Fertility Problems Caused By Hormone Imbalances
Another common time women ask for a hormone checkup is when trying to conceive. Typically, 84% of women get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex. When conception doesnt happen, one reason could be a hormonal imbalance. To learn more, read our extensive article about fertility challenges here.
Again, its important to track your menstrual cycle, including the dates you have unprotected sex, to give your doctor a picture of what your reproductive cycle is doing. Keep in mind that your partner should also be tested for structural or hormonal issues if you have been trying to conceive for some time.
If youre having your period too often , then your uterus cant sustain a fertilized egg. If your periods are too far apart , your ovaries may not be releasing eggs often enough into your fallopian tubes.
Pms Food Craving #: Pasta
When only white carbs will do be that a big pile of spaghetti or a loaf of white bread its usually blood sugar instability and/or a vitamin B deficiency thats causing your cravings. Skipping meals, or eating too little or too sporadically throughout the day, can lead to blood sugar imbalances. So can eating meals high in simple carbs simple carbs beget more carbs!
Whats the alternative? You can break the cycle of blood sugar imbalance with meals that are high in healthy protein, healthy fat, and complex carbs from whole food sources. You will get a steady release of energy from a well-balanced meal and you wont find yourself craving a candy bar 45 minutes after dinner. The takeaway? Dont eat carbs in isolation . Instead, focus on integrating some carbs into each meal. And try to eat regularly, before you get so hungry that you will eat anything in front of you. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Taking a high-quality vitamin B supplement can also help.
Take Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control is often prescribed to help with irregular periods.
There are different types of products, but they all work to keep hormone levels more steady. They may also regulate cycles and provide relief from symptoms, like severe cramping or acne. Some products may eliminate your period altogether.
A doctor can help you to select a hormonal contraceptive that may work best for you. You may experience some side effects, including nausea, weight gain, or headaches.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you smoke. It may increase your risk of blood clots.
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Reasons Your Doctor Cant Give You A Hormone Imbalance Test
You may wonder why your doctor cant give you a quick test to determine if all your hormones are in balance. Testing hormones is very different from testing cholesterol or iron in your blood because your hormone levels are always changing, day by day, even hour by hour. They change based on where you are in your menstrual cycle, when you last ate, what your other hormones are doing, how stressed you are, and many other factors. Thats why a single hormone check cant really tell you if all your hormones are balanced.
Secondly, asking your doctor to check your hormones is a huge request. The human body produces more than 50 hormones! Hormones include melatonin adrenaline , oxytocin , cortisol , and progesterone , just to name a few.
The best way to discover if specific hormones are out of balance is by telling your doctor which symptoms you are experiencing so they can narrow down what should be checked and when. Your symptoms are your doctors first clues about what could be wrong.
How To Balance Hormones Causing Irregular Periods
While there are lifestyle changes you can make that can help regulate your hormones, its best to see a doctor if youre having symptoms of hormone imbalance or if your periods are irregular.
They will be able to monitor hormone levels and make sure theyre where they need to be. They can also determine whether or not treatments are working.
Depending on the underlying cause of the hormone imbalance or which hormones are irregular, other treatments might also be used.
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Risks Of Not Treating Hormone Imbalances
Hormone imbalances, when left untreated, are more than just annoying mood swings and bad PMS. They can be indicators that something more serious rarely, even cancerous is happening in your body.
Not getting your hormones back in balance could lead to other problems, like elevated cholesterol, osteoporosis, obesity, lack of sleep, and more.
Although truly identified hormonal imbalances often need medical or even surgical intervention, a healthy lifestyle can improve low-level symptoms.
Do your best to get:
- 6-8 hours of sleep each day
- 30+ minutes of vigorous exercise daily
- And a high-quality diet with enough protein and healthy fats and less sugar.
Should You Give In To Period Cravings
Though you shouldn’t totally give in to eating junk or processed foods, which are rich in sodium, sugar, and refined carbohydrates, it’s not healthy to completely deprive yourself either. Find a balance and eat healthily while treating yourself to a few cookies or slices of pizzas every once in a while.
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Maintain A Moderate Weight
Weight gain is directly associated with hormonal imbalances that may lead to complications in insulin sensitivity and reproductive health.
Obesity is strongly related to the development of insulin resistance, while losing excess weight is linked to improvements in insulin resistance and reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease .
Obesity is also associated with hypogonadism, a reduction or absence of hormone secretion from the testes or ovaries. In fact, this condition is one of the most relevant hormonal complications of obesity in men .
This means obesity is strongly related to lower levels of the reproductive hormone testosterone in men and contributes to a lack of ovulation in women, both of which are common causes of infertility .
Nonetheless, studies indicate that weight loss may reverse this condition. Eating within your own personal calorie range can help you maintain hormonal balance and a moderate weight .
Maintaining a moderate weight is crucial for hormone health, as obesity is strongly related to hormonal imbalances that may impair insulin sensitivity and fertility.
