By Dr. Sarah Thomson, ND
Have you been feeling the effects of chronic stress!?
Have you also felt like your hormones are all over the place!?
Stress can certainly impact the ebb and flow of your hormones.
As a Naturopathic Doctor with a clinical focus in women’s health, I talk about stress and hormones all the time!
A large part of what I do when working one-on-one with women, is put on my detective hat to figure out what that underlying cause of their hormonal symptoms truly is.
If you have not been feeling like yourself lately and have a gut feeling that your hormones may be part of the underlying cause, then now is the time to start taking actionable steps to figure out what is going on.
I want to give you the tools and a guide to start that detective work.
How to become a hormone detective!
1) Start tracking your menstrual cycle
- This includes your period and any symptoms you may notice around this time
- Also track all other symptoms you experience throughout the month, even if you don’t think they are directly linked to your hormones… hint – they very well could be!
- Think about acne, spotting, sleep disturbance, cramping, mood changes, breast tenderness, digestive changes, low energy, anxiety, depression etc.
2) Blood work
- The best way to assess your hormones is through blood work
- This is when you reach out to your Naturopathic Doctor to discuss what blood work makes the most sense for you at this time
- The blood work should allow you to rule out or rule in something and also give information that guides specific treatment
- Your hormone levels change considerably throughout your menstrual cycle. This means that to get the full hormonal story, blood work to assess hormones needs to be completed at specific times of the month to give you usable information.
- Depending what your symptoms are, imaging of some sort may be indicated
- This could be a pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound for example
- This is something that requires a requisition from your family doctor or specialist
What to do once you have pieced together the clues!
1) Personalized supplement plan
- There are SO many different products available to support hormone health. With that said, not all hormonal formulas are appropriate for everyone.
- Some products support hormone production and others support metabolism of your hormones through your liver pathways.
- This is when blood work helps us target supplements specific to you!
2) Hormone nourishing nutrition
- The diet you are currently following that is supposed to help you, may actually be hindering you from reaching your goals
- Adding in specific foods that your hormones love is foundational to long term hormone regulation
3) Implement movement and exercise that supports your hormones
- More is not always better when it comes to exercise
- Your hormones love daily movement, but not all forms of exercise are right for your hormones
- Incorporating movement that does not add to the hormonal imbalance is key!
- Acupuncture is another treatment option to implement when working on hormone regulation
- Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about how acupuncture can help with your:
- Period cramps
- Irregular periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Fertility and pregnancy support
- Sleep struggles
- Stress management
- Mood swings
What is the next step?
If you think your hormones could use some TLC, working with a Naturopathic Doctor to support you with the detective work and a strategic plan is your next step!