A Look into Hormonal Health with Dr Jess Beningfield

Hormonal health is a crucial aspect of a woman’s overall well-being, yet it often remains shrouded in misconceptions. In recent years, women have gained more control over their health thanks to a shift in medical practices.

To get the details on all things hormonal health and how to improve it, I chatted with Dr Jess, an expert in the field, to shed light on women’s health and offer insights into navigating menstrual cycles, especially during perimenopausal and menopausal stages.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF OVULATION

Contrary to common belief, ovulation, not the menstrual or bleeding phase, is the keystone of the menstrual cycle. Dr Jess emphasises, “Ovulation is the event that allows for the production and release of progesterone, essential for bone and brain health.” Understanding this key aspect can reshape how women perceive their menstrual cycles.

UNDERSTANDING MENSTRUAL CYCLES

Dr Jess likens the menstrual cycle to a vital sign, suggesting that deviations from one’s normal cycle could signal underlying issues. She stresses that the most important information that can be gleaned from your cycle is whether or not you are ovulating. “For younger women, a lack of ovulation may be a sign of PCOS or hypothalamic anovulation. For older women, it may be a sign of perimenopause and a call to take action.”

NATURAL REMEDIES AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES

Addressing menstrual symptoms can often be achieved through simple yet impactful lifestyle changes. Dr Jess recommends prioritising sleep, regular exercise, a balanced diet rich in fibre and healthy fats, caring for the gut microbiome, and stress reduction methods.

NUTRITION AND HORMONAL WELL-BEING

Gut health plays a pivotal role in hormonal well-being, influencing blood estrogen concentrations. Dr Jess advocates for increased fibre intake, such as brassicas, seeds, beans and so on, during peri and menopausal years to counter declining estrogen levels.

INTERSECTION OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH

Perimenopause and menopause can pose mental health challenges, and seeking help is crucial. It is important to acknowledge these changes, challenging the temptation to “push through”, and seeking support from both doctors and mental health practitioners to navigate this transformative period.

AGEING GRACEFULLY AND PRIORITISING HEALTH

“Ageing gracefully” goes beyond appearance; it’s about being strong, healthy and confident. Dr Jess encourages women to prioritise their health during perimenopause, educating themselves on bodily changes and taking proactive measures without guilt. “There is a difference between pride and vanity, and taking pride in your appearance is a beautiful, empowering experience.”

POST-MENOPAUSE RISKS

Post-menopause, the risk of heart disease, bone disease and brain disease increases. She advocates for initiating hormone replacement during the first ten years of menopause to reduce these risks and enhance the overall quality of life.

EDUCATION AND PREVENTION

Educating oneself about menopause empowers women. She stresses self-education, giving women agency in seeking care and preventing issues like osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.

Navigating hormonal health involves dispelling misconceptions, understanding one’s body, and taking proactive steps. Thanks to Dr Jess for providing a valuable roadmap for women’s empowerment on their hormonal health journey!

Words by Kai Coates