Healthy hormones are the root of wellness.
Hormonal balance is a buzzword we’re hearing all over Instagram and Tik Tok these days, but what exactly does it mean? Beyond using “feeling hormonal” as a synonym for “moody,” most people don’t spend much time learning about how hormones operate. By understanding the basics of how hormones impact women's health, you'll be empowered to make strategic changes to better support your menstrual cycle and overall well being.
Hormonal health is connected to most other health conditions. Hormones affect a myriad of things: metabolism, growth and development, menstrual cycle, mood, and reproductive health. Hormone imbalances can lead to a variety of health issues for women, including menstrual irregularities, acne, and mood disorders. In this article, you’ll learn the basics of hormonal health for women and ways to improve your hormonal balance.
The endocrine system
To understand hormones, you first need to understand the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a complex system of glands and organs that produce and secrete hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the bloodstream to target cells, where they bind to specific receptors and elicit a response. The major glands of the endocrine system include the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, ovaries, and testes. Each of these glands produces specific hormones that regulate different bodily functions.
"Hormonal imbalance" refers to when key hormones in your body, such as estrogen, testosterone, or progesterone, are at abnormally high levels or low levels. Hormonal balance simply means that all of your hormones are within a healthy range.
Hormones and your menstrual cycle
Hormonal imbalance can occur due to various factors such as stress, diet, medication, and environmental factors. Women are particularly susceptible to hormonal imbalances due to the changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormone imbalances can lead to a range of health issues including acne, mood disorders, menstrual cycle disorders, irregular periods, and more.
While these are sensitive subjects, we also want you to be aware that hormonal imbalances can affect weight gain, weight loss, and fertility. If you are struggling with either of these areas, please discuss with a trusted medical professional so they can support you with a deeper understanding of potential root causes.
The menstrual cycle is regulated by a complex interplay of hormones. The menstrual cycle is divided into four phases: the follicular phase, ovulation, the luteal phase, and menstruation. The follicular phase begins after your menstrual cycle ends, typically on day 3-5 of your cycle, and lasts until you ovulate. During this phase, the pituitary gland produces follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen. Estrogen plays a role in the growth and maturation of the uterine lining.
Ovulation occurs around day 14 of the menstrual cycle when the mature follicle releases an egg. During ovulation, the pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone (LH), which triggers ovulation. After ovulation, the luteal phase begins, which lasts for approximately 14 days. During this phase, the corpus luteum produces progesterone, which plays a role in preparing the uterine lining for implantation.
If implantation does not occur, the corpus luteum breaks down, and progesterone levels drop, leading to menstruation. Hormonal imbalances during the menstrual cycle can lead to menstrual irregularities such as missed periods, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, and painful periods.
There are some menstrual disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), that are connected to hormone levels. If you suspect that you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or another menstrual disorder, learn more about how to start the conversation with your doctor below.
Healthy ovulation and progesterone production is key to reducing period pain and PMS symptoms. Steady Mood by De Lune is designed to support ovulation and progesterone with ingredients like B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium.
Lifestyle swaps to support hormone health
Our hormones can have a profound impact on our physical and emotional health. Hormones affect our mood and energy levels, and play a vital role in our fertility and sexual health. Therefore, it's essential to maintain hormonal balance for optimal health. To start your hormone health journey, try out some of the tips below.
1. Get Moving!
Exercise is an excellent way to balance hormones naturally. Not only does it help release endorphins, the "feel-good" hormones that reduce stress and anxiety, but it can also regulate insulin and cortisol levels, two hormones that can wreak havoc on our body if not kept in check.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for hormonal health. A “healthy diet” is different from a fad diet: low-fat and toxic diet culture isn’t welcome here. A “healthy diet” includes filling, delicious foods that support full hormonal health. Check out recommended ingredients and meal inspo from De Lune’s Head Dietitian here.
Your diet should be rich in nutrients, especially vitamins B and D, zinc, and magnesium, which can help regulate hormones. For an added boost, find these key nutrients in our De Lune formulations!
3. Take Time to Relax
Stress is a significant factor that can disrupt hormonal balance in women. It's essential to manage stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Taking time for yourself and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation is crucial for your hormonal health. The adaptogens found in Steady Mood by De Lune help make stress a thing of the past.
4. Prioritize Sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial for hormonal health. Sleep is when our body repairs and regenerates itself, and when we don't get enough, our body produces more cortisol, which can cause hormonal imbalances. Therefore, it's vital to prioritize sleep and establish healthy sleep habits.
5. Consult Your Doctor
If you're experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as irregular periods, acne, mood swings, chronic stress, weight gain, or fatigue, it's essential to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can perform tests to determine if you have a hormonal imbalance and recommend treatment options.
De Lune partners with LetsGetChecked to offer affordable at-home hormone testing. If you’re concerned about your hormone levels and want to understand them on a more personal level, these tests are a great starting point. The medical team at LetsGetChecked will walk you through any abnormal results to set you up for success in a treatment plan with your doctor.
Healthy hormones, healthy life.
While we tend to be skeptical of wellness buzzwords on social media, understanding your hormones is key to resolving many other health issues. By understanding the basics of the endocrine system, the hormones produced during the menstrual cycle, and lifestyle adaptations that support hormonal health, you’re well on the way to a happier, healthier cycle.
Remember to take small steps and focus on progress, not perfection. Achieving hormonal health is a journey, and with patience and consistency, you can achieve balance and harmony within your body.