The Mixology of Female Hormones

final mixology (4)Any well-crafted drink hits the right balance and proportion of ingredients. The powerful mixture of our hormones- estrogen, progesterone and testosterone- blend together in intoxicating ways, to sustain health, create life, and communicate vital messages to your organs. Due to the increase of subtle hormonal disruptors- stress, diet, toxic chemicals, it’s important to understand and connect to your hormonal process no matter what age!  This post focuses on the basics of female hormones and Part II  shares ways to assist in your hormonal balance and ways to avoid the disruptors.

Here are some tips to pay attention to in order to keep your hormones optimally stirred in your system:

KNOW YOUR HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS

         Main Supplier: Your girlfriends- the Ovaries- primarily manufacture estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

         EstrogenThe “I’m Every Woman” Hormone

Estrogen helps to build the uterine lining, thicken the vaginal wall, stimulates a pregnant woman’s breast to grow, affects a woman’s cardiovascular system, and bone health.  Even if your ovaries are removed your body will still make some estrogen. There are three different types of estrogen elixirs:

    • Estrone (E1) – created in the ovary, liver and fatty tissue; found more in postmenopausal women; fatty tissue supplies more than the ovaries.
    • Estradiol (E2) – Estrogen crafted in the ovary during reproductive years.
    • Estriol (E3) Weaker potency than E1 or E2; produced during pregnancy.

Progesterone- The “This Woman’s Work” Hormone

Progesterone regulates the effects of estrogen and is needed in order to get pregnant and stay pregnant. If an egg is not fertilized then progesterone levels drop to signal the menstruation process. Progesterone helps signal a mommy to produce milk and trigger mammary glands. Progesterone is known to reduce inflammation, and improve memory and perception. Progesterone is a precursor hormone that can be converted by the body into other steroid hormones. The amount of progesterone in your body can impact thyroid function.

Testosterone- The “Let’s Get It On” hormone is primarily brewed in the ovaries, but is also whipped up in the adrenal glands. Testosterone not only helps with sex drive, but it also helps with muscle and bone mass, skin suppleness, energy, mood and ability to handle stress. During pregnancy, testosterone helps an embryo to grow. There’s a strong partnership between testosterone and estrogen because they are transported in the body via the same protein-sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). The more estrogen available, the more testosterone binds to the SHBG.

 THE MONTHLY HORMONAL POUR AND SHAKE

These well-crafted hormones blend together with each other in a special way in order to serve up your monthly cycle. Here is what your mixologist is serving up on a monthly basis:

The Estrogen Buzz (aka the Follicular Phase Day 1-13 approx) – Your mixologist starts the beginning of your period every month by adding estrogen and testosterone to help signal to the Uterus- “time to start growing your lining!” The nurturing uterus is dedicated to making her accommodations comfy and cozy for her expected guest’s arrival- the egg. The estrogen/testosterone pour gets stronger during this phase. With more estrogen swirling around your system, you might feel more energized, think and speak clearer, bump into things less. You also might feel action orientated, as well as feel lustier for action. Estrogen peaks just prior to ovulation.

          The Egg-celent Voyage- The pituitary gland stimulates different hormonal juices for follicles to grow in the ovary and for the ovary to know when an egg is just right for sendoff. Ovulation occurs around Day 13 until Day 16. An egg is released from the ovary to start its journey to the awaiting uterus.

The PMS Fuzz / Streams of Red (aka the Luteal Phase -second half of the month.)

          PMS Fuzz: Prior to getting your period, the mixologist adds more progesterone to water down and balance testosterone and estrogen’s strong potency. Progesterone helps to prep the uterus lining for an egg to implant. But more progesterone stirred in might lead to a PMS fuzz! You might not sleep as well, your boobs might hurt, you might feel irritated, cry more, or things might seem more intense. Eating carbs and chocolate at the same time while feeling bloated might seem like a great idea-it’s not.

          Streams of Red: During the fourth week of your hormonal shake, if your egg didn’t hook up with a sperm, estrogen and progesterone levels taper off in order to let the uterus shed its lining in streams of red. A shot of FSH- follicle stimulating hormone is added in order to give a shout out to the ovary to get going on preparing another egg. For some ladies with painful menstrual cramps, their recipe might include prostaglandin- a hormone-like mixer that causes the uterus to spasm. A few hours after you start your period, estrogen and testosterone start to get added back to your hormonal sauce.

CHANGES TO A LADY’S HORMONAL BAR SERVICE

The mixology of hormones is an intricate and complicated business! Like any well run establishment, there are changes in service in order to accommodate a lady’s changing body needs over time. Here are some important shifts to pay attention to, while working your hormonal bar:

Menarche-a-palooza: During puberty lots of estrogen is added to help your female organs mature. The period party kicks off and ‘streams of red’ occur approximately every 28 days.

Mamasita Time: If your egg does unite with a lucky sperm, then a growing placenta supplies the hormone,HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin), to signal to your ovaries to produce more estrogen and progesterone needed to sustain a pregnancy. Progesterone and the hormone relaxin help to create room for your baby to grow.  Estrogen signals the boobs to grow and encourages the baby’s organs to grow.

The Periomenopause Wonderland: Between the ages of 40-55, or earlier, your body’s messages might get confusing and you might start to wonder what’s up with the hot flashes, stronger mood swings, restless sleep, and stronger/lighter periods. The mixologist starts to prep for a wind down, and the delicate proportions of estrogen and progesterone may start to get out of balance. Sometimes stress hormones- adrenaline and cortisol- get out of balance too. For some in their mid 30’s less progesterone is added to the blend and there is a risk of estrogen dominance. Too much estrogen can lead to different health risks- breast cancer, higher cholesterol, allergic reactions, less oxygen levels in the cells, fibroid and tumor growth, and weight gain.

The Menopause Applause: Eventually the ovaries don’t produce enough estrogen for the uterus to thicken up and a lady’s period ends. If your period stops for 12 months then you’ve reached menopause. Lower amounts of estrogen can affect a woman’s heart, bones and blood vessels. Although you might have hit baby making closing time, it’s just the beginning of a new phase of adventures.

          The hormonal process and ingredients is a complex and intricate system! Since no two women are the same, it’s even more critical to personally connect to your hormonal process! Stay tuned for Part II- how you can help your hormonal mix.

Suggested Reading:

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  1 comment

  1. Laura Foresta   •  

    Love this! Witty, clever and informative. Keep ’em coming!
    xo

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