Pms And Low Sex Drive
Low testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are all associated with a decreased sex drive in both men and women. This is especially common after age 50 when estrogen and testosterone production declines. Since estrogen is one of the main hormones regulating a womans menstrual cycle a decrease in production can also lead to irregular periods that are too long, too short, unpredictable, heavy, or painful, infertility, hot flashes, mood swings, or painful intercourse.
Hormone Testing: Should I Get My Hormones Levels Tested
If you checked off two or more of the above symptoms and you have been struggling to get pregnant or keep a pregnancy, it is important you get your hormone levels tested.
The next major advance in the health of the people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself.-John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation
What kind of test should I get? Saliva or Serum?If you suspect a hormonal imbalance, you have two options, 1) purchase an at-home saliva test kit, and 2) schedule an appointment with your doctor to have a blood serum test performed. Depending on what your symptoms are, you may want to only have certain hormone levels tested. If you are unsure which hormones may be out-of-balance, it may be best to get a full hormone panel run. In the case of fertility health, we suggest you get the following hormone levels tested
Hormonal Imbalance And Pregnancy
Several hormones are responsible for pregnancy and if there is any disruption in the hormonal balance, it might lead to difficulties with menstrual cycle thus preventing pregnancy. The menstrual cycle is also dependent on the correct levels of estrogen, FSH, LH and many others. The imbalance in hormones can even be attributed to the factors below:
- A condition when the periods are absent, can indicate upset hormonal imbalance and could be due to high FSH levels which is on account of a premature failure of ovaries.
- Having long menstrual cycles, which are for more than 35 days and makes difficult for the women to get pregnant due to as the reason is the PCOS syndrome also known as polycystic ovary syndrome.
It can be also said that hormonal imbalance greatly affects the fertility and few concerns that happen due to hormonal imbalance are:
- Improper functioning in Ovulation or Ovulatory Dysfunction refers to irregular thyroid hormonal levels.
- PCOS -Polycystic ovary syndrome , which reduces the steadiness of ovulation or prevents it completely.
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Remember The Natural Hormonal Cycle Of A Woman Is Similar To The Tide Coming In And Going Out:
There is a continuous ebb and flow of hormone changes based around an approximate 28-day cycle, like the moon. The further women tend to skew from this, the more problems tend to happen with healthy fertility and hormonal balance. We must recognize that artificially changing this balance can cause other issues and one of these potentially can be endometriosis.
A similar situation exists with hormone replacement therapy. In theory, this shouldnt cause this issue if done properly. Unfortunately in my experience, there are a plethora of physicians prescribing hormones that really shouldnt be.Also, proper follow-up is not often done to assess blood levels of hormones.
This leads to many women having a relative progesterone/estrogen imbalance , which can lead to, amongst other things, endometriosis too.
Furthermore, there is a third hormone condition state that is increasingly common nowadays which is linked to being overly stressed. We call this the pregnenolone steal.
In this situation, a woman is preferencing her stress hormone cortisol to be produced at the expense of other important sex hormones . This can frequently lead to a relative deficiency of progesterone to estrogen, giving them too much estrogen which can then potentially instigate endometriosis also.
Why Hormone Panels Largely Are A Waste Of Money
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Fascinating. And thats a great example. Even just something as simple as breathing is going to affect very important hormones in profound ways, you know. And also, you were mentioning cortisol earlier, cortisol is in very dynamic interplay with things like, for example, circadian rhythm and sleep as well as your stress level and whether youre doing things like yoga or meditation. And all of those things are having a huge impact even from one day to the next on cortisol levels. So, its not just, I think people have this disconnect where they dont understand that connection of the nutrition and lifestyle habits and then they think, Oh my cortisol level is this, therefore I need to be on cortisone therapy, or I need to take a supplement to fix my poor adrenals. And its no, you need to fix the nutrition and lifestyle factors that are impacting the amount of secretion of that particular hormone.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Not at all. And what happens is then people think you can take it to the bank. So, Well, I have low this or I have low that. Its like not really. And its interesting. I mean Ive been in this for, you know, 30 years. And if the testing were useful, I would know it by now, I think.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, thats funny.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Very good. Okay.
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How To Balance Hormones Naturally Faq
The truth is, your body is always trying to communicate with you. When you experience hormonal symptoms like mood changes, tender breasts, irregular periods or acne, your body is sending you a clear sign that something is out of balance.
It can be tempting to take a pill or another quick-fix solution to mask these symptoms. These band-aid solutions can work short term, but ultimately dont address the root cause of the imbalance. By exploring the triggers for your symptoms and identifying hormonal imbalances, you can get rid of your period symptoms for good and experience blissful, drama-free cycles.