For example, when your gut microbiome ferments fiber, it produces short-chain fatty acids such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate. Both acetate and butyrate aid weight management by increasing calorie burning and thus help prevent insulin resistance (
Here are some tips to improve your gut bacteria to positively affect your hormones.
Your Period Is Irregular
This one may seem obvious, but Ive spoken to women who were told it was normal to go months without having a period, despite not being on any kind of birth control.
The fact is, a healthy menstrual cycle is a product of a symphony or hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, that are also the same hormones involved in regulating your mood, metabolism, mental health, libido, digestion, and so much more! If youre not cycling, we need to find out why!
Is PCOS to blame for your missing period? Read 9 Unexpected Signs of PCOS
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Eat Your Veggies Especially Broccoli
The amazing nutrients in plant foods deserve their own special mention for balancing hormones. Among the benefits of vegetables, theyre a good source of fiber to help balance estrogen levels. Fiber helps you have healthy bowel movements, which gives excess estrogen a healthy way to be eliminated from your body.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale also contain a beneficial phytonutrient called diindolylmethane that helps break down and detox estrogen before it can recirculate and worsen issues like PMS, estrogen dominance, and certain estrogen-sensitive cancers .
My favorite types of fiber-rich plant foods are:
What To Eat On Your Period
Since diet plays such an important role in overall gut health, dietary improvements are an important part of an overall plan to rebalance hormones and have healthier periods.
And while you may be wondering what to eat on your period, your dietary habits throughout the month are just as important for keeping hormones balanced. Rather than focusing on a strict diet plan or and a list of the best foods for your period, think in terms of incorporating these healthy dietary principles into your daily routine.
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Engage In Regular Exercise
Physical activity strongly influences hormonal health. Aside from improving blood flow to your muscles, exercise increases hormone receptor sensitivity, meaning that it enhances the delivery of nutrients and hormone signals (
Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take up sugar from your bloodstream to use for energy. However, if you have a condition called insulin resistance, your cells may not effectively react to insulin. This condition is a risk factor for diabetes, obesity, and heart disease .
However, while some researchers still debate whether the improvements come from exercise itself or from losing weight or fat, evidence shows that regular exercise may improve insulin resistance independently of body weight or fat mass reduction .
Many types of physical activity have been found to help prevent insulin resistance, including high intensity interval training, strength training, and cardio .
Being physically active may also help boost levels of muscle-maintaining hormones that decline with age, such as testosterone, IGF-1, DHEA, and human growth hormone .
For people who cannot perform vigorous exercise, even regular walking may increase these hormone levels, potentially improving strength and quality of life .
Strength training, aerobics, walking, and other forms of exercise may modify hormone levels to reduce your risk of disease and prevent muscle mass decline as you age.
What Causes Hormone Imbalance
There are three phases in a womans life that cause the hormones to be out of balance. This includes puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Experiencing a hormonal imbalance during each of these phases is completely natural, and it is common to experience symptoms like mood swings, hot flashes, increased irritability, irregular periods, sleep disruption, and changes in sex drive.
If you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance but you are not pregnant or undergoing puberty or menopause, this may be a sign of an underlying condition. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome and primary ovarian insufficiency can both cause disruptions to your hormone levels.
Other potential causes of hormone imbalance include stress, trauma, disease, and being over/underweight.
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Add Magnesium To Your Diet During The Luteal Phase
This phase can last 11 to 17 days, depending on your cycle, and comes just before you’re in the menstruation phase. At this point, progesterone levels are rising, which can leave you feeling irritable and prone to mood swings. The hormonal fluctuations during this period can leave you feeling a little sluggish and low. A quick fix? Add magnesium-rich foods into your diet. Magnesium is a natural mood booster and muscle relaxant. It reduces feelings of irritability and anxiety, says Valikarimwala. Green leafy vegetables, hemp seeds and raw cacao powder are great add-ons, and can even ease cramps or headaches.
Hormone Balancing Superfoods #5
One of the most common hormonal imbalances in women is estrogen dominance. This happens when the ratio of estrogen to progesterone gets out of whack.
A simple way to keep estrogen in balance? Staying regular
When things get backed up, your body can reabsorb too much estrogen, which throws the estrogen-progesterone ratio out. Its not the only cause of hormonal imbalance, but a healthy gut certainly plays a major role in healthy hormones.
Since fermented foods are a great source of natural probiotics, theyre a great way to keep your digestive system happy. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, and pickles anything thats fermented is rich in gut-friendly bacteria.
But beware: choose naturally fermented products with as little added sugar as possible .
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Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Anxiety
Yes, certain hormonal imbalances can cause anxiety, including:
- Hyperthyroidism: If you have hyperthyroidism, it means your body has too much thyroid hormone. Excess thyroid hormone speeds up your metabolism. This can cause anxiety, in addition to unusual nervousness, restlessness and irritability.
