stress and hormones

Managing stress to balance hormones

The bodies response to stress

Human bodies were designed to very effectively address stressful situations. The fight or flight response was a lifesaving mechanism back in the day.

Nowadays the body can feel the stress of a busy work week, a challenging coworker, traffic when you are late, but it cannot differentiate that your life is not on the line. So, not recognizing the distinction, pumps out all the same chemicals and hormones that it would if you were in fact, in a life or death situation.

The hormone cascade during a stress response

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland (both in the brain) are talking to each other and telling each other what to be doing when stress happens. They send signals down to the adrenal glands (sitting on top of the kidneys) to release a specific cascade of stress hormones.

Think adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline boosts blood pressure and heart rate.

Cortisol sends glucose to your muscles so you can outrun danger.

When the body is in a constant state of stress, with elevated or unregulated adrenaline and cortisol levels, the perpetual state of ‘on alert’ can wreak havoc on your hormones.

If you read the previous blog post on blood sugar levels, you will know that mismanaged blood sugar is a stressor that can cause this effect in the body (see how its all related).

Over prolonged periods of time, this may lead to something that is called adrenal fatigue. This I often see in overworked people, CEO’s, single parents, or anyone in a longterm state of stress.

A few ways to manage stress in the body

As you have learned, there are internal stressors in the body, like unregulated blood sugar levels; and there are external stressors on the body, like job stress, traffic, finances etc.

As you would have read in previous blog posts, there are a few simple steps to help manage stress, although they may not always be easy.

Get enough sleep. This is wear your body rests, repairs, and manages inflammation.

Manage blood sugar levels

Exercise regularly  – high intensity or low impact will depend on your bodies needs and current symptoms

Meditation or flow state – even 1-2 minutes of meditation per day can be impactful. If meditation doesn’t feel right, find an activity that allows you to be focused, present and playful.

For a more comprehensive program to help your body manage stress, get in touch for a virtual or in person consultation.

Call 1-778-400-6360 to book.

 

stress and hormones

Balancing hormones by regulating your blood sugar levels

What does blood sugar have to do with hormones and menstrual cycle?

Unstable blood sugar can be an important underlying cause behind hormonal problems.

“Your endocrine system (hormone system) performs all of its complex functions via the language of the hormones. One of its main functions, first and foremost, is transporting glucose to your brain, muscles and heart. If anything with that process is amok, you’re going to have mismanaged blood sugars as your first problem; as a result, though, none of the other parts of your endocrine system will function according to plan either!” – Vitti

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, helping to control nearly every physiological process in the body. This includes metabolism, immune functioning, the menstrual cycle, and overall reproductive health

Balanced hormones are essential for overall health. (Head back to this article to learn more about that.)

Blood sugar metabolism in the body

Three of the organs associated with blood sugar regulation in the body, are the pancreas, the liver, and the brain.

When you eat an abundance of sugar, or things that turn into sugar, the pancreas reacts to this increase in glucose in the body by releasing insulin. When your blood sugar is low, your pancreas pumps out glucagon, which the liver turns into glucose so that it has enough to send to your muscles, brain and heart.

Maintaining control of your blood sugar levels can become a delicate seesaw process that easily goes awry.

Therefore, a diet high in sugar can have significant effects on the reproductive hormones.

How to stabilize blood sugar levels

A good place to start is by working with your health provider to do a simple blood test checking for fasting blood sugar and insulin levels.

Depending on results, these tests may be repeated after a few months of diet and lifestyle shifts.

A few simple steps to get started:

  • Notice how you feel after you eat certain foods. Are you tired, lethargic, energized, or bloated?
  • Eat well rounded, nutrient dense meals, avoid snacking. This allows time for the body to metabolize the food and self regulate blood sugar levels (if you have any other disorders, like diabetes or PCOS, talk about this with your care provider)
  • Less refined white sugar, instead try fresh fruit or substitutes like honey or maple syrup
  • Drink enough water. This can help with over eating and proper elimination
  • Avoid processed food, fast food, oily and greasy food

These are great steps to get started regulating blood sugar levels, for more personalized support get in touch to book a virtual or in person initial consultation.

Call 1-778-400-6360 to book!

