baselineHow many times have you said any of these statements to yourself: “I feel run-down and lousy. I wonder if I’m getting sick.” “I’ve been sleeping so bad lately. I just can’t get to sleep.” “I’m so tired all the time this week and can’t figure out why.” “I have had the worst diarrhea. Could I have picked up a stomach bug?” “My eczema / allergies / IBS / depression / seizure disorder / other chronic condition has gotten worse–I wonder if that means I need new medication.”

Here’s one of the greatest benefits of the Hormone Horoscope: You can find out what’s “normal” to expect from your health, energy, mood, bathroom habits and more each day of your cycle based on your hormonal effects. This means you can use where you are in your cycle as a baseline to figure out if what you’re experiencing is typical or not, which can help you figure out if treatment is needed.

So, say you’re feeling run-down and lousy. If you’re in your premenstrual Week 4, these are common complaints since plunging estrogen can sap your energy and mood and make you achy and more physically sensitive–so this would be normal. As a result, unless things take a swift turn downward, then this would likely be a wait-and-see kind of situation where you can probably chalk up your lack of vigor and vitality to plunging hormones. However, if you’re in your Week 2 (the week leading up to and including ovulation), then feeling run-down and lousy would be a red flag warning since this is a week when high estrogen is revving your energy, mood and well-being to cycle-long highs. As a result, you may want to take a closer look at why you’re not feeling healthy, for instance, do you have other symptoms that suggest you’re coming down with a cold, are you under a mountain of stress or are you eating a non-nutritious diet?

Having trouble sleeping? This is a common problem during the first few days of your period due to cramps and during the first half of your Week 3 (the week right after ovulation) and throughout your premenstrual Week 4 due to plunging estrogen, which can disrupt sleep-regulating brain chemicals, such as serotonin. But, if you’re experiencing insomnia during the second half of your Week 1, during your Week 2 or during the second half of your Week 3, then this is a heads-up since these are the days in your cycle when rising hormones tend to improve your sleep.

Feeling tired all day long? This is a typical side effect of low estrogen and low iron in the first few days of your period and rising progesterone during your Week 3. But, if you’re sapped during your Week 2–when energy is peaking–then it’s a sign that something is out of whack, for instance, you may be low in iron, not getting restful sleep or be experiencing high stress.

Got diarrhea? This frequently accompanies menstruation, which may be due to a rise in prostaglandins–the same hormone-like chemical that causes menstrual cramps. But, if you’ve got it in other times in your cycle, then hormones aren’t the culprit so you need to figure out what is, for instance, a stomach illness or certain medications or supplements (such as magnesium).

Have constipation? That’s totally normal in the second half of your cycle due to progesterone, which slows down your digestive tract likely to allow your body to absorb more nutrients from food in case you got pregnant during ovulation. But, if you’ve got constipation during the first half of your cycle, a diet lacking fiber and water may be to blame or you might have another issue causing it, for example, certain medications or supplements (such as calcium).

Is your chronic condition getting worse? Many health conditions tend to worsen right before or during your period due to low estrogen. So, if you see a rise in symptoms at other times in your cycle, you may need to talk with your doctor.

To find out what’s typical for other issues in your cycle (such as your mood, libido and memory), check out my free Hormonology Guides. Then, use the information as a baseline so you know what’s normal to expect based on where you are in your cycle and what might be an indication that there’s an issue you need to investigate further.

[Photo: Chuck Coker]