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Hormones: The Key To Vibrant Health And Sexuality For Women-Part One

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Guest author: Camille Lawson RN, BA, MEd (specializing in Hormones, Nutrition, Sexuality & Relationships)

There is SO much for us to learn about our hormones!  This is part one in a brief overview about their importance in our daily lives, how to keep them balanced and at the same time improve our sexual lives. Stayed tuned for parts 2 and 3. 

Part One

There are over 50 known hormones in our body and they regulate cell function, influence cellular activity and are chemical messengers.  They do this best when they are “balanced”. When hormones are NOT balanced, things happen in small or BIG ways. Imbalances occur due to internal and external factors.

Estrogens

  • Made in ovaries, adrenal glands and some fat cells
  • 3 types: Estrone, Estradiol, Estriol
  • Formation of female secondary characteristics, stimulates endometrial growth
  •  Maintains skin and blood vessels,  increases bone formation, involved with protein synthesis, coagulation, lipid (fats) function, sodium and water balance and gastrointestinal function
  • Link between increased Cortisol levels (stress hormone) and increased fat cells which increases levels of Estrogens (can cause Estrogen Dominance)

Low Estrogen may cause:   Any of these sound familiar?

  • Brain fog
  • Painful intercourse
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Thinning of vaginal wall
  • Low Libido

Progesterone…is a very critical hormone, often underestimated in importance!

  • Produced mostly by the ovaries and adrenal glands
  • Regulates menstrual cycle and maintains a pregnancy
  • Assists in thyroid function, bone building, relaxes smooth muscle, anti- inflammatory, regulates immune response, reduces gallbladder activity, normalizes blood clotting, zinc and copper levels use of fat stores for energy, helps promote quality sleep!
  • Regulates effects of estrogen

Low progesterone may cause:

  • Anxiety & Sleep problems
  • Difficulty handling stress
  • Elevated Cortisol levels
  • Estrogen dominant conditions
  • Headaches
  • Heavy periods
  • Low bone density
  • Miscarriages
  • Water retention
  • Abdominal weight gain

DHEA

  • Makes testosterone and estrogen
  • Peaks in our late 20’s then decreases steadily
  • Increased Cortisol levels (stress)cause a decrease in DHEA
  • Considered to be anti- aging in some studies

Testosterone

  • Essential to sex drive, maintains muscle, bones, skin, and the heart in women
  • Produced mainly in the ovaries and much of it is converted to estradiol
  • BCP decreases testosterone
Low testosterone/DHEA may cause:   Yikes – check out this list!
  • High Cortisol
  • Loss of strength, stamina
  • Low or NO sex drive
  • Memory decline
  • Muscle wasting and weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Osteopenia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Sleep problems
  • Vaginal dryness
In my next post, I will discuss bio-identical hormone therapy and the role it can play during perimenopause and  menopause.
Lisa Fielding
For the past 25 years, Lisa has enjoyed various roles within the marketing and advertising industry, including at femMED. A busy mom with 2 young children, 2 dogs and a cat named George, Lisa, like all working moms, strives to find the right balance between all things work and play. A firm believer in taking charge of your own destiny, Lisa is passionate about women’s health and encourages women to become their own health advocates.