Many women I see think Hormone Imbalance is something that only happens during menopause. This couldn’t be farther from true. Hormone Imbalance can contribute to many different symptoms such as:
PMS (weepiness, irritability)
Bloating, Weight gain, Difficulty losing weight
Hair Loss/Coarse hair, Thinning eyebrows
So, if you are experiencing some, or most of these, this could be an indication that your hormone system is not functioning properly. So, even if you’re not in menopause, hormones can become low or imbalanced. I will give you a breakdown of the different systems, and give you dietary and lifestyle tips to help with these.
Progesterone: low progesterone levels can cause PMS, miscarriage and have also been linked to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This hormone helps balance estrogen.
Estrogen: This hormone typically declines during menopause and can lead to vaginal dryness and hot flashes. This is the only hormone that normally declines during menopause.
Testosterone: low testosterone leads to low libido, fatigue and even difficulty losing weight. High testosterone is associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome and acne.
- Pregnenolone: low levels can cause poor memory and fatigue.
- DHEA: adequate levels of DHEA are necessary to keep testosterone balanced, increase muscle mass, decrease body fat, improve memory and improve the immune system. It is also protective against arteriosclerosis and diabetes.
- Melatonin: controls your ability to fall and stay asleep.
- Thyroid Hormones: Low thyroid function is very common among women, even with normal thyroid tests. Low thyroid function can lead to chronic fatigue, chronic constipation, seasonal sadness, Loss of the outside 1/3 of eyebrows, coarse hair/hair loss, difficulty losing weight (pear shape), wake up with headaches that wear off during the day. Your thyroid controls your body temperature, so an easy way to check thyroid function is to check your armpit temperature first thing in the morning, 5 days in a row. The average should be at least 97.6 or higher. If it is lower, and you experience the above symptoms, you should have a full thyroid panel done on bloodwork: TSH, T3 & T4. If levels come back normal, that means you don’t have thyroid disease, this does not mean that your thyroid is functioning properly.
- Cortisol/Epinephrine/Norepinephrine: These are the hormones secreted during the adrenal gland during times of stress.
- Phase 1: Fight or Flight, Superwoman: your body is over producing adrenaline and your are go-go-go. May cause you to feel keyed up, have trouble calming down, difficulty quieting your mind to fall asleep.
- Phase 2: Your energy is up and down throughout the day. You start to notice an increase in belly fat (apple shape). You find you are more irritable and may experience fatigue and light sensitivity. You may also crave salty foods, and caffeine or sugar, particularly in the afternoon. You may experience low blood sugar symptoms, but have perfectly normal blood sugar on testing.
- Phase 3: Burn out. Complete inability to handle stress, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and no libido.
When working on balancing hormones naturally, the most important thing to understand, is that these hormones work together. If you have low progesterone, and you start taking progesterone, even if it’s totally natural such as a homeopathic or bio-identical formula, if you do not strengthen the thyroid, or adrenals, or balance any other hormones that are not optimal, your hormone imbalance will return. So you can treat symptoms, naturally without side effects, or you can actually balance the hormone system. Which do you prefer? One will get you feeling better….temporarily, and one will correct your hormone imbalance……permanently.
Some underlying factors to consider when identifying hormone imbalances:
- If you have unstable blood sugar, this will put stress on your adrenal gland, and increase hot flashes, cravings and fatigue.
- If you have artificial ingredients in your diet such as: high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, MSG, and hydrogenated oils, then it will be more challenging for your own body to produce hormones. These artificial ingredients put stress on your thyroid, adrenals and your liver, which are very important in keeping your hormones balanced.
- If you have had a hysterectomy, YOU STILL HAVE HORMONES!!!!!!!!!!! Just because you lose your uterus and ovaries, doesn’t mean you’ve lost your pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and liver, which are responsible for producing and balancing hormones.
- Underlying inflammation can keep you feeling tired and achy, and can keep you from losing weight. Food sensitivities can cause chronic inflammation in the body leading to: allergies, IBS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and difficulty losing weight. If you have chronic inflammation, the cause needs to be addressed in order for you to get PERMANENT results.
Two basic supplements that I recommend for any adult, which can help with mild hormone symptoms are:
- Magnesium Glycinate: 200 mg minimum daily. This can help with chocolate cravings, breast tenderness, bloating, pre-menstrual blues and irritability and even sleep.
- EPA/DHA (purity certified & stabilized fish oil): 2,000 mg/day helps with memory, mood, concentration and inflammation.