Abdomen through to Anxiety

Abdomen is the part of the body between your chest and your pelvis – also known as belly, tummy, midriff or stomach.

Addison’s disease is also called adrenal insufficiency. It’s an uncommon illness that happens when your body doesn’t make enough of the hormones it needs. In particular, the adrenal glands struggle to produce enough cortisol.  Symptoms of Addison’s disease usually come on slowly, often over months and can include: extreme fatigue (or tiredness), weight loss and a loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea or vomiting, skin changes, including areas of darkened skin, cravings for salt, low blood sugar, abdominal pain, feelings of irritability, depression and body hair loss too.

Adrenal glands, also known as suprarenal glands, are small triangular-shaped glands located on top of both kidneys. Adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.

Adrenaline is a hormone and neurotransmitter that plays a central role in the ‘fight or flight’ response, which is the body’s physical reaction to stress or danger. Adrenaline is produced by the adrenal glands, which are located on top of each kidney.

Amenorrhea is used to describe the absence or stopping of your menstrual period. Primary amenorrhea is used to describe the absence of periods in someone who has not had a period by the age of 15. Secondary amenorrhea is used to refer to the absence of 3 or more periods in a row, by someone who has had periods in the past. There are lots of reasons why our periods change and it’s not necessarily cause for concern, however missing your period is something worth discussing with your OBGYN.

Androgens are important hormones that impact lots of functions in the body. In women, they are produced mainly by the ovaries and by the adrenal glands. Testosterone is the most well-known androgen. Lots of people don’t realize that women produce testosterone but we do – just in smaller amounts compared to men. Androgens play an important role in your body. They help regulate your periods, support your sex drive, help with hair growth and they make sure your bones stay healthy.

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is a protein hormone produced by the developing follicles in the ovaries. It plays an important role in the development of the female reproductive system and during pregnancy. Measuring AMH can help doctors to understand more about a person’s reproductive health or fertility. High levels of AMH can be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Anxiety is a very common condition. Lots of people find their anxiety is affected by their hormones. You may find anxiety gets worse during certain times of the month, usually in the days leading up to your period as your hormone levels drop. Anxiety can also get worse during perimenopause and menopause. You may find yourself feeling uncomfortable or struggle with worrying about day to day tasks more than usual. Anxiety can impact your sleep. You may find yourself lying awake at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Birth control through to Breast cancer and menopause

Birth control is when various devices, sexual practices, chemicals, drugs or surgical procedures are used to prevent a person from becoming pregnant. Birth control can also be used to help control other reproductive health issues (such as painful periods or PMDD). Birth control needs to be used during perimenopause and until the end of menopause as pregnancy is still possible at this time.

Options for birth control include pills, implants, vaginal rings, patches and devices placed into the uterus to prevent pregnancy known as Intrauterine devices (IUDs) which are sometimes called coils. With so many different options it’s worth having a good discussion with a healthcare provider about what is right for you.

Body identical menopause hormone therapy (regulated and FDA approved) is medication that has been created to best match the hormones that your body naturally produces and this therapy is regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Bone health is a term used to describe the overall condition of your skeletal system. The skeletal system includes your bones, joints, and other tissues. Making sure you have good bone health is really important as your bone health is connected to the proper functioning of your whole body. Your nutrition, the amount of exercise you undertake, your lifestyle choices, certain medications you take, medical conditions and even your hormones can all impact bone health.

Bone weakening the hormone estrogen helps to keep your bones healthy and strong. Around the time of menopause you lose bone tissue more quickly than the body can make it, so your bones can end up losing their strength (density) over time. Making sure you have enough calcium in your diet and eating well will help to protect your bones when your estrogen levels do start to fall.

Brain fog is used to describe lots of symptoms connected to thinking. These symptoms could include poor concentration, feeling confused, finding it hard to think of a word or forgetting the names of people and things in the moment. Some people experience brain fog so badly they think they are starting to show signs of dementia, but it’s actually a very normal response to changing hormone levels.

Breast cancer and menopause: There are some breast cancer treatments that lower the amount of sex hormones that you have in your body. This can lead to early menopause or menopausal symptoms. Treatments that cause early menopause include drugs such as chemotherapy and other medications that block or lower the amount of hormones you have in your body. Menopause may be temporary or permanent depending on your age and how close you are to the age you would have naturally gone through menopause following cancer treatment. If you have already been through menopause you may experience symptoms similar to menopause during or after treatment for breast cancer.