 

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Cosmetic Acupuncture Treatments

What is cosmetic acupuncture treatment and why is it all the rage?

Cosmetic Acupuncture has been gaining popularity recently with interest growing for natural healthcare. Facial fillers and botox have become incredibly popular over the years, with millions of individuals undergoing each treatment.

Did you know there is a natural alternative that can help treat the signs of aging and help with other health issues at the same time?

Cosmetic acupuncture (also called Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture) is a unique style of treatment that helps to revitalize and brighten the complexion.

It is effective for eliminating puffiness, reducing wrinkles/fine lines and giving the face and neck a bright, healthy glow.

 

All the fresh blood and oxygen flooding the face is like a reawakening of the complexion

 

What happens during a cosmetic acupuncture treatment?

When a new patient comes in for an acupuncture facial, there are a few different tools I will use.

These tools are:

  • facial rejuvenation acupuncture
  • gua sha (lightly rubbing a small tool over the surface of the skin)
  • facial cupping
  • topical oils and serums to enhance the overall treatment

In addition too attending to the face and neck, other acupuncture points will be used to help regulate other imbalances that have been observed.

For example, ‘problem skin’ like acne, may be due to hormonal imbalances, so additional points may be used to address the underlying cause.

What benefits can you expect?

There are many visible benefits of cosmetic acupuncture. Patients report softer, firmer skin, a reduction of deeper wrinkles, better skin tone, reduced puffiness or darkness under the eyes and overall more vibrant complexion.

Cosmetic acupuncture is not only a safe and exceptionally effective way to firm up the skin, there are many benefits to this treatment that goes beyond beauty alone.

As a whole body treatment, this specialized protocol addresses the internal system, balances hormones. You may experience additional benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety, better sleep, improved digestion, which are all essential for optimal skin health.

To book your cosmetic acupuncture consult please call 1 778 400 6360.

I work with clients virtually to help address skin needs holistically, please email hello@stefaniemiska.com to inquire.

 

Cosmetic Acupuncture

position of cervix

Position of cervix – How to tell if you are ovulating

Ovulation marker #3 – Position of cervix

Believe it or not, the body has a pretty miraculous way of keeping your informed as to what is going on. One of the ways it does this, is by literally showing you ovulation. This changes the position of the cervix.

During ovulation, the cervix begins to show, by changing position and firmness, almost like a flower softening and opening up for reception.

How do I check the position of my cervix?

The only way to check this yourself, is by using your fingers to feel your cervix. This should be done with clean hands (and short nails), a perfect time to do this is in the shower.

It may sound like something only taught to doctors and nurses, but there’s no reason a woman can’t learn where her cervix is and how to notice changes in cervical position.

For the majority of your cycle, your cervix sits slightly lower in your vagina (meaning its easier to reach with your finger) and is a little but more firm, like touching the tip of your nose.

During ovulation, when the cervix begins to show, she gets softer ,like touching your bottom lip, and sits a bit higher up in the vagina (meaning you must insert your finger deeper).

This is one of the ways your body naturally becomes more receptive for pregnancy, by having a closer, more closed off gateway throughout the cycle, and softening and opening up during ovulation when conception may be desired.

Tips for checking the position of your cervix

Some pro tips:

Don’t expect to understand what you’re feeling the first, second or even tenth time you try—this is a skill that comes from practice and patience. Once you learn what the signs are by experiencing the changes in your cervix throughout a few cycles, you’ll be a pro.

When you’re just learning, try to check your cervical position every so many days, even when you don’t think you’re ovulating. It’s easier to find when you’re not ovulating, and you’ll have a better idea of what you’re feeling.

 

 

Book your consult by calling 1 778 400 6360 or if you are not local, we can connect virtually by booking your 15 minute here.

 

Come say “hi” on Facebook

Stay up to date on Instagram

 

position of cervix

Cervical Mucus

Cervical Mucus – How to tell if you are ovulating

Ovulation key marker #2 – Cervical Mucus

One of the key markers of ovulation is cervical mucus. You have likely noticed it before, whether you knew it was linked to ovulation or not.

But … what is cervical mucus?

The hormones that control your menstrual cycle, they also make your cervix produce mucus. Thats the gooey stuff on your cervix that comes out of your vagina as discharge.

