Hormones and Your Health
"I could nap all day and still be tired." This was me. My husband use to tease me because I would get 9 hours of sleep at night and still want to take a nap during the day. My head was in a constant fog, and I felt like a spectator of life instead of a participant.
Thankfully when I started studying Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, I really began to get a better understanding of my hormones and how they were contributing to my poor state of health.
HORMONES - From where do they come?
Most of us have a pretty good understanding about hormones. We realize that a lot of hormones are produced in the ovaries or testes.
Women usually connect their hormones with their cycle. Maybe you feel more energized at certain times of the month, and more irritated at others. When our menstrual cycles stop at menopause we also understand that our hormones are what create a lot of the changes that happen in our bodies.
Men's hormones are often thought in regards to their stamina and sometimes their temper. I've heard many women say, "My husband has too much testosterone, he gets angry too quickly."
Honestly, there is a lot more to our hormones than this. In fact, some of the hormones that we contribute to the symptoms above (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) are also produced by communications between the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands aka: HPA axis.
The HPA axis also produces additional hormones, one in particular is cortisol. Cortisol is the hormones that helps us cope with physical and emotional stress. During times of chronic stress health issues can start to develop because cortisol also suppresses the digestive system, the production of insulin, immune system responses and the reproductive system. You can see how an imbalance in the HPA axis and an overproduction of cortisol can lead to multiple problems.
WHAT IS STRESS?
In today's world, it is almost impossible to get through the day without some form of stress. Many stressor are easy to identify- think about your work life and your home life. You may already be able to identify a few forms of external stress you deal with on a regular basis.
There are also HIDDEN internal stressors. These include things like enviromental toxins, immune response, digestive function, and detoxification capacity. All of these can attribute to the amount of stress your HPA axis has to cope with, and the amount of hormones you are able to keep producing.
When I work with clients to address their hormones, we try to identify their HIDDEN internal stressors.
How Does this Affect The Way You Feel?
As mentioned earlier, an imbalance in the HPA axis can lead to a number of different symptoms. Do you recognize any of the following in your own life?
Blood pressure problems
Lowered immune system
Blood sugar problems
Increase in abdominal fat
Fatigue, particularly during the morning and mid-afternoon
Slow wound healing
Cravings for salt or salty foods
Poor muscle tone
How does testing HPA differ from a hormone test done by my doctor?
Most hormone tests done at conventional doctor's offices are blood tests. Blood test can measure estrogen and testosterone, but they are not as accurate as other forms of measurement such as saliva or urine.
The other thing that differs about how Functional Diagnostic Nutrition (FDN) address hormones versus conventional medicine is the approach. Traditionally, if a test shows up as low estrogen or low progesterone, your doctor will prescribe that hormone.
With FDN the end goal is not to just cover up the lack of hormones, but to understand why your body is in a state of malfunction and begin the healing process.
If this sounds like something you need...
It may be time to get a bigger picture of your health by testing your hormones and understanding your HPA axis. You can learn more about how to start this process and begin to restore your health and balance your hormones naturally by clicking here.
I am so happy that I took the leap all those years ago to understand my hormones and heal my body. I never thought feeling this good could actually be an option for me. Finally I can participate in life instead of drowsily watching from the side lines. I look forward to working with you as you start this journey for yourself.