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Over the past five years, Oova has helped countless women take control of their fertility.
Hormones act as messengers within the body. Hormone imbalances can indicate many different health concerns, especially those associated with the reproductive system.
Whether it's fluctuating energy levels, mood swings, or changes in your sex drive, hormones are often at play. Hormone patterns are the key to understanding what is going on inside your body.
For a quick overview, hormones are substances our bodies produce that transmit information and influence the action of various organs and systems. They are critical actors in the theater of your reproductive system as well as your overall health.
In this article, you will learn about the common hormone patterns women deal with and what they are trying to tell you.
Tracking your hormones with a tool like the Oova Fertility Tracker can help identify hormone patterns that are suggestive of potential health problems. Here are the most common hormone patterns I see in my practice that indicate a hormonal imbalance.
Anovulatory cycles occur when your body fails to release an egg for ovulation. There are multiple underlying root causes of anovulatory cycles, such as changes to medications, malnutrition, higher than normal stress levels, or over-exercising.
The hormone pattern that most often indicates an anovulatory cycle is low progesterone. However, low estradiol, low LH peak levels, and increased FSH levels all can also indicate an anovulatory cycle.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes irregular menstrual periods. These irregularities happen because ovulation isn’t occuring and levels of androgens are elevated.
This condition makes it more difficult to conceive and can result in many frustrating symptoms such as excessive facial hair, acne, and scalp hair thinning.
These are the key hormone patterns often seen in women with PCOS.
More specifically, in women with PCOS, multiple small follicles accumulate in the ovary but none of them are capable of growing to a size that would trigger ovulation. The result is an imbalance in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, LH, and FSH. Moreover, androgen levels increase in women with PCOS because of both high levels of LH and increased levels of insulin.
The important thing to note about PCOS is that while not entirely reversible, there are a number of lifestyle and diet changes that can minimize symptoms and increase your chances of conception.
Estrogen dominance is a term that describes a hormone pattern of elevated estrogen and low progesterone. The discrepancy between these two hormones can create troublesome symptoms such as heavy periods, cramps, acne, and crazy mood swings.
While most people with estrogen dominance have low progesterone, you may also experience high estrogen with normal levels of progesterone.
The key is to look at the ratio of estrogen to progesterone.
Hormones are involved in nearly every system in the body. They affect processes from blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, development and fertility, sex drive, metabolism, and even sleep.
They are paramount to multiple systems throughout your body. Not only that, but as a functional medicine practitioner, hormone patterns help me get to the root cause of my patients’ symptoms.
For example, by looking at the rise and fall of your hormones, I can create a protocol specifically geared toward balancing your hormones and optimizing the way a patient’s body functions.
>> RELATED: What do my Oova results mean? Common hormone patterns
I always say reproductive health is an indication of your overall health. If you are struggling with anovulatory cycles or heavy periods, it behooves you to monitor your hormones. The thing about hormones is that they are involved in so many processes that impact your overall health. You can identify health conditions that would otherwise have gone unnoticed by simply tracking your menstrual cycle at home with a tool like the Oova Fertility tracker.
Beyond the assumption that hormones are only relevant when you are trying to conceive, there are many other misconceptions people have about hormones. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about hormones I see when people come to my practice:
Hormone replacement therapy supplements the body with specific hormones and is a common recommendation for individuals with hormonal imbalances.
However, it is not the only way to relieve your symptoms. Diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits can go a long way in influencing your symptoms and even reversing your condition.
While mood swings are often associated with hormonal imbalances, they are not the only sign that your hormones could be out of whack. On the other hand, you could be experiencing mood swings due to an unusually stressful day at work, a mental health concern, or other extenuating circumstances.
Unfortunately, stress can cause hormonal imbalances. Specifically, chronic stress has a significant impact on hormonal imbalance. It triggers a chemical ‘tsunami’ in your body. Practicing stress management techniques will help lower stress levels and keep your hormones in a balanced state.
You can understand the functioning of your hormones through diagnostic tests such as blood work or something as simple as a urine test. In fact, Oova is unique in that it captures both LH and progesterone levels in an easy-to-use urine test.
If you are interested in learning more about how hormone patterns impact your overall health, the Oova Fertility Tracker is a great place to start! I use the Oova Fertility Tracker with my patients to help them understand and optimize their hormone health for conception and beyond.
Mandy Patterson is a Doctor of Naturopathy and functional medicine practitioner who uses Oova with her patients. She shared her insight with Oova for Functional February.
Mandy Patterson is the founder of an online wellness consulting business that empowers high-performing women to find optimal health. As a Doctor of Naturopathy, functional medicine practitioner and mom of six, she shows women that they can acheive lasting, vibrant health. Using a lifetime of personal and professional experience, she bridges the division between conventional and alternative medicines, creating a simple, holistic health plan that shows women that achieving wellness can be invigorating and fun.
Mandy’s mission is to empower women to dig deep in their quest for optimal health, to discover their confidence, and to help them commit to mindfulness and a vibrant lifestyle. Mandy offers personalized one-on-one coaching and group program options in person and online to equip women with the tools to be the healthiest version of themselves.
Hambridge H, et al. (2013). The influence of sporadic anovulation on hormone levels in ovulatory cycles.
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