Now is the time to figure out your hormonal patterns!
Life has temporarily shifted for most people quiet drastically. Busy lifestyles can cause us to overlook the subtle hints that our bodies might be out of balance. For women in particular, menstrual cycles can provide huge clues to hormone imbalances of progesterone, estrogen, thyroid, cortisol, testosterone and insulin levels. Perhaps by taking the time to observe and record symptoms that are thought to be normal or “just part of life”, we can determine what is out of balance and then, more importantly, how to re-balance.
Let’s take insulin as an example. When the body is secreting more insulin to help lower blood sugar levels, this leads to insulin resistance and sometimes polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Symptoms include long or irregular cycles (ie periods come every 30-40 days or more), new unwanted hair growth patterns, feeling “hungry” when meals or snacks are missed, inability to lose weight, sleep disturbances, painful periods, hair loss and fatigue after carb-heavy meals. Even the development of new skin tags is a sign of insulin resistance.
There is a great, free app that you can use to collect data revolving around hormones called “Period Tracker”. It has the symbol of an animated pink daisy at the App store. This simple program allows you to enter the first day of your period and the last day of your period and will calculate average cycle lengths and times of ovulation. It also has a section for symptoms and a scale of mild/moderate/strong to record a more detailed record. The symptoms range from acne, bloating, cravings, insomnia, headaches, spotting, breast tenderness and so on. The app has space for you to insert your own symptoms and create an icon for that symptom. By recording this information for a few cycles, patterns will likely emerge, making it easier to determine which hormones need addressing.
Hormone levels can always be tested by saliva or urine but sometimes it is even better to look at symptoms and patterns first or instead of testing. It can be very helpful when patients pull out this information at appointments to help their Naturopathic Physician get a clear clinical picture. Start tracking today and I will send out another blog soon with more profiles of hormones and symptoms to help you figure out where to start to achieve your perfect balance.
Yours In Health,
Dr. Jennifer Luis