Natural Hormone Balance - Everything You Need To Know!
We’ve gotten used to managing some symptoms that we just call them “ being hormonal”, from the blinding headaches and the skin breakouts down to the mood swings. While most people associate these symptoms as a norm that women go through at cerian points in their cycle, it is not normal. Often, these symptoms are usually a sign of hormonal imbalance.
When secreted into the blood, hormones become chemical messengers that act on bodily functions. Although there are different hormones, the popular ones include cortisol, insulin, estrogen, melatonin, adrenaline, and testosterone.
Hormones act on simple tasks like hunger, thirst, sexual functions, and identifying present moods. Balanced hormones can achieve these without the slightest disruption to your body system. But when one of the scales tips over, hormonal imbalance and a host of other health issues will follow.
In this article, we’ll explore everything that has to do with balancing your hormones and how to balance hormones naturally.
Balance Your Hormones Naturally
The different activities in your life and body affect hormonal balancing. Some of these could be your pattern of healthy living, stress levels, anxiety, or the birth control pills women take. Your hormone levels can also be offset by ongoing current medication and supplement support.
Hormone balancing is tackled according to the symptoms that each individual exhibits. Sometimes, all that needs to be done is to eat a healthy diet, take vitamins and supplements, and exercise. Other times, your health practitioner would recommend that you do blood tests so they can accurately determine the messages your hormones send.
The factors that influence changes in hormone levels are vast. For instance, women have become accustomed to knowing that cramps in the lower abdomen, acne, and headaches are part of the menstrual cycle. So, they go through the process with tender breasts, bloating, loss of appetite, mood swings, and digestive issues.
But what if all these factors are symptoms of hormonal imbalance? During such cases, the estrogen hormone, testosterone hormone, and endocrine levels rise, making these symptoms familiar. This shows that the endocrine system plays a vital role in balancing your hormones.
What Is The Endocrine System?
The endocrine system is responsible for the organs and hormones that release chemicals from your endocrine glands into your blood. Some glands that secrete these chemicals in your body include the thyroid, testicles, pituitary, and adrenals. And the endocrine system works in harmony to ensure that hormones are adequately circulated through your body. If there’s a hormonal imbalance, your growth hormone, the stress hormone, and even sleep levels would be affected.
Generally, your hormones act as chemical messengers that support your body in executing its daily functions. Once adequate hormonal circulation occurs, tissues and cells in your body receive their fair share. One of the glands in the endocrine system is the pituitary gland. This gland sends out information to your brain, your other glands, and many hormones that go through your body system.
The pituitary gland is important because it encompasses the following.
Prolactin which is responsible for breast milk production in women.
The growth hormone that’s responsible for your growth and development.
The importance of your endocrine glands cannot be overemphasised because of how important it is.
Types of Hormones
The human body has many hormones classified into two primary hormone groups. The first hormone group includes protein hormones, amines, and peptides that are gotten from amino acids. The second group of hormones includes steroids which are obtained from lipids. Below is a breakdown of these hormones.
Protein Hormones: These hormones include the growth hormone and the follicle hormone because they have longer polypeptides.
Amine Hormones: They are derived from amino acids like tryptophan and tyrosine. These hormones respectively produce melatonin and thyroid hormones, and dopamine.
Peptide Hormones: These include antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin.
Steroid Hormones: These hormones are often derived from cholesterol and sometimes include cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance?
It is crucial to identify the symptoms of hormone imbalances that you might notice in your system. These symptoms tell you what to look out for and notify you when your hormone health is not at its peak.
Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
Hair loss or thinning hair
Irregular periods for women
Low/loss of sex drive
Lack of sleep
These are only some of the general symptoms of hormonal imbalances to look out for. Other health-specific symptoms are:
Having high estrogen can lead to factors that cause reproductive issues and endometriosis.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances that cause diabetes may include nerve damage, weight gain, fatigue, skin-related issues, and poor eyesight.
Low estrogen can be associated with symptoms like mood swings, anxiety, irregular menstrual cycle in women, and reproductive issues.
Chronic stress levels, mood-related challenges, changing sleep patterns, and fluctuating weight are some symptoms of high estrogen levels.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects women mainly, and the following are some of its symptoms; weight gain, acne, irregular hair growth and increased sugar production.
Hypothyroidism results from an overactive thyroid gland, and the following are some of its symptoms; digestive issues, irregular menstrual cycle, anxiety, irritability, and weight gain.
Adrenal fatigue: Symptoms include anxiety, depression, sleep-related problems, and reproductive health issues.
Risk Factors of Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances are caused by poor diet, chronic stress levels, and toxin production in your environment. Apart from these, the following factors can cause hormonal imbalances.
