Balance Your Hormones In Seven Natural Steps
10 Sep 2022
Hormones have a huge influence on our health and wellbeing, but there are ways you can manage them, naturally.
Hormones are chemical messengers that help regulate different processes in the body. From feeling hungry to when its time to sleep, we need hormones to keep our bodies on track.
But what happens when your hormones are out of balance? Discover seven natural ways to help prevent the hormonal see-saw.
How To Balance Hormones
Hormones are the chemical messengers that affect your mental, physical, and emotional health. They are your bodys chemical messengers, traveling to tissues or organs in your bloodstream. Hormones work overtime and affect several different processes throughout the body, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, mood, and more. Typically, the body produces a precise amount of each hormone needed for various processes to stay healthy. Contact our obgyn in Lake Success for help with hormone balancing.
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Stress Is The Major Progesterone Robber
Doing everything at warp speed is a major downside of modern living. You race the clock and feel you never have enough hours in your day. Often you feel you cant cope because you have no control over your life.
Dont underestimate the fallout.
Progesterone is a big casualty of stress. Every time youre anxious or wound up due to that traffic jam, huge in-tray, an argument with your partner, or car repair bill, your body responds as though your life is in danger. Hello, adrenaline and cortisol.
These fight-or-flight hormones have enormous impacts and lead to chronic symptoms of hormone imbalance. This happens because your body thinks youre in an unsafe environment and drops progesterone levels to ensure the lining of your uterus is not-conception-friendly. This makes sense, given that your brain signals are saying your life is under threat. As a result, you may develop Luteal Phase Insufficiency.
Heres why: each month when an egg is released causing you to ovulate, it leaves behind a crater on the surface of your ovaries. This is called a corpus luteum and its like a little pop-up factory where most of your progesterone is made. When you ovulate, your body produces around 25mg of progesterone daily all through the fertile phase of your menstrual cycle.
Or, it should produce this amount. But I constantly see a hormonal imbalance in women that leads them to have:
Estrogen Dominance + Luteal Phase Insufficiency = Progesterone Deficiency.
What Are Some Common Signs Of Hormonal Imbalance
There is a wide range of signs and symptoms that can signal an imbalance due to having too much or too little of the hormone needed to carry out its required function. An imbalance could show in any of the following: weight gain, or unexplained weight loss, muscle aches or weakness, feeling tired all the time with difficulties concentrating or lower mood, sleep issues, skin issues, thinning hair, dry skin, digestive issues, changes in libido and many more.
Since common signs and symptoms are non-specific and can mimic many different health issues, working with an integrative health practitioner who can assess your individual hormone levels can be an informative and important first step in naturally balancing hormone levels.
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Exercise And Reduce Stress
Exercise and stress reduction are important for hormonal balance whether you are male or female. It is interesting that intense extended exercise, while beneficial in most situations, can actually be bad for those with hormone imbalances. It is a better idea to focus on relaxing exercises like swimming or walking, and avoid extended running or cardio exercises while your hormones are imbalanced.
Short bursts of heavy weight lifting can also help balance hormones. Resistance exercise like weight lifting has been found to produce a significant acute hormonal response. In particular, anabolic hormones have been shown to increase 15 to 30 minutes after exercising. Other exercises that help reduce stress and maintain hormone balance include yoga, tai chi, qigong, and meditation.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Balancing hormones is so much easier if you are at a healthy weight. This is because being overweight may cause disruptions to your insulin, leptin, ghrelin, cortisol, and estrogen levels. And when these hormones are out of balance, its common to experience feelings of fatigue, low energy, and increased appetite all of which contribute to further weight gain.
Breaking this vicious cycle is not easy, however, there are certain lifestyle habits you can make each day that may help. This includes:
- Doing at least 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each day.
- Drinking plenty of water.
- Planning healthy meals ahead of time.
- Joining a weight-loss support group.
- Speaking with your doctor, nutritionist, and/or fitness trainer for further assistance.
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Avoid Sugar And Carbs
The average person tends to consume food that is based on a Western Diet. It has been found that too many people are consuming a high amount of sugar, as well as refined foods, on a daily basis. These foods are very harmful to the body. Unfortunately, a lot of people fail to realize the harm they are doing to their own bodies with these foods.
One of the most important reasons to avoid these foods is to prevent obesity. When a person has too much excess weight in their body, it essentially causes them to experience a hormone imbalance.
Eating refined carbs and a lot of sugar leads to an excessive increase in insulin production. Eventually, this behavior leads to reduced insulin sensitivity. The person is at risk of developing a condition known as insulin resistance which can then turn into diabetes.
