I’ve never dealt with PMS symptoms. However, as I get older I’m noticing that the week before my period, I’m more anxious than I’ve ever been. Not fun… for me or those around me. 😅
My doctor is a huge fan of saliva hormone panels. So, we test at least twice a year to see what’s happening with my levels. I love having a working knowledge of what’s happening in my body. When my doctor told me just how much hormones control–everything from mood (hi, anxiety!) to weight to skin health–I knew I wanted to continue testing.
When we get the results, I work with my doctor to supplement in the areas where I’m deficient, and it’s helped so much. Now any time a friend of mine complains of afternoon exhaustion, mood swings or anything else, really haha, I say, You need to check your hormones!
One of my favorite hormone experts is Dr. Carrie Jones, and she returned to the podcast to talk all about the changes that start happening in your body after kids, in your mid-30s, and in your 40s. We cover a ton!
Here’s some of it, but if you want the whole, amazing conversation, click below:
For Apple Podcasts, click here!
Dr. Jones talked with me about the importance of hormone testing for women in their mid to late 30s to 40s, particularly those who have had children, as hormone levels can shift and cause symptoms like anxiety and mood changes.
“So much changes as we hit into our mid to late 30s into our 40s. From everything, everything, not just our hormones like estrogen and progesterone, but like thyroid, glucose, cholesterol, like vitamin D, iron, like these things can all shift as a unit for the worse because they’re all connected in the body.”
For that reason, Dr. Jones also suggests asking your doctor for a glucose panel, which can tell you how your body is metabolizing sugars.
In short, don’t do a blood panel. Because women’s menstrual cycles mean our hormonal levels vary daily/weekly, Dr. Jones says a saliva or urine panel is the way to go. And you can’t just do it any old day, either.
“If you have a typical 28 day cycle or somewhere around there, you want to check about five to seven days after ovulation. We call it the luteal phase. For a lot of people it’s day 19, 20 or 21.”
And it’s as simple as spitting in a tube, multiple times a day. Why saliva?
“The saliva test allows us to check cortisol through the day. So instead of having to get like four or five blood draws in a day to see how your cortisol goes through the day, you [do this instead.]”
And if you want to take it a step even further, the urine panel is a great way to do that.
“[After saliva testing,] we have these hormones, then where do they go? When they break down? We want to know like you make estrogen. Where is it going in my body? Because some of the pathways are better than other pathways.”
The tests that I have used are ZRT Labs (sold at my doctor’s office), and the DUTCH Test. Expensive, but the results, especially from DUTCH, are incredibly detailed.
Estrogen has been vilified for its connection to certain types of cancers, especially breast cancer.
But Dr. Jones says that doesn’t mean you should run from it. She says you want what she calls the “Goldilocks” level, which is the right amount of estrogen to protect your brain health, heart health and more.
“[Estrogen] is important to your brain health, your skin, your joints, your bones, your immune system, reproduction, everything. And people forget this and are so worried, like, ‘I don’t want breast cancer. Therefore, I don’t want estrogen.’ And I’m like, ‘Trust me. You don’t want dementia and you don’t want osteoperosis [either.]”
Again, the important thing to note here is the right level of estrogen. Talk to your doctor about it!