By first learning to what your hormones are trying to tell you, we can then pinpoint the hormones which are likely out of balance for you and address these naturally.
Limit Caffeine + Alcohol
If you can, its important to moderate or limit caffeine and alcohol consumption during the ovulatory phase, as estrogen is at its absolute peak, meaning your liver needs all the support it can to detox it properly If your liver gets overloaded, it dumps estrogen out back into your bloodstream, which can lead to estrogen dominance, a key component of infertility.
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Reduced Sugar And Carbs
Diets that lower carbohydrate intake, such as Paleo and the keto diet often find that their hormones are suddenly balanced and they have lower inflammation.
This is one of the biggest reasons that we believe the keto diet is good for PCOS and infertility Even lowering your carbs less drastically and adding in more healthy fats and proteins can make a huge difference to your hormone levels.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally With Dr Christiane Northrup Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hi everyone, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I am your host Ari Whitten and today I am honored to be joined by Dr. Christiane Northrup, who is a board-certified OB/GYN physician and New York Times bestselling author, a visionary, pioneer and leading authority in the field of womens health and wellness. Shes internationally known for her empowering approach to womens health and wellness, and she teaches women how to thrive at every stage of life. So, Im very honored to have you on the show today. Dr. Northrup, welcome to the show.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Thank you. Its my pleasure to be here.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, Im, as we just were chatting about, Im excited to be able to do two podcasts with you, but were going to split this up because you have so much great content to share. One of the topics that I want to delve into this with you is on womens hormonal health.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Right.
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Get A Good Nights Sleep
To improve your chances of getting pregnant you need to keep yourself as healthy and happy as possible and that includes getting enough sleep.
Sleep is the time our bodies recover and heal, says Natasha. And having a good routine around your bedtime is crucial to a good nights sleep. I recommend closing the curtains and making the space dark for two hours before sleep. Please, no screens in the last hour. I particularly like a cup of chamomile to seal the deal, she says.
Be Kind To Each Other
Its easy to forget each other during the process of getting pregnant. Making a family takes time, energy, a sense of humour and love. If you find yourself just going through the motions and forcing yourselves to schedule sex you may start to miss out on what should be an intimate time. Ironically, this can result in you wanting to less sex.
Every now and again take a break and inject some joy and romance into your relationship. Go on a country walk, treat yourselves to a dinner date, or give each other a seductive massage. Make sure you keep it fun and flirty with lots of talking. Focus on reliving your honeymoon period not making a baby.
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The Challenge Begins On Thursday November 24th
Yup, you heard that right, were starting the challenge on Thanksgiving Day. Am I trying to set myself up for disaster? Of course not! But the place Im coming from, after a miscarriage just weeks ago, is that I have no set cycle. And since I believe in the power of lunaception to balance the cycle we start on November 24 with the new moon.
How To Balance Your Hormones In A Nutshell
1) Live a clean, non-toxic lifestyle
5) Exercise, but dont over-exercise
6) Eat a nutrient-dense diet, and supplement as necessary. If needed, work on balancing blood sugar.
7) Support detoxification
Now, its possible to take this approach and still deal with symptoms hormone imbalance that just wont go away. Sometimes hormones take time to heal. Other times, we need a health detective with a magnifying glass and some lab tests to really see whats going on.
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Look At Emotional Blocks
This may be the last thing you want to hear, but sometimes there are emotional issues tied to infertility.
If you are not psychologically ready for a baby, then your mind may be sending signals to your body so that you wont become pregnant.
Its important to think about what could be stopping you from feeling prepared. Is motherhood frightening to you? Is your relationship with your partner stable? Are you afraid of weight gain, childbirth or other aspects of pregnancy?
You may want to evaluate your thoughts and feelings around pregnancy so that you can remove any blocks. Seeing a counselor, journaling, or meditation may be of great help to you.
How Does Hormonal Imbalance Happen
StressResearch shows that stress boosts levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which inhibits the bodys main sex hormones GnRH and subsequently suppresses ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count.
GnRH is responsible for the release of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone by the pituitary gland, the suppression of testosterone, estrogens, and sexual behavior. Chronic stress may cause lack of libido, as well as a decrease in general fertility. Chronic stress may cause adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems.
Leading authority in womens health and wellness Dr. Christiane Northrop explains this well, The stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, which are produced by the adrenal glands, can wreak havoc on normal hormone metabolism. For example, if you are skipping ovulations, have progesterone levels that are very low, but estrogen levels that are high your body will convert your estrogen into substances that act like additional stress hormones.
XenohormonesXenohormones are human-made chemicals. These chemicals have the ability to interfere with the natural functions and development of our bodies. Not only can they mimic our natural hormones, but they can block other hormones from binding to receptor sites. All xenohormones are endocrine disruptors. They can alter how natural hormones are produced, metabolized and eliminated.
