Hormonal Imbalance In Women
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Bloating, fatigue, irritability, hair loss, palpitations, mood swings, problems with blood sugar, trouble concentrating, infertility — these are just a few symptoms of hormone imbalance. These compounds affect every cell and system in the body. Hormone imbalance can debilitate you. Some hormonal shifts are normal, like monthly fluctuations of sex hormones responsible for menstruation and ovulation or the changes that occur during pregnancy. Menopause is another time for a normal hormonal shift in a woman’s life. Many women may experience weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, and diminished sex drive during this time. Other times these fluctuations may be due to a medication or a medical condition.
Balance Your Cortisol
Cortisol is an important hormone that may become imbalanced with stress or illness. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands that lie on top of the kidneys. Low intensity exercise can help lower elevated cortisol levels. Stress impacts adrenal function and hormone levels. Get acquainted with hormone imbalance symptoms and signs so you can notice when things in your body and mind don’t seem right.
Your Circadian Rhythm Is Off
The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland that is located in the brain. It produces melatonin, which affects circadian rhythm and the levels of other hormones in the body. A pineal cyst is a disorder of the pineal gland that may not produce any symptoms. If the cyst is large, it may produce symptoms including water on the brain , headache, eye problems, and vision problems. Large pineal cysts that cause problems usually affect women who are in their second decade of life.
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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Your Endocrine Systemit’s Complicated
Your hormones are generated by your endocrine system, which is made up of glands and other parts of your body that make and release various hormones.
There are over 35 unique hormones and science knows much about these hormones and their actions, but we are still discovering so many things related to hormones. For example, we are still avidly researching the way our environment impacts our hormones, from substances in plastics , to flame retardants that are everywhere, in furniture, curtains, and carpets, says Dr. Dillard.
There can be many hormonal disruptors in our environment. Some hormones play more than one role, like players on a baseball team with assigned roles that back each other up in various situations.
Hormones, their interactions with cells, each other and our environment are complex and endocrinologists are hard at work researching and trying understand this complexity and how it impacts our health, he says. You might also compare hormones to instruments in an orchestra, playing different parts of a complicated piece, ideally in sync.
So, if hormones control so much, is there anything you can do to control your hormones?
Yes, no and it depends, says Dr. Dillard.
Stay Away From Refined Sugars Fizzy Drinks And Junk Food
Sugar is unhealthy ! Refined sugar is even more unhealthy. You can find it in almost every store bought sweets you can find, as well as in all fizzy drinks. Junk food, in general, is universally known to be bad and we bet this isnt the first time you are hearing about it. So, we will say it again. Simply, stay away from junk food.
Refined sugar is very bad for your health
Three Steps To Balance Hormones Naturally
A womans endocrine system is comprised of many hormones that affect our mental, emotional, and physical health. When the body is stressed, hormones can become imbalanced and lead to conditions such as:
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Low or high hormones we test for all of these at CentreSpringMD
When hormones are off you can feel any of the following:
- sleep disturbances
- menstrual irregularities
- digestive issues
If you have been diagnosed with a current hormonal imbalance or have any of the symptoms above, there are natural ways to help balance them.
1. DietDiet plays a huge part of hormones because many of them are created from the foods we eat. That is why it is important to eat more healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, walnuts, fish, chia seeds, and flax seeds. When the body metabolizes these fats, a hormone called pregnenolone is formed. Pregnenolone is a precursor to estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and cortisol. I usually recommend having at least 20-30 grams of healthy fats daily to ensure optimal hormone health.
Written by CentreSpringMD
At CentreSpringMD, we do medicine differently. Our focus is on giving you hope and your life back. Our team of dedicated board-certified providers relentlessly pursue your health until you have the answers that you deserve to change the trajectory of your healthand your life.
Breast Changes Might Be An Estrogen Imbalance
Estrogen that is too high or too low may lead to changes in breast tissues. High estrogen may cause lumpy or dense breast tissue, even cysts. Estrogen levels that are too low may cause decreased breast tissue density. In one study, postmenopausal women who took estrogen plus progesterone hormone replacement therapy experienced an increase in breast density compared to women who took a placebo. Xenoestrogens are compounds that mimic estrogen function in the body. They are naturally occurring in some plants and fungi but they are also found in some drugs, industrial by-products, and pesticides. Non-naturally occurring xenoestrogens may produce a number of harmful effects in the body, including effects on breast density and the risk of breast cancer. They may also disrupt the endocrine system. If you notice any breast changes or are concerned about your estrogen levels, see your doctor for an evaluation.
