Dating is tough, and many of us ‘want it all’- looks, health, romantic relationship, stable career, and to be happy (whatever that means to you). Somewhere along the way we may shift our focus to more immediate concerns, and tell ourselves we’ll take care of this ongoing issue another time. Human nature likes to focus ‘here and now’, but sometimes issues that arise are actually indicators that multiple processes are taking place. Unfortunately, the current medical model does a poor job in helping us understand when symptoms and concerns need to be more mindfully managed, and the thought of prevention only scratches the surface. Acne, painful periods, low libido, weight gain, etc. came from somewhere, and if we don’t address that ‘somewhere’ by considering more than one organ system or therapeutic modality, then conditions may continue to mount and worsen. If we want it all, we certainly need our health.
There was a time when symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or menopause were nil to non-existent, and is actually more prevalent in underdeveloped countries. First world countries like the U.S. have erupted in industrialization, genetically modified products, including so many chemicals that the Food and Drug Administration only regulates about 80% (so something can have an organic label without being 100% organic). Fortunately other developed countries are more progressive and regulate thousands of chemicals.
So what does this mean for us? What we put on our bodies is just as important as what we put in our bodies especially when it comes to overall health. At the very least, we could have a delayed symptomatic reaction that may or may not be related to gut health, such as:
· Skin conditions (e.g. acne, rashes)
· Low libido
· Painful cramps around your period
· Joint pain, or overall pain
In practice, I commonly see skin and menstrual issues together, and men with low libido and some kind of heart disease (e.g. blood sugar imbalance, ‘low T’, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure). Sometimes it’s migraines and menstrual issues, and other times it’s everything I just listed. Seriously. Hormones can be a major issue, but if we’re not digesting properly or don’t have the greatest diet, then it’s going to be harder to get in the nutrients needed to make the hormones. There’s also multiple glands that make the same hormone, so we need to care for those too- some of those are also involved in sleep and stress (so those two will definitely affect our hormonal health).
In lieu of going after the life we desire, especially in the dating realm, here are some wonderful tips to help regulate your hormones, and get you in your best shape before your date!
· Improve your confidence & libido? Stand like a superhero- legs spread apart, arms on hips, elbows bent. This open posture projects power, as researchers found an increase in testosterone and a decrease in cortisol (our stress hormone that when chronically elevated can block other important physiological function) among those who stood this way for one minute. Could be just what you need to ask them out!
· Feeling bloated? Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water, stay away from sugar, salty foods, and dairy, and add in some extra movement (even walking or yoga). Still have a few days before a date? Jot down what you’ve been eating for the past few days, and see if there’s a common food that may even contribute to a reaction a day or two later.
· Found a pimple? Take out dairy and sugar, don’t touch your face or use any sort of scrub, and best not to use any kind of concealer (I understand if you really need to the day of- it totally happens). Increase vegetable consumption of dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, rich in vitamins A and C, which are very important for skin health. And hydrate hydrate hydrate! Topically, you can use coconut oil a few times per day, as it has wonderful anti-bacterial properties.
· Scheduled a date but got your period? Magnesium, best in powder form for better absorption over pill form, is a wonderful muscle relaxer, and our uterus is mostly made of muscle. Take an Epsom salt bath, a rich source of magnesium, to have your whole body absorb this great mineral through its largest organ, the skin. A heating pad on your lower abdomen will also help, however careful if it gets too hot. Limit/stay away from sugary, heavy, rich food, which will worsen cramps.
Who is our writer?
Dr. Serena Goldstein is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in NYC specializing in natural hormone balance, such as painful menses, skin conditions, low libido, and weight concerns utilizing natural therapies such as botanical medicine, nutrition, and homeopathy to get to the underlying cause of disease. Dr. Serena graduated Cum Laude from Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University with a double major in Psychology and Biology, and earned her Naturopathic Doctorate degree from National College of Natural Medicine, in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Serena has been published in numerous wellness websites, such as MindBodyGreen, in print, and has been featured Dr. Gary Null's, The Progressive Radio Network. Dr. Serena is passionate about educating on the importance of health through her bi-weekly newsletters, as well as giving talks around NYC.