hormones

Pain During Ovulation - Is It Normal?

Mittelschmerz – the lovely, weird name for the physical sensation experienced during or directly after the release of an egg from an ovary (ovulation). This pain is felt in the lower part of your abdomen and is often one-sided (but can alternate between sides, month-to-month).  Some women will experience this ovulatory pain as a mild, dull, aching sensation and some women may even experience even greater discomfort. Some won’t experience it at all.

Androgen Excess - Acne, Hair Growth & Hair Loss?

Androgens are often referred to as ‘male sex hormones,’ but they’re present in both men and women. When it comes to women, we hear the most about testosterone, DHEA-S and DHT.

Your Questions: Natural Approaches to Period Cramps?

Birth control is NOT the only option for painful (dysmenorrhea) and/or heavy periods (menorrhagia). And before jumping on a medication or supplement your HCP should always look into potential causes of extreme cramping – ie. endometriosis, fibroids, etc.

Prostaglandins are a major factor in menstrual cramps – once a month (when Aunt Flow comes to town) they cause uterine muscles to contract in order to release the uterine lining (endometrium). Prostaglandins aren’t bad (they are important for blood clots, inducing labour, etc.), but if certain prostaglandins are high in your cycle – this can predispose to more painful menstrual cramping.

Your Questions: The Return of Your Period in the Postpartum Phase

I have seen great variation in the amount of time it takes for a woman’s period to return and regulate. To start, prolactin is the main hormone responsible for milk production. And when elevated (hence, for breastfeeding) it works to prevent ovulation. 

Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea - Where's My Period?

Amenorrhea: the absence of your period.

And then amenorrhea is divided into 2 categories: primary and secondary.

We’re going to talk about secondary amenorrhea, which can be observed as: the absence of a period for 3 months in women who had previously had REGULAR cycles, or the absence of a period for 6 months in women who had already been experiencing IRREGULAR cycles.

The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal-Thyroid (HPAT) Axis - Hormone Connections

I talk a lot about cortisol, but it doesn’t exist as a lonely hormone. If you look closely, you can see that the thyroid (see TSH, T4, T3 and rT3) and adrenal glands (ACTH, cortisol) are tightly connected. The (+) and (-) icons indicate positive and negative feedback throughout this entire axis – how fascinating.

How Alcohol Affects Your Hormones

So - the liver is responsible for detoxing alcohol. But it’s also important for metabolizing estrogen. In women, more than one alcoholic drink per day has been shown to increase circulation of androgens (ie. testosterone) and estrogens (1, 2) – this predisposes you to symptoms of estrogen dominance.

Sleep and the Connection to Cortisol and Weight Gain

When you have healthy, restful sleep, cortisol levels are reduced to their lowest levels (typically around midnight). If cortisol doesn’t drop appropriately, this contributes to fat production and provides very little fuel (glycogen) to the muscles. So, you’ve got weight gain. And you’re tired.

Using Food as Medicine to Address Stress

We’re stressed out, right? Well, the increased cortisol produced by stress makes us hungry - hungry for carbs, sugar and fat (and not the good kinds, okay?). If we follow suit and eat like this all the time we start to feel fatigued (and in desperately hoping for a caffeine boost), moody and may even start to find that we don’t think as clearly (some will call this ‘brain fog’). And stress forces our body to utilize a significant amount of nutrients to produce the energy we need to respond - even if our stress is created by sitting in front of a computer all day. 

Chilling Out Cortisol

Chronically stressed out? I won’t lie, me too.

 But yikes, that eventually catches up to you. Cortisol (aka our stress hormone) is important for our functioning (and our ability to adapt to stress) – but too much or too little can be problematic.

Do you know how to deal with chronically elevated cortisol?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Emphasis on Syndrome

I’m willing to bet you’ve heard the term ‘PCOS’ before.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The first thing I want to emphasize: it’s a syndrome – not all signs and symptoms show up in every individual with PCOS.

So, how do you know if you have PCOS?

What To Consider When Thinking About Male Fertility

Time and time again, infertility problems are often primarily thought of as a female issue. Male infertility is talked about significantly less, and in my own clinical and personal experience, more commonly overlooked. Men considering their own fertility may feel isolated, and even undervalued in their own contribution to the process. So, let’s talk about it.