Cardiovascular disease through to Cycled progestogens

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. This is for both men and women. For women, CVD tends to happen during the years after menopause. Cholesterol levels (a waxy, fat-like substance found in all the cells in your body) increase in the first few years after menopause as your estrogen levels fall. Estrogen helps your body keep cholesterol in check and at the right level. That’s why it’s an important hormone for heart health!

Compounded bioidentical hormone therapy (unregulated – non-FDA approved) includes creams and gels that you can put on your skin (transdermal), lozenges (that you eat), and pellet implants (placed under the skin). Unlike medications that are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these formulas are specially prepared (compounded preparations) for each individual patient according to a health care provider’s advice.

As a result of this process, doctors are able to be a bit more flexible with the amount of certain ingredients in each dose. Availability of lower-dose preparations are available at potentially a lower cost. The practice of blending commercially available drug products lacks medical evidence for effectiveness, safety and introduces the risk of experiencing adverse side effects. It’s a bit like making a cake with different amounts of ingredients and not following a tried and tested recipe – you just don’t know how the cake will turn out.

Conception (or to conceive) is the action of conceiving a child. Conception happens when sperm swims up through the vagina and fertilizes an egg in the fallopian tube. It happens in the hours or days after you have unprotected sex.
Contraception (birth control) is when various devices, sexual practices, chemicals, drugs or surgical procedures are used to prevent a person from becoming pregnant. Birth control can also be used to help control other reproductive health issues (such as painful periods or PMDD). Birth control needs to be used during perimenopause and until the end of menopause as pregnancy is still possible at this time.

Options for birth control include pills, implants, vaginal rings, patches and devices placed into the uterus to prevent pregnancy known as Intrauterine devices (IUDs) which are sometimes called coils. With so many different options it’s worth having a good discussion with a healthcare provider about what is right for you.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) refers to a group of genetic disorders that affect the adrenal glands. In people with CAH a gene change results in a lack of one of the ingredients (enzymes) needed to make hormones such as cortisol, androgens and mineralocorticoids. Symptoms include not having enough of the hormones needed to sustain certain development. Genitals can also be impacted. If you have this condition, your genitals may look a little different to other people’s.

Continuous progestogen is when you take a certain amount of progestogen everyday without a break and this can minimize hormone fluctuations but is associated with more irregular bleeding and spotting in the first six months of use.

Corpus luteum is a mass of cells that forms in your ovary. It is a temporary organ that appears every menstrual cycle and disappears if you don’t get pregnant. It also produces the hormone progesterone during the early stages of pregnancy.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is the body’s main ‘stress hormone’ and cortisol increases in response to stress and low blood glucose levels. Cortisol plays a central role in many bodily processes such as your stress response, your metabolism regulation, your immune system suppression, the anti-inflammatory effects in your body, your blood pressure regulation and your sleep-wake cycle. Managing your stress by adopting certain lifestyle changes and trying things like relaxation techniques can help you to maintain a healthy balance of cortisol in your body. Medical interventions can also be used to help with cortisol regulation.

Cushing’s Syndrome is a disorder that happens when your body makes too much cortisol over a long period of time. It can be serious if it’s not treated. One of the main signs is changes to your weight and an increase in body fat such as around the chest and tummy. You may have slim arms and legs, but still notice changes on the back of your neck and shoulders or notice your face is redder rounder or puffier than usual.

Cycled progestogens can be given for 12-14 days in a row each month and can often give you a predictable withdrawal bleed. Because you aren’t taking it every day in the month, it can cause you to have worse side effects, because of the higher dose you will need.

Diabetes through to Dyspareunia

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that happens when your blood sugar (glucose) is too high. Glucose is your body’s main source of energy. Your body can make glucose, but glucose also comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. There are three main types of diabetes – type1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (diabetes you get during pregnancy). Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1.

Gestational diabetes that happens to some women in pregnancy can continue and the diabetes can be permanent after the baby is born and for others, the diabetes goes away after birth.

Dysmenorrhea is the clinical term for period pain that is so uncomfortable it requires treatment. 15% of women with dysmenorrhea find the pain so bad that they stay home from school or work as a result.

Dyspareunia is the term for difficult or painful sexual intercourse. It is persistent or recurrent genital pain that occurs just before, during or after sex.

Early Menopause to Estrogen

Early Menopause is when period’s stop before the age of 45. It can happen naturally or as a result of some treatments.

Endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs in the body that produce, store, and release hormones. These hormones help to maintain internal balance and stability, known as homeostasis, by influencing the activities of cells, tissues and organs throughout the body.

Endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who is an expert in the field of endocrinology – the study of your body’s hormones. If you want answers to the ins and outs on hormones, ask an endocrinologist!

