What every woman needs to know about their hormones- Part 1
In Part 1 of this series, Nicki looks at why hormones are important and how to tell if you have a hormone imbalance
It’s hard enough for us women to juggle families and work without our hormones playing up too!
But that’s what’s happening to millions of women who are stressed out and exhausted, struggling to lose weight, suffering mood swings, brain fog, low sex drive, insomnia and PMS.
If you thought hormones were just about puberty, pregnancy, menopause and your monthly cycle, think again. They do so much more than that. Many of us, including many doctors, are unaware of the extent to which hormones rule our lives. They pretty much dictate how we look, feel, think and perform. And if you’re not looking after them, they can cause havoc!
Especially as you get older. From 35 onwards, hormones start to change. And so many women I speak to don’t realise that their symptoms are due to hormone imbalances. That’s because it doesn’t happen overnight, hormone changes creep up on you very gradually so that you often just get used to the extra tiredness, or the brain fog, and it’s often a trigger or event that makes you sit up and take notice (mine was my daughter telling me I was a grumpy mum!).
So here are the most common symptoms of hormone imbalance that you should look out for;
- MOVING UP THE DRESS SIZES – you might notice your weight creeping (or surging!) upwards, especially around the stomach and hips. You just look at a loaf of bread and your trousers feel tight. And those crazy diets you used to do just don’t cut it any more.
- STRESSED OUT – you’re pretty wired most of the time, rushing from one task to the next, never getting through your ever expanding to-do list. No switch off time means your sleep can suffer too, making you even grumpier the next day.
- MOODY – so you’re moody, irritable and generally horrible pretty much most of the time (not just for one week before your period). Either everyone in the world is a moron, OR your hormones are in control….
- ANXIOUS – as well as moody and irritable, you may also be anxious and panicky. Signs are that you stress or worry about the smallest things, you cry at the drop of a hat, or you get panicky over things you were really confident about before.
- TATT (TIRED ALL THE TIME) – as if your life isn’t exhausting enough, your fluctuating hormones are taking their toll on your energy levels. Getting through the day on caffeine and chocolate seems the only option.
- PMS – heavy and painful periods like you had when you were a teenager? Not to mention the bloating, mood swings, headaches and ‘I’ll die without chocolate’ cravings. You’re kidding right? You thought you were past all that PMS stuff and now it’s worse than ever.
- CHOCOLATE OR SEX? no contest! Chocolate is winning that one far too often. And if it’s not chocolate that is winning the battle, it will be sleep. You are so exhausted by bedtime that sex is the last thing on your to-do list.
- BRAIN FOG & MEMORY LOSS – lost your phone/keys/glasses again? Impossible to concentrate on anything? Brain fog and memory loss are very common symptoms of hormone imbalance. Not helped by the huge amount of ‘stuff’ that we are responsible for and trying to remember.
- HOT FLUSHES & NIGHT SWEATS - one of the more obvious symptoms in the run up to menopause, hot flushes and night sweats can range from inconvenient to humiliating! You might have to endure the embarrassment of burning up like a furnace when you're stuck on the train or in a meeting. Then you're waking up at night in a pool of sweat.
If any of this sounds familiar, don't worry, it's not YOU, it's your HORMONES!
Hormones work in a very delicate and complex synergy – if one hormone is out of balance, it can upset all of them. But some simple diet and lifestyle changes can make a huge difference (coming to that soon!).In Part 2, I’ll be talking about your 'Feisty 4' hormones – the 4 main hormones that tend to be in control of your weight, energy, mood and mind!