Your cervical mucus changes in colour, texture, and amount during your menstrual cycle, and especially around ovulation.

Cervical Mucous (also known as CM) increases at ovulation due to the increase in estrogen levels. This helps to create a hospitable environment for sperm.

Cervical fluid can be divided into two categories, peak and non-peak mucous. While both are considered fertile mucous, peak mucous is the well known, stretchy, egg white consistency.

Cervical mucous plays an important role in helping sperm survive longer in the vagina and helping them to move upward to connect with the waiting egg for conception.

Sperm can survive in the vagina for up to 5 days. Knowing when you are ovulating, by observing cervical fluid, can be an integral part of achieving or avoiding pregnancy.

You have likely noticed an increase in discharge around mid cycle, which you can tell by the slippery consistency when you wipe after going to the bathroom, some in your underwear or an overall feeling of increased wetness or lubrication.

Cervical mucus is 100% normal

In Toni Weschler’s book ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’, she highlights a story about a women who was convinced she was having reoccurring infections every month and would continue to visit her doctor asking for antibiotics. What she did not realize, was that the increase in discharge, which happened monthly, is completely normal, and actually a really healthy part of the menstrual cycle.

Some things to look out for, which may require a check in with your doctor, is discharge that is foul smelling, green or thick yellow.

How to check for cervical mucus

There are three ways you can check your cervical mucous

  • Wipe the opening of your vagina before your pee with toilet paper, check the colour and feel of the mucous
  • Look at the colour and texture in your underwear
  • Put clean fingers into you vagina, and then check the colour and texture of the mucous with your fingers

 

 

Book your consult by calling 1 778 400 6360 or if you are not local, we can connect virtually by booking your 15 minute here.

 

Come say “hi” on Facebook

Stay up to date on Instagram

 

Cervical Mucus

ovulation

Ovulation Phase Of The Menstrual Cycle

What is ovulation?

Ovulation (the Ovulatory phase) is the shortest phase and lasts for 2-3 days.

Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary, pushed down the fallopian tube, and is made available to be fertilized.

Approximately every month an egg will mature within one of your ovaries. As it reaches maturity, the egg is released by the ovary where it enters the fallopian tube to make its way towards waiting for sperm and the uterus.

The lining of the uterus has thickened to prepare for the fertilized egg. If no conception occurs, the uterine lining, as well as blood, will be shed.

The shedding of an unfertilized egg and the uterine wall is the time of menstruation.

The interlude – ovulation

The dominant follicle in the ovary produces more and more estrogen as it grows larger.

The dominant follicle reaches about 2 cm (0.8 in)—but can be up to 3 cm—at its largest right before ovulation (6,7). When estrogen levels are high enough, they signal to the brain causing a dramatic increase in luteinizing hormone (LH).

This spike is what causes ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary) to occur. Ovulation usually happens about 13-15 days before the start of the next period.

During this time, if the egg comes in contact with sperm, it is fertilized. So keep in mind that during these days you are most likely to get pregnant (remember to use contraception).

The egg will survive for 12-24 hours and will either be fertilized or will die. Your cervix becomes soft, moves up higher and opens. It moves up higher to help the egg get the best sperm – the sperm have to swim farther to get to the egg. Your cervical fluid is very clear or viscous egg-white fluid, with lots of elasticity. 

Hormones during ovulation

The two main hormones from the previous phase, estrogen and testosterone, continue to ride to their peak levels, enhancing all the benefits you enjoyed during the follicular phase.

You may notice you look, and feel, more attractive, and more confident. Your senses may feel heightened, your vision, smell and taste. You also may notice an increase in libido, or sexual arousal, again – mother nature doing its part to ensure procreation.

What to do when you are ovulating

This is a great time to connect with your sexual energy and put it towards connecting with your own body and energy, or with your partner. Ovulation phase is the optimal time to be putting energy outward, to connect with new friends and relationships, to make future plans, and plan public speaking or networking events.

This is also the best time in your cycle for high impact and intensity workouts.

 

 

Book your consults by calling 1 778 400 6360 or if you are not local, we can connect virtually by booking your 15 minute here.

