Hormones can get complicated. But after spending 9 years studying and 6 years in practice working with women to balance their hormones, I can break it down for you in a super straightforward way. Here are 4 important hormones that you should know about for your BEST HEALTH. 

  1. Cortisol Your STRESS hormone. We all have some degree of stress in our lives. But if we’re seeing weight gain especially around the tummy “stress tummy”, poor sleep, not feeling refreshed on waking and we know we’ve been under a lot of stress or just super busy then it’s time to look into adrenal support. Your adrenal glands normally put out your cortisol on a curve throughout the day. You have a high spike of cortisol in the morning this means you’re refreshed and ready to go for the day. It gradually dips and stays low while you sleep to have a deep restful sleep. If you’re dragging yourself out of bed and NEED several cups of coffee to get going OR if you’re waking periodically through the night feeling wide awake for no reason, then ask your naturopath about adaptogens. Adaptogens are a type of herbal medicine to support your adrenal glands by rebalancing your stress hormone levels to keep you energized throughout the day and getting your best sleep at night.
  1. Progesterone Your Zen hormone. Progesterone is our ANTI-ANXIETY “zen” hormone. With higher levels we feel GREAT. We feel relaxed and have a balanced mood. With low levels especially RIGHT before our period we can get terrible mood swings and feel very sensitive. #itsnotyouitsyourhormones If you have an anxious personality and it gets a lot worse around your period (maybe you also have breast tenderness and some spotting leading up to your period too) then get your progesterone level checked.
  1. Estrogen Think about heavy periods when there’s too much and hot flashes in our later years when there’s too little. If estrogen is too high we call this an estrogen dominance. We, as naturopaths, interpret hormone blood tests in terms of how the hormones interact with each other. There’s a balance that needs to happen in order for us to have symptom free periods, our best weight, mood and sleep. Hormones affect SO many things in our bodies. There are 2 scenarios with estrogen dominance. Estrogen values on a blood test can be too high (like 1000) or it can be kind of normal (like 300) BUT your progesterone level is LOW so your body basically THINKS it has a lot of estrogen. Either way, with an estrogen dominance you can get REALLY HEAVY PAINFUL periods. If estrogen is too low, which happens after menopause you can get more symptoms related to temperature fluctuations, the hormones are hitting our little internal thermostat. So, we see hot flashes and night sweats as estrogen drops. Supporting your estrogen with herbal therapies can be helpful but it’s always best to do this with a qualified practitioner to make sure it’s safe and effective. 
  1. Testosterone Think about libido. If testosterone is too low we see a huge drop in sex drive. Why does it drop? Chronic stress, age or chronic disease can be some reasons. A testosterone blood test can show your levels and determine if treatment is necessary. A lot of women I see that are in menopause have UNDETECTABLE testosterone levels! Sex isn’t the only thing affected by low testosterone. Testosterone has an impact impact on mood and our ability to produce our happy neurotransmitter called serotonin. In cases of low testosterone we see higher levels of depression.


So, this is your comprehensive hormone guide. Get in touch if you have any questions.