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Links Between Hormones & Fluid Balance in Women

Women's Unique Hydration Needs

Staying well-hydrated is a crucial aspect of maintaining our overall health and well-being. However, the existing research on hydration has largely focused on males, leaving a significant knowledge gap when it comes to understanding the unique hydration needs of women. What if I told you that the hydration requirements of women are intricately tied to their hormone cycles?

Let's delve into this lesser-known connection and uncover how female hormones, specifically oestrogen, plays a pivotal role in shaping women’s hydration needs.

The Brain's Hydration Command Centre.

Within your brain's control centre – the hypothalamus – lie three vital regions responsible for regulating your body's fluid balance. These areas are called:

  1. Subfornical Organ (SFO)

  2. Median Preoptic Nucleus (MnPO)

  3. Organum Vasculosum Lamina Terminalis (OVLT).

Astonishingly, these regions contain oestrogen receptors, indicating a direct link between female hormones and hydration regulation.

When oestrogen levels surge, such as during certain phases of your menstrual cycle, these receptors are influenced. Interestingly, high oestrogen levels hinder the brain's response to thirst, resulting in a reduced urge to drink water.

However, it's important to note that this oestrogen-induced effect doesn't diminish the body's response to hypertonic stimuli – situations where the blood becomes saltier. A woman’s body will still signal the need for fluid intake when the salt levels rise in the blood. Implying that hydrating with salty beverages or eating salty foods may help to stimulate the drive for thirst. If you are thirsty when you drink remember, the body is already dehydrated!

Unveiling the Luteal Phase

The luteal phase is a pivotal stage in the menstrual cycle that occurs between ovulation and the onset of a woman’s period. During this phase, both oestrogen and progesterone levels are significantly elevated. Yet, paradoxically, total body sodium and blood volume are relatively low.

Enter Vasopressin – Your Fluid Balance Maestro

Vasopressin, also known as an anti-diuretic hormone, is a key player in regulating multiple bodily functions. This naturally occurring hormone is produced in the hypothalamus and influences:

  • Maintaining water volume surrounding cells

  • Ensuring proper cellular function

  • Regulating the body's internal temperature

  • Managing blood volume

  • Facilitating urine flow from the kidneys

  • Governing the circadian rhythm

Now, let's circle back to the luteal phase. Here's the crux: during this phase, women have a lower homeostatic threshold for Vasopressin release and thirst. This means that a woman’s body becomes more sensitive to the hormone's effects, signaling the need to conserve water and reduce urine production. Essentially, women are in a state that's closer to sodium depletion – a condition where the body lacks adequate sodium levels.

Overhydration Alert

During the luteal phase, there's a subtle but important shift in a woman’s body's hydration balance. To ensure women are on the right track, it's crucial not to overhydrate. Overhydration can exacerbate the risk of becoming hyponatremic, a condition where sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low. This is especially relevant when it comes to activities that result in significant sodium loss:

  • Exercise

  • Caffeine consumption

  • Stress

  • Inflammation

  • Low-carb, paleo or keto diets.

  • Intermittent Fasting

  • Sauna

Smart Strategies for Optimal Hydration

For women to navigate this unique phase of their cycle and ensure proper hydration, consider these strategies:

  1. Preloading with Sodium: Before engaging in physical activity, make it a practice to consume foods rich in sodium. This preloading can help counteract sodium loss during exercise.

  2. Electrolyte-Rich Hydration: Opt for hydrating beverages that contain electrolytes. Like Naru Revive because these vital minerals, including sodium, help maintain the body's fluid balance effectively.

  3. Mindful Hydration: Be attentive to your hydration patterns during the luteal phase. Avoid overhydrating and pay close attention to your body's signals.

In a Nutshell

Understanding the dynamic interaction between a women’s hormones and hydration is an essential step toward optimising women’s well-being.

While research has traditionally overlooked this vital link, it's empowering to recognise the nuanced connection between a female’s natural rhythms and their hydration needs. So, ladies, the next time you're sipping water or considering your hydration choices, remember that your body's hormone dance is intricately guiding the way.

Naru Revive is here to offer a solution to your hydration needs during your cycle.


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