A period is essential for a woman’s well-being, but a lack of awareness can compromise her health and fertility. A period is a way for a woman to assess if her body is functioning properly. I also would like to mention that just because a woman is having a period, does not mean she is ovulating, which is crucial to become pregnant.
Every month, the brain and ovaries communicate. The pituitary gland releases hormones follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to stimulate the ovaries to produce other hormones called estrogen and progesterone. These hormones have many functions for the body such as physical maturation, growth, and emotions. Estrogen and progesterone have complementary effects on our reproductive and general health. Estrogen builds up the endometrium (uterine lining) and breast tissue, elevates blood sugar, dilates blood vessels, stimulates brain cells, and gives women a general boost of energy and feeling of well-being. Progesterone, estrogen’s alter ego, maintains endometrium tissue, relaxes blood vessels, normalizes blood sugar, maintains, and heals brain cells, and promotes mood stabilization.
Activities during your menstrual cycle tell you or your provider a lot about hormone balance. A woman with imbalanced hormones can experience worsening premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, acne, bloating, headaches, etc. that can become debilitating. Menstrual cycle rhythms reflect balance in other body systems and functions. Irregularities during a menstrual cycle can also help identify an underlying health issue in the body such as thyroid dysfunction, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, or absent ovulation that prevents pregnancy, to name a few. The two brain regions; hypothalamus and pituitary gland, are also intimately connected to the adrenal glands, thyroid and gut making these pathways susceptible to become disrupted as well. There is even more that estrogen and progesterone do for our bodies and next week we will go over all that and finish up our talks on why periods are important!