What is Your Body Trying to Tell You?
By Jessica Giljam-Brown
Your body is a wonderfully complex machine, but it is also a pretty good communicator if you take the time to listen.
Every day, your body is sending you signals and messages, from goose bumps to tell you to put a jumper on to bloating, acne, and food cravings - yes, those are all messages from your body.
Generally, your body only communicates with you when something is wrong, the trick to great health is to respond to these messages early. While women usually understand the cause behind the majority of the messages they get or the symptoms they see, there is still a lack of education and understand around the meaning behind the symptoms associated with our sex hormones and cycle.
Your sex hormones play a massive role in your health, and as soon as these hormones become out of balance your body will send you a message - it’s up to you to take notice.
Common messages from your body:
Acne is the most common complaint I hear in the clinic. Acne can have a number of causes, the first is an excess of androgen hormones - due to a sluggish liver or overproduction. These hormones cause an increase in oil production causing blocked pores and consequently acne. Women with androgen excess will often find that their acne flares up the last half of their cycle. Other causes of acne can be due to inflammation, poor gut health, and stress.
Your body is sending you the message that you are inflamed. Inflammatory prostaglandins can increase as a result of: poor diet, low nutrient levels, high alcohol intake, and excess oestrogen levels.
An irregular cycle is when your period shows up at irregular intervals. Sometimes you might have 3 weeks between bleeds, other times maybe 6-8 weeks. This can be a sign that you are not ovulating, producing high levels of androgen hormones - as is the case with PCOS, or that your thyroid is not working as well as it should.
PMS is so common, and it really shouldn’t be. Often the cause behind PMS is high oestrogen levels in relation to progesterone. Supporting your liver, reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake, and boosting progesterone supporting nutrients is key here.
Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, a nutrient you burn through when you are stressed. Your chocolate cravings are just a way of your body saying “more magnesium please!”. Increase your intake of leafy greens, some dark chocolate, or think about supplementing.
Sore breasts in the lead up to your period is a sign that your oestrogen levels are a little high or that your body is especially sensitive to oestrogen. New Zealander’s are commonly iodine deficient, due to the iodine-deficient soil in NZ, please speak to a nutritionist before supplementing with iodine.
Top tips for healthy hormones
Support healthy hormone detoxification by reducing caffeine, sugar and alcohol intake
Boost detoxification with plenty of brassica veggies - kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts
Stress less - stress massively impacts sex hormone production. Set up a new mediation routine, try journaling or relaxation based yoga - it doesn’t matter what the practice is as long as you set aside time each day to de-stress.
Increase your nutrient intake with real food - focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meat, fish and eggs and leave out all the rest.
Don’t leave issues thinking they will resolve themselves - because often they don’t. The longer you leave a hormone issue the harder it is to fix, so be proactive and ask for help from a qualified professional.
BY JESSICA GILJAM-BROWN (WELLNESS BY JESSICA)
Jessica is a nutritionist who uses evidence-based science to design treatment, and offer education and guidance on how to heal your body through food, nutritional medicine and positive lifestyle changes.