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There is alot of confusion around hormone testing, whether it is worth doing, what tests you should be requesting from your GP and what you need to be referred to privately via a qualified health practitioner.

In this blog post, I aim to shed some light for you.

Firstly, let’s clarify a few things. There are more than one different types of test:

  • Blood – to test nutrients deficiencies, presence of total hormones in the body but only at the day and time the bloods are taken.
  • Urine – to test whether hormones are available and being circulated around the body so they can be metabolised, over a period of a few hours.
  • Saliva – provides an evaluation of the menstrual cycle in premenopausal women. For sex hormones, saliva samples are taken throughout the 28 day cycle to get a full picture of how the hormones are being produced and utilised in the body as well as whether they are rising and falling at appropriate times. When measuring cortisol, samples are taken over a 24 hour period.

The recommended range set by the NHS and that your GP will consider normal may differ from what your nutritionist or naturopath will consider. Often levels may be on the low side of the reference range and because we are all so different and we take a holistic approach rather than symptom management, it doesn’t mean that you are not getting the symptoms. I always ask my clients to ensure they get copies of their results rather than relying on a ‘normal’ from a GP’s receptionist. You are within your rights to be provided with a full copy.

Which Tests Should I Request?

If you are going to your GP for some testing then it is always best to be armed with the full list of ones you would like done to ensure you get a full panel (although be aware that just because you ask for them, you may not necessarily be given them). Here are the basic tests I like to ensure are done:

  • Full Blood Count
  • Liver Function
  • Glucose Tolerance Test (to check your insulin levels)
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron levels
  • Cholesterol

For specific hormone testing, you need to ensure these are taken:

  • Thyroid – T4, T3 and TSH
  • Sex hormones – Oestrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone (all of which decline as we age)
  • LH (Luteneising Hormone) and FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) to determine whether you are going through the menopause
  • Cortisol and Melatonin, to test your stress and sleep hormones

These are usually all done via a blood test and therefore as I mentioned earlier, are only taking a view of the levels in your body at that particular time. As women, our hormones fluctuate throughout the month to ensure that we ovulate and menstruate at the right times in the month for optimal fertility so I prefer to use a saliva test that covers the full 28 day cycle. Our stress hormones also fluctuate over a 24 hour period so testing those throughout that will give a full picture of how and when they are being produced.

For this reason, I now incorporate hormone testing  and an adrenal stress test into my Hormonal Transformation Program. It helps to give a full picture of how your hormones are working throughout your cycle. This testing should be done alongside a full symptom review so that the best possible recommendations can be made for you and your individual needs.

I hope that sheds some light on what can be a confusing subject.

If you would like to find out more about working with me and the steps you need to take to transform your hormones then apply here for your complimentary Heal Your Hormones Strategy Call.

The last 10 years have been pretty turbulent for me personally. I’ve been divorced, moved house 3 times (soon to be 4!), been made redundant from my corporate job, gone back to college, started a business and of course had 2 babies who are turning into pretty awesome little people!

It was also the start of my own hormone problems and a journey that I didn’t plan to take but has actually been one of the most fulfilling of my life so far. I’ve gone from being a total stress-head workaholic who’s obsessed with dieting to having a business that I love and fits around my lifestyle, an obsession with all things health and wellness and a body that I am finally comfortable in for the first time in my life.

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Herbs have been used for centuries to help balance hormones and minimise symptoms of PMS and the perimenopause, but in the western world, the modern day medicine practices had taken over. With more women turning towards more natural practices to manage the symptoms of their hormones imbalances, the use of herbs has becomes more prevalent.

Here are my top 5 herbs to balance your hormones naturally.

Maca Root – Known for its hormone-balancing properties, maca has a positive effect on your sex hormones and helps to relieve symptoms in perimenopausal women including hot flushes, sleep issues, anxiety and depression. It works by providing our body with nutrients which are used by the endocrine system and help to alleviate fatigue, stress and mood issues. Maca powder can be added to smoothies or sprinkled over yoghurt or muesli and has so many benefits for women.

Chasteberry (Agnus Castus) – This herb has been used for many years to relieve symptoms of PMS as well as regulating your metabolism. It stimulates our FSH and LH which helps to increase our progesterone levels and regulate our menstrual cycle, ovulation and boost fertility. It can be taken as drops or tablets on a daily basis to help balance your sex hormones and get your cycle back on track.

Black Cohosh – Used to help treat menopausal and pre-menstrual symptoms. It has oestrogenic properties and aids hormone regulation, reducing hot flushes, mood swings, menstrual cramps and night sweats. It is considered to be a safe alternative to HRT for those of you wishing to take a more natural route to managing your menopausal symptoms.

Ashwagandha – Helps to reduce the stress hormones which can block endocrine function. It also stimulates blood flow in the reproductive organs boosting a low libido as well as easing menopausal symptoms such as anxiety and hot flushes. In ayurvedic medicine, ashwagandha is used to help the body deal with stress and support thyroid and adrenal imbalances. It has naturally calming effect which can be beneficial when you are struggling with mood issues related to hormone imbalances.

Wild Yam – A powerful oestrogenic herb, it also mimics progesterone and can help reduce heavy bleeding. This herb is great for your nervous system as it is grounding and calming and helps to reduce PMS and stress related to that. It reduces excess oestrogen by stimulating progesterone production and also helps with production of the hormone precursor DHEA. Reduces hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes and vaginal dryness. This can be found in a cream form as a bio-identical hormone replacement, and applied to your skin at certain times of your cycle can really help to increase your progesterone levels and manage the symptoms.

If you are interested in learning more about more natural approaches to balancing your hormones, then come along and join my Hormonal Health Support Group where I share daily tips, advice, videos, articles and recipes to help support you on your journey towards balanced hormones.

 

NOTE: As with all supplements, do make sure that these don’t interact with any medications you are taking by discussing with your doctor or health practitioner.

 

When my kids were little, I was obsessed with routines. I’ve always been schedule based and LOVE organising so when I read about the benefits of a bedtime routine in helping them sleep, I was all in! As they have grown up I have become more relaxed about it but we still do make sure we stick to the basic principles.

When my own sleep started to go haywire, I read that having a bedtime routine as an adult can really help too and it made alot of sense. As I started to follow some of the principles myself, my sleep improved and now I get all my clients doing it too.

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Are you struggling to focus and concentrate, have difficulty with your short term memory and feel confused and in a mental fog? You go upstairs and forget what for, you find things in the fridge that should be in the store cupboard and you lose your train of thought mid-conversation.

But what are the reasons this happens? It can signal hormonal imbalances such as thyroid or adrenal issues or the onset of the menopause. It can also be a sign of food intolerances, poor diet and not taking care of yourself. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of brain fog, the main causes and what you can do to reduce it.

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More and more women are recognising that just putting up with the symptoms or going on HRT are not the only options when it comes to hormonal changes and that a perimenopause diet could be the answer to managing the symptoms.

But there is so much advice out there and articles telling you about different diets you should follow that you can get totally overwhelmed by all the information. The good news is that I’m going to break it down for you into 10 simple steps so you can get started and feel confident you are making the right changes for where you are currently.

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