Endometriosis is a long term medical condition that happens when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. The tissue can grow on or attach to various reproductive organs and structures in the pelvis and in rare cases it can also spread to other areas of the body. Symptoms include pain in the pelvic area or lower back and tummy, irregular periods, difficulty getting pregnant and sometimes infertility, painful bowel movements and bloating.

Estrogen is a hormone that serves every area of your body so when supplies of the hormone are low, physical changes can happen and impact many different systems and functions in the body. Low estrogen can cause physical and emotional symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, joint pain and low mood.

Fertility to Fragile X syndrome

Fertility is the ability to get pregnant and have a baby. Fertility refers to how easy it is for someone to reproduce. You’ve probably heard people say things like ‘they are super fertile’ meaning they don’t struggle to get pregnant. Fertility can be impacted by lots of factors such as age, overall health, diet and lifestyle too. For example, we know smoking can impact a person’s fertility negatively. The opposite of fertility is infertility. This is where someone struggles to get or remain pregnant.

Fibroids are noncancerous growths or tumors that develop in the wall of the womb (uterus) and are quite common with many women experiencing them at some point in their lives. Fibroids can vary in size, number and location within the uterus and they can range from being small enough that you wouldn’t even know you have them, to being quite large and causing symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged periods, pelvic pain or pressure, frequent need to pee and pain during sex.

Follicles are fluid filled sacs containing eggs at different stages of development that grow in your ovaries. A follicle produces estrogen as it grows and the level of estrogen in your body peaks just before ovulation happens. A follicle will burst and this is when an egg is released.

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is a hormone produced by your brain to stimulate the ovaries to prepare an egg for ovulation (release from the ovary).

Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) blood test measures the level of FSH in the blood. It usually becomes raised when a woman is menopausal. Levels of FSH can change quickly so these tests are not always a reliable way to tell if you are perimenopausal or menopausal. An account of your symptoms will usually be enough for your doctor to tell you you are in perimenopause or menopause.

Follicular Phase describes the first stage of your menstrual cycle. The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period and ends at ovulation (usually day 14 in a 28 day cycle). During the follicular phase, the follicles in your ovaries begin to mature. One dominant follicle eventually bursts, and releases an egg. In the follicular phase of your cycle, your levels of estrogen rise, reaching their peak at around the time of ovulation. You will usually feel at your best during the follicular phase because of the rising levels of estrogen that can increase your energy levels and help you feel more positive.

Fragile X syndrome, also known as Martin-Bell syndrome, is an inherited genetic condition that causes a range of developmental symptoms. If you have this condition you may have learning differences or struggle with certain behavioral challenges. You may also experience physical symptoms and mental health concerns such as anxiety.

Gestational diabetes to Ghrelin

Gestational diabetes that happens to some women in pregnancy can continue and the diabetes can be permanent after the baby is born and for others, the diabetes goes away after birth.

Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) is a term used to describe genital symptoms (itching, burning and dryness), sexual symptoms (discomfort or pain, lack of lubrication) and also urinary systems (an urgency to pee, recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and incontinence) in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

GSM symptoms affect around 50% of postmenopausal women and there are many safe and effective treatments you can try to help manage symptoms. GSM also includes vaginal atrophy.

Ghrelin is a peptide hormone, produced mostly in the stomach. It stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland and increases appetite.
Growth hormones (GH) are peptide hormones produced and released by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain. These hormones play a crucial role in the growth and development of the human body.

Key functions include helping with the growth of bones, cartilage and other tissues in the body, and the regeneration of cells. GH also helps to maintain healthy skin, muscles and organs, the metabolism, and the immune system.

Heart health to hysterectomy

Heart health is used to refer to the overall well-being of the heart and the circulatory system (the system that helps pump blood around your body. When people talk about your heart health, this includes the function of your heart, your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.

To keep your heart healthy it is important to have a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, not smoke and manage stress levels as best you can. In some cases, medication and treatment may be needed to help keep your heart healthy.

Heavy bleeding (flooding or passing of clots is known by clinical professionals as Menorrhagia) is common in perimenopause and in our teen years as it is when your estrogen is out of balance with the amount of progesterone that your body produces. The usual amount of blood we lose during each period is 10-35 ml.

A normal sized period product such as a tampon holds about 5 ml of blood.
Normal blood loss is 2-7 soaked period products each period.
Losing more than 80 ml of blood per period (between 9-12 soaked period products) is considered heavy bleeding and is worth talking to your doctor about.

Up to 25% of women will experience heavy bleeding during perimenopause.

