Your top women's wellness questions, answered by the Nourish Hub

Let's talk about YOU! As women, we all have unique needs when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Between the Google searches and conflicting advice online, figuring out what works best for your personal wellness goals can be challenging.

Our Nourish Hub team of naturopaths and nutritionists are here to provide expert advice with clarity and compassion on your top 10 most asked questions. 

Whether you're looking for answers on unlocking the mysteries of your cycle, caring for your intimate health or you’re aiming to understand your body better, we are here to help cultivate your comfort and confidence through female-focused care. Read on…

“My vagina is often dry. What’s causing this?” 

Hormonal changes throughout a woman's life significantly impact vaginal dryness. During different periods of a woman's life, vaginal discharge will change. Throughout the menstrual years, lubrication naturally fluctuates with your cycle. Ovulation brings peak levels of lubrication due to increased oestrogen levels, while at other times of the month, lubrication may decrease to the change in hormones. As you approach menopause, declining oestrogen thins the mucous membranes in your vagina, vulva and urethra, which may often lead to more frequent or constant dryness. Even stress can play a role – the "fight or flight" response can lower libido which, in turn, will reduce natural vaginal lubrication.

“I seem to get thrush over and over again. How can I stop this cycle?”

Make sure not to sit in activewear all day! As synthetic fabrics commonly used for activewear are not breathable, the heat and sweat we generate throughout the day are a great environment for yeast to grow. Wear cotton or bamboo underwear and stay away from synthetic materials when it comes to clothing. Avoid tight fitting pants that don’t allow for much breathing room.

Stay away from any soaps when washing around the vagina and vulva. Soap washes away the good bacteria in the vagina, leaving room for bad bacteria to flourish. 

Another important point is gut health, which directly affects vaginal health! To nourish a thriving and balanced gut microbiome, you need to be eating a predominantly wholefoods based diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds and reduce highly processed and sugar foods. Yeasts such as Candida, which causes thrush, tend to love and thrive off foods that are high in sugar. 

“Can I still get pregnant when I’m on my period?”

The short answer: yes! 

The fertile period will vary depending on a woman's age and their cycle length. The fertile period is a bracket of time that you may be fertile within each cycle. A woman may be fertile from about 7-8 days prior to ovulation. Therefore, their fertile period may start at around day 6-7 of their cycle for a typical 28 day cycle. As the 1st day of your cycle is the 1st day of your period, women may still be bleeding on the 6th-7th day. 

If your cycle is shorter with a length of about 23-24 days, this window will move more into your period. While fertility is lower at the beginning of your fertile window, it's still a possibility to fall pregnant during this time.

We always recommend following a contraceptive plan with your health professional if you are trying not to get pregnant. 

“I've heard about eating for your hormones. What kind of foods should I focus on?”

Healthy fats are very nourishing for our hormones - think avocado, extra virgin olive oil, fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. We also need cholesterol to synthesise reproductive hormones in our body. 

Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol which plays a part in detoxification of oestrogen through the liver and this helps to keep our hormone levels balanced. Include options such as kale, brussels, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in your diet. 

"UTIs keep popping up for me. Any tips on how to make them less frequent?”

Hydration is your best friend! Always urinate after sex, and if you are specifically prone to UTIs, showering after sex is a good idea.

Don’t hold your urge to urinate when you're busy. Breathable underwear like cotton and bamboo are great ideas. Shower after exercising, and again be sure not to stay in your activewear for too long! 

“My cycle can be irregular when I’m lacking sleep or stressed. Why is that?” 

Reduced sleep and sleep quality can increase your levels of cortisol, as can psychological stress. This, in turn, can lead to lower oestrogen levels. Oestrogen plays a key role in ovulation and regularity of your cycle. When oestrogen is abnormally low during your cycle, this can lead to things such as missed, early or late periods. 

All of these things may seem quite small… but can all lead to bigger issues down the track. We’ll delve into this in more detail in the next question. 

“Is skipping meals an issue for my hormones?”

Calorie restriction in women of childbearing age can cause problems with their cycle and consequently, their fertility. These dietary restrictions tell our bodies that there won’t be enough food to support a child – and in doing so, we slow our natural fertility capabilities. 

As mentioned above, oestrogen deficiencies caused by psychological stress, excessive exercise, disordered eating (skipping meals is included in this!) or a combination of these factors can lead to early menopause, which then puts women at a higher risk for other chronic health conditions. Research studies looking at intermittent fasting in women have found that women experience lower moods, and are more distracted or irritable during fasting. 

"Right before my period, my skin breaks out. What’s going on? How can I prevent it? Help!”

As we move through different phases of our menstrual cycle, our hormone levels will shift and change. When oestrogen is higher, this reduces sebaceous gland activity which means less breakouts in the skin. 

On the other hand, a reduced level of oestrogen can lead to a comparative increase in androgens. Androgens are the group of sex hormones that increase sebaceous gland activity, which leads to breakouts. There is a drop of oestrogen before menstruation which could be why you might experience an increase in breakouts just before your period starts. 

Some tips to manage this and care for your complexion include a good skincare routine, eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as good quality protein, and to reduce your intake of sugary and processed foods. 

“What exactly is endometriosis? What are the signs and symptoms I should look for?”

In our uterus, we have a specific tissue known as endometrial tissue, which is responsible for many functions in the uterus. The endometrial tissue is the lining that is shed during menstruation. Endometriosis is defined as having functional endometrial tissue in other places in our bodies, outside of the uterus. Some common sites are in the bowel and bladder. 

Signs and symptoms can include increased pain during your period, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is exacerbated during menstruation or heavy bleeding. If you have any concerns, it's always best to check in with your doctor. 

"How can I ease menstrual cramps? The pain can be really tough for me.”

Foods high in saturated fats can increase an inflammatory marker in our body, known as prostaglandin. This increased inflammation will contribute to increased pain and cramping during menstruation. 

On the other hand, higher consumption of essential fatty acids and healthy fats were shown to reduce this inflammatory marker, leading to a positive effect in reducing period pain.

In light of this, our advice is to minimise intake of unhealthy fats such as deep fried and fast foods, or foods with a high level of margarine, which is an artificial trans fat. 

Increase your intake of healthy fats such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, sardines, trout, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts. These provide essential fatty acids that may help to alleviate any menstrual tension!


Trickey. R. (2011). Women, Hormones & the Menstrual Cycle (3rd ed.). Trickey Enterprises  

Sarris, J & Wardle, J. (2015). Clinical Naturopathy 2e. An evidence-based guide to practice (2nd ed.). Elsevier