In my aromatherapy practice, I focus on women’s health. That means I spend a lot of time talking to women about the importance of maintaining healthy hormones. Most of the women I work with experience some or all of following:
- A rollercoaster of up or down moods.
- Hormonal challenges – whether during menopause or at particular times during their monthly cycle.
- Fertility Challenges
- Issues maintaining a healthy weight.
The ‘table’ of hormone balance
Healthy hormonal balance is like the four legs of a table. If just one of the legs is wonky, then the table is unbalanced and could topple over. The four legs as I see them are:
Stress – The female endocrine system (hormonal system) is very sensitive to stress. This could be from too much work and not enough sleep. The modern-day pressures of trying to juggle everything expected of them can strain women’s sympathetic nervous systems. Especially if they don’t have good stress management techniques. A rise in cortisol levels due to chronic stress can cause a reduction in the production of other hormones.
Emotional stress from past traumas which weren’t fully deal with at the time can impact on hormone production. Emotional toxins can be just a harmful on our well-being as environmental and chemical ones.
Diet and Exercise – eating the wrong foods for your body, or too many processed foods, not getting enough good fats to make hormones, not drinking enough water and not exercising regularly all impact on being able to maintain healthy hormones.
Physical hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen are the fourth leg in this analogy. It’s important to balance them.
- Progesterone is a hormone generally associated with women’s health. It plays an important role in our menstrual cycles, pregnancy and menopause. Lots of other factors can negatively impact progesterone levels and lead to imbalances in the body. These include: genetic makeup, environmental influences, and other factors such as using contraceptives that stop women ovulating.
- Oestrogen is actually a group of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and reproductive system. Oestrogen dominance is when the level of oestrogen outweighs the level of progesterone in the body. The level of toxins we come in contact with through everyday cleaning products, shampoos, laundry detergents, dishwashing detergents, perfumes, air fresheners, plastic water bottles, plastic food containers, soy products and contraceptives can also influence this. These toxins are known as xenoestrogens, endocrine disruptors or hormone disrupting chemicals.
How to bring balance to your hormones
It’s so important that women work on balancing all four of these areas. Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils are great for women wanting to focus on all 4 area or even just a few of these.
For example, essential oils such as Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot and even Lemon are great to diffuse after a stressful day at work. Peppermint essential oil can help us feel more motivated to exercise and even less like reaching for a chocolate bar. Geranium, German Chamomile, Rose, Orange and Lavender can even help in addressing emotional issues or even breaking particular emotional patterns.
We can use essential oils to replace everyday products such as perfumes which contain phthalates and other xenoestrogens (the hormone disrupting chemicals). Essential oils are also a great replacement for synthetic room sprays and plug in air fresheners which also contain xenoestrogens. There are even certain essential oils that women can use to support them at different times of the month such as Clary Sage, Vitex, wild yam, Thyme, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood and Bergamot.
It’s always best to speak to a trained health professional and work out a program to best suit you and your individual needs. If you’re unsure whether your hormones might be out of balance you can ask your doctor to do blood tests. You could speak to a naturopath about saliva testing. Or click here for a free copy of my Hormone Checklist. It’s a great starting point. And to discover even more fascinating info about your hormones, check out my post – I had NO IDEA how my hormones worked!