Hormonally – oh wait – that’s us! An awesome bunch of people who are passionate about improving the information available on all things hormone related to help make your lives better!

Whether you are seeking help, treatment, more information or want to know how to support a loved one – this is THE best place to get your information. We filter through what’s out there to get you what you need and you can trust we aren’t going to do it just to try to sell you something.

Hormone is a chemical substance made by an organ like the ovary or the thyroid gland. During the perimenopause and menopause the ovaries begin to work differently, and your production of hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone gets less over time.

Hormone imbalance happens when there is either too much or too little of a certain hormone in the bloodstream, or when hormones are not working in the ways they should.

Common causes of hormone imbalances include stress, puberty, menopause, thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, adrenal disorders, hormone therapy (HT), having a higher body weight, certain medications and other medical conditions.

Symptoms of hormone imbalance can vary a lot depending on which hormones are affected, but common symptoms include irregular periods or missing periods altogether, mood swings, emotional changes, changes in weight, tiredness, changes to sex drive, skin issues, changes in blood pressure, sleep patterns and hair, and sensitivity to temperatures being just a few.

Hormone related mood symptoms have subtle differences to other mood disorders such as clinical depression. You may experience more pronounced mood changes, including irritability and particularly rage and anger. The other main difference is that for some, this is the first time that you feel emotionless or may have had some really dark thoughts and this can be really unsettling. Times of hormonal fluctuation can create this and there are treatments available to support you during this time so please don’t think that there is nothing that can help you – talk to a healthcare professional to explore your options.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or Hormone Therapy (HT) is the most effective treatment for symptoms caused by low hormones and hormone changes. HT can come in the form of pills, patches, creams, gels and sprays. Research has shown that it is the most effective clinical treatment for menopause symptoms.

Hot flash is a sudden feeling of warmth in the upper body, usually all over your face, neck and chest area. Your skin might go red, as if you were blushing and you may start to sweat. Hot flushes can happen any time of day and usually last for a few minutes. Some people only get one hot flash a day while others can get a flash every hour, all day and night. Everyone is unique when it comes to their experience of hot flashes.

There are hormonal and non-hormonal treatment options available for you to discuss with a healthcare provider.

Hyperglycemia is when your body doesn’t have enough insulin and you feel thirsty and need to pee a lot, leading to more thirst and also tiredness. It can also cause you to lose weight. See Insulin for further information.

Hypoglycemia is when there is too much insulin in the body and your cells take glucose from the blood. As a result, not enough sugar is left in the blood. You may feel ill, have palpitations, sweat, feel hungry, feel anxious or go pale with hypoglycemia. If these symptoms haven’t led you to eat or drink something, then the brain might start feeling affected by causing dizziness, confusion and in severe cases, coma. See Insulin for further information.

Hyperthyroidism – see Thyroid hormones

Hypothyroidism – see Thyroid hormones

Hysterectomy is a surgery where the womb (uterus) is removed. After a hysterectomy you will not have periods or be able to get pregnant.

Hysterectomy is a common treatment for a number of different conditions that affect women’s reproductive organs.

Infertility to Mood swings

Infertility is when you are not able to get pregnant (or conceive) after one year (or longer) of having unprotected penis vagina sex. The risk of infertility gets greater as you get older. Causes of infertility in women can include conditions related to the ovaries and other conditions such as endometriosis.

Insulin is made by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach) and mainly helps to control how your body produces and uses sugar (glucose) – your main source of energy. Your cells need glucose to function well. A healthy body’s release of insulin is done carefully in order to balance the food taken in and the needs of the body. Too little insulin can lead to hyperglycemia and too much to hypoglycemia.

Irregular periods are when the gap between your periods is less than 21 days or more than 35 days. It is more likely for your periods to be irregular when they first start or when you are nearing menopause.

Joint pain

Joint pain such as aches, pains and stiffness or swelling around the joint are common symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. It is usually worse in the morning and eases as the joints loosen up with your daily activities. Decreasing estrogen levels can lead to inflammation around the joints.

Leptin to Luteinizing hormone

Leptin is a peptide hormone that is produced by fat cells and plays a role in your bodies regulation of weight by acting on the hypothalamus to suppress appetite and burn stored fat.

Lipid is a type of molecule that includes fats, oils and certain molecules in cell membranes (the barrier that surrounds the cell) that do not mix well with water. They serve different functions in the body such as storing energy and forming cell membranes.

