I am fascinated by our hormones and the impact that they have on us. Some examples –
A nice dose of Dopamine helps us with our drive and ambition. Natural ways to get more of it – good sleep, exercise, meditation, massage, tyrosine which can be found in almonds, bananas, avocados, eggs, beans, fish, and chicken.
A mojo injection of Oxytocin helps with soothing, allowing us to feel contentment. Natural ways to get more of it – hugs (I mean nice long ones, don’t be a stingy hugger), a hot bath, adventure sports and fast rides, meditation, good food, perhaps some wild swimming and of course social media but the key is to balance our use with this.
On the flip side, too much cortisol can be brutal for our stress and anxiety, not to mention or skin and weight so we need to manage things like caffeine, sleep and alcohol.
I have been talking and writing about PMS for a few years now, the key hormones being progesterone, oestrogen and the impact a spike or dip can have on our level of the happy hormone serotonin. I decided it was time to bring an expert in and give some top tips on the podcast. Tune in for free here. I adore the karaoke song choice and very apt ‘I keep bleeding, I keep, keep bleeding’.
Georgie McCulloch, a reproductive health specialist based in Edinburgh, worked in sales and marketing, in busy and stressful jobs which started affecting her health, sleeping patterns and overall mental health. She has a passion for living a healthy lifestyle, preventing illness and maintaining wellness through nutrition, exercise and complementary therapies. Reflexology was particularly helpful to her so in 2001, she decided to do the training for herself and have a change of career. She has never looked back. Her first maternity reflexology course sparked an interest in the whole pregnancy cycle, from pre-conception health, right through pregnancy and into the post-natal period. This led to further CPD courses in pregnancy and fertility reflexology, and she is constantly studying and learning. As a single mum of two children, she also understands the juggling act of being a working mum, and the importance of self-care. She very kindly invited me in for some reflexology (which was amazing), after hearing me on stories talking all about PMS and the struggles many of us have with it.
Physical and emotional symptoms of PMS often occur in the one to two weeks before a woman’s period. Symptoms often vary between women and resolve around the start of bleeding. Common issues include acne, tender breasts, bloating, feeling tired, irritability, and mood changes. I have noticed, since having kids, that the irritability and inner critic has got worse. The response from many being ‘go on the pill, that will help’. I would rather not. I have always preferred to avoid putting pills in my body, unless absolutely necessary.
Georgie talks me through SO Many amazing tips on the podcast this week. From nutrition, to plastic and products to consider and how we manage our diary, I found it so useful. She also recommends books and natural supplements to look out for. I was kindly sent some A.Vogels Agnus Castus Oral Drops, which have been proven to help ease the symptoms of PMS. We talk over this on the podcast. Agnus Castus is well known as a herbal/natural hormone balancer, and is a powerful herb so can be quite potent. Georgie uses A. Vogel products such as Echinacea for fighting off colds, and Milk Thistle for hangovers – it’s a liver tonic!
Agnus castus should be taken every day i.e. throughout whole cycle not just the run up to period. 15-20 drops in water morning and evening, about 15 mins before eating. It can take up to 3 months to start noticing the effects/benefits.
Another similar product Georgie loves which is worth trying is Australian Bush Flower ‘Woman Essence’ – It’s made up from several different herbs and is also great for hormonal ups and downs throughout the cycle, particularly PMS or menopause/peri-menopause symptoms. 7 drops under the tongue or in water morning and night, and again take throughout the cycle.
I love our chat about looking at our cycle in seasons. We can’t always be buzzing spring/summer style and sometimes we need to slow down and give ourselves a bit more time and TLC, cosy Winter mode. I loved Georgie’s tips about trying to not overload the diary during PMS. I am a huge fan of scheduling in self-care and time to exercise, otherwise it doesn’t happen. Sometimes the busier we feel, the more we need it.
Thanks so much to Georgie for this week’s free therapy mojo injection. I got loads from this episode and I am sure you will too.
Be kind to yourself this week, no matter how alive and happy, or frustrated and sad you may feel.