Talking about periods has been taboo for far too long….
Another taboo topic is sex.
“Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me…”
But, first let’s talk about hormones!
Having at least basic understanding of your hormones is fundamental in understanding your period and certainly invites more pleasure into your body and life!
Beyond being responsible for making you feel warm and tingly, did you know that your hormones enter the cells of every tissue in your entire body?
They are flowing through you constantly. During each minute of every hour of the day, your body is responding to hormonal changes.
Therefore, inside the macrocosm of your body, exists an incredibly intelligent and sophisticated hormonal microcosm.
But this doesn’t have to be rocket science.
So let’s break it down…
What is a hormone?
A hormone is actually a chemical that gets secreted and released from one part of your body (such as a cell or a gland) and gets sent to another, transmitting important messages to carry out key bodily functions, and/or to bring your body back into a harmonious state.
The reason why I say “harmonious” and not “balanced” is because for many people, balance tends to imply a 50/50 equation and it’s hard to understand what that exact 50/50 might be.
That said, adopting a belief that your body possesses great wisdom to self regulate and harmonize might serve you better to understand how different parts of your body and your hormones relate to one another, as a whole integrated system.
Having your hormones in harmony will also promote optimal fertility. And beyond just a means to achieve pregnancy, your fertility is actually a key indicator that measures your overall health.
This applies to men and women and both western and eastern medicine seem to agree on this point.
Now that the foundation is laid, let’s consider hormones in two main groups: stress and sex hormones.
You may have heard this before, but it´s so important that it´s worth repeating and emphasizing.
Stress is toxic and the root of hormonal dysfunction.
Since hormonal harmony directly affects your overall health, stress therefore compromises your overall well being.
Under stressful situations (both internally or externally produced) your body will trigger fight-or-flight responses to real or perceived threats. These situations will produce survival, or stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. They are closely related and when adrenaline surges as a short term response, cortisol also rises, but stays elevated and active much longer.
When your cortisol levels are high, you need more time to recovery from surges of adrenaline.
And the more adrenaline surges, the more cortisol is released and perpetuates an unhealthy cycle.
Let me mention here that a healthy dose of stress hormones is important and needed to help you stay awake, alert and focused.
It’s the excess amount of cortisol and repetitive stress patterns over an extended period of time that you want to avoid.
Constant stress is creating cellular damage and inflammation that cause painful cramps and bloating, not to mention irregular or absent periods altogether!
But here is where stress negatively impacts your sex life…..
If there is a greater demand for stress hormones fueled by too many stressors in your life, your body will actually sacrifice its sex hormones to transform them into stress hormones!
Excess stress will deplete energy from your vital organs, especially your adrenal glands that are responsible for producing stress hormones. In response to adrenal fatigue, your body will take from its sex hormone supply to respond to the stress. It’s viewing it as a survival mechanism.
And here is the kicker….
Sex hormones can be converted into stress hormones, but not the other way around.
So the reality is, your healthy sex life will suffer and always have to sacrifice and “take one for the team.”
Stress ultimately perpetuates toxicity, low libido, emotional disconnect, infertility and difficulty achieving pregnancy.
Now let’s take a step further into the area of sex hormones….
Two principal sex hormones are estrogen and progesterone. They work in a checks-and-balances system to promote hormonal harmony in both women and men.
In addition to estrogen and progesterone, the main sex hormone for men is testosterone. It is also important for women and can actually can be converted into estradiol, one of three types of estrogen. Therefore while produced in lower levels in women, it is still significant.
Furthermore, progesterone, testosterone and other hormones can act as estrogen precursors. As women are experiencing menopause, they can still produce healthy levels of estrogen. However, hormonal harmony is needed to keep the whole system in flow.
In women, estrogen is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands and responsible for the first phase of the menstrual cycle, prior to the days when she has her actual period. So this is critical to a healthy, regular period.
Reaching a certain estrogen threshold is required for a woman to release an egg and ovulate, which directly affects her fertility and ability to get pregnant. Progesterone then takes over during the next phase of the menstrual cycle, just before and when the lining is shed. It also supports gestation and pregnancy.
Too much estrogen, known as “estrogen dominance” or bad quality estrogen is responsible for a whole host of diseases and disturbances in the body for both genders.
Once estrogen is produced, the body will convert it into what it considers “good” or “bad” estrogen. This conversion process is greatly dependent upon a healthy functioning liver.
The liver is responsible for detoxing toxins in the body. It is also where excess estrogen will get detoxified and released out of the body via regular bowel movements. If your liver is not functioning optimally nor efficiently, estrogen can recirculate back throughout your body creating further toxicity and estrogen dominance.
In our modern day world we are also exposed to more and more estrogen as phytoestrogens (plant sources) and xenoestrogens (chemicals and plastics). They mimic estrogen function in our bodies and throw off our hormonal harmony.
To limit your exposure and support healthy liver function, eating organic, nutrient dense foods and super foods are extremely important.
So the invitation here is to take the necessary steps for you, to reduce stress and promote hormonal harmony.
This is key to experiencing not only an easier, more pleasurable period, but more enjoyment in your life overall!
And, your body will thank you and your sex life will reward you handsomely for it!
We are inherently all sexual beings, biologically designed to seek out pleasure…..
What you stand to gain is feeling better about your body, healthier and happier!
Let’s dial down the stress, and dial up the pleasure!
With love + gratitude,
P.S. If you’d like to receive my FREE Period Pow Wow audio class with guided meditation to start dialing down the stress today, just click on over and subscribe to receive it straight to your inbox!
Tisha Lin is the Creator of Pleasurable Periods™, a blending of both science and spirituality that invites ease, connection and flow in a woman’s body and her life. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition who guides and empowers women in understanding the important role of hormonal harmony, menstrual and fertility health and overall well being. She co-owns the Akila Yoga Wellness Center in Panama, where she lives with her beloved husband.
To learn more about the Pleasurable Periods approach, please visit: Pleasurable Periods.