Low libido is a lack of desire or interest in sexual activity or fantasy. Sexual desire changes for lots of different reasons and is really common during the perimenopause and menopause. Having a low sex drive can be upsetting. If you no longer feel the urge to have sex with your partner. It may make you reflect on your relationship and wonder what is missing. Sex and intimacy, and the importance of the role it plays in a relationship with yourself and a partner, is different for everyone.  Talking about your needs can help you to try and find solutions, treatments and options to support you to have a healthy sex life.

Low mood can be a result of your hormone levels changing. Low mood can cause other symptoms like long periods of tiredness, feeling sad, feeling irritable, having low energy, losing interest in your normal activities, changes to your sleep, feeling agitated, changes to your weight and changes to your sex drive.

Most people get symptoms like these every now and again, but if they last for more than 2 weeks, without any let up, it may be signs of a condition like depression. Treatment options are available and a healthcare provider can talk to you about the best options to explore.

Luteal Phase describes the second phase of the menstrual cycle after ovulation, and continues until the start of your period. During the luteal phase, your progesterone levels increase which helps thicken the lining of the womb. This is to prepare the uterus for a potential pregnancy. If pregnancy doesn’t happen, your hormone levels drop and your next menstrual period will begin. This rise in progesterone can cause symptoms in your luteal phase like fatigue, headaches and low mood.

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is produced and released by the anterior pituitary gland and plays an important role in the regulation of the reproductive system. In women, it is the chemical messenger that signals to your ovaries to start the process of releasing an egg. LH will surge midway through the menstrual cycle and can be tested using a blood test.

Melatonin to Mood Swing

Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces to help with sleep. At night, your levels of melatonin increase and then return to normal during the day. Melatonin helps to keep your sleep-wake cycle in check (circadian rhythm). This is why you may have heard people talking about using melatonin to help with sleep when traveling to countries with big time differences.

Medical menopause: If you receive any medical treatments that ‘shut off’ your ovaries (for example, when treating certain types of cancer), you will enter menopause at this time. Symptoms can be sudden and more intense when you have a medical menopause. It is worth talking to your doctor about what your options are for managing the symptoms of a medical menopause and make sure any treatment you use to help with these are specific to your overall health needs.

Menopause is the time when you haven’t had a period for 12 months in a row. Menopause happens because, over time, your body stops producing enough of the hormones needed for you to ovulate. The average age of menopause in the US is 52 years, but it can happen at different times for different people. The age when you go through menopause can also depend on your heritage.

Menopause Hormone Therapy (MHT) is a form of hormone therapy that helps you to manage your changing levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. MHT can reduce menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and vaginal dryness. It can also help to prevent against conditions like osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease that develop as we age. Systemic hormone therapy is MHT that is absorbed throughout the body and comes in various forms such as pills, skin patches, gels, rings, cream or spray form. Low-dose vaginal estrogen products come in creams, tablets or ring form.

Menorrhagia see Heavy bleeding

Metabolism refers to chemical reactions and processes that help your body function. Your metabolism helps to turn food into energy and build or break down molecules needed for various bodily functions.

Mood swing is a sudden change in your emotional state. It’s where you go from feeling happy and upbeat to sad, irritable or angry without any warning. It might feel like it comes completely out of the blue with no real thing causing it.

Natural menopause to NAMS

Natural menopause is when menopause happens without any medical or surgical intervention to cause it.

Neurotransmitters are your body’s chemical messengers. They carry messages from one nerve cell across a space to the next nerve, muscle or gland cell.

Night sweats are when you sweat throughout the night. You may sweat so much that your night clothes and bedding are wet, even though where you are sleeping is cool.

Non-hormonal treatment options include lifestyle changes, mind-body approaches and non hormonal prescription medications to help relieve symptoms connected to hormone conditions like menopause or PCOS. Options can include antidepressants, a nerve pain drug, a blood pressure drug, herbal remedies and vaginal lubricants and moisturizers.

North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Menopause Practitioner or NCMP is a licensed healthcare professional who has demonstrated their expertise in the field of menopause by sitting an exam set by The North American Menopause Society. The credential is valid for 3 years and can be kept after that time by passing a new exam or completing ongoing medical education credits. You can find a Menopause Practitioner using the directory on the NAMS website.

Ovaries to Oxytocin

Oophorectomy is an operation in which one or both of your ovaries are removed. Ovaries are almond shaped organs that sit on each side of your uterus (womb) in your pelvis and contain eggs and produce hormones that control your periods. When both of your ovaries are removed it is called a bi-lateral oophorectomy.

Osteopenia is a condition that describes a loss in bone mineral density below what is expected but not low enough to be diagnosed with having osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that happens when bone mineral density and bone mass are lost over time or when the structure and strength of the bone changes, making them more fragile. Having osteoporosis means you are more at risk of getting fractures or broken bones.

