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Happy, Healthy, Hormones – And Women!

Happy, Healthy, Hormones – And Women!

Have you heard the phrase, “Happy wife, happy life”? This often refers to those who walk on eggshells to appease the woman in their lives. There is no doubt that women have many roles today – we work extremely hard to tend to the needs of our families often while putting our own needs on the back burner.

Today, I ask that you put yourself first. Take care of your needs so your cup overflows, so that when you give of yourself, you give from your excess and not from your own cup, which is likely running low.

In life, women go through many hormonal changes. These changes include:

  • Puberty
  • Every menstrual cycle (first day of bleeding in one month to the first day of bleeding in the next)
  • Pregnancy/post-partum
  • Transition to menopause

This constant shifting can be a beautiful process, but many women dread their cycles, including the mess, the mood, the physical changes, and sometimes what it all signifies.

Exploring Our Happy, Healthy Hormones
Let’s explore the eight hormones that help us to feel safe, happy, and healthy. These hormones are dopamine, serotonin, estrogen, progesterone, epinephrine, oxytocin, cortisol, and thyroid.

  • Dopamine is a happy hormone involved with instant gratification (reward). Dopamine is released when we receive praise or eat our favorite food. It requires the amino acid tyrosine. It is associated with learning, motivation, heart rate, blood vessel function, kidney function, lactation, sleep, mood, attention, pain processing, movement, and control over nausea/vomiting. When it is too much, we might have symptoms like those associated with schizophrenia. When there is a lack, we might be diagnosed with ADHD, obesity, or Parkinson’s.
  • Serotonin is a happy hormone that is part of our platelets (stops bleeding). The gut contains 90% of our serotonin. It is associated with mood (happiness and calm), learning, memory, body temperature regulation, sleep (melatonin), sexual behavior, wound healing, bone health, and hunger. This hormone requires the essential amino acid tryptophan. We may experience depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, increased aggression, suicidal
    behavior, obsessive-compulsive behavior, PTSD, panic disorder, schizophrenia, and
    phobias when serotonin is low.
  • Estrogens are sex hormones. They come from ovaries, fat cells, and a small amount from our adrenals. Estrogens regulate the menstrual cycle and affect the heart, blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and brain. They’re responsible for the physical characteristics or look of women (breasts, hair pattern, and hips). Too much or too little may cause a change in the menstrual cycle, weight gain, fatigue, fibroids (PCOS), aggression, PMS symptoms, mood swings, depression, anxiety, dry skin, and others.
  • Progesterone is a sex hormone that supports menstruation and the early stages of pregnancy. Imbalances of progesterone show symptoms of irregular periods, headaches, difficulty conceiving, mood changes, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, hot flashes, weight gain, PMS, changes in libido (sex drive), water retention, discomfort in legs, bloating, and breast changes.
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a stress hormone (safety) and part of the fight-flight-or-freeze response. Symptoms associated with high amounts of epinephrine include anger/agitation, anxiety, shakiness, headaches, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, palpitations, and sweating.
  • Oxytocin is a happy and safe hormone—it is the love hormone. When there’s enough, it tells us we are safe and loved. It helps promote labor until the birth of a child, helps with lactation or “let-down,” and affects human behavior from sexual arousal, recognition, trust, romantic attachment, and parent-infant bonding. When imbalanced, conditions of insufficient lactation, problems within the parent-child bond, addiction, anorexia, anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, PTSD, and depression may arise.
  • Cortisol is a primary stress hormone (safety) that helps regulate the fight-flight-or-freeze response. Imbalances may have symptoms of weight gain, headaches, irritability, blood sugar dysregulation, inflammation, memory issues, metabolism issues, acne, thinning hair, easy bruising, slowed healing, weakness/fatigue, and high blood pressure.
  • The thyroid produces hormones and receives hormones that help maintain our health healthy. It helps regulate mood, weight, hair growth (cell turnover), digestion/metabolism, energy levels, body temperature, and skin health.

An imbalance in one hormone has a cascade effect on all these hormones. For instance, estrogen and progesterone have a close relationship. If one of these hormones is too low or high, you will likely experience some menstrual cycle irregularities or shifts in mood. We must learn to listen and hear our bodies.

We must pay attention to how we interact with the world and what others tell us based on our actions. Sometimes our (poor) actions are our best attempt to indicate that we need help. Lab testing can be a great predictor of our current health, and getting the proper assistance and guidance leads to a life of transformation. I am excited to help you heal on your health journey.

Dr. Cora Stover, ND, operates Emerald City Health Associates, LLC, as an all-natural telehealth clinic and is a professor at Sacred Heart University. At ECHA, Dr. Stover assists her patients through challenging health conditions while sifting through the symptoms to find the common factor. Dr. Stover works with complicated issues such as hormones and autoimmunity, addressing core issues for her patients.

Call 203.693.1932 or email: echa_llc@protonmail.com to book your appointment with Dr. Cora Stover.