Refined table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup are the major contributors to sugar in the average persons diet. Even though honey is a natural sweetener, it should also be used sparingly. One study found that honey also leads to a spike in insulin levels7.
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone imbalances occur when there is an imbalance or deficiency of hormones in your body.
Because of the essential role of hormones in the body, side effects can significantly affect the quality of your life.
- reproductive cycles and sexual function
- mood and stress levels
Thus, a hormone imbalance can result on:
- an increased risk of disease
- problems sleeping
- craving for specific foods
- chronic pain and headaches
- mental health problems like anxiety and depression
- hormonal acne and hair loss.
Perimenopause and menopause create a hormonal imbalance. However, there are many natural ways to balance your hormones and improve the quality of your life.
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Consume A High Fiber Diet
Fiber is also one of those compounds that are essential in a persons daily diet. Yet, many do not realize why they should include enough fiber in their diet.
Fiber is a type of carb that the body does not digest like other carbs. There are two different types of fiber. This includes soluble and insoluble fiber. A person needs to ensure they add enough soluble fiber to their diet.
Several benefits come with adding more fiber to a diet. This indigestible carb helps to reduce hunger. This ensures a person do not overeat. A reduction in calorie intake means a person is also less likely to gain excess weight.
Fiber also affects insulin. It has been found that a high-fiber diet may help to improve insulin sensitivity in the body.
There are other benefits too. People may find that their blood glucose levels are more stable when they eat enough fiber. PPY and GLP-1 levels are also improved when there is enough fiber in a persons diet.
Supplement With Vitamin D
A Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think, with over a billion people worldwide suffering from either a deficient or insufficient supply of this critical vitamin. Vitamin D plays an extremely important role in a number of bodily functions, such as immune function, cell differentiation, and inflammatory response. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk in colon, prostate, and breast cancer, as well as tuberculosis, influenza, and heart disease. A relationship has also been found between hypothyroidism and a vitamin D deficiency.
Ideally, we would get our daily dose of Vitamin D from 10 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted sun exposure, but this is unrealistic for most. Thats why its important to take a Vitamin D3 supplement and eat foods rich in Vitamin D, such as pastured eggs and wild salmon. Its also important to note that as we age, our production of Vitamin D decreases, so make sure youre monitoring your levels and getting them checked by your primary care provider.
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Get The Right Nutrients
Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy hormones. A holistic practitioner can help you determine which supplements work well for your needs, but there are a few basics that work well for most women. These include vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and a bioavailable B complex vitamin.
For women: Get the fully-activated B vitamins you need.
Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy :
For my women who have more severe symptoms supplements to balance hormones may not be enough and in this case Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy can be a great option. With proper labs, follow-up, and customized dosing, this can be a safe step up in a patients therapy from more natural treatments. Remember, its all about safety first, so using the lowest level of therapy to provide adequate symptom relief is ideal!
There is no one herb, nutritional plan, product, or therapy that is good for everything hormones related. It is vital to determine what type of hormone imbalance you have and why. Finding the root cause to your health issues can bring you back to long-lasting optimal health herbals, nutrition, and medications can help you there. A qualified health care professional can offer testing, interpretation, diagnosis, and treatment for your unique needs and goals!
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To Decoding Your Hormones: How Long Should Your Period Be
Since we only have our own period to compare to, it can be hard to know whether what we experience is normal. Lets run through some normal cycle parameters so that you can determine where you fall:
The length of your periodrefers to the number of days from the first day of your bleed to the last day before your next bleed. A healthy range for your cycle length is anywhere between 21 and 35 days, with the average being around 29 days.
Many of my clients tell me their period is always late because it comes on day 30 . This is a huge misconception: that if your period isnt 28 days, you arent normal. If your period consistently arrives around the same day of your cycle, and it falls within the healthy range of 21 to 35 days, this is your normal, healthy cycle length.
Whether or not you fit this textbook 28 day cycle , the most important factor to consider is whether your normal has changed or not.
Our menstrual cycles are very responsive to stress in our lives and demonstrate this most clearly in the length of our cycles. Stress is not always psychological , but may be physical .
When we are more stressed, our body does not deem our environment to be a safe place to bring a baby in to the world, and can shut down ovulation all together, or delay it until it deems we are safe. The end result of this change in ovulation is a missing period altogether, or longer cycles than your normal. Think this might explain your menstrual cycle problems?
What Kind Of Doctors Treat Hormonal Imbalances
Primary healthcare providers can diagnose and help you manage many hormonal imbalances, but you may benefit from seeing an endocrinologist.
An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in endocrinology, a field of medicine that studies conditions related to your hormones. They can diagnose endocrine conditions, develop treatment and management plans and prescribe medication.