Ovary (ovaries) are almond shaped organs that sit on each side of your uterus (womb) in your pelvis. Ovaries contain eggs and produce hormones that control your menstrual cycle.

Ovarian cysts are sacs, usually filled with fluid. Ovarian cysts can be found in an ovary or on its surface. They are common and most of the time you have little or no discomfort and the cysts are harmless. Most cysts go away without treatment within a few months. Sometimes ovarian cysts can become twisted or burst open and this can cause unpleasant symptoms like pelvic pain, a dull ache or sharp pain in the area below your belly button (toward one side), bloating, or heaviness in your belly.

Seek immediate medical help if you have sudden abdominal or pelvic pain, pain with fever or vomiting or signs of shock (these include cold, clammy skin, rapid breathing and lightheadedness or weakness).

Ovulation describes when a ‘mature’ egg is released from your ovary and is part of the menstrual cycle. For most people, ovulation happens on day 14 of a 28 day menstrual cycle but each person’s cycle length is different.

Oxytocin is a hormone made in the brain by the hypothalamus and has a key role in childbirth by helping your womb to contract during labor and also helps with breastfeeding by stimulating lactation. Oxytocin is often called the ‘love hormone’ because it acts as a chemical messenger to help with sexual arousal, and to help us develop bonds of trust and attachment with others romantically

P and there's a lot of them!

Pancreas is a gland located in the abdomen that plays a key role in converting the food we eat into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas makes hormones that maintain the proper level of sugar in our blood.

Perinatal is the time including all of pregnancy up to the first year after giving birth. The perinatal period is important for the health and development of both a newborn and a mother. During the perinatal period you will go through different medical and healthcare experiences that are important for a safe and healthy transition.

Perineum is the area between the opening of your vagina and your back passage (anus). It is common for the perineum to tear during childbirth. Tears can also happen inside your vagina or other parts of the vulva, including the labia. Perineal pain is common following childbirth.

Perimenopause is the time before menopause when you start having symptoms connected to your changing hormone levels. Women start perimenopause at different ages. You may notice changes to your periods and your mood. You may also experience symptoms such as hot flashes, sleep problems and vulval and vaginal changes. Treatments are available to help ease symptoms.

Periods are when you bleed from your vagina as part of your menstrual cycle. Your womb (uterus) lining thickens to prepare for the possibility of a pregnancy starting, but if you don’t get pregnant the lining sheds away, and period blood leaves your body. A period usually happens every 28 days or so but periods can happen anywhere from every 24 days up to every 38 days and these lengths are all considered a ‘normal’ cycle.

Bleeding tends to last between 4-8 days on average, with most bleeding happening in the first 2 days or so.

Pituitary gland is a small, pea sized gland that can be found at the base of your brain below your hypothalamus. It releases several important hormones and controls the function of many other glands. If the endocrine system is the whole orchestra, the pituitary gland is a bit like the conductor, it helps to keep all the parts in check!

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone condition that affects the ovaries typically during a woman’s reproductive years. PCOS causes different symptoms that vary from person to person but typically include irregular periods, increased levels of androgens, ovarian cysts, weight changes or difficulty losing weight, some hair growth on the face, having a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, skin problems , mood swings and depression, sleep issues and difficulty in getting or staying pregnant.

Post-menopause is the time after your menopause. After you have gone through menopause you will be able to say you are ‘postmenopausal’ for the rest of your life.

Postpartum depression (PDD) is a type of mood disorder that impacts people who have recently given birth. Those who have it experience a range of emotional and physical symptoms that usually start within the first few weeks of giving birth, but symptoms can happen anytime during the first year after you have a baby. Common symptoms include feeling sad or low most of the time, losing interest or pleasure in things, feeling tired or having low energy, changes to your sleep patterns, changes to your appetite and feeling irritable.

Preeclampsia is a serious condition that happens in pregnancy. Most women with preeclampsia feel fine and it can only be detected by checking your blood pressure (high blood pressure can be an indication) and testing for protein in the urine or checking for swelling. Regular antenatal check-ups are important to make sure that you stay well through your pregnancy, as there is no cure for preeclampsia, except the birth of the baby and the delivery of your placenta.

Pregnancy is the term used to describe the period in which a baby (or multiple babies) develop inside the uterus. Pregnancy usually lasts about 40 weeks, or just over 9 months. This starts from the time of the last menstrual period to the time at which a person gives birth.

Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is another name for Primary Ovarian Insufficiency.

