If You Feel Hormonal, You Have A Hormone Deficiency
How do you know if you are Hormonal?
There is the cynical, but often accurate adage that you should beware of a female when it is her time of the month. “Look out, Jane is PMS-ing. If you push her she will snap at the slightest thing.” We have all heard these types of sayings. PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a real consideration for many women. It is often defined by irritability, mood changes, bloating, cramping, and increased cravings. The manifestation has become so common, and severe in some females, that traditional medicine has further labeled it as PMDD, or premenstrual depressive disorder. PMS, or PMDD, is often what has been simply called being “hormonal”.
What does it mean to be hormonal? This is a common presentation. Women in my clinic often tell me that they are hormonal for at least part of every menstrual cycle that they have, and if they are not, then they have dealt with it in the past. Yet, if being hormonal is so common, then there must be a common reason. Indeed there is. This reason is often related to progesterone. However, progesterone is just one hormone deficiency that manifests when you are hormonal. The bigger picture is that numerous hormones are deficient, and until these hormones are properly addressed, you are going to likely remain hormonal.
Many causes exist to create hormone deficiencies and imbalances that lead to becoming hormonal. Some of the more common causes are the chronic secretion of stress hormones, poor dietary choices, and lack of exercise. The typical picture is low progesterone and low or marginal levels of estrogen. Sometimes, the estrogen is elevated, but it is more often the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen and progesterone have a unique balance that they must maintain to prevent you from becoming hormonal. It is a checks and balances system. Simply stated, estrogen stimulates. It stimulates the female brain and the estrogen sensitive tissues to change. A good example would be the breast. Many women begin to notice breast tenderness prior to menses. This is a good indication of low progesterone leaving the estrogen unchecked. Estrogen also serves the role of promoting fat and water retention. Think back to the PMS symptoms; irritability, moodiness, bloating, cramping and cravings. When you think about these classic symptoms of being hormonal as related to over stimulation or increasing water retention, it becomes easy to see the connection to estrogen. Regaining control over estrogen also means correcting the progesterone deficiency that you likely have.
It is likely that if you are suffering from hormone deficiencies contributing to being hormonal, you are also dealing with the effects of stress hormones. The stress hormone cortisol is notorious for stealing from progesterone to maintain its production. Much of the demand for cortisol comes from our lifestyle, but this is by no means the only source. We must also consider sources of inflammation for which there is a need for cortisol. One of the most common sources of inflammation is the diet. Fortunately however, just as a poor diet creates inflammation and leads to hormone deficiencies and becoming hormonal, so to can an adequate diet such as the Paleo Diet help correct some of the causes of hormone deficiencies.
Being hormonal is not a way of life. You are not cursed with it. It is simply the manifestation of dysfunction in the body secondary to a hormone deficiency. Our bodies depend on hormones. They are the chemical messengers that tell our body what to do throughout the day. If they provide the wrong message, you end up dealing with the wrong outcome. Thus, identifying your hormone deficiencies and working to correct them is key to overcoming being hormonal.