Prevention is better than cure – I’m a huge believer in that. I also feel it’s best to try natural ways to nurture health, and therefore reduce the need to call on doctors and nurses. That includes protecting, nurturing and boosting our fertility, cycle health and hormones.
So, I’m inspired to write about looking after your ovaries. Super-important little organs for fertility and general hormone balance for every woman. Here’s to ovary health girls.
What are ovaries, actually?
Ovaries are pretty small, but super-important female organs. Little hormone production factories for oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, they regulate our fertility. Most women think ovaries are only important for menstrual cycles, ovulation and having babies.
But it’s not just that.
They have a big impact on general health… skin health, bone health, heart health, breast health and much more.
But let’s talk ovulation. That’s FAR too important to move right past.
Our ovaries release mature eggs. Those eggs can go on to become embryos then babies, once fertilised by a strong, healthy sperm. I believe it’s the stuff of miracles! And to conceive naturally, we have to be ovulating. Not necessarily, every single month, but we need to be ovulating.
So please, let’s protect and boost our general health and fertility. Let’s take good care of our precious ovaries, as best we can.
Of course, ovaries can have issues. Some women suffer from ovarian cysts. Some women find that they are not ovulating – which is often temporary… a massive subject for another time. Ovaries can become inflamed – this is called oophoritis. And, of course, some women suffer PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Looking after your general and hormone health won’t necessarily prevent or cure these on their own and in every case, but it can make a big difference.
If you suspect issues with your ovaries and cycle, speak with your GP, ask for tests and discover treatment options. And integrate some super duper self-care and complementary therapies, if you choose, alongside any conventional treatment.
How to take care of your ovaries
I’m waving the flag for adopting a hormone friendly lifestyle. It will help protect your ovaries and ovary health. So here are some top tips for ovary health.
1. Eat a hormone-helping diet
Choose a varied diet of nutritious foods. Avoid processed and packaged foods, additives, preservatives and GMO. Choose organic and/or unsprayed if possible. Avoid too much caffeine, alcohol and sugar for optimum ovary health.
2. Manage your weight
Did you know our fat stores produce oestrogen, as well as our ovaries? Particularly the fat that stores around our middles. It’s best to avoid excess oestrogen and the health issues linked to excess oestrogen, such as endometriosis, infertility, fibroids, PMS… by managing our weight to a healthy BMI and reducing tummy fat.
Being underweight isn’t necessarily better. It carries a risk that our body shuts down ovulation because it “thinks” it’s a time of great threat or famine. In times of famine or stress, our bodies shut down processes that are not vital for survival.
3. Stop smoking
Smoking can reduce oestrogen levels and – in turn – impact fertility. The eggs of smokers are more prone to abnormalities and rates of miscarriage are higher in female smokers. Women who smoke risk early menopause and osteoporosis. It’s bad news for ovary health. So it really is best to quit.
There are so many support services now, find out what’s available in your area. But please don’t choose e-cigarettes instead. Some early research shows they are still very harmful to health, hormones and fertility.
As I said, it is best to quit.
4. Reduce stress
Stress can stop ovulation and send our cycles totally out of whack. Removing sources of stress, or reducing the impact of stress, supports better ovary health, ovulation and cycle balance.
Find ways to relax and unwind – massage, meditation, yoga, walking outdoors, dancing, reading, deep breathing… whatever floats your boat and helps.
5. Be wary of hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraceptives like the Pill override our natural hormones, cycles and ovary function. Once you stop hormonal contraception, it can still take time for things to settle back down to a natural rhythm.
Personally, I suggest couples take at least 3-4 months to prepare before trying to get pregnant. It’s called preconception care. I call it getting baby-ready or baby-fit. It’s what I teach women and couples online and in person. It’s an important part of my women’s health practice. I also include stopping hormonal contraception in my guidance to couples.
Whether you’re planning a baby now or in future or you just want to balance and protect hormone and general health, take care of your ovaries. Let’s put ovary health on the agenda for every woman. Show them some love.
Kathy Payne is a Booster of Fertility. Calmer of Hormones. Soother of Modern Life Madness. A Women’s Health Coach with special interests in women’s cycles, fertility, hormonal health, pre/menopause, stress and energy. She’s a reformed former overweight, unfit, exhausted, sick and cranky corporate stress-bunny.
Kathy works face-to-face in Norwich, UK or worldwide via Skype and also offers a range of online classes and courses to take you from hormone-y to harmony. Download her free guide “10 Surprising Signs of Haywire Hormones and Hacks to Help” here: http://bit.ly/10surprisingsigns