Women’s Health

Women's Health

Women will naturally experience various physical and emotional changes during their life. During these phases the body’s requirements for nutrition will change in order to support the body’s needs. Having a good nutritional and lifestyle routines at these times are vital to ensure the female reproductive system functions optimally and remains in balance.

Group of women in good health

Understanding the Female Reproductive System

The female reproductive system is designed to carry out several important functions. It produces the female egg cells necessary for reproduction, supports conception through fertilisation of the egg, pregnancy and providing the essential nutrients and antibodies to a baby to support their growth and immune health.

The reproductive system includes the mammary glands, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries and vagina. During puberty the menstrual cycles and ovulation begins which generally lasts 24-35 days with 28 days being average. It has four phases the menstrual phase (menses), pre-ovulatory, ovulation and post-ovulatory phase. The female reproductive system produces several female sex hormones that help maintain the reproductive cycle. For example, ovarian oestrogen reaches a peak just before ovulation then stays stable until a drop just prior to menstruation.

If fertilisation and/or implantation does not occur, then the reproductive system is designed to menstruate (the monthly shedding of the uterine lining). 

Signs and Symptoms of Poor Women’s Health

Due to nature of female sex hormones produced by the reproductive system, when out of balance can they cause a variety of different symptoms.

Typical symptoms a woman can experience if the female reproductive system is out of balance are:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Difficulty with memory and concentration
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Low libido
  • Mood Swings
  • Problems with urination
  • Vaginal dryness

There are also a range of pathologies linked to the female reproductive system, with the common being as follows:

  • Amenorrhoea (Absence of a period)
  • Breast Cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids
  • Infertility
  • Ovarian Cysts
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
  • PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome)
Senior woman at home feeling unwell.

Key Hormones and their Role in Women’s Health

There are several key hormones such as FSH (Follicle Stimulate Hormone), LH (luteinising Hormone), Oestrogen and Progesterone that play a key role in women’s health. One of the most well known and influential hormones is Oestrogen.
Oestrogen’s main role is to increase the growth of cells in places where there are oestrogen receptors (proliferation) in the body. What this means is an increase in oestrogen will support the growth of female reproductive organs. You may not know but there are, three main types of oestrogen – oestradiol, oestrone and oestriol.

Oestradiol is converted into one of three metabolites by the body which are abbreviated to 2-0H, 4-OH and 16-OH. Importantly, 4-OH and 16-OH have been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer due to their toxicity and reactivity (Jones, 2006). The type of diet you consume and your lifestyle activities will greatly influence which metabolites are produced and how well they are eliminated from the body.

women posing gracefully during sunset

Hormone Disruptors and Xenoestrogens

In today’s modern world we are bombarded with toxins, artificial hormones and hormone disruptors. Parabens, Phthalates, PCBs, herbicides and pesticides are to name few and can be found in our skincare, food and plastics. 

Essentially, they can switch off important hormone pathways or conversely can cause the over-production of certain female hormones which causes the body to become out of balance. It is important to understand where they may be introduced into your environment and diet and how to avoid them in order to aid the healing process.

Ensuring Good Detoxification Pathways

The liver plays a really important role in the optimal functioning a women’s reproductive system. Oestrogen detoxification in particular is a key part of maintaining good female reproductive health. Key detoxification pathways to this involve sulphation and methylation and it is important to be assessed to see if these pathways are working well for you as an individual. Most women tend to have a genetic susceptibility to how well these pathways perform. 

Group of women exercising and in good health

Supporting Menopause

Over time ovaries gradually become less responsive to FSH & LH. Little to no oestrogen and progesterone are produced therefore no signalling back to the pituitary leading to high FSH & LH in a blood test. As a result, hormones become ‘out of sync’ causing menopausal symptoms. Typical symptoms include hot flushes, decreased libido, shrinkage of breasts, vaginal dryness, irritability, mood changes, osteoporosis, increase in blood cholesterol.

HRT is a common drug treatment for menopause recommended by your doctor. It has been shown to be beneficial in improving menopause symptoms but supresses the body’s natural aging process and only delays the menopause. Unfortunately, the symptoms will reappear once the HRT course is stopped.

Using holistic healthcare advice, allows a woman to experience menopause gracefully and comfortably.

woman-menopause

Mental Wellbeing and the Menstrual Cycle

Up to 85% of women experience a range of physical or emotional symptoms between the time they ovulate and the first days of their menstrual period. It’s common to experience mood changes before your period, including some level of depression and emotional irritability. 

 Issues that are kept within a person can become more pronounced at this time or they might be genuine expression of feelings you’re not usually comfortable enough to show. The intensity of these symptoms and frustrations may be completely manageable or feel intolerable.

On a deeper level, PMS is likely to bring issues to do with the relationship to femininity and how a person feels about being a women to the surface. If a person is pushing aside or ignoring feelings of anger, sadness or simply not giving enough time to switch off and reconnect, hormonal activity can be affected, and premenstrual symptoms are likely to be heightened as these deep-rooted feelings bubble up to the surface.

Females are granted the gift of menstruation each month to not only physically shed through bleeding but to release and express feelings that have been embedded deep within the body.

women with the message 'you are beautiful'

Bringing Women’s Health Back into Balance through a Holistic Approach

At Higher Healing we recognise there are facets to looking at Women’s Health and why the reproductive system may not be functioning optimally. These all require investigating holistically and assessed as a whole to truly determine the root cause. Adjusting your nutritional intake and lifestyle habits, supporting mental wellbeing as well as assessing your spiritual wellbeing will play a crucial role in getting the reproductive system back into balance. 

We often use a variety of functional testing to assess imbalances along with providing you a bespoke dietary and supplementation programme tailored to your specific needs.

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