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Menstrual Cycle Headaches & Migraines
Two types of headaches most commonly occur during our menstrual cycles: tension headaches and migraines. Tension headaches typically feel as if theres a pressure band wrapped around your head, or like a pulsing in your temples or behind your eyes, and women commonly experience them before their periods start but they may not have a uniquely hormonal cause and can be due to other common headache causes that occur coincidentally around your period, particularly if your period is a stressful time for you in general.
Menstrual migraines have a well-established hormonal basis. If youre a migraine sufferer in general, unfortunately, youre more predisposed to having hormonally triggered ones, too. As many as 70 percent of women migraineurs experience a menstrual association. Dont you feel lucky! However, it is possible to only have menstrual migraines called pure menstrual migraines and not have them otherwise. Here are some the known or suspected links between our cycles and migraines.
As Estrogen Drops, Serotonin Does, Too
We Have a Lower Pain Threshold Before Our Periods
Histamine Gets Into the Act
It Can Happen Around Ovulation, Too
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Weight Gain
Yes, certain hormone imbalances can cause weight gain, including:
- Hypothyroidism: This condition happens when you have low levels of thyroid hormone, which causes your metabolism to slow down. This can cause weight gain.
- Cushings syndrome: This is a rare condition that happens when your body has too much of a hormone called cortisol. It results in rapid weight gain in your face , belly, back of your neck and chest.
- Menopause: During menopause, many people assigned female at birth gain weight due to hormonal changes that cause their metabolism to slow down. Its important to remember that this type of hormonal imbalance is natural and an expected part of life.
Several other factors contribute to weight gain. If youre experiencing unexpected weight gain or are concerned about your weight, talk to your healthcare provider.
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Can Estrogen Levels Cause Headaches
Estrogen dominance is the most common cause of hormonal headaches. This can occur when there is an excess amount of estrogen in your system either because you are making too much, not eliminating it effectively, or are being over exposed to xenoestrogens.
It can also happen if youre not ovulating or not making sufficient progesterone.
Estrogen dominance is referred to as estrogen excess in medicine and is a diagnosable condition. Sometimes doctors will say they do not believe in estrogen dominance, but this is often because they are not testing correctly or familiar with the diagnosis .
Working with a hormone expert can help you identify the source of your headaches and support you in relieving them for good.
Finding your root cause is important to understand if something bigger is at play.
Ok, so finding the root cause is important and sure Ibuprofen and Tylenol are bad, but when theres pain, whats a girl to do?
Keep Your Glutamate Levels Low
Glutamate has been implicated as one of the main migraine triggers since the 1970s. Our brain has glutamate scavengers that help clear of any excesses of glutamate. One study published in Biology of Reproduction found that estrogen and progesterone are neuroprotective and serve as glutamate scavengers. When these hormones drop dramatically close to the last and first days of the menstrual cycle, glutamate can build up in neurons, causing damage. Avoid any large sources of glutamate or synthetic forms found in eggs, milk, wheat, and soy products.
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Be Wary Of Dairy Products
Dairy is an important source of nutrients for many people. However, females concerned about levels of reproductive hormones may wish to use caution, especially before consuming cream or yogurt.
A 2017 study notes that eating dairy can reduce levels of some protective hormones.
In addition, the authors point to an association between eating cream and yogurt and missing ovulation. The link is unclear, and the researchers call for further studies.
Foods That Help Improve Hormonal Balance
What foods should you load on your plate in order to help balance hormones naturally? A hormonal imbalance treatment diet will include a diet designed to maintain steady blood sugar levels. It will include glycemic index foods of 55 or less. The following are a few important foods for hormonal imbalance treatment:
Extra virgin coconut oil helps balance hormones naturally. It contains medium-chain fatty acids that promote thyroid function. Coconut oil also helps speed metabolism, promote weight loss, boost immunity, and stabilize blood sugar levels. It is a good idea to consume two to three tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil each day for around three months.
Quinoa contains important dietary estrogens or phytoestrogens called lignans. Quinoa also contains other important nutrients that help balance hormones such as vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium.
Besides quinoa, other clean protein sources can help balance hormones such as organic eggs from grass-fed, cage-free, and pasture-raised chickens. Egg yolks contain high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which the body uses to create hormones.
Studies show that beetroot juice can balance hormones and boost stamina. Beetroot or beetroot juice is considered a great methylator since it contains dimethylglycine. Dietary methylators also help treat breast, testicular, ovarian, or reproductive diseases.
5.Nuts and seeds:
7.Extra virgin olive oil:
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