Hormones are considered your body’s chemical transmitters. They impact your mental and physical health in ways you are probably not aware of. Some of the most common processes affected by your hormones are sexual function, temperament, weight gain, metabolism, and reproductive function.
Therefore, it makes sense that even the smallest changes in hormone levels can have a significant impact on your body.
Left unchecked, your symptoms can get aggravated with time and interfere with other areas of your overall health and wellness.
Your lifestyle, level of physical activity, genetics, autoimmune diseases, and diet can all affect your hormone levels. By making these changes, you can overcome the negative effects of hormonal imbalance.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
No wonder that even the slightest imbalance causes a significant effect on your general well-being and health.
Hormone levels tend to vary naturally at several phases of life, most significantly during teenage years and, for women, during menstrual periods, pregnancy, and menopause. They may also be influenced by your lifestyle and specific medical conditions.
It is essential that you are aware of any signs and symptoms and have them checked out by a skilled doctor in order to get proper treatment, either with medicines or supplementary therapies or through lifestyle modifications, in order to rebalance and recover your health.
Men and women may experience similar signs although some may be unique to each sex.
Some of the most frequent symptoms in men are:
- Low sex drive
- Losing weight and losing muscle
- Declining bone mass
- Mood changes
- Lack of focus
- Elevated blood sugar
- Increased cholesterol level
For women, the most frequent symptoms are:
- Night sweats and hot flushes
- Low sex drive
- Weight increase
- Changes in mood
- Uncomfortable sexual intercourse
Both endocrine and reproductive dysfunction is most often due to an imbalance of hormones. Among the most frequent endocrine dysfunctions are PCOS, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disorder, and more. But there are also some little-known signs and symptoms that people might not think of as signs of hormonal imbalance. Among these could be hair loss, cold extremities, insomnia, depression or anxiety, and skin problems.
- Hair loss
Some hair loss per day is normal. In fact, most people lose about 50 to 100 strands of hair per day. However, what you may not consider is that your hair loss can be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Men can lose body and facial hair, and both men and women can suffer from scalp hair loss. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is similar to testosterone and can affect hair. DHT can shrink hair follicles, causing male and female pattern hair loss. While a DHT imbalance can cause hair loss, other hormones can also contribute to hair loss. In women, it most commonly occurs during menopause. When estrogen and progesterone decrease, hair can grow slower and thinner.
- Cold hands and feet
Do you often have cold hands and feet? If so, this could be a sign of hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is the body’s energy powerhouse, and hypothyroidism can affect the body’s ability to produce energy. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can slow metabolism and decrease energy. Some people with hypothyroidism may have low basal body temperature (BBT), which is the low body temperature you have at rest. This can decrease the amount of heat your body produces, which means less energy. Low metabolism and less energy can also cause slower fat burning and weight gain.
- Trouble sleeping
Sleep disturbances are both a symptom and a cause of hormonal imbalance. Some insomnia is normal, especially during times of great stress, but routine or disruptive insomnia is neither normal nor healthy for the body. Your body needs sleep for hormones to do its job. Sleep can be particularly affected by an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen. Insomnia is more common in women, especially during menopause. Hot flashes and night sweats can affect sleep. However, men can also be affected. When hormones are in balance, you may experience deeper sleep in addition to a more normal sleep pattern.
- Depression or anxiety
Hormonal imbalance doesn’t just cause physical symptoms. It can also cause emotional, psychological, and mental side effects that change the way you think or feel. The stress of hormonal changes can make you more prone to anxiety and depression. Specifically, your thyroid production and your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, and insulin levels can affect your mental and psychological health. Stress is normal, but it shouldn’t interfere with your daily life on multiple days. If you have anxiety attacks or symptoms of depression, such as difficulty getting out of bed, you should seek help from your doctor or a mental health counselor.
- Skin issues
Skin problems are common with endocrine changes. Typically, skin signs that may not respond to typical treatment schedules can be a signal of hormonal imbalance. The most frequent is acne, most often starting at puberty. A low estrogen or progesterone level and elevated androgen levels may result in hormonal acne. It is often seen throughout teenage years, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, perimenopause, menopause, as well as stressful conditions. Additionally, itchy or dry skin is also prevalent. Menopausal women may have severely dry skin or eczema because of the drop in estrogen. Furthermore, estrogen decline can result in wrinkles and it can also cause a slowdown in the formation of collagen, which regulates the elasticity of the skin. Emotional stress from hormone imbalance could lead to a flare-up of psoriasis as well as other auto-immune disorders.