- Cushings syndrome: While its not as common of a symptom, Cushings syndrome can cause anxiety, as well as depression and irritability.
- Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency: Adults with growth hormone deficiency often report having anxiety and/or depression.
Several other conditions and factors can cause anxiety. Its important to talk to your healthcare provider if youre experiencing anxiety.
What Happens When Your Hormones Arent Behaving
So, all going well, your hormones follow this pattern of increasing and decreasing as they should at specific times of the month. One or the other is often more dominant at certain times in order to achieve a desired effect and in the lead up to your period, theoretically, each should gradually decrease, pretty much in unity.
However, in reality, is this always the case? Of course not, that would be way too simple!
The reality is… these hormones can fluctuate out with the norm and you can suffer as a result of this. Many women end up being either oestrogen or progesterone dominant, meaning they have particularly elevated levels of one of the female hormones in comparison to the other .
Depending on which hormone this is, you can end up experiencing quite different symptoms.
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What Is Cycle Syncing
Ever feel like youre a slave to your hormones? Its not just your imagination.
Crying one minute, ecstatic the next, even off-the-walls horny at times us women can sometimes be balls of ever-rotating energy, and we may have our menstrual cycle to point fingers to.
According to published in the journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, hormone fluctuations over the monthly menstrual cycle play a crucial role in our bodys responses.
They affect our emotional status, appetite, thought processes, and so much more.
Women reported high levels of well-being and self-esteem during the middle of the cycle in the study. Increased feelings of anxiety, hostility, and depression were reported before their period.
This is where the concept of cycle syncing comes into play. Cycle syncing is a term coined and trademarked by Alisa Vitti, Functional Nutritionist, HHC, AADP.
Nicole Negron, a functional nutritionist and womens health specialist tells us, Once women understand these monthly hormonal shifts, they can avoid becoming casualties to their hormones and begin to maximize their hormonal power.
When it comes to scientific research, there arent many studies to support cycle syncing.
Many studies are old or weak, but advocates of this practice have said it changed their lives. If youre interested in trying this process, heres how to do it right.
What Is The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is in charge of coordinating the relationship between different organs and hormones, which are chemicals that are released into your bloodstream from cells within your endocrine glands.
Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced, it can cause widespread health problems affecting growth, sexual development and function, sleep, metabolism and hunger.
Once your hormones are in circulation, they target specific tissues or cells by binding to receptors that are located inside the cell or on its surface. These hormones work as chemical messengers and play a key role in your bodys daily functions.
The endocrine system is made up of many glands, including the pituitary gland or master gland thats responsible for sending information from your brain to other glands in your body. The pituitary gland also produces many hormones that travel throughout the body and have different important functions.
The pituitary gland is made up of two different tissue types: the anterior pituitary that synthesizes and releases classic hormones, and the posterior pituitary gland that secretes neurohormones that are made in the hypothalamus.
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Dont Forget Vitamins B And D
Taking a high-quality vitamin B-complex supplement can help when youre in the throes of hormonal ups and downs. This is one group of vitamins that you might want to supplement with in addition to eating foods high in these vitamins. Vitamin B-complex is involved in both the production of testosterone and the regulation of energy production in the body. There are nine B vitamins in total, and certain foods contain specific B vitamins. For example, wild-caught salmon is an excellent source of many B vitamins. Leafy greens, like spinach, kale, collard greens, and even romaine lettuce contain B9also known as folate. Other foods with notable amounts of B vitamins are eggs, sunflower seeds, milk, yogurt, and animal protein. Vitamin D is essential, too. In fact, numerous studies show its importance for mitigating symptoms of PCOS.
Image by Kristen Kilpatrick
What’s Best To Eat Before Your Period
This is the phase after ovulation has occurred and lasts until the first day of your period. During this phase, your estrogen drops and your progesterone levels rise. For your mind and body, this means that youll likely to have less energy and youll feel the urge to slow down. You might even feel a bit foggy and sad.
Cravings are strong and youll feel hungrier more often during the day. Thats why its important to be prepared with healthy snacks that support your body in feeling better instead of increasing the cramps, cravings and bloating.
During this luteal phase, its actually more important to focus on what foods to avoid, rather than what to eat. Generally, reduce your intake of refined sugars, processed food as well as alcohol. A few drinks will likely not have an effect on your body, but they can alter your hormones, leading to increased moodiness.
- Eat healthy fats! Your body needs fats to make the hormones fluctuate smoothly. Avocados, nuts and olive oil are a good option for a healthy fat intake.
- Adding sesame seeds, which have a high content of zinc as well as adding sunflower seeds, with their high levels of vitamin E to your smoothies, salads or breakfast bowls will support your body in its progesterone production.
- Include fibre-rich fruits and nuts like almonds, apples, dates, peaches, and pears to combat bloating and bowel irritability. These are perfect to keep as healthy snacks throughout the day. Opt for these instead of a snickers bar.
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