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Can Irregular Periods Affect Your Fertility
Although an occasional irregular period is common, a consistently irregular period may make it harder to get pregnant.
The key to getting pregnant is to have sex before and during ovulation, which is your most fertile window. An irregular monthly cycle makes it difficult to determine when you are, or will be, ovulating.
In some cases, an irregular period may be caused by another condition that affects fertility, such as PCOS or a loss of ovary function.
If your periods are irregular and youre looking to conceive, consider setting up a preconception appointment with a doctor.
Ways To Balance Your Hormones Naturally
If you think you might have a hormonal imbalance, start by talking to a healthcare professional about your symptoms and potential underlying causes. At Parsley Health, we work with our members who have hormone imbalances to naturally bring their hormones back into balance. Typically, this starts with advanced hormone testing to help you and your doctor determine where your hormone levels are at. Working closely with your practitioner and health coach, you can resolve the underlying cause of hormonal imbalance with a personalized plan, including changes to your nutrition, lifestyle, and stress management practices.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of hormonal imbalance, there are some general steps we recommend to start feeling some relief. Here are some of our tried and true strategies.
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Birth Control Pills To Balance Hormones And Control Menstrual Cramps
Birth control pills can be used for much more than contraception, they can be utilized to control menstrual cramps, regulate periods and balance hormones. The same system for taking a birth control pill as a contraceptive is used when taking the pill for hormone balance.
The typical hormone imbalance is caused by a deficiency or surplus of the hormones estrogen or progesterone. These hormones can become unbalanced through a variety of reasons including:
- poor diet
The most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance are:
These symptoms should not go unchecked as they could be symptoms of much more serious medical problems affecting the thyroid or reproductive organs.
Birth control pills are made up of the female hormone estrogen and a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone called progestin. Their main purpose is to inhibit pregnancy by keeping a womans ovaries from releasing eggs but can be used to regulate hormones.
The first step to using birth control pills to balance hormones is to see a health care provider. They will perform a battery of tests to diagnose the problem. Once a diagnosis has been made and birth control is recommended the patient can begin to work with their provider to find the right pill. Most women use a combination pill with estrogen and progestin.
Birth control pills can help balance hormones
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Questions to ask your doctor
Incorporate Healthy Fats Into Your Diet
Adding healthy polyunsaturated fats to your diet, such as omega-3 and omega-6 may help reduce your appetite and. 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 to us its time to eat. Without adequate healthy fats in your diet, youre more likely to have low leptin levels, which can induce overeating and an inability to feel satiated. That may be one reason women have been experimenting with seed cycling for hormone balance.
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Medicines Supplements And Other Alternative Treatments
Supplements and Alternative Treatments
Supplements, herbs, and alternative treatments have been used and passed down from generation to generation. Some of these treatments improve overall health and, as a result, may benefit the endocrine system. Some have undergone testing and proven their benefits, while others have not. Each individuals genetic predisposition and metabolism are unique. What may work for one person may not for another.
When choosing supplements and alternative treatments, research the company that manufactures the product. Verify that it meets the standards you expect. Because the FDA does not regulate supplements, each of us must assess the products for ourselves.
Medications are used to replace hormones when levels are low. Here are some examples:
- Thyroid hormone: Replacing thyroid hormone can be life saving in people with hypothyroidism.
- Insulin: Insulin can be life saving in someone with diabetes.
- Glucagon: Glucagon can be life saving in a person with diabetes who has hypoglycemia.
- Estrogen: Estrogen replacement can treat the symptoms of menopause, a natural transition that can cause mild to significant side effects that vary in each woman.
- Testosterone:Testosterone replacement can treat the symptoms of andropause, a natural aging process that can cause significant side effects that vary in each man.
For example, birth control pills:
Learn How Your Hormones Work Together
The first half of the menstrual cycle is called the follicular phase and is where you experience a rise in follicle stimulating hormone as several of your follicles begin their final race to ovulation. These growing follicles release the hormone estrogen in higher and higher amounts. Luteinising hormone then triggers ovulation the bursting open of a dominant follicle.
Following ovulation, there is a steep decline in estrogen. The sack which contained the egg begins to secrete another hormone: progesterone which increases and becomes our dominant hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle which is known as the luteal phase.
