It’s perfectly normal to experience hormonal changes each month that have you feeling as if you might eat an entire cake or cry during every TV commercial. Reproductive hormones that fluctuate can influence your sex drive, period, fertility, sleep, appetite, mental state, and more! Read on to learn about the five hormones that mess with you every month and how you can deal with them.
Estradiol is the most potent type and is what gets the uterus ready for conception. Levels of estradiol that are stable can boost immunity and sex drive. Estrogen sends signals that tell everything in your body to grow, from your bones to your breasts. Unfortunately, too much can lead to fertility issues, severe PMS, and even breast cancer. Osteoporosis can result if there’s not enough. How can you balance your levels? If you’re way too thin, it can hinder production and extra fat can make a type of estrogen that interferes with estradiol. So, maintaining a healthy weight is key.
No, it’s not just for men. This androgen hormone supports regular ovulation and a good libido. Levels that are too high are often associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and can cause dandruff, acne, and/or dark hair in abnormal places. Too little can reduce your overall sense of well-being and your libido. In this case, also strive for a healthy BMI—excess testosterone has been closely associated with obesity.
This is what creates a uterine lining (embryo crib) every month. Without conception, levels sink and trigger your period. Progesterone has a mild sedative effect and can help you get a good sleep. But it can also increase constipation, water retention, and gassiness. Since it’s critical to regulate this hormone in order to make a baby, a lot of women who want to be mothers turn to over-the-counter creams for help. But studies have shown that they are useless. What works? Maybe as little as five minutes of meditation each day.
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)/luteinizing hormone (LH)
FSH gets eggs ready for “prime time”, while LH makes them drop. FSH/LH levels that are good can contribute to progesterone levels that are favorable. High FSH levels have been connected to acne, memory issues, and insomnia. Avoid or cut down on alcohol, especially if you’re looking to have a baby. More than two drinks a day can throw levels off balance.
It’s made in your brain and its main job is to govern egg release and stimulate the production of breast milk in new mothers. It’s rare, but levels of prolactin that are very high can crush your libido and cause symptoms that are similar to those of menopause. Levels that are slightly elevated can suppress ovulation. If you keep your levels normal, you can lose weight more quickly post-childbirth. Depriving yourself of enough sleep can spike this hormone. Make sure to get seven to eight hours a night for optimal levels of prolactin.