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How to balance hormones
1. Include wholesome fats in your nutrition
Incorporating wholesome polyunsaturated fats into your diet, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, might be able to assist in decreasing your appetite and reducing your risk for developing fatness. Fatty acids signal the production of leptin, a hormone that reduces appetite by suppressing the area of the brain that controls our appetite and signals us that it’s time to eat. Without an adequate amount of healthy fats in your diet, you are more likely to have low leptin levels, which can lead to overeating and an inability to feel satiated. This may be one reason why women are experimenting with the sperm cycle to balance their hormones.
2. Try adaptogenic herbs
When you pick up a coffee or Matcha next time, give it a try and include some adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens have been found to reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone released by our glands whenever we feel stress. Particular Adaptogens have been shown to aid in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is responsible for controlling cortisol levels. Reducing cortisol levels might be helpful for symptoms of hormonal imbalance, including tiredness or trouble sleeping. Constantly high levels of cortisol not only interfere with hormone-related bodily functions but may also encourage the beginnings of hyperglycemia and depress immune and inflammatory reactions. However, in research that examined the impact of Adaptogens on the central nervous system, Adapt 232/Chisan (a combination of extracts from Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra Chinensis, and Eleutherococcus senticosus) has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and engage the body’s self-defense mechanism as a reaction to stress. Adaptogens assisting adrenal function include ashwagandha, ginseng, jiaogulan, Chinese licorice, reishi, and Rhodiola Rosea.
3. Take a high-quality probiotic and incorporate fermented foods
Taking a probiotic can help balance your gut microbiome and the amount of “good” versus “bad” bacteria living in your system. The greater the number of “good” bacteria, the easier your digestive system can process food. Research has shown that estrogen-related imbalances can be reversed by taking probiotics, restoring the strain of bacteria known as the estrobolome, which is responsible for breaking down estrogen. Probiotics can also reduce the effects of chronic stressors on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (our stress response system), which is why probiotics are beginning to be seen as a form of treatment for those dealing with depression and anxiety. Fermented foods, which also contain live bacteria, can also help regulate gut bacteria.
4. Supplement with vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you might think. More than one billion people worldwide suffer from either a deficient or insufficient supply of this important vitamin. Vitamin D plays an extremely important role in a number of bodily functions, including immune function, cell differentiation, and inflammatory response. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer, as well as tuberculosis, influenza, and heart disease. An association has also been found between hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency.
5. Biohack your way to better sleep
Often when life is busy, the very first thing we sacrifice is sleep. Sleeping, or better yet, insufficient sleep, rapidly unbalances our bodies. Therefore, it is one of the very first things our physicians inquire about when patients show up for their initial appointment. In one small research project that investigated the impact of extended sleep limitation, attendees sleeping just 4 hours versus 10 or 12 hours experienced a rise in Ghrelin, a hormone in charge of controlling appetite, next to a decrease in Leptin, a hormone in charge of promoting fullness. To many of us, 10 or 12 hours might be hard to come by. That’s why we suggest trying to catch a minimum of 8 hours of sleep a night. The advantages of sufficient sleep will not just boost your glucose metabolism and leptin levels, but also boost the body’s own release of growth hormones, responsible for cell replication and recovery, which all take place while you are resting.
How to balance female hormones
Hormones can affect nearly every aspect of our health and well-being. But we are most likely to detect an imbalance once our sex hormones become unbalanced.
For women, this is most noticeable during periods of change during the reproductive years – puberty, around menstruation, during and after pregnancy, and during perimenopause (the five to ten years before menopause).
You are able to experience:
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Losing or gaining weight
- Low libido
- Depression and anxiety
- Skin problems
- Digestion issues
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes or sweating at night
Traditional therapies for hormonal concerns can involve hormonal contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy (HRT). However, there is plenty that you can do through diet, physical activity, and changes in lifestyle to rebalance your hormones.
Try to minimize the exposure to interfering factors:
- Foods with pesticides – opt for organic whenever you can
- Minimize fatty animal products in your diet
- Choose glass, ceramic, paper, or PVC-free containers rather than plastic ones (avoid heating foods in plastic containers or packing greasy foods in plastic wrap)
- Refrain from the use of synthetic hormones
- Opt for eco-friendly housekeeping and yard products rather than bleach-based cleaning products
- Opt for bottled/filtered rather than tap water
- Complete a twice-yearly liver detox – you have a choice of a few, based on your symptoms
- Take nutritional supplements containing liver cleansing nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to aid in the cleansing process
What can we eat to balance hormones?
