and what isn’t.
Also, hopefully the more people shine the light on this topic, the more the health services will consider it important.
The good news is, the medical system is gradually listening to the fact that women aren’t being served and that we need more research (there’s a crazy figure that there’s around 5x more research* into erectile dysfunction compared to PMS).