 

Come say “hi” on Facebook

Stay up to date on Instagram

 

ovulation

Your Menstrual Cycle – The Follicular Phase

What is the follicular phase?

After the last day of your period, your body prepares for ovulation, this is the follicular phase.

Signals from the brain tell the ovaries to prepare an egg that will be released.

Here, a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates your ovaries to produce a matured egg.

This maturing process produces estrogen, which makes the lining of your uterus thicken with nutrients and blood, so it will be able to provide the egg with the support it needs in case of pregnancy (the lining of the uterus must be thick in order for an egg to implant)

During the period, the pituitary gland (a small area at the base of the brain that makes hormones) produces a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).

FSH tells the ovaries to prepare an egg for ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary).

What is happening when you are in the follicular phase?

It’s known as the Follicular phase because your pituitary gland releases a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).

FSH stimulates the follicles in one of your ovaries to mature.

FYI-these follicles contain your eggs.

The pituitary gland then starts to release Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which is responsible for making ovulation actually happen.

Only one of these follicles will “ripen” and become mature.

During this time you will notice that your cervical fluid takes on a wetter consistency. It typically looks creamy.

What are hormones doing during the follicular phase?

Your estrogen and testosterone levels remain low in the beginning of the follicular Phase but gradually increase as ovulation gets closer.

Both estrogen and testosterone start to boost your energy, mood and brain skills. You start to feel more confident, powerful and are willing to take more risks.

High estrogen also makes you braver, more confident and ready for a challenge. You’re thinking quickly and learning new facts and skills more easily.

During this cycle week, you’re more coordinated and have faster reaction times, your verbal skills peak and you’ve got a sharper memory.

Testosterone starts to stimulate your libido while at the same time making you more impulsive. Estrogen makes your skin look and feel better. It also makes you feel more extroverted and pushes you to be more social and to connect with other people.

When that happens, it tends to make you more impulsive, daring and competitive. Your libido is high all during your week 2, however, when testosterone spikes, it boosts your libido even higher.

On a primitive level, all of this is done to help attract a mate for the next phase of your cycle.

(Read Your Menstrual Cycle Simply Explained here)

What to do when you are in the follicular phase of your cycle

The follicular phase of your cycle is a great time for brainstorming and problem solving. It is the perfect time for creating new projects, and socializing. You can increase your activity level and experiment with something new.

 

 

Need some help understanding your menstrual cycle? Connect with me here to see how I can help you.

 

Let’s connect on Facebook!

Come say ‘Hi’ on Insta!

period

The Menstruation Phase Of Your Menstrual Cycle

What is happening when you are on your period?period

The first day of bleeding is considered day one of your menstrual cycle. On this day, the hormone progesterone plunges, which causes the uterine lining to shed, AKA “your period”

Each menstrual cycle starts with menstruation (the period). A period is the normal shedding of blood and endometrium (the lining of the uterus) through the cervix and vagina.

A normal period may last up to 8 days, but on average lasts about 3 to 6.

The first day of your period is the start of your menstrual cycle. The reason you might experience menstrual cramps during the first days of your periods is that the uterus lining breaks down and sheds. In order to do this, the muscles of the uterus contract (to help push the blood and tissue down) which can cause cramping.

You begin menstruation- old blood and tissue from inside the uterus is shed through the vagina

Why energy is lower on your period

During your first week, estrogen starts out at its lowest point and begins a steady climb. For the first day or so of this cycle week, the low level of this hormone combined with period-related aches and fatigue may make you a bit quiet and have you preferring to stay close to home.

This is why it is important to rest while you are bleeding. This can be counterintuitive to how society and your schedule is structured. While it may seem less productive for those few days while bleeding, if you allow your body space to rest during this time, your overall productivity will be greater.

What exercise to do when you are on your period

This is a great time to keep your to- do list short, and your calendar clear.

By honouring your body and its rhythms, unwanted symptoms tend to be less.

Simple and gentle movement like yoga, deep stretching, or a walk out in nature are great things to schedule during this time. Strenuous activity should be kept for the other few weeks of your cycle.

 

 

 

Book your consults by calling 1 778 400 6360 or if you are not local, we can connect virtually by booking your 15 minute here.

 

Come say “hi” on Facebook

Stay up to date on Instagram