Our hormonal system, or “endocrine system” is a complex communication network between our brain and various organs. When it comes to the menstrual cycle, we often focus on hormones such as FSH, LH, estrogen, and progesterone. While these are definitely important factors for our balanced menstrual cycle, they are not the only hormonal factors at play. Today I want to talk about nutrition and how it relates to reproductive hormone balance.
It’s autumn, and with change of season comes a change in the foods we crave. It is not only natural to seek warming foods as we transition to the colder months, it’s also incredibly beneficial for supporting our digestive fire.
If you’re anything like the vast majority of my patients, then you know first-hand the experience of crouching over on the couch and calculating the number of minutes it takes for the advil to kick-in versus how long before you have to leave for work, class, or - if you’re Fu Yuanhui - your olympic swim meet. And you’re not alone; from the first twinges in early adolescence (alerting you that your previously dormant, pear-sized uterus has come to life) to the monthly cycle of discomfort and pain, over 80% of menstruating women experience dysmenorrhea.
Long out of the woods in the puberty department, many of my 20, 30 and 40 year old patients complain about cyclical acne – the type of acne that crops up in the week or two leading up to your period. Breakouts after ovulation or before your menses have the ability to make us feel like we’re back in grade 9, with all the nervous awkward feelings of your body going through ‘the change.’ Why is it that, post puberty, so many women continue to struggle with acne?
Before getting your period, do you experience changes in the texture, fullness and sensation in your breasts? You are experiencing something called cyclical fibrocystic breast changes, a very common benign breast condition also called cystic mastitis or mammary dysplasia. Women with fibrocystic changes have excessively ‘lumpy’ breasts and often experience tenderness or even pain at different times during their cycles. These fibrocystic changes are most pronounced in women ages 20-50, and usually resolve after menopause.
Magnesium is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to the minerals in your body. We often overlook it in our treatment plans for women trying to conceive, but it is an incredibly powerful solution for women looking to regulate their cycles, balance their hormones, fix digestive issues, resolve headaches, get pregnant, sleep better, and reduce stress and anxiety.
Each women’s cycle is unique. Some women barely noticed when their period comes and goes.