Premenstrual bitch, menstrual bitch or menopausal bitch – which one are you?
Hormones can play havoc with our bodies and push our inner bitch off kilter. We blame irrational behaviour on hormones, but what is exactly going on in our bodies when we want to suddenly lash out unexpectedly, experience stomach cramps that feel as though our internal organs are going to break out of our bodies, or feel as though our body is being microwaved from the inside out?
What exactly are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that control functions within our bodies from digestion to appetite to reproduction to name a few. Our reproductive hormones first make themselves known to us during puberty when our bodies begin to develop, and our periods start.
What are our main reproductive hormones and what do they do?
- Responsible for the development of breasts, and also distribution of fat to breasts, hips and legs.
- Maintains heart health
- Regulates menstrual cycle
- Affects the brain, hair, skin, muscles and urinary tract
- Prepares the uterus lining for fertilised eggs
- Suppresses the production of oestrogen after ovulation
- Muscle and bone strength
- Regulates menstrual cycle
This can be a challenging time for some with sore breasts, migraines, spots, bloating, irritability and fatigue. What causes PMS is unknown, but hormone levels are changing during this time and too much salt, alcohol and caffeine may make symptoms worse.
For some women, this can put them out of action for several days. Stomach cramps and aches, headaches, dizziness, nausea, upset stomach. This is caused by contractions in the uterus expelling the lining.
This is when women reach the end of their reproductive life. This can happen between the age of 45-55. If there has been no period for 12 months, then this is menopause. Symptoms can include hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain and mood swings. It can feel like puberty and PMS rolled into one!
How to avoid being a ‘mad bitch from hell’ and keep your hormones in balance at whatever stage of life you’re at:
- Sleep well – make sleep a priority. Your hormones are regulated during deep sleep. If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep this will affect your appetite, mood, insulin levels and stress.
- Eat protein – make sure every meal contains healthy protein such as poultry, fish (especially oily fish), seafood, red meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy or non-dairy and pulses. This will keep you fuller for longer.
- Minimise refined carbs and sugary foods – this will make sure you keep your energy levels stable and reducing sugar highs and lows helping you avoid sugar cravings.
- Eat healthy fats such as whole eggs, avocado, oily fish, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and full fat yoghurt. Like healthy proteins these will keep you fuller for longer.
- Move more – do regular exercise to keep yourself fit and healthy. The benefits will help you maintain your muscle mass, bone strength and reduce your risk of serious illness and disease. Make sure you incorporate the ‘3Ss’ in your regime – strength, sweat and stretch.
- Keep mentally well and manage your stress levels to keep your stress hormones at a normal level. Exercise self-care and take time out to do do calming things like yoga, mindfulness/meditation, massage treatments or walking.