Premenopause is the time from when your periods start up until you reach perimenopause.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a very bad form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can cause a range of emotional and physical symptoms every month during the week or two before your period. It can also be called severe PMS and can have a serious impact on your life.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is used to describe a collection of symptoms connected to your menstrual cycle, including mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, tiredness, irritability and depression. Symptoms tend to happen in a pattern (e.g. in the last week of your cycle) and can change in terms of how much they impact you.

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is when the ovaries stop producing enough of the hormones needed to support ovulation before the age of 40. Although the ovaries don’t produce typical amounts of hormones or release eggs regularly the condition varies from person to person. Some people occasionally ovulate while others don’t. POI can make it difficult to become pregnant, but help is available. POI is also sometimes called Premature Ovarian Insufficiency.

Progesterone is a hormone produced in the ovary and its main job is to help the lining of the uterus (endometrium) prepare for a fertilized egg to implant and grow. If pregnancy doesn’t happen, the lining sheds away during your menstrual period. For most, progesterone is good for mood as it helps to calm certain receptors. Some people are sensitive to the hormone though and find it causes symptoms, particularly in the luteal phase of their cycle.

Prolactin is a hormone responsible for lactation, breast tissue development and milk production. Higher levels of prolactin in your blood can cause symptoms like irregular periods and infertility.

Prostaglandins are a group of lipids with hormone-like actions that are made at sites of tissue damage or infection that are involved in dealing with injury or illness. They help to maintain the reproductive system and are responsible for uterine contractions (period cramps) to help release the lining from your womb (your period). They are also involved in processes such as inflammation, blood flow, the formation of blood clots and starting labor. Excess prostaglandins can cause pain, inflammation and heavy periods.

Protein hormone is a type of chemical messenger produced by specialized cells or glands in the body. These hormones are made up of proteins and are released into the bloodstream to regulate physiological processes in the body such as growth and metabolism.

Puberty is the time of life when a person’s body sexually matures. It is a process that usually happens between the ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys. Puberty causes physical changes and affects girls and boys differently. As your hormones change during puberty you will also likely experience changes to your mood in ways you haven’t before.

Serotonin to Surgical Menopause

Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce, and it sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is found in many parts of your body: in your digestive system, blood platelets, and throughout the central nervous system. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating your mood, helps with sleep, blood clotting and also helps you poop!

You have probably heard people talk about serotonin in connection to mental health conditions. This is because a major group of medications called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) are used to treat conditions such as anxiety and depression. Examples of SSRI’s are Prozac and Zoloft.
Sex hormones are a group of hormones that help with the development and regulation of sexual characteristics and reproductive processes in your body.

Sex Hormones are also responsible for keeping the menstrual cycle (periods) regular. This group of hormones contains androgens, estrogens and progestogens.

Spotting is light vaginal bleeding that happens outside of your regular period. Spotting typically means you will lose small amounts of blood. You may notice it in your underwear or on toilet paper after you’ve used the restroom. A panty liner would be enough to protect against spotting. If you need a pad or tampon your bleeding is heavier and not spotting.

Steroid hormones are hormones that come from cholesterol. Steroid hormones help regulate a wide range of bodily processes like your metabolism, your immune response, inflammation in your body, salt and water balance and sexual development and reproduction.

It is important to say that these kinds of steroid hormones are produced naturally in the body and have nothing to do with ‘anabolic steroids’ that can be used to increase your muscle growth and performance.

Stress hormones are hormones, such as epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol and norepinephrine and are released when you experience stress. Stress hormones are designed to help us deal with stressful situations by increasing our heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. This is the fight or flight response.

Constant states of stress can take a toll on your body and over time can lead to various health problems such as heart disease, stroke, depression and anxiety, brain fog or memory problems, weakened immune system, gut problems, weight changes, hair and skin problems and sleep problems – just to list a few!

Managing stress hormone levels is important for your long term health and wellbeing. Knowing what physical, mental and emotional triggers you have to stress is the start of helping you to manage them and make the right changes to help you minimize the impact they have on you.

Surgical menopause happens if you have surgery that removes both ovaries. As your ovaries are responsible for producing the majority of your sex hormones, removing them will cause you to enter menopause straight away. Symptoms can be sudden and more intense when you have a surgical menopause. Using hormone therapy can help with symptoms that may bother you.

Thyroid gland to Turner syndrome

Thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland found at the front of your neck under your skin. It plays an important role in regulating your metabolism, and the growth and development of the body.

Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland, which is at the front of the neck just below the Adam’s apple (larynx). Thyroid hormones function by regulating the body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which energy is used by your body), growth and development. Thyroid hormones also help with controlling heart, muscle and digestive function, brain development and bone maintenance.

If the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone this is called hyperthyroidism, symptoms include weight loss, fast heart rate, irritability/nervousness, changes to your period and sleep problems. If not enough of the hormone is produced is known as hypothyroidism, symptoms can include an increase in weight, slower heart rate, tiredness, period changes, forgetfulness, dry skin and hair, hoarse voice and intolerance to the cold.

Turner syndrome is a condition that only affects those assigned female at birth. It occurs when one of the X chromosomes (sex chromosomes) is missing or partially missing. It can cause a variety of medical and developmental issues, including your ovaries not developing as they should, heart defects and not growing in the same way you would if you didn’t have this condition.

Urinary incontinence to Uterus

Urinary incontinence is passing pee when you don’t mean too. It’s a common thing that impacts millions of people – obviously not everyone shouts about that fact they leak a little which is why you may be surprised. Stress incontinence is when you pee with coughing, laughing, sneezing or bouncing on a trampoline due to weak pelvic floor muscles. It is quite common during perimenopause but doesn’t get any worse once you reach menopause. Urge incontinence is the frequent or a sudden need to pee with an occasional leak. It’s caused by an overly active or irritated bladder.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common infections that affect the bladder, the kidneys and the tubes connected to them. Symptoms include a pain or burning sensation when peeing (known to healthcare providers as dysuria), needing to pee more than usual during the night, needing to pee suddenly or needing to pee more urgently than usual. Your pee may look cloudy, dark or have a strong smell. A UTI can be serious. If you feel like you have a fever, lower tummy pain or pain in your back or a low temperature talk to a doctor as you may need antibiotics to help clear the infection.

Women have shorter urethras than men, making it easier for bacteria to travel up the urethra and cause a UTI. If you have a UTI make sure to drink plenty of water, even if peeing is painful it’s still really important to stay hydrated!

Uterus is your pear shaped organ in the reproductive system of people assigned female at birth. It is responsible for your periods and is where a fertilized egg implants during pregnancy. It’s where the baby will develop until its birth.

Vagina to Vulva

Vagina is the part of your body from which you menstruate, have sex and give birth. It’s the canal that connects the outside of the body to the cervix and uterus.  The vagina is inside your body.

Vaginal atrophy is the thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls. It happens when your body has less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy most often occurs after menopause but can be a symptom of perimenopause too. It can make sex painful and also lead to urinary symptoms. Doctors will sometimes use the term genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) to describe the condition. There are many simple, effective treatments available. Topical vaginal estrogen has been seen to be very effective.

Vaginismus is when the vagina suddenly tightens up when you try to insert something into it. It can happen due to involuntary spasms in the muscles of the vaginal wall, the muscles in the pelvic floor can become tense, causing pain during sex.

Vasomotor Symptoms (VMS) are episodes of heat that come with sweating and flushing around the head, neck, chest and upper back. Low estrogen changes the body’s internal thermostat and your brain sends our temperatures through the roof! Triggers can be spicy food, hot weather, caffeine, alcohol, stress or ones that are personal to you. There are medications including hormone therapy that can help to control VMS symptoms.

Vulva  is the outside part of your genitalia that you can see. People often say “vagina” when they actually mean vulva. So, when it comes to describing everything on the outside including:

  • your labia majora and labia minora (often called lips)
  • your vaginal opening
  • your clitoris
  • your urethra

You will want to use the word vulva.

Withdrawal bleeds to WHI

Withdrawal bleeds happen when you take a break from the combined birth control pill, vaginal rings, patches or injections that often work on three-weekly cycles. When you stop taking your birth control your body experiences a drop in hormone levels and this drop causes your body to produce period blood and mucus. Withdrawal bleeds are usually lighter and shorter than typical periods as the birth control pill stops you from ovulating so there is no egg for your body to pass.

Womb is another name for the uterus.

Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) is a study from 2002 that was stopped early because the people involved given a certain combination and dose of estrogen with progesterone were found to have a higher risk of certain diseases and conditions as a result of using these hormones. The study raised concerns at the time and caused many women to become scared of using hormones.

However, the research has been shown to have been unreliable. Younger women are less at risk and have more potential benefits from using hormones than the WHI study findings suggested. The negative effects of the WHI hormone trial that were reported also mostly affected women who were over age 60 or over 10 years postmenopausal. Newer hormone formulations have less risk and as explained may actually provide benefits that outweigh risks for women during the menopausal transition.