Ever feel possessed by a spirit with wayyy less chill? Are you sometimes haunted by an overactive appetite? Does your memory occasionally ghost you?
But seriously—thanks to our hormones, our body is naturally capable of a world of functions. Various glands throughout our body produce hormones, which are messengers that travel through the blood to different parts of the body to send signals to act in a certain way. Yet, when you’re spooked by some unexpected breakdowns or breakouts, this could be a sign that hormone levels are out of whack (or as doctors might call it: dysregulated or imbalanced) and therefore unable to effectively signal to their receptor.
We often talk about how fluctuating levels of Estrogen and Progesterone affect our skin and moods, so this spooky season we’ll take a deeper look at these super natural phenomena to demystify their impact on other behaviors and bodily functions.
Both Estrogen and Progesterone influence the neurotransmitter Serotonin, one of the chemicals that regulate mood. Estrogen levels are higher during the first half of your menstrual cycle, meaning higher levels of Serotonin (and happiness!). During the luteal phase, however, Estrogen dramatically drops if no pregnancy occurs, and with it, a drop in Serotonin levels, increasing the likelihood of anxiety and panic attacks.
When you feel threatened, the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline initiate a fight-or-flight response so your body can prepare to take action. But if you’re not actually experiencing life-or-death danger and using those hormones, an excess of Cortisol and Adrenaline can build up in your body, making you feel even more stressed!
Tip: Regular exercise can help reduce your risk of developing an anxiety disorder by lowering stress hormone levels and releasing endorphins. Start every day with a scenic walk or catch a spin class after work, and never worry about whether or not you’re smelling ripe down there when you freshen up with our Soothing Feminine Wash or Wipes.
Keep misplacing your keys? Spaced out on plans you’ve been looking forward to for weeks? Serotonin is also linked to proper brain function, so your memory might be impacted by lower levels of Estrogen and Progesterone.
Estrogen is also linked to the production and regulation of insulin, which helps process sugar and regulates glucose levels in your bloodstream. Your brain functions on sugar, so any fluctuations in blood sugar levels can lead to hypoglycemia, which can put your brain in a fog.
Tip: Eating complex, unprocessed carbs and especially brain boosting foods like sweet potatoes, fruit, raw dairy and ancient grains can help keep Serotonin levels in the optimum range so you can think clearly.
Getting a good sleep can often keep stress levels low, but what happens when it’s hard to catch some zzz’s? Estrogen stimulates the nervous system whereas Progesterone calms it down, so they must be balanced for proper sleep to occur, otherwise you may experience non-refreshing, disrupted sleep.
The sleep hormone Melatonin helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythms and has receptors in the same area of the brain as Estrogen receptors. With fluctuating Estrogen levels, Melatonin is automatically affected, leading to increased rates of sleep disturbances or insomnia. In fact, levels of the stress hormone Cortisol (aka the anti-sleep hormone) are higher in people with chronic insomnia and prevent deep sleep.
Tip: Create a wind-down routine to prepare your body for rest. Throw on a Hydration Facial Sheet Mask after your nighttime skincare regimen and do a quick journal sesh to get some thoughts on the page so they don’t keep swirling around in your head.
As well as regulating mood, Serotonin levels can also impact your metabolism—your body may slow down and use less energy, resulting in abrupt weight gain even if your diet and activity remains the same.
Progesterone has a calming effect on the body, so when levels are low, the likelihood of anxiety or low moods is higher, which can increase your appetite. You also might indulge in emotional eating when your Cortisol levels are raised, leading to spikes in blood sugar levels followed by a crash.
Tip: Eat foods that cause smaller spikes in glucose levels: green veggies, oatmeal, apples, and legumes instead of high-sugar, carb-forward munchies. Better yet, try fending off anxiety and emotional eating by planning activities that bring you joy, like brunch with your besties or dates at the dog park with your fur babies.
Abdominal cramps are an expected part of PMS, but what about those shoulder aches or that boob soreness? Like a natural ibuprofen, Estrogen protects against inflammation, so declining levels can lead to joint pain and higher risk of injury and bone loss. Cortisol, on the other hand, works as an inflammatory agent and actually causes inflammation as a stress response, so sustained stress can result in joint pain.
When it comes to boobs, Estrogen and Progesterone regulate your fertility and help your body prepare for conception, which includes influencing the swelling and contractions of the milk glands in anticipation of a possible pregnancy. Fluctuating levels of both hormones cause the milk ducts to grow or shrink, causing breast tenderness.
Tip: Our XL Heating Patch is your BFF for this symptom of hormonal imbalance. Place onto your clothes over the largest aches while you do some yoga for comforting relief while helping lower Cortisol levels.
Even though it feels like our hormones have a mind of their own, these fluctuations are natural responses to bodily cycles as well as stressors in our environment and lifestyle. While we can’t exactly control our hormones, we can adapt our lifestyles to make the symptoms of our hormonal imbalances much more manageable and way less freaky. Embrace this holistic approach to feel more in touch with your body and less spooked by seemingly random but totally natural changes!