Sometimes we experience challenges with our health that we might feel uncomfortable talking about. While some of these issues are best handled by a medical practitioner (and it’s always wise to seek medical advice if you experience anything that you’re unsure about or that persists), some of these symptoms can be a sign of an imbalance in the body’s biochemistry. In these instances, we can improve them through adjusting the way we nourish ourselves. Dr Libby Weaver author of Women’s Wellness Wisdom takes a look at some symptoms that some may find challenging to openly discuss, and how you can support your body to heal or prevent them naturally.
The pH and the flora of the vagina can sometimes be disrupted and an infection may develop. Any time you experience any uncomfortable sensations in this area, your first port of call should always be to get checked out by a doctor. However, where yeast infections are recurrent, this may be perpetuated by a sex hormone imbalance (usually too much oestrogen) or sometimes the balance of bacteria in your gut. Therefore, in order to prevent yeast infections from recurring, you may benefit from applying strategies that promote healthy sex hormone balance and gut bacteria health.
Tips for sex hormone balance
Aside from processing problematic substances that we absorb, the liver is responsible for detoxifying (changing the structure of) estrogen so that it can be eliminated once it has done its job in the body. Prioritise good liver function through consuming loads of whole, real foods (especially green leafy vegetables) that feed the liver the nutrients and phytochemicals it needs to do its critical detoxification work efficiently. At the same time, minimise your intake of “liver loaders”, those substances that add to the workload of your liver. These include refined sugars, trans fats, alcohol, and synthetic substances such as pesticides and those commonly found in conventional skincare/household products. Also, ensure optimum adrenal function by considering your perception of pressure and urgency and including regular restorative practices (such as diaphragmatic breathing, tai chi, qi gong, restorative yoga or meditation) that help to establish a sense of calm in your body.
Tips for gut bacteria health
Eat in a way that prioritises whole, real food, particularly plenty of plant foods, and avoid highly processed/packaged foods, especially those with artificial substances, that the body may not have the ability to digest and absorb. Make time and space to eat your meals away from your desk and not in front of devices. Aim to drink water between your meals rather than with them to support optimal stomach pH, and always chew your food really well. Remember, we don’t have teeth in our stomach!
How our breath smells or tastes in our mouth can make us feel hesitant to speak to people or to open our mouth in public. Breath is typically an indication of gut function and this is always a wonderful place to start. However, sometimes it is related to oral health so it’s a good idea to have regular check ups with a dental professional.
Tips for gut bacteria health
Focus on resolving gut/digestion challenges by employing the strategies recommended above. It may also help to try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or the juice of half a lemon in some warm water first thing in the morning (at least 5 minutes before breakfast) to support good stomach acid. It may also be beneficial to seek the assistance of a healthcare professional to explore if you are eating something you don’t digest well.
Hot flushes and excessive sweating are some of the more embarrassing symptoms of menopause. One minute we might be fine, the next we’re drenched in sweat and it could happen at any moment. We might not feel comfortable sharing with our work colleagues what we’re experiencing. Menopausal symptoms are the result of the changes in our sex hormone balance as our ovaries begin to cease production of estrogen and progesterone. The good news is, we can reduce the severity of these symptoms and in some cases eliminate them altogether by employing practices that support a smoother transition.
Tips for a smoother transition through menopause
The tips shared above for sex hormone balance will still apply through menopause. While our ovaries start to wind down production of our sex hormones, we still continue to make progesterone from our adrenal glands and estrogen from both our adrenal glands and fat cells. If you’ve been someone who hasn’t been producing sex hormones from your adrenal glands for a number of years due to the excessive and relentless output of stress hormones (which gets prioritised over the production of sex hormones since they’re considered necessary for keeping you alive while having a baby would only be problematic during periods of potential danger) as you go into menopause, you’re most likely going to experience a rocky transition. Therefore, liver support and adrenal care can both be incredibly helpful to help reduce symptoms associated with menopause.
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