By Nat Kringoudis – Doctor in Chinese medicine, acupuncturist, author, speaker and all-round natural fertility expert!
Like every other woman (and human for that mater) on the planet, you have hormones. They can at times be your best friend and have you rocking at life, and in an instant they can take you to the dark side. It can be super overwhelming to understand hormones – there are of course so many – all with varying functions and outcomes, which our body’s seem to be at the mercy of. If you find yourself blaming your hormones way too often for bad moods, pimples, pain, insane hunger and weight gain – I’m here to help! I go by the title of ‘The Hormone Revolutionist,’ and I’m here to help your hormones sing happier than a Pharrell Williams hit. That much is true. Basically, I want to help you understand your body better so you don’t have to feel like you’re under Darth Vader’s super force each and every month (or day for that matter).
So how do you know what to blame on your hormones or what is simply a case of too much gluten giving you gas? The key is to looking a little deeper into the signs and symptoms your body is serving up each month – it’s constantly revealing to you the clues you need to really get appropriate answers. So here are my key giveaway symptoms that tell you your hormones are begging for some tender loving care.
1.You have mid cycle pain
Ovulation pain is my key symptom that indicates you may have excess oestrogen in your body. Truth is, most of us are in the same boat here. There are a host of things that can contribute to high oestrogen including stress, exposure to chemicals – think toxins in skincare, hair care, cleaning products, poor liver detoxification, excess consumption of foods that feed oestrogen like soy or alcohol, plus other factors like sleep and poor diet. Choose one or two of these key offenders to start to help rebalance your oestrogen.
2. You can’t sleep
You’re tired during the day but come 9pm, you’re wired. We may be able to blame your hormones. This most commonly comes about as cortisol (one of your main stress hormones) impacts your sex hormone, most specifically progesterone – the hormone that not only helps you ovulate, but is also important for a host functions including concentration, good water regulation (no bloating or fluid retention), regular menstrual cycles and a generally good mood. It also assists with sleep, no shock there. If your progesterone is low it’s also often in the presence of high oestrogen as we discussed above. To really get your progesterone happy, check in with your stress. It is most often the contributing factor.
3. You look old, but you’re not!
Eeep! Stress ages us and affects our hormones in crazy ways. High cortisol accelerates aging. This is because of the impact stress may have on our glucose levels. But what’s more, prolonged stress affects the brain. This means not only do you feel old and look it, but your memory begins to fade too. This is a good time to check in with your stress levels and get savvy – apply the 8 x 8 x 8 rule to keep you in check. That is 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play and 8 hours of rest.
4. You’re not a teen but you still have acne
Guess what – the simple answer yet again comes back to high oestrogen, which is leading to low progesterone. Usually acne doesn’t appear on it’s own. Most commonly there can be other key symptoms including long menstrual cycles, PMS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, weight gain, lower abdominal pain, anxiety… the list is long! There are a few simple tricks you can add to your diet to help your body along. Chasteberry (vitex) is a herbal supplement that helps support healthy progesterone. But the trick lies in using this alongside methods to help reduce oestrogen. When oestrogen is in check, naturally progesterone will raise.
5. You’re always cold and you swear you’d forget your name if it wasn’t on your licence
One of the key symptoms of a sluggish thyroid is cold extremities, alongside brain fog, fatigue, poor memory, missing menstrual cycles – the list is actually huge since every cell in your body requires your thyroid to work. Problem is, our tests don’t always reflect what our thyroid is doing. Many women report thyroid symptoms yet their test results come back within normal limits. Here’s where I say symptoms never lie. It’s important to understand why your thyroid might be messing about – again high stress, poor gut health, other ongoing infections etc. But you can action change – start with lessening inflammatory foods from the diet like gluten and sugar and see if it brings about any change. 20% of people with thyroid troubles find that by removing gluten effectively fixes the issue. For me this is a short-term solution but certainly a great starting point. If you need more guidance on your thyroid, please check out my mini e-course, Debunking your Thyroid.
I would love to keep on sharing tips and tricks to help you understand your own body better. The truth is, it is doing it’s absolute best, each and every day! The key lies in understanding what it is telling us and creating change to achieve a better outcome. We can’t keep doing the same thing, expecting a solution – so with that in mind, I encourage you to try one new thing you can action today and do it for 21 days. That’s enough time to create a new habit and bring about wonderful change.
For more on hormones and women’s health, let’s hang out! Please head to my website, www.natkringoudis.com where I talk all day about such things!