- Supplement your diet with “phytoestrogens,” foods that help block the effects of excess estrogen and regulate hormone balance as needed. Examples: include Soy (miso, tempeh, tofu); beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, herbs and spices (cinnamon, sage, garlic); fruits (apples, plums, cherries, grapes); vegetables (broccoli, carrots, rhubarb, celery); sprouts (alfalfa, mung).
- Eat essential fats: oily fish, nuts and seeds, and their oils.
- Eat foods rich in fiber (eliminates estrogens)
- Increase cruciferous vegetables
- Eat a low-GL diet to balance your blood sugar
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- If you eat meat or dairy, choose organic
- Supplements: take a multivitamin and mineral supplement, additional omega oils and evening primrose oil, milk thistle (to cleanse the liver), and probiotics.
How to balance estrogen
Estrogen is a prevailing hormone when it comes to women’s health. The word refers collectively to three similar chemical hormones, estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Whereas low estrogen levels are linked to cardiac disorders, stroke, and osteoporosis, among others, high levels of estrogen might leave you vulnerable to several types of cancer. Maintaining balanced estrogen levels is vital to a woman’s overall comfort and wellness.
Your gynecologist or endocrinologist might recommend hormone replacement medications like birth control pills, thyroid supplements, hormone creams, etc. and such recipes can instantly bring your hormones into balance; but you need to try to balance your hormones in a natural way simply for the reason that you need to stay away from being addicted to these unnatural hormones for the rest of your life.
To bring your estrogen levels (like any other hormone level) back into balance, specialists suggest that the best way to do this is to detoxify your body. The following are 3 ways you can naturally get your estrogen levels balanced:
- Drink a lot of water
Take care to consume pure filtered water, squeeze juice from your greens, have green tea with lemon, consume coconut water et cetera in order to guarantee that you get enough hydration during the day. Keep in mind, the more fluids you drink, the fewer toxins will be eliminated! By getting your green vegetables juiced, in addition to satisfying your thirst, you will promote phytoestrogens in your body, much like green tea and lemon provide you with antioxidants and vitamin C, which decrease your body’s oxidative stress.
- Say yes to the anti-inflammatory diet
Completely eliminate sugar, refined carbohydrates, bad fats, and processed meats/foods for at least 6 months and load your plate with low-glycemic fruits, complex carbohydrates, proteins, good fats, natural herbs, and organic fermented foods to see how this anti-inflammatory diet naturally alleviates your hormone problems.
- Get active
Last but not least, when we say “exercise,” you may just roll your eyes. Instead, get active! Dance, run, jog, bike, play…. find your own way to move your body to expel the toxins that sit comfortably under your fat stores. Once those toxins are circulated in your bloodstream, the rest of the job will be done by your body.
How to test your hormone health?
If you are concerned about your hormone health, you can have your hormone levels tested in the following ways:
- Saliva test: A saliva test measures your body’s hormone levels at the cellular level. A saliva test can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA levels. If you give and test several samples over time, your healthcare provider can record changes in hormones with saliva tests.
- Blood test: This type of hormone test requires that your blood be drawn in a lab and then measured for hormone levels. A blood test can measure free (or active) and total hormone levels, which saliva and urine tests cannot.
- Urine Test: A urine hormone test requires you to collect every drop of urine over a 24-hour period. Then your urine is tested to identify each hormone present and at what concentration on that particular day. This is the most comprehensive test for hormone health because it measures your hormone levels throughout the day, rather than levels for a specific point in time, as blood and saliva tests do.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone test: this type of test is commonly used to measure the hormone status of premenopausal women who are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause.
Sometimes synthetic hormone treatments (like insulin or thyroid medications) will be needed to manage a hormonal imbalance. For instance, many young women are relying on birth control to prevent pregnancy. The use of progesterone cream through days 7 to 21 of the pill may decrease hormonal problems.
In the meantime, some women need thyroid support since not all-natural choices correct the imbalance.
But the majority of people may feel a lot better if they follow the lifestyle modifications outlined earlier in this article. For people with hormonal imbalances diagnosed – including type 1 or type 2 diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, Graves’ disease, and Cushing’s syndrome, for example – speaking with your physician prior to discontinuing any drugs is essential at all times.
The above mentioned natural therapies might still assist you in getting over your disease and significantly decrease the symptoms, however, these suggestions are not meant to replace a doctor’s monitoring. Since hormone imbalances range so widely in regards to symptom levels of severity, you should keep an eye on how you are doing, research, and rate how you are reacting to various therapies.