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Chronic Stress and Hormones; Finding Balance

by | Feb 17, 2024 | Moving Through Menopause Podcast, Podcasts

Beat Chronic Stress and Restore Hormonal Balance

Chronic stress takes a toll on our bodies and can wreak havoc on our hormones. As women, it is essential to understand the impact of stress and take proactive measures to manage stress and maintain optimal health and well-being.

In this Podcast, Sara Poldmae, Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, and I uncover the top three things women should be doing if they are struggling with chronic stress and hormones. Listen to our conversation as we explore how to navigate this transitional period using holistic approaches to health.

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Chapters:

00:00 Introduction to the Podcast
00:59 Understanding Menopause and Midlife Struggles
03:06 The Importance of Thyroid Health
03:44 The Role of Diet and Gluten in Health
09:31 The Impact of Stress and Blood Sugar on Health
15:16 The Importance of Sleep for Hormonal Health
16:34 The Interplay of Gut Health, Liver Health, and Hormonal Health
20:07 The Power of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
21:24 The Role of Testing and Evaluation in Health
26:58 Conclusion

Understanding Hormonal Balance:

Women can experience hormonal changes from as early as the age of 35, long before the typical midlife perimenopause phase. Many women are unaware that they are experiencing hormonal imbalances during this time, attributing symptoms to factors like stress, fatigue, or excessive workload. Dr. Sara stresses the importance of recognising and addressing these hormonal imbalances, as they can impact sleep quality, energy levels, and overall well-being.

What about Thyroid hormones:

The Thyroid hormones form part of our hormonal profile and are often implicated in hormonal imbalances. An underactive thyroid or conditions like Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease, can contribute to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, mood changes, and weight gain. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar to symptoms reported during the menopause transition. These include fatigue, forgetfulness, mood swings, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, and cold intolerance. Dr. Sara emphasises the importance of comprehensive thyroid testing if the above symptoms are present especially those occurring in our 30s.

Tip 1: Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms outlined above

Hormones, the Liver, and Gut Health:

Hormonal health is a complex issue and Dr. Sara emphasises the role of the liver, gut health, and blood sugar regulation in influencing hormone levels and overall well-being. She explains that imbalances in these areas can lead to hormonal fluctuations, causing symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. It is crucial to optimise liver health through appropriate dietary choices and the elephant in the room; alcohol.

Balancing blood sugar levels plays an important role in hormonal health as does a healthy gut. There has been much written about the gut-brain axis and the 2-way communication whereby disruptions in the gut microbiota are implicated in mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. This relationship also applies in reverse when exposure to stressful situations can disrupt the gut microbiota.

Tip 2: Try incorporating mindful food preparation, mindful eating and healthy food choices to nourish the mind and body and achieve hormonal equilibrium.

Balance the body with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine:

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer a unique approach to women struggling with hormonal imbalances. Dr. Sara explains that while functional medicine focuses on lifestyle changes and dietary choices, acupuncture can be used as a catalyst for change. Acupuncture not only has inherent healing properties but also helps individuals feel balanced and aligned, making it easier to adopt healthier habits and navigate the challenges of midlife.

Beat Chronic Stress with a good night’s sleep:

Ensuring quality sleep is crucial for regulating hormones and promoting overall well-being. Poor sleep quality can exacerbate hormonal disturbances, leading to a vicious cycle of fatigue and discomfort. Implementing good sleep hygiene practices, such as creating a peaceful sleep environment and managing stress levels, can contribute to improved sleep patterns and enhanced hormonal balance.

Tip 3: Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

Empowering Change and Taking Responsibility for Health:

Women must take a proactive role in managing their health and seek guidance from trusted healthcare professionals when indicated. Ensure you are receiving personalised treatment plans, focusing on achievable lifestyle changes using targeted interventions. By combining Eastern wisdom with Western scientific advancements, individuals can harness their body’s innate healing abilities and make informed choices for long-term well-being.

Make midlife a time to Beat Stress, Balance Hormones and Thrive:

Navigating midlife and managing hormonal imbalances can be challenging, but it is not an impossible task. Exploring a holistic approach, incorporating  Chinese medicine and/or functional medicine, can offer a comprehensive solution for women seeking balance and optimal well-being.

Remember, it’s never too late to embark on a journey towards better health. Start by prioritising sleep, nourishing your body with wholesome foods, and seeking guidance from a qualified professional. With the right tools and mindset, you can reclaim control over your hormonal health and thrive during midlife and beyond.

Thanks to my Guest

Dr Sara Poldmae Rising Woman Project

Movement made for Midlife and Menopause with Phillipa

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Disclaimer: Please note that any information we provide in this podcast does not constitute medical guidance. You should consult your medical practitioner before making any changes that could impact your health.

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