Prevention & Recovery

Women's health: What are hormones like in your 30s?

By: Jackie Middleton

Photography by ©iStockphoto.com/drbimages Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by ©iStockphoto.com/drbimages

Prevention & Recovery

Women's health: What are hormones like in your 30s?

By: Jackie Middleton
The natural fluctuation of your hormones continues. They may dip if you are breast-feeding, but they will bounce back once the child is weaned. Progesterone production may start to dwindle mid-decade as ovulation becomes irregular.

Energy level
A hectic life can unleash relentless stress that disrupts hormones, says Vanderhaeghe. When you're anxious, your adrenal glands release cortisol, a stress hormone that can interrupt sleep.

To combat cortisol's effects, Vanderhaeghe suggests taking adrenal-gland-supporting supplements, such as rhodiola, suma, ashwagandha and schisandra berries, available at pharmacies and health food stores. Consult your physician or pharmacist to see if these remedies are ideal for you.

Sex drive
Libido can be negatively influenced by depleted energy and overwhelming stress. To reintroduce your bedroom mojo, Blake suggests scheduling some alone time for you and your partner.

Pregnancy is another major player in a 30-something's sex drive. Some women find the surge in hormones stimulates their sexual appetites, while others experience a lack of interest.

Menstrual cycle
Periods continue to follow their established pattern, but a natural drop in the number of viable eggs within the ovaries can tinker with fertility. You won't notice any symptoms unless you face difficulties becoming pregnant.

Dr. Kali Simmonds, a naturopathic doctor in P.E.I., suggests asking your physician for a follicle-stimulating hormone blood test on Day 3 of your menstrual cycle to examine the status of your ovarian reserve. Have menstrual cramps?

Vanderhaeghe says evening primrose oil or borage oil (both contain GLA, an omega-6 fatty acid), or magnesium supplements can ease the ache. A pharmacist can recommend the best dose for you.
Body and weight
Hormones continue to help your metabolism, muscles and bones stay healthy. Doing weight-bearing and high-impact exercises, eating a well-rounded diet, and taking calcium and vitamin D supplements prepare your muscles and bones for any future challenges.

Skin
"Hormonal abnormalities in adulthood, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, can affect skin," says Searles. As a result, oily skin, acne and excessive hair growth on the upper lip and chin can be triggered during the reproductive years.

Blood tests and ultrasounds can diagnose these conditions. Pregnancy, meanwhile, is a boon to skin and hair: Excess hormones make your complexion glow and your hair lush.



This story was originally titled "The Truth About Hormones" in the March 2013 issue.

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Women's health: What are hormones like in your 30s?

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