An explanation of the role of hormones during a womans cycle.
From puberty to menopause and beyond women are constantly at the mercy of hormones. The key players, Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone.
Throughout the month we are subjected to the fluctuations of these hormones culminating in the drop of progesterone and oestrogen just before our period. This drop it is believed is one of the main contributing factors to PMS. Others say it is the decrease in serotonin which plays a crucial role in mood states – and insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to PMS, fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems. The other thing that happens just before your period is increased inflammatory prostaglandin production (which cause the uterus to contract in order to shed the lining) but which can also cause increased sensitivity to pain in general, looser stools and bloating, mild cramping
- Mild fluid retention, belly bloating or fullness is typically due to changes in progesterone and estrogen levels causing the body to retain more water and salt
- Carb cravings (esp sugar and chocolate). Most likely due to drop in serotonin and magnesium and Red meat due to lost iron.
SUMMARY OF HORMONE ACTIVITY DURING CYCLE.
Start to middle of your cycle
Peaking Estrogen: is said to offer an optimistic headspace, clearer skin, looking great, better sleep sharper focus, decision making and energy and memory
Testosterone offers energy confidence, and motivation as well as muscle strength and sex drive
Progesterone will help you feel more easygoing and contribute towards great sleep.
Towards end of your cycle.
Declining estrogen will contribute to lower moods, energy and a feeling of being depleted. A desire to behave in a quieter way, rest and recuperation– also you may feel more emotional, reactive and easily irritated, weepy or sensitive to critical comments. Your emotional filter is likely to lower so all your feelings including anger may come tumbling out.
NB: Research has proven that Stress Hormones, environmental chemical exposures and dietary factors can cause or worsen PMS. Stress is one of the biggest hormone disruptors.
Menopause is the complete ending of menstrual cycle. This usually happens in our early 50’s. Peri-menopause is the time leading up to menopause. As we age our ovarian function naturally declines – we produce less Estrogen and Progesterone and we stop ovulating. This decline starts in our last 30’s with mild symptoms becoming apparent in our early to late forties depending on our level of ovarian health and reserve.
Symptoms can include Skipped periods, hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, low sex drive, vaginal dryness, depression, anxiety and memory problems.
Things to address to help with menopause:
- Reduce Stress including removing chemical exposures
- Improve Sleep
- Improve Diet
- Drink More water
- Gentle Strength based exercise
Using Essential Oils to help with hormone balance and reduce stress.
Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils for therapeutic purposes. I often describe essential oils as Mother Nature’s rescue remedies, and for good reason. Essential oils are created by extracting the natural constituents from plants – the key elements that give them their distinctive colours, fragrances and healing properties – in order to produce a highly concentrated oil that captures the plants best qualities in their purest form. The healing properties of essential oils have been well documented over the years. Even ancient cultures were well aware of their benefits. Whether they’re inhaled in the form of vapours or applied to the skin in the form of oils and lotions, essential oils can help with problems ranging from stress to clogged sinuses and aching muscles.
Essential oils are 100% natural. However most oils cannot be applied directly to the skin hence the need for the oils to be included in some sort of carrier.
My own aromatherapy blends
Creating an aromatherapy blend is very much a fine art. Not only do you have to possess an intimate knowledge of essential oils and their therapeutic properties, you must also be sensitive and empathetic regarding the needs of your clients. Each and every ingredient has to be chosen with a specific therapeutic goal in mind. Not only that the oils all have to work in harmony with each other. A successful blend is more than the sum of its parts and therefore requires skill, experience and passion to bring to life. My own blends are the end result of years of research and refinement. My range covers everyday life occurrences and as such are handy rescue blends to have in your cupboard.
This blend is perfect for any time you feel your hormones are a little out of balance from PMS to peri-menopause. (Although during pregnancy you should stop using and use my Simply Pregnant blend which is at a 1% strength and using proven oils safe for mother and baby).
The Hormone Harmoniser blend contains specially selected 100% natural oils to help with hormones.
The first ingredient I chose was Rose essential oil. If Lavender is the king of essential oils, Rose is very much the queen. It’s got a special affinity for women’s problems and serves as a tonic for the uterus as well as for the heart, liver and stomach. It’s also incredibly effective on an emotional level and can help you cope with any sort of trauma or upset.
Next is Rose’s counterpart, Lavender. Lavender has earned its reputation as the king of essential oils many times over for the wife variety of problems its able to help with but its main role in Hormone Harmoniser is as a balancer. It’s especially effective at helping with PMT, but beyond that, it’s an analgesic, an antidepressant, a sedative .. the list goes on! It’s also an emmenagogue meaning that it can stimulate menstruation.
I chose Geranium also for its balancing properties, particularly when it comes to your emotions. Geranium is wonderful for treating moodiness, sadness and tearfulness – all of which are common symptoms of PMT. While Lavender is a sedative, Geranium stimulates the adrenal cortex which is great for stress. It also treats the liver and is excellent at reducing fluid retention.
Roman Chamomile is another oil that contains high amounts of Esters. Its great for pain relief in fact its traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine for pain relief. Its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic – so great for time of the month and stomach cramps. It has a calming sedative scent. Its also traditionally used as a tonic to strengthen and restore vitality. On an emotional level its great for calming and soothing. It is helpful for reducing anxiety and overthinking. Like lavender it encourages relaxation and supports sleep.
Jasmine: In Ayurvedic medicine Jasmine is used as an antispasmodic and uterine tonic. Emotionally it’s a great oil for self-comforting and it can relieve depression.
Whether its to cope with a difficult time of the month, peri-menopause or just help you through any emotionally stressful times, Hormone harmoniser will soon have your feeling like yourself again – its’ like a hug in a bottle!
In the hormone Harmoniser range:
100% essential oil blend – to be used in a diffuser. Helps to calm and uplift especially when it's one of those ‘rage’ days.
Shower Gel and Body Lotion As the shower gel is a wash off product you won’t get so much of the benefit of the essential oils getting into your system but you will inhale the gorgeous aroma which in itself is calming. If you want to continue to get the benefits of the oils – massage the body lotion in all over. The therapeutic benefits will continue to work for up to 8 hours.
Bath Foam, Bath Oil and Bath Salts.
Bubbles versus oil? Your choice as they have the same amount of essential oil blend (2%).
Bath Salts – Not only are you getting the benefits of the oils but you are also getting the benefits of the Epsom and Deep Sea Salts.
One of the key benefits is that they are known to help relax the nervous system, flush out toxins, ease muscle pain and also help with the production of Seratonin which is depleted at certain times of the month. Also the magnesium in the salts can be helpful during the 2nd half of the cycle when magnesium levels plummet and PMS symptoms appear. The combination of these together with the specially selected balancing essential oils make these salts a must have.