Day 2: Intro to Your Hormones

Welcome to Day 2 of The Science of Your Cycle, Groove’s amazing (and 100 percent FREE) 7-day mini-course that will teach you everything you need to know about how your body (and your period) works. Today, you’ll learn about the hormones that control the menstrual cycle (and what they do), you’ll gain a basic understanding of what causes period problems to happen, and we’ll lay the groundwork that will help you spot potential health problems in your own body. The next few days of this course will seriously put your sex ed class to shame, so get ready to be blown away!


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Video Trascript

00:00 - Hi there, and welcome back to The SCIENCE of Your Cycle. Welcome to Day 2. Today we’re going to be giving an introduction to your hormones. I’m super excited to have you back. First off, let’s do a quick recap of what we learned on Day 1, because those are some things that I really want you to understand, and information that we’re going to be seeing over and over.

00:12 - First, the cervix is the lower portion of the uterus that produces a special fluid that actually makes pregnancy possible — which is super amazing. The uterus sheds its lining during your period. And, last but not least, the ovaries are almond-sized sacs that house eggs and also make very important sex hormones. Today’s goals, and what I want you to take away from today, are you’re going to be able to name the female sex hormones and really understand their roles in the menstrual cycle; you will also gain a basic understanding of why period problems happen, and you’ll have that knowledge that you can then use in your own life to figure out whether you might be struggling from an issue that’s being caused by an underlying problem; and we’re also going to lay the groundwork to help you spot a problem in your own menstrual cycles, which is really empowering knowledge.

01:32 - Before we get started, I want to mention that even if you feel like you already have a basic understanding of how the female reproductive system works, I really urge you to continue with this course. Because the information that you’re going to be learning, I can promise you, is going to put your sex in class to shame. There’s so much information here that isn’t covered and sex ed classes that I (and the whole team at Groove) really feel like is so important for people to understand. And it gives you so much power when it comes to making informed decisions about your health and your body. So I urge you to continue with this even if you do know some of the stuff. I guarantee you there’s going to be some things that you’re going to end up learning.

02:23 - The four main female sex hormones that we’re going to be covering today are: follicle stimulating hormone, which is abbreviated FSH, and luteinizing hormone, which is abbreviated LH. Both FSH and LH are made in the brain by the pituitary gland, which we covered yesterday — remember that’s a structure that’s deep in the brain that sends chemical signals to reproductive system. So FSH and LH are those chemical signals. And then we’re also going to be covering estrogen and progesterone which are two of the more commonly known female sex hormones. Estrogen and progesterone are made primarily in the ovaries, which remember are almond-sized sacs that house eggs and also make a very important hormones — that estrogen and progesterone are those very important hormones.

03:17 - Now we’re going to cover what exactly these hormones do in your body. Follicle stimulating hormone (or FSH) is responsible for stimulating the growth and development of follicles — and follicles are sacs that each contain an immature egg. FSH is responsible for stimulating the growth of those follicles, which are located inside of the ovaries. That’s where it gets its name: follicle stimulating hormone is a hormone that stimulates the growth of follicles. Next up we have luteinizing hormone, which is abbreviated LH. Luteinizing hormone is responsible for triggering ovulation, and ovulation is the release of a mature egg from one of the ovaries. We’ll get into it a bit more later why exactly it’s called luteinizing hormone, so if that doesn’t make that’s right now, that’s okay.

04:17 - Next up we have estrogen. Estrogen is produced primarily in the ovaries by maturing follicles, and remember those follicles are sacs that each contain an immature egg. So it’s produced primarily by maturing follicles, and it also causes changes to the cervix. Remember, the cervix is the lower portion of the uterus, and those changes to the cervix are what make pregnancy possible. We’re going to be covering that information in more detail to come. And lastly, progesterone helps prepare the uterus for potential pregnancy, counters the effects of estrogen (including reversing estrogen’s effects on the cervix), and it also causes your body to heat up (which were going to discuss more later, as well).

05:12 - It’s important to understand that your body needs to maintain the delicate balance between estrogen and progesterone. Since these hormones actually counteract each other, too much or too little of one, or too much of both, or even too little of both, can throw off the functioning of the entire reproductive system!

05:38 - I also want you to understand that hormone problems equals period problems. So this delicate balance that needs to be maintained between estrogen and progesterone — if that doesn’t happen, it’s going to lead to period problems. Everything from painful periods, to an overly heavy flow, to disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, amenorrhea (which is a lack of periods), infertility, low libido, mood disorders, and many, many more.

06:12 - I want you to know that when you understand how your periods work, it becomes very easy to determine if hormone problems might be the root cause of any period problems you suffer from. And that’s a really important takeaway.

06:28 - My personal experience with this — and I know that many of you have probably had similar experiences — is that I experienced years…literally more than a decade of severe, severe period cramps, chronic constipation, completely out of control mood swings (I did not feel like I was in control of my body or my emotions, and chronically low libido). And these things took a real toll on me. But understanding and learning about the menstrual cycle eventually helped me heal these years of completely whacked-out hormones that were causing these problems, and it can do the exact same thing for you. Because knowledge equals power, baby! Totally true…couldn’t be more true. Knowledge is super empowering. You deserve that power. You have that power already deep inside you, but the knowledge will just simply help it bubble up to the surface in all of its glory. I’m super excited about that.

07:42 - Here’s a quick summary of what we’ve gone over on Day 2. We learned about the four main female sex hormones, and I’m going to do a quick overview of exactly what those did. FSH, which which stands for follicle stimulating hormone, stimulates the development of follicles (which remember, are sacs each containing an immature egg). Follicle stimulating hormone is a hormone that stimulates the growth of follicles…pretty simple. Luteinizing hormone is a hormone that actually triggers ovulation, and ovulation is the release of a mature egg from one of the ovaries. Estrogen create changes in the cervix, and remember those changes are what make a pregnancy possible, which is super amazing. And then progesterone does several things: it prepares the uterus for a potential pregnancy, it counteracts the effects of estrogen, and it also heats up the body. So at the most basic level, I want you to remember (if you can’t remember everything that all of those hormones do, at the most basic level I want you to remember this): changes in estrogen and progesterone levels that occurr during the menstrual cycle are triggered by changes in follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. FSH and LH actually create and trigger changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. If nothing else, remember that. These hormones will be coming up again throughout this 7-day course, so right now I just want you to get a basic understanding of what they do.

09:36 - The key takeaway, like I said, is that estrogen and progesterone counteract and balance one another, and proper balance between those two hormones is absolutely necessary for a healthy menstrual cycle and a healthy body. So that’s it for today! Are you feeling it yet?! Are you feeling fabulous and confident? You will be by the end of this — I can promise you that — so I’m super excited about the information that’s coming, and I can’t wait to share it with you! I will see you then.