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  • Writer's pictureErin Kasparek

Top 5 Things All Women Should Know About Their Health

Updated: Jan 22

Women are often described as caregivers, but rarely take time to care for themselves even though they deserve it! Read below for a few women’s health tips that may change your outlook on common health concerns.

1. Dietary fiber has many roles.

The most familiar role is in keeping the digestive tract moving regularly, preventing excess bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain. In the long-term, this regularity reduces the risk of colon cancer. Once consumed, fiber absorbs water and expands helping us to feel fuller longer. It also slows down the absorption of sugars after eating, contributing to lower blood sugar levels and preventing hypoglycemia and type II diabetes. The relationship between fiber and hormonal health is less well-known yet equally important. In the intestine, soluble fiber binds to estrogens that the body is trying to excrete through stool. Without high fiber content in the diet, estrogens are re-absorbed and recirculate in the bloodstream. An increase in estrogen load predisposes women to estrogen-related cancers such as ovarian, uterine and breast cancer. It also affects the quality of the menstrual cycle and fertility.

2. Weight loss isn’t only about food in versus activity out.

Hormones control appetite, body composition and energy levels – all three of these can lead to excess weight gain or dissatisfaction with body shape. The main players:

  • Lack of high-quality, restful sleep can cause the appetite to increase. The hormone ghrelin turns on appetite, and more is released when we are tired. The opposite hormone, leptin, tells your body when it is time to stop eating. Leptin is lower in cases of sleep deprivation.

  • Thyroid hormones manage our metabolic speed. When thyroid hormones are not being produced in sufficient quantity, we feel more tired, move more slowly, feel colder, experience dry skin or hair loss and tend to gain weight.

  • Chronic stress = elevated cortisol -> weight gain. When the body perceives a threat for a long enough period of time, the fight/flight response tells our bodies to further store more energy in the form of adipose tissue for impending dangerous situations. Mental and emotional stress are interpreted the same way, but do not include any running or kickboxing, so we end up accumulating excess weight.

3. Menstrual Painand Menopausal Symptoms Are Avoidable.

Cramping, heavy flow, hot flashes, mood swings… these are all symptoms of our bodies attempting to cope with fluctuations in female hormones. Although most women are affected by at least one of the above symptoms, these are not considered “normal”. Believe it or not, you are not obligated to experience the above just because you are a woman. Through modification of diet, activity levels, and hormonal status, menstrual health can be improved, fertility optimized and quality of life increased along with the resolution of uncomfortable hormonally-induced changes.

4. The Birth Control Pill is Just One Option.

If you feel uncomfortable taking synthetic estrogen and progestin on a daily basis over a long period of time, but are still interested in effective family planning, perhaps an exploration of alternative options is in the cards. A few options include

  • Intrauterine device (IUD), which is available with or without local hormones

  • Multiple options in terms of barrier protection

  • The Fertility Awareness Method, which is a program where women monitor their cycles and use barrier protection or abstinence around the most fertile times. Another variation of this is the Justisse Method. By monitoring body temperature, cervical mucus and position, women are able to track their menstrual pattern and accurately predict fertility status.

5. Chronic Disease Prevention is Within Your Control

Genetics are a blueprint that we inherit and from which the instructions of our future health are based upon. Although genetic predisposition is an important determinant of health, it is our diet and lifestyle factors that affect which of those blueprint instructions will be encoded and realized as health outcomes. Lifestyle factors such as regular sleep, daily movement and a whole foods based diet have been shown to significantly impact health in the long term.



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