Ladies: 5 Hormones That Messes With You Every Month

1. Estrogen
Estradiol, the most potent type, prepares the uterus for conception. Stable levels can boost s*x drive and immunity.

Big Impacts: Estrogen sends “grow” signals to your body’s every cell, from your br**sts to your bones. But too much can lead to severe PMS, fertility woes, even chest cancer. Too little can lead to osteoporosis.

The Balancing Act: Being way too thin can hinder production, while extra fat cells can produce a type of estrogen that messes with estradiol. The key: maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for a BMI between 18.5 and 30.
2. Progesterone
It creates a cushy uterine lining (i.e., an embryo crib) each month. No conception? Levels sink, triggering your period.

Big Impacts: Talk about a love-hate affair: Progesterone has a mild sedative effect that can lead to solid sleep (hence those sounder pre-rag z’s). It can also ramp up water retention, gassiness, and constipation…ouch.

The Balancing Act: Since regulating this hormone is critical for baby-making, many wannabe mamas turn to OTC creams. Don’t. Studies show they’re useless. What may work: meditation, as little as five minutes per day.
3. Testosterone
Not just for guys, the androgen hormone supports regular ovulation and a hearty libido. Rawrr!

Big Impacts: Too-high levels—often associated with PCOS (see page 150)—can cause acne, dandruff, or dark hair in abnormal places. Lacking levels can zap your mojo and overall sense of well-being.

The Balancing Act: Excess testosterone has been closely linked to obesity, so strive for that beneficial BMI. If you’re low, zinc-rich foods like hummus may increase levels. (Relax—you’ll get an energy lift, not a man-beard.)
4. Prolactin
This one’s made in the brain, and its main jobs are to govern egg release and stimulate chest-milk production in new moms.

Big Impacts: Rare sky-high levels can squash your s*x drive and bring on menopause-like symptoms. Slightly elevated levels can suppress ovulation. Post-childbirth, normal levels can help you ditch pounds faster.

The Balancing Act: Skimping on sleep can spike stress hormones such as cortisol and prolactin. Score optimal levels by committing to seven to eight hours of uninterrupted shut-eye every night.
5. FSH/LH
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) readies eggs for prime time; luteinizing hormone (LH) makes them drop.

Big Impacts: Ideal FSH/LH amounts can also contribute to favorable progesterone levels, while spiked FSH has been linked to memory problems, insomnia, and acne.

The Balancing Act: Keep a lid on your booze intake, especially if you’re looking to have a baby: More than two drinks per day can throw FSH and LH production out of whack.

Source: Women’s Health

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