Master your Hormones with Dr Chloe Stubberfield.
Balance your body with our ultimate guide to hormone health.

Stressed? Crampy? Moody as hell? It’s probably your hormones. If you’re someone who menstruates, they no doubt influence your thoughts, feelings, energy levels, and mood every second of every day.

Luckily, we have some solutions!

I recently spoke with Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Dr Chloe Stubberfield (best known for The Which Doctor), to uncover the secrets to mastering your hormones. From understanding common imbalances to embracing the two main sex hormones that influence your health, read on to discover Dr Chloe’s nuggets of wisdom below.

Do you find yourself feeling zen one minute and stressed out of your mind the next? Do you experience swollen breasts, skin breakouts, and spotting before your period? Do you struggle with insomnia, hot flashes, and cramps? These symptoms can all be attributed to your hormones. Women and menstruating people have a complicated cocktail of hormones that require round-the-clock attention and care, regardless of if you’re in your teens and 20s, 30s and 40s, or beyond. So how do you take control and strike the perfect balance?

Firstly, it’s a good idea to get familiar with your two most influential hormones.

Dr Chloe explains that there are two main hormones that you should be paying attention to.

Oestrogen, which is crucial in sexual development, puberty, and menstruation, and

Progesterone, which is important for preparing the lining of the uterus and supporting pregnancy.

Both oestrogen and progesterone play an important role in your menstrual cycle, with oestrogen dominating the first half (also known as the follicular phase) and progesterone taking reign during the second stage (aka the luteal phase).

As you age, you will naturally produce less oestrogen and progesterone, and this is what leads to menopause.

Your menstrual cycle is a key indicator of your physical and mental wellbeing.

Was your most recent period a little different?  It could mean you were a bit out-of-whack last month. Dr Chloe refers to the bleeding part of your cycle as your very own monthly report card. It gives her and other Chinese medicine practitioners a deep understanding of what’s going on with your body internally.

“As women age they go through massive changes in hormone levels. The menstrual cycle may change in cycle length, bleed length, blood colour, and pain levels from month-to-month. Childbirth, periods of high stress, ageing, change of diet, an increase in inflammatory foods, alcohol, illness, changes in exercise routine and changes in sleep patterns can all affect the length and quality of the menstrual cycle”.

–Dr Chloe Stubberfield, Doctor of Chinese Medicine.  

Periods shouldn’t be painful – period.

According to Dr Chloe, there is no such thing as normal period pain. It also isn’t normal to have debilitating mood swings and swollen breasts before your cycle, but these symptoms are often what prompts patients to seek out her professional advice.

So when it comes to optimal hormonal health, what should we be aiming for?

“A healthy period has a consistent 26-35 day cycle, a good ovulation with cervical mucus, no premenstrual tension symptoms (sugar cravings, massive mood-swings, breast tenderness), a 3-7 day bleed with no pain, and the blood should be a healthy bright red with no clots”.

– Dr Chloe Stubberfield, Doctor of Chinese Medicine.  

If you find you need to take painkillers when you bleed, have severe mood changes, are constantly exhausted, have migraines, experience heavy bleeding or aren’t having regular periods, your hormones are probably to blame, and you may need some extra help.

You can balance your cycle without hormonal birth control.

Whilst Dr Chloe acknowledges that hormonal birth control like the pill and IUDs have been life changing for some people (in terms of preventing pain, heavy bleeding, or unplanned pregnancies), she also assures that there are ways to support your period naturally and still provide contraception.

In short, she says that one of the best ways to get on top of your hormones is to get off of hormonal birth control, because “any ‘periods’ that women have on any form of IUD or OCP aren’t real periods and therefore aren’t a reflection of their inner health”.

Although it takes patience and time to understand your body and its hormonal shifts – especially if you’ve been on contraception for years or even a decade or more (guilty) – a practitioner like Chloe can help you get in sync with your cycle, so you can understand your fertile windows and figure out how to avoid (or achieve) pregnancy naturally.

Chronic stress is a major complaint for women of all ages.

Dr Chloe mostly works with women aged 25 - 45, and they all have one thing in common: stress. Sound familiar?

Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, is not all bad, though. It gives you the energy to get out of bed every morning and get on with whatever life throws your way. But too much cortisol can wreak havoc on your progesterone and oestrogen function, which can in turn cause irregular cycles, breast pain, irritability, and infertility. Ah, the joys of womanhood.

Dr Chloe says the best way to control your stress levels is through consistent exercise, releasing anger, eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables, and consuming fluids regularly.

There isn’t a one size fits approach to happy hormones, but a healthy lifestyle is key to finding balance.

As a Chinese medicine practitioner, Dr Chloe is a major advocate for working with your cycle to create optimal health.

Here are her top tips for supporting healthy hormone function:

1. Sleep is one of the most underrated factors to supporting hormones. Aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep. Women need more sleep than men too, so make sure you hit the hay early.

2. Eating foods that are high in healthy fats like avocado, nuts, and fatty fish like salmon. Hormones are made from fat, so low-fat diets are a no-go!

3. Stress is a main contributing factor to unbalanced hormones. Balancing low and high impact exercise is a great way to support the cycle and balance stress levels.

4. Supplements that may be considered helpful to supporting healthy hormonal function include magnesium, B vitamins, fish oil, turmeric, and probiotics. Every person is unique, and should chat to their health-care professional about what supplements might best support them.

5. Try acupuncture and herbal medicine. Acupuncture has been shown to help support people with period irregularities, and reduce period pain intensity over time. Studies show that acupuncture can decrease stress levels and anxiety, which may improve sleep as well. Herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years to help support women and their hormones. Herbs like cinnamon and ginger are nurturing and warming, and may help support period pain and discomfort.

Don’t suffer silently. If you (or someone you know) is experiencing hormone imbalance symptoms and irregularities, help is out there. If you think you might need some extra support, you can contact Dr Chloe and the team at The Which Doctor via this link.

About Dr Chloe Stubberfield

Dr Chloe Stubberfield is an expert in acupuncture, cupping, herbal medicine, and supplements. With extensive clinical experience and a first-class honours degree in App Sci (Human Biology)/ App Sci (Chinese Medicine), she is highly sought-after as a trusted practitioner. Dr Stubberfield's holistic approach provides effective interventions and personalised treatment plans, helping patients on their journey to recovery.

Her passion project, The Which Doctor, offers women's health, fertility, and family wellbeing services, creating a relaxing and healing environment for her clients.

Dr Chloe Stubberfield

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Master your Hormones with Dr Chloe Stubberfield.