Hormonal imbalance is one of the major causes for health issues in women. Although there are some normal hormonal imbalance periods during a women life, like puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, other times these hormonal fluctuations might be as result of poor lifestyle habits or some medical condition. Major lifestyle habits which have huge impact on our hormonal imbalance are poor nutritional habits, lack of exercise, lack of sleep and rest, too much stress, environmental pollutants (cleaning chemicals, cigarettes), self-care products (body lotions, soaps, shampoos), medications.
Hormonal imbalances happen when some hormone is secreted too much or too little into the bloodstream. And, because hormones have essential role in our body, even the smallest imbalance can have major side effects.
Before we dive into the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance and how you can restore your hormonal balance naturally, let’s first see what are hormones and what is their function.
What Are Hormones
Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body which are produced by the endocrine glands, and then released into the bloodstream. Each hormone has specific function, and can bind to the receptors of specific tissues and organs, telling them what to do.
Every hormone has specific role and is responsible for different function in our body. The major functions that our hormones are responsible for are:
- Metabolism and appetite (thyroid hormones, cortisol, insulin, glucagon, ghrelin, leptin);
- Heart rate and blood pressure (aldosterone, vasopressin);
- Sleep and body rejuvenation (melatonin, cortisol);
- Reproductive and sexual functions (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone);
- General body growth (Human Growth Hormone);
- Mood and stress levels (cortisol, melatonin, serotonin, thyroid hormones).
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance vary. They depend on the hormone which is out of balance. Major symptoms of hormonal imbalance are:
- Unexplained weight loss or gain;
- Difficulty sleeping;
- Changes in sensitivity to hot and cold;
- Dry skin or skin rushes;
- Changes in blood pressure;
- Irritability and anxiety;
- Mood swings;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Changes in appetite;
- Acne before and during menstruation;
- Thinning and loss of hair;
- Breast tenderness;
- Reduced sex drive.
Now, let’s look a little bit deeper into the effects of certain hormonal imbalances:
- Estrogen dominance: changes in sleep pattern, changes in weight and appetite, higher perceived stress, slowed metabolism;
- Low Estrogen: low sex drive, reproductive problems, menstrual irregularity; mood changes;
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): infertility, weight gain, higher risk for diabetes, acne, abnormal hair growth;
- Hypothyroidism (Low thyroid hormones): slowed metabolism, muscle loss, weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, digestive issues, menstrual irregularity;
- Hyperthyroidism (High thyroid hormones): anxiety, thinning hair, weight loss, irritable bowel syndrome, trouble sleeping, irregular heartbeats;
- Low Testosterone: muscle loss, weight gain, fatigue, mood related problems;
- Adrenal Fatigue: fatigue, muscle aches and pains, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, brain fog, reproductive problems.
5 Tips for Naturally Restoring Your Hormonal Balance
- Develop Healthy Nutritional Habits – Poor nutritional habits are one of the major causes of hormonal imbalances in women. Many of my female personal training clients, with whom we worked on establishing healthier nutritional habits, during my fitness practice over the past few years, have reported feeling better, without mood swings and bloating, more energized, focused, and better sleep, in the addition to the weight loss. One of the major nutritional causes of hormonal imbalance is consuming foods which are causing inflammation in the body, like refined carbohydrates, sodas (also grains, and legumes if not prepared properly). In addition, these foods also have lower nutritional density, and are high in calories. Unlike them, fresh fruits and vegetables, besides the naturally occurring sugars, contain vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining optimal health.Adding healthy fats to your nutrition, is another way to restore your hormonal balance. These fats are the fundamental building blocks of your hormonal production. Also, they are anti-inflammatory, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Many people avoid eating fatty foods because they believe that fats are the major cause of high cholesterol. However, studies show that the high cholesterol level is attributed to excessive consumption of refined sugars and trans fats. While healthy fats found in eggs, meats, avocado, fish, nuts, seeds, actually help you lower your cholesterol levels.
- Get involved in physical activities a few times per week – Exercising is one of the key components for establishing optimal health. Regardless of the type of activity you are involved (running, strength training, yoga, walking, playing sports), each time you are being physically active, your body secretes the hormones who are responsible for improving your mood, improving brain function and concentration, increasing your metabolism. If you are not, physically active, consider joining a gym or yoga studio, go for a walk a few times a week, hiring personal trainer to help you with your exercise routine, etc.
- Use Healing Herbs – Adaptogen herbs are special class of healing plants that promote hormonal balance. They also protect the body from many conditions and diseases. These adaptogen herbs include ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola, basil, just to name a few. Studies show that these herbs can help you improve thyroid function, lower cholesterol levels, reduce anxiety and depression, reduce brain cell degeneration, stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels, support adrenal gland functions.
- Use Essential Oils – Consider replacing your conventional self care products with natural ones which contain coconut oil, shea butter, essential oils, and castor oil. The reason for this is because conventional care products contain toxins which can cause hormonal imbalances. Some of the essential oils who are beneficial for natural hormonal balance are sage, lavender, fennel, sandalwood, thyme.
- Go to Bed Early – Lack of sleep and disturbing the circadian rhythm can be one of the causes for hormonal imbalance. The reason for this is because some of our hormones work on schedule. For example, melatonin is one of the hormones responsible for rejuvenation of the body, and it’s secreted in higher dosages between the hours of 10 pm – 2 am. If we are not sleeping during that time, our body secretes less of the hormone, which can lead to fatigue. Also, the hormone cortisol is regulated at midnight, and people who go to sleep late never truly get break from their fight-flight stress response. To maximize your hormone function and maintain hormonal balance, try to get to bed no later than 10 pm, and keep regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
Many women experience hormonal imbalance periods in their lifetime. However, hormonal balances which are severe and continual, can have huge impact on our physical, emotional, and mental health. If you notice that you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above over longer period of time, consider making significant lifestyle changes and developing healthy habits. You can reverse and heal your health conditions naturally, through healthy nutritional habits, exercise, taking the time to rest and recover, and practicing mindfulness. In addition to this, adding natural supplements and non-traditional practices, like acupuncture, massage, meditation, Tapping techniques, bemer therapy, to your lifestyle practices, will help you restore your body homeostasis.
If you want to learn more about how to restore your optimal health and hormonal balance through food, exercise, mindfulness techniques and proper rest and recovery, I got your back. I’m currently expanding my lifestyle transformation coaching practice, and I’m looking for 5-10 high-achieving and driven women interested in learning how to develop sustainable lifestyle habits, so that they can loose weight, feel more energized and focused, sleep better, reduce stress, become more productive, develop positive mindset, and take control over their health and life.
If you are ready to commit yourself to having better quality of life and live healthy authentic lifestyle, contact me at email@example.com to schedule your free consultation and join the community of amazing women like yourself who are dedicated to their lifestyle transformation as well as you.
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