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Hormonal you!?!

9 November 2020

Ah those hormones! How many times have you been told or have you said yourself: I am hormonal!? It is absolutely true that we have hormones, just like men do, and that they are essential to our health and development. However, female hormones are cyclical every 21 to 35 days, what is called a circadian rhythm and male hormones are cyclic; every 24 hours. The female hormonal cycle fluctuates during the month, which is why it can have several effects on the body. Nothing abnormal, in fact, each cyclical phase has something unique to contribute. What is NOT normal are negative discomfort and the pain. When these symptoms occur, they are signs of hormonal imbalance.

Faithful every month, periods are still taboo, unappreciated and a lot remain about them remains to be known. The menstrual cycle is more than an indicator of fertility; it also reflects women’s overall health. Menstruation was even recognized in the early 2000s as a vital sign for women. So why do you want to take medication to stop them? It is as if I would find having a bowel movement everyday cumbersome so I take a pharmacological product to prevent me from defecating! Yes my analogy is strong you will say, but think about it, it is totally the same thing. The only difference is that men do not have menstruation and that for hundreds of years, medicine has been practiced mostly by men and tested on men. Even the philosopher Plato believed that it was a form of hysteria caused by a uterus too sad from not carrying a child! Alas, since the era of the famous thinker, the beliefs still linger that if a woman is in a bad mood, she must be in her time of the month, if she is sexual, she must be ovulating. To this day, we still have a lot to learn about the menstrual cycle and the female hormones. Fortunately, in recent years, more studies are being conducted so that we can better understand and change our way of thinking about them.

Since the beginning of time women menstruate. This natural event is a sign of fertility and health, and it is probably one of the reasons why they tend to live longer than man by flushing more toxins through the blood. Two of the female hormones that differentiate us from man, are estrogen and progesterone. It is those hormones, very sensitive to our internal and external environment, that oscillate during our cycle. If the gap ration between the estrogen and progesterone is too large, it creates unpleasant physical, emotional and psychological symptoms. Being a bit tired, having mild abdominal discomfort, periods lasting 2 to 7 days in a 21 to 35 day cycle is normal....experiencing any other symptoms is not normal. The medical journal lists more than 200 symptoms associated with menstrual periods, they include: mood swings, irritability, migraine, headache, insomnia, acne, weight gain, water retention, lumbar and abdominal pain, chest pain, cravings, fatigue, decreased in concentration...all these abnormal symptoms is indicative of the hormones being imbalanced. If they are ignored, they worsen over time.

After the menstrual cycle, comes menopause! How many women are no longer able to control their weight, have hot flashes at all times of the day, especially at night, to such a point that they soak their sheets, suffer from insomnia and they often sleep in a different room not to disturb their loved one? Who can blame her for being irritable, tired and foggy after months of sleepless nights? Did you know that women die more from heart attacks after menopause than from any other diseases? Postmenopausal women are more at risk to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men. All these high risk diseases inevitably demonstrate the importance of the female hormones to a woman and the crucial need to take care of them. The human body is a wonderful machine, you have to listen to it when it tells you that something is wrong.

It is for all these reasons that we at In-Step are passionate about women’s health and that we have created the program "FEMALE HORMONES". Having lived a large part of my life with painful physical and emotional symptoms, I understand this pain very well. I've been told so many times that it was normal, that’s it's all part of being a woman! I could take 2 to 3 inches in size, my mood, my self-esteem and my taste for living all at once. Add insomnia, acne, lumbar pain (as if I had been hit in the lower back with a baseball bat), night heat, irritability, insatiable cravings, melancholy and so on... The discomfort and pain was so unbearable that I consumed 2 extra-strong anti-inflammatory drugs every 3 hours for the first 30 hours of my period. I even thought about hysterectomy… I admit that what scared me even more was menopause. I could imagine that this stage of my life would be a total loss of control of my body! But the day my PMS started showing up 2 weeks before my period, I decided I had enough! I wanted to fix this. With a lot of research and with my studies I gained a much better understanding of these unbearable symptoms and how my hormone balance was so out of wack. I was offered various options for medication but I chose a more natural and holistic approach and took charge of my health by changing the habits that were harming it. I believe that before choosing a more invasive or chemical method, it never hurts to try a more natural approach as in many cases the results are impressive. I would never judge those who decide to take another direction, it is a personal choice, however I do feel that having the choice of better, long lasting alternatives is often what is missing. - Emilie