Our body produces many hormones each and every day, and during the course of our life these change as we slowly age.
Women are faced with many hormonal changes throughout life. Unfortunately these hormones can bring undesired side effects, such as mental, emotional, physical, and to a rising extent today infertility issues.
The WHO estimates that 1.9% of women suffer primary infertility. This can be due to male or female factors or others (unknown).
When family planning starts to become a topic of conversation for you and your partner, there are a few things to consider and check before you start: What are your hormones doing? Are you ovulating? How is your diet? How is your weight and exercise regime?
First things first, take a trip to your local GP to have a once-over. Your GP should check your hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This is usually checked on day 18-21 of a 28 day cycle.
Estrogen is a sex hormone produced in the ovary, and it promotes follicular growth and maturation. During a women’s cycle estrogen starts to rise after day 7 (seventh day of your period), once it peaks (around day 11-14) a women will ovulate, there is then a decline in estrogen after this phase if fertilisation does not take place.
Progesterone will also be tested, and is produced by the corpus luteum (a temporary endocrine structure found in the ovary after ovulation). Progesterone is low in the first 7 days of a women’s cycle, it slowly starts to increase these after until ovulation occurs, this triggers a sharp incline in progesterone leading to a decline on day 28 if no pregnancy occurs.
What can I do to support my hormones?
- Consume a diet rich in cauliflower, raw carrot, broccoli and brussel sprouts; these help detox and regulate excess amounts of estrogen.
- Support the ovary function with food containing iodine such as sea vegetables, organic yoghurt, cranberries and strawberries.
- Foods such as flaxseed, sesame seeds, oranges, apricots, strawberries, alfalfa, miso soup, celery, lentils and chickpeas can support estrogen in the body.
- Balance your progesterone with sweet potato, kiwi fruits, lemon, leafy greens, black beans, lentils, seafood, bananas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, eggs, and flaxseeds.
- Be carful not to consume too many soy products as these can increase your blood estrogen.
- Foods high in vitamin B6 such as salmon, bananas, walnut and beans help the liver to break down blood estrogens.
- Avoid refined sugar, as this will raise insulin levels and put strain on the liver causing an imbalance of hormones.
- A study by Huber-Buchholz, H, H., et al (1999), found overweight women who lost 11% of central body fat showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity leading to normal ovulation.
If you have any concerns about your diet and general health be sure to book an appointment with one of our practitioners for guidance today.
http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/infertility/en/ sited 6th if May 2018.
Huber-Buchholz, M, M., Carey, D, G, P., Norman, R, J., (1999). Restoration of Reproductive Potential by Lifestyle Modification in Obese Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Role of Insulin Sensitivity and Luteinizing Hormone ‘The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism’ 84, 4, 1470–1474.