Imagine you are in the first trimester of your pregnancy. Your eighty year old grandmother is visiting you, keen to offer some traditional wisdom on ways to maintain your well-being. She has overseen 7-8 pregnancies, “I know what you children need,” she says, and then she proceeds to tell you how home cooked gruel can help in controlling your morning sickness. At this point you ask her, “What do you know about estrogen levels,” while reclining comfortably on your bean bag and flipping between Star World and HBO on the tube. A discussion on hormones for a mother-to-be in India, 20 years back, would have hardly qualified as dinner table talk, but surely won’t be considered an anomaly in 2017. The point though is, even in this new age of information at our fingertips, we are still confused, and tend to rely more on the casual expertise of authority figures, rather than on our own independent research/reading.
Female hormones have always been a touchy topic. Not in the least because it is hard to explain how they act, and more so because ‘hormones’ have also become a convenient way to ignore and cover up legitimate family troubles! For example, a breastfeeding mother may not be receiving the required care, love, and affection from her family; she may get upset due to this, and burst into tears occasionally. If her husband is a sexist pig, he is likely to dismiss this as an episode of ‘mood swings’, caused by hormonal problems, rather than acknowledging that his beloved his genuinely unhappy – because she is not getting the proper support she needs – post delivery. In other words, the problem is not feminine hormones, rather the irresponsible behavior of her near and dear.
[Note – have reached 300 words, if I am blogging this, I will write a sentence or two to conclude this post and perhaps also lead to the next blog/post by stating something like – more on hormone regulation next week, but will continue the original article here]
The above caveat aside, it is definitely worthwhile for the modern mom to be educated about hormones. As with any important event, and pregnancy and child birth are arguably the most important events in your life, prior knowledge and preparation will only make you stronger and wiser. Estrogen dominance has been listed as the most common hormonal disorder, post delivery. The symptoms of this disorder include, fatigue, weight problems, hair loss, insomnia and depression. In addition, recurrent infections, breast feeding and menstrual issues, puffy face, increased sensitivity to cold, brittle fingernails, can all be potential indicators of the likelihood of a post delivery hormonal imbalance
Estrogen dominance can also lead to Hypothyroidism and Adrenal fatigue. If your mood swings are accompanied by the more severe symptoms listed above, maybe it is time to stop fretting about your husband’s lack of tender loving care, and seriously think about an immediate appointment with your consulting physician and gynecologist. Proper diagnosis, and recognition of your symptoms, should be requisite first steps towards your speedy recovery to normal health.
If you have been conclusively diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance or a hormonal disorder, there are numerous dietary changes you can implement to assist your process of healing. Recommended dietary changes include – a reduction of ‘white foods’ like rice/bread, along with an increase in the intake of fiber rich foods like lentils, fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D, Magnesium, and egg yolks can also supplement your diet, while the usual suspects, caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.
Exercise, Yoga and Acupuncture are some other recommended treatment modes – walking in nature is a particularly effective way to reduce stress and take care of your hormones. Hormonal imbalance can be a serious problem post delivery, but a thorough understanding of the issue, and timely physician intervention and diagnosis can definitely ensure that the new born and the mother remains happy and healthy.