We are affected daily by our hormone levels so much so that we often just accept the issues as a way of life. Fortunately, understanding our hormones and the effects their levels have on our body can make dealing with the side effects more tolerable.
Skin Changes: From Excess Oil to Itchy, Dry Skin
Changes in hormone levels during puberty can wreak havoc on the skin, as the increased testosterone causes our skin to produce excessive amounts of oil while the total combination of hormone changes messes with the pH of our skin, which of course results in dreaded acne covered face. Unfortunately, acne doesn’t end after the teenage years as the increase in testosterone during or around your period also causes breakouts throughout adulthood.
Skin can see a drastic change during menopause because decreasing levels of estrogen result in the skin being able to hold less water than before. The decreased level of skin hydration results in dryness and loss of that youthful firmness of skin in touch and appearance. Pre-menopausal women can also feel the effects of lower estrogen with dry skin, especially when the testosterone that produces oil is also low.
If you're pre-menopausal, best way to make the effects of hormonal changes on your skin more tolerable is to track your cycle so you know when to expect an increase of oily skin (increase testosterone levels) and an increase of dry skin (beginning of your cycle), and then plan your skincare routine accordingly.
Heart: Estrogen is a Lifesaver
Cardiac issues associated with hormone levels in women typically only occur after menopause. Before menopause, estrogen levels actually lower the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Progesterone therapy during menopause may have a negative effect on heart function, but there haven’t been enough studies on the subject to confirm the issue.
According to the National Institute of Health, the best way to reduce your risk of heart disease is to start early by eating a well-balanced diet and exercising at least three times a week.
Brain: Mood Swings and How to Fix Them
Hormones levels are constantly changing, and as they change, our brain reacts by increasing and decreasing chemical levels that directly affect our mood. Estrogen levels are low at the beginning of your period, and these low levels can result in impulsiveness, which is why you may feel slightly manic during this time of the month. Fortunately, a surge in estrogen after a few days into the cycle results in a decrease of stress hormones resulting in an increase of feel-good emotions. The easiest way to combat mood swings is by manipulating your brain’s chemicals through the use of exercise.
Mouth: Gingivitis and Dry Mouth
Hormone changes can negative effects on your mouth like gum disease. These issues can result in many different periods of life, including puberty and menopause, as well as during the monthly cycle. Issues in puberty, pregnancy and during your period are typically a result of an increase in progesterone while issues like dry-mouth in menopause are a result in the decrease of estrogen.
If you take birth control, you may experience especially problematic issues with swelling and sensitive gums even if you have healthy teeth with a minimal amount of tartar buildup. Because of this, it's extremely important to take good care of your teeth during hormonal shifts. Daily brushing and flossing, which a Salt Lake City dentist says are essential for removing the bacteria which can cause gum disease and tooth loss, is important for a healthy smile at any stage of life. It’s important to have regular dental checkups, especially if you’re experiencing hormonal changes, to catch possible teeth and gum issues before they cause more serious health complications.
Hormone changes are unavoidable, but understanding the differences between hormones and the issues they create can be the key in feeling in control of your own body. By tracking your hormonal levels, you may find that you’re able to avoid or, at least, alleviate certain symptoms that occur as a result of the changes.
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