As women, we often appear to be doing it all. We’re smashing glass ceilings, climbing career ladders, catching up with friends, squeezing in that run, checking in on family and tending to those last-minute emails.
But appearances can be deceiving. While we might be doing it all and more, many of us are also totally stressed and worn out, which is having a major effect on our wellbeing and health.
Enter leading women’s health experts, Eve whose mission is to erase the shame around periods, hormones and stress; empowering people to reclaim their wellbeing and help them to understand how stress affects health, in particular hormones.
Celebrating their third birthday this month, Eve analysed data from 2500 Kiwi women who have completed the Eve Test; a comprehensive hormone test that measures 18 hormone markers and metabolites and then highlights health challenges such as hormone imbalances.
The analysis found that stress was at the core of those hormonal challenges.
Of the 2500 women surveyed, 1500 had hormonal issues that were directly related to stress. And for many, soaring stress levels are preventing ovulation.
Beatrice Thorne, Eve’s General Manager says additional health metrics need to be prioritised to get a better picture of health and better outcomes for women.
“As women, we’re often led to focus on appearance-based health metrics like weight, BMI and caloric intake, but these aren’t the metrics that are going to leave us feeling like healthier, more vibrant versions of ourselves. Ovulation is the key health metric we should be paying close attention to each month.
“Ovulation can make us feel great or awful, is essential for fertility, improves mental health, maintains regular cycles, gives energy, helps with sleep and weight management and contributes to our skin health. Not ovulating means that we can’t perform at our best and often directs back to stress, “ Thorne added.
Generally, ovulation isn’t part of our vocabulary until we try to fall pregnant. However, if we understand and use it as a general health marker from a younger age, it will provide an initial sign our bodies aren’t functioning as well as they should be.
So, how do we know when we are ovulating? Beatrice says tracking cycles, monitoring cramps and cervical mucus are all good measures but given symptoms can be subtle, she suggests measuring body temperature as a more accurate signal.
“Ovulation generally occurs around day 14 of a regular 28-day cycle. If your cycle is a little longer you’ll probably ovulate a little later, and if a little shorter; a little earlier. But counting the days doesn’t necessarily mean that ovulation is actually occurring. Look out for signs of ovulation such as watery, slippery cervical mucus or slight cramping in the lower abdomen where the ovaries live. However, for many of us, the signs are more subtle.
One of the best ways to track ovulation is via basal body temperature. Your body temperature fluctuates with the onset of ovulation, and if you’ve ovulated your temperature will spike, and will remain high for the rest of that menstrual cycle. This is the surest way to tell whether you’ve ovulated.
If you’re not ovulating, the first step should be to address your stressors and make some positive diet and lifestyle changes. Beyond stress management actions such as reviewing work structures, social expectations or anything that puts untoward pressure on you.”
Thorne recommends looking into practices that support the nervous system such as mediation, breathing exercises and yoga. As well as reducing foods that are stressful on our systems such as sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
Another form of support that more women are turning to is the range of science-backed products that Eve has specifically formulated. Beginning with their easy at-home hormone testing kit and extending across a suite of supplements such as Period Pal™, Chill Pills™, Take Me With The Pill™, and Morning Person™. These products were designed to support hormonal health and women’s stress.
Eve’s hormonal health heroes
Period Pal™ is your period’s best friend. Thanks to hero ingredients vitex and zinc, it supports ovulation and regular cycles. By way of nourishing ovulation, it also supports those pesky monthly symptoms like weight fluctuations, acne and cramping and is packed full of nutrients and herbs to support progesterone production.
Described as meditation in a bottle, Chill Pills™ actively support feelings of stress and help calm the body into a relaxed state, ready for a restful sleep or big day. Poor quality sleep and spending time in an anxious state both put pressure on the body and, if ongoing, may inhibit ovulation. So it’s great to have something – like this high strength kava supplement – on hand to calm things down.
Designed to support women using hormonal contraception, Take Me With The Pill™ replenishes nutrients that may be depleted as a result of taking the pill and supports ovarian health. As the pill works by inhibiting ovulation, this support can also ease the transition process if you decide to come off contraception.
Morning Person™ provides energy support for tired, stressed people. Featuring Rhodiola Rosea and Panax Ginseng, two adaptogenic herbs celebrated for their stress and energy supporting properties, it nourishes your stress response for better resilience and the ability to cope with what life throws at you.