Low estrogen is commonly associated with menopause, and while this is often the case, many women still suffer from low estrogen in their earlier years as well. Having low estrogen doesn’t always mean you’re in menopause, but it is a sign that your body may be under immense stress.
In the west, menopause is often shamed in the media and in society. We’ve all heard stories from someone who’s mother was in menopause when they were growing up, and boy was that hell! And don’t get me started with the ridiculous portrayals of women in menopause in the movies, like when Samantha from Sex in the City slathered herself in yams? Nonsense, menopause can be dignifying! Albeit not always the most pleasurable state, there are self-care practices that can lead you to discovering joy in all of it.
It’s true, hormonal imbalance isn’t usually very pretty. That said, menopause doesn’t have to be an uphill battle the whole way. Dr. Claudia Welsch, Author of Balance Your Hormones, Balance Your Life, reminds us women to give ourselves lots of love and self care throughout our early life so we can make a smooth and graceful (ish) transition into menopause.
Dr. Christiane Northrup, Author of The Wisdom of Menopause sheds light on why menopause is just so darn tough for many of us women in the west. She says menopause is an amplifier of how well we’ve been taking care of ourselves. If we’ve been abusing our bodies with poor nutrition, erratic sleeping patterns, or if we’ve been avoiding dealing with our internal emotional “stuff”, menopause will essentially serve as a reminder that it’s time to take better care of ourselves by showing up in the form of intense symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and so on.
While I know first hand that having low estrogen as a young women is stressful, I also believe that menopause deserves to be celebrated rather than shunned. Menopause is a time when a woman’s responsibilities and priorities shift from taking care of everyone else, to paying more attention to herself. Dr. Sara Gottfried, Yoga Teacher, Harvard Medical Doctor and Author of The Hormone Cure believes menopause can be a joyful time for a woman, providing a new sense of freedom that her hormonal state wouldn’t allow previously.
Here Are 10 Ways to Ease Suffering from Low Estrogen and Menopause
1. Get yourself into a routine, even if you simply start with a morning routine. When your body knows what to expect, subconscious stress levels lower and the body is able to adjust more quickly. Your morning routine could consist of fresh clean water, herbs, and a gentle yoga practice at home. I do yoga in the mornings with a YouTube video.
2. Consider an herbal regimen to support your estrogen levels. Hops, Chamomile, Lavender and Red Clover are all wonderful plants that can lend themselves to your healing protocol. You can brew a morning tea, or take them in tincture form instead. You can also look into herbal formulas at Health Food stores like New Roots Menopeace.
3. Eat your meals around the same time each day. This goes for all hormonal balance and loops back to the body knowing what to expect, but it’s also a good way to ensure you’re eating enough and getting the nutrition you need. If low estrogen or menopause is getting the best of you, eating healthy fats and getting as many nutrients from whole foods throughout the day will make a difference for you.
4. Eat more fats. Hemp seeds, hemp oil, coconut oil, chia seeds, avocados, nuts & seeds and grass-fed animal fats and ghee, or cold water fish are all sources of healthy fats that support your body in producing hormones effectively. You may also want to consider supplementing with borage oil for its rich source of GLA which is a beautiful gift to women, our skin and our hormones.
5. Try not to over exercises and swap out your high intensity workouts for gentle yoga a few times per week. Doing squats and deadlifts can certainly raise testosterone and help balance out your hormones, just be careful not to over do it and deplete yourself further. If you feel like resting or skipping the gym, consider listening to that voice and opt for something more “yin” instead. Yin yoga, meditation or Quigong are wonderfully nourishing options for you now.
6. Don’t be afraid to supplement, here’s a list of 11 Supplements and Herbs to Balance Your Hormones.
7. Get yourself into bed before 11pm. If you experience night sweats or hot flashes (been there), ask your herbalist if Black Cohosh might be a good fit for you. Black Cohosh is used to treat menopausal symptoms and has worked wonders for many women in reducing night sweats, hot flashes and gently boosts estrogen levels bringing harmony back.
8. Create an evening tea ritual for yourself and brew up a pot of lavender and chamomile tea with vanilla or cinnamon. The lavender and chamomile combined can help gently boost estrogen levels, while also offering up relaxation properties that can help you get a better nights rest. The vanilla and cinnamon are optional and just for fun and flavor, plus they have a bit of an influence on libido.
9. Try adding maca to your smoothies. Maca can support your adrenal functions and act as an adaptogen, gently bringing you into balance overtime. It’s not a cure all or a magic fix, and it may not work for everyone, but it has certainly served many women in their journey through hormonal turbulence or menopause and it’s something you can try for yourself. It’s also a powerful libido booster, so if your sex life has been suffering at the hand of your hormones diving downwards, consider supplementing with maca daily. If you don’t like the flavor, it’s now available in capsule and tincture form.
10. Create feminine self-care rituals for yourself that make you feel pretty and sexy. This is a very non-scientific practice I have followed myself based on my own experiments with healing a hormonal imbalance. One of the challenging parts of having low estrogen, progesterone or being in menopause is that sometimes the desire to put an effort into your own grooming can go down the drain. This doesn’t always have the greatest effect on your self-esteem either.
Dr. Sara Gottfried identifies this as a sign of low sex hormones in her book The Hormone Cure. When you’re feeling low, sometimes it helps to just curl up on the couch with a blanket and snuggle with a partner or talk to a girlfriend. Other times, hopping in the shower, pampering yourself and doing your hair up nice will give you the boost you need. And who knows, down the road we might just discover that doing things that are feminine do have an impact on our female sex hormones, so why wait for confirmation?
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