Each of these two phases last roughly two weeks in a typical cycle. If your cycle is longer than 28 days, the first half of the cycle will be longer, with the second half usually remaining around two weeks. After this second two-week phase, if your egg is not fertilised, the lining which has grown to support a potential pregnancy will be shed in the form of your period. The is accompanied by a sharp drop in all hormone levels as you return to baseline. This bleed becomes day 1 of your new cycle, and the process begins again.
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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 testing: Saliva testing measures your bodys hormones levels at the cellular level. A saliva test can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA levels. When you provide and test multiple samples over time, your healthcare provider can formulate charting changes in hormones with saliva testing.
- Blood testing: This type of hormone test requires that your blood is collected at a lab and then measured for hormone levels. A blood test can measure free and total hormone levels, which saliva and urine testing cannot do.
- Urine testing: A urine hormone test requires that you collect every drop of urine for a 24-hour period. Then your urine is tested to identify each hormone that is present and at what levels on that particular day. This is the most extensive hormone health test because it measures your hormone levels throughout the entire day, instead of the levels for a moment in time, which is the case for blood and saliva tests.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone testing: This type of test is commonly used to measure the hormonal status of premenopausal women who are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause.
How Do I Know If I Have Estrogen Dominance
Comprehensive testing that includes a thorough blood work up can help us understand inflammation, liver function, nutrient insufficiencies, metabolic markers, ability to methylate, and other factors. A saliva test for cortisol and other hormones is also critical to an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes a comprehensive stool analysis is recommended to look at gut health.
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What Are The Sex Hormones
The sex hormones comprise of oestrogen and testosterone. Oestrogen is known as the female hormone and testosterone as the male hormone this is due to the fact that women normally produce more oestrogen and men more testosterone. Nevertheless, both hormones play an important role in our bodies, regardless of our gender.As the name sex hormone suggests, these hormones are primarily responsible for sex drive and reproduction. If the hormone levels in our bodies decrease, then our libido also suffers at the same time.
Your Body Has Over 50 Hormones And They Are Constantly Fluctuating Here How To Keep Them From Getting Too Out Of Whack
With Barry Sears MD
Our hormones are responsible for essentially every function in our bodies. Hormones are chemicals secreted by our glands in order to send messages through the bloodstream. Those messages then tell our organs what to do to keep us alive and healthy.
When we think hormone, we usually think about the sex hormones testosterone or estrogen, but there are actually more than 50 different hormones circulating inside your body right now.
For example, your thyroid hormones oversee your metabolism, energy levels, and temperature, while cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a role in fetal development and your response to physical and psychological stress. From heart rate to appetite to sexual function, each and every hormone plays an important role.
When your hormones are balanced and working in sync, you wont notice them, of course, and thats a good thing. Its when theyre imbalanced that you could start seeing cascading health issues take over.
Hormonal imbalance stems from your body making too little or too much of a hormone or a series of hormones. There are many hormones, such as insulin or adrenaline, that everyone shares, but specific hormones can affect men and women in different ways. For example, women may see an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels, while men may experience an imbalance in testosterone.
What Influences Appetite And Weight
When Estrogen Drops, Hunger Increases
A decrease in estrogen levels during a woman’s monthly cycle may trigger mood changes in some women. Some females may reach for comfort foods that are high in fat, calories, sugar, and salt in an effort to feel better. Sadly, eating these foods backfires and makes women feel worse. Sodium increases water retention and bloating. Sugar, excess fat and calories will lead you to pack on the pounds. Falling estrogen levels also affect leptin, a hormone that inhibits hunger. Combat hormonal weight gain by adopting a healthy diet and exercise plan. Stick to lean meats, healthy fats, complex carbs, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables to help prevent PMS and encourage healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss.
What Else Can Impact Hormone Levels
The linear chain we mentioned above is bidirectional. At any point, when levels are detected to be high, feedback is sent to the previous step to hold up! and stop signaling. For example, if estrogen levels are high, your pituitary gland will release less LH and FSH.
More steps in the process = more places in the process where things could go awry. If someone has really low estradiol, for example, its not always immediately clear why it could be an issue with the ovaries, pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or any combination of the above. For a super thorough workup, endocrinologists will likely run a whole bunch of tests to figure out exactly where the issue lies.
Below, we’ll cover both the expected changes in hormone levels and what changes might warrant a call to your healthcare provider.