Estrogen is the hottie of the group. Keeps you juicy, joyous and jonesin’ for sex. Estrogen has over 400 jobs in the female body, and what you feel when there’s too much or too little varies from creaky joints to brain fog to depression. As with most hormones, don’t want too much or too little. Find your sweet spot with estrogen (estradiol to be precise), and she’ll repay you in droves.
Progesterone. Every kite needs wind. Estrogen needs to be sufficiently balanced by progesterone. Progesterone is the soothing compliment to the upper, all-business estrogen. Irregular cycles or you’re on the rag more frequently than 5-10 years ago? Probably your ovaries making less of the stuff. Keeps you sleeping all night too.
Cortisol. Powers through a car wreck (“fight”) and gets you to run fast after your kids (“flight”) and makes you fall in bed exhausted at the end o’ the day (“collapse”). When your cortisol is too high, welcome the muffin top. When it’s too low: depletion. Tank empty. Finito. Done.
Testosterone. Hormone of vitality. Gets you either hungry for sex or receptive. Big difference, and difficult for women to attune to the latter. Key player along with estrogen in governing the perimenopausal and menopausal mood. When cycling regularly, peaks on day 9.
Pregnenolone. Mother hormone of the whole fam, the matriarch, the precursor to absolutely every sex hormone. Involved in your memory, particularly word finding. Involved in keeping your vision in technicolor. Never heard of it? I know, me neither, until I did an advanced course with a very handsome fourth generation endocrinologist from Belgium, and let me tell ya, most European women have heard of it. Disappears when you are stressed.
Thyroid. Masta of metabolism. Keeps you energized, at a manageable weight (sans extreme measures that many of us in premenopause become reluctantly familiar with), and your locks glossy. Keeps your cholesterol reasonable. Keeps joints working well and pain-free. Keeps those finger and toenails from chippin’. Keeps mood and libido hummin’ where it should.
Oxytocin. Hormone of love and bonding. Men need to be hugged three times longer than women to get the same release of oxytocin. Babies produce this in us, which is why most of us women still want to have another baby even when it makes absolutely no rational sense.