Common Sources of Xenohormones:
- Emulsifiers in soap and cosmetics
- PCBs from industrial waste
- Hormonal birth control
Whats Your Experience Been With Hormone Balancing
About the authors: This article was coauthored by Heather Dessinger Dr. Natcha Maithai . Dr. Maithai is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner with a PhD in molecular genetics. After becoming frustrated with hormonal problems that went undiagnosed despite her best efforts, Dr. Maithai applied tools she learned as a cancer researcher to dive into available scientific literature and find a holistic solution. You can find her health insights, biohacking tips, and information about working with her on her website, Natcha Maithai.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Anna Cabeca, a gynecologist and obstetrician and a menopause and sexual health expert. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Dr Northrups Experience With Hormone Replacement Therapy
Ari Whitten: And this has been sort of your bread and butter for a long time. I think you, I know you graduated from medical school, what, back in the early 80s or something or somewhere around there, late 70s?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: In the 70s, in the 70s. Yeah. Yeah. So, Ive been at this for a while and, you know, back when the only hormone that was given was Premarin. Premarin stands for pregnant mares urine. So, its horse urine basically. And the reason why that was the gold standard was it was just sort of the first to the table was the main thing on that. And so, as I went along, I noticed there were other alternatives to that, but they werent as well known. And then I got into, in the early 90s, I met the people who were doing work with natural progesterone, bio-identical progesterone. And I found that this was working so much better than medroxyprogesterone acetate, which is a synthetic progestin. All birth control pills, by the way, are not native to the female body and they have side effects.
But if you take something in a lab and you make it different from something found in nature, its going to have totally different effects. Now, to this day, my colleagues do not seem to understand this difference. I just, its like its mind-blowing to me that my own profession cannot see the difference between the three
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What Happens When These Hormones Become Imbalanced
When there is an excess of estrogen in your system, this can lead to heavy and painful periods, sore breasts, PMS, and weight retention around thighs and hips. The causes of estrogen excess include higher production from ovaries and poor metabolism and detoxification.
Low estrogen can also have negative effects on your health, which include low libido, missing periods, or very long cycles. The causes for low estrogen include under-eating, over-exercising, stress, and smoking.
The consequences of low progesterone include PMS, spotting before period begins, anxiety, and prolonged bleeding. The causes of low progesterone include stress and not ovulating.
Having high testosterone can cause acne, male pattern hair growth, hair loss, and irregular cycles. It is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome , which is associated with irregular cycles and excess androgens .
Fertility Or Menstrual Problems
Estrogen grows the lining of your uterus to prepare it for conception . But progesterone also has an important role to ensure that the lining remains there for roughly 14 days after ovulation in case you become pregnant. If you conceive, progesterone rises. If not, progesterone levels drop again causing the shedding of the uterine lining which we know as menstruation.
However, when progesterone is chronically low, this process malfunctions and the progesterone peak may not occur. Then you may have irregular or very heavy periods or trouble conceiving. You may also experience pre-menstrual migraines and more intense symptoms of PMS.
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Wondering About Your Hormonal Trends
Knowing your hormonal status is one of the most powerful tools in preparing for a healthy preconception, conception, and pregnancyand Id love to help you get started. Reach out to me if youre ready for help!
Not quite ready for a full functional medicine evaluation? My functional medicine nutritionist can also help you get started with a practical and personalized nutrition plan.
Avoid Sugar And Refined Carbs
Sugar and refined carbs have been linked to a number of health problems.
Indeed, avoiding or minimizing these foods may be instrumental in optimizing hormone function and avoiding obesity, diabetes and other diseases.
Studies have consistently shown that fructose can increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese people with prediabetes or diabetes (
Diets high in sugar and refined carbs have been shown to drive insulin resistance. Avoiding these foods and reducing overall carb intake may decrease insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Biohack Your Way To Better Sleep
When life is busy, often the first thing we sacrifice is sleep. Sleep or rather inadequate sleep quickly throws our body off balance. This is why its one of the first things our doctors ask about when patients come in for their initial visit. In a small study testing the impact of prolonged sleep restriction, participants that slept only 4 hours versus 10 or 12 hours experienced an increase in ghrelin, a hormone responsible for appetite regulation, alongside a decrease in leptin, a hormone responsible for communicating satiation. For many of us, 10 or 12 hours might be hard to achieve. Thats why here at Parsley we recommend getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. The benefits of adequate sleep will not only increase your glucose metabolism and leptin concentrations but increase your bodys secretion of growth hormones responsible for cell reproduction and regeneration, which all take place during periods of rest.