Diet has an essential role in nearly every factor that concerns the body because it can offset a hormone. And as such, the foods you take into your body play a significant role in hormone balancing. Your diet options can lead to inflammation, increased sugar production, and other health issues that offset your hormone levels.
Sometimes, your stress response would be to lock yourself up for days and indulge in comfort foods. But that isn’t the best for your health. You can suffer from weight gain, poor heart health, inflammation, and irregular hormone levels.
Genetic health factors are not the only causes of hormonal imbalance; your environment also contributes to it. Exposure to viruses and chemicals can cause heart disease, high estrogen levels, and general hormonal imbalance.
Increased stress levels and inadequate sleep can also lead to changes in hormone levels, which will affect your health. To reduce stress, take proper breaks from work or any other activities that keep you up at night. You can also observe a siesta, as it helps to make up for hours you lose at night.
Adrenal dysfunction is responsible for a significant part of hormonal imbalance. It mainly affects estrogen production and primarily has to do with the cortisol steal. Cortisol production happens when cholesterol, which helps estrogen production, is affected by stress levels. When the cortisol levels increase, it affects estrogen levels, testosterone, and progesterone.
If you experience stiff joints and muscle pains, or you generally feel too tired to move around, you might have a hormone imbalance. Hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid contribute to the strength of your body, and if there’s an imbalance, they might suffer as well. Hormone imbalance can cause a decline in estrogen, thyroid, and testosterone levels and lead to body weakness and loss of strength.
This symptom doesn’t always come up when hormone imbalance is discussed, but it causes concern for some people. Although the symptom is painless, no one likes to walk around with a swollen face and a slightly bigger body. Sometimes called the ‘moon face’, this hormone imbalance symptom occurs when your body releases too much cortisol. Too much cortisol makes it difficult for your body to control your blood pressure and will result in this state of swelling.
Increase in Blood Pressure
The pancreatic gland is responsible for the production of insulin in your body. In turn, insulin regulates the amount of glucose in your blood. If this hormone level spikes up, it could result in high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
While the professional advice would be that you consult an endocrinologist or other health practitioners, there’s also the option of self-help. You can practice balancing your hormones naturally. It could be as simple as watching your diet and choosing the right hormone-balancing foods to stabilise your blood sugar and insulin levels. It could also be as simple as increasing your sleep hours. Both would enhance your quality of life and help balance your body system.
Also, the conventional treatment for hormonal imbalance, such as insulin injections, birth control pills, and the like, can make one dependent on drugs for the rest of their lives. These treatments can also lead to severe side effects like cancer, stroke, anxiety, osteoporosis, and reproductive issues.
This is why it is recommended you try the natural approach first before opting for the conventional treatment. Although the synthetic treatment might be necessary in some cases, chances are you will get a lot better by following some of the natural remedies as indicated below.
Monitor Your Sugar Intake
Too much sugar increases insulin levels, causing hormonal imbalances and insulin resistance. It will also benefit your health if you keep your meals gluten-free. If you can’t, reduce your intake of gluten foods because they can increase your blood glucose. This can lead to inflammation, higher cortisol levels, and hormonal imbalance. However, a healthy, gluten-free diet can curb insulin resistance and inflammation.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stress is one of the many symptoms of hormonal imbalance, and it affects insulin levels and blood pressure. Stress can be managed either through yoga, short walks, or meditation.
However, these do not apply to everyone, and you’d have to find an activity that works for you. The following are some of the reasons you should manage your stress levels. It cuts down insulin resistance, improves your health and estrogen levels, and stabilises your entire cycle.
Protect Yourself From Toxins
Since toxins are ever-present in our environment and daily activities, there is no way we can escape them. Toxins constantly find their way to the site we breathe, clothes we wear, and the foods we eat. Many cause body damage and hormonal imbalance by affecting the endocrine system.
Some of these toxins include xenoestrogens which affect the production of estrogen and testosterone. Another one is bisphenol A that negatively impacts the hormones in the body and is primarily present in plastic products. As a way of treatment, you can seek professional advice for detoxification practices.
Increase Your Sleep Hours
Sleep is an excellent solution for your stress hormone, and inadequate sleep can cause a damaging spike in hormone levels. Sleep keeps the stress hormone balanced and helps restore the energy that the body needs. On the other hand, lack of sleep can lead to a high level of cortisol, increased susceptibility to anxiety, depression, and weight gain.
You need approximately 8 hours of sleep to achieve hormone balance. I know that falling and staying asleep can be challenging in the present society, but here’s what to do - turn off your electronics an hour ahead of your bedtime, and use natural supplements to help you sleep. You can also indulge your body in warm bubble baths to reduce tension and loosen your muscles.
You also want to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle as an irregular sleep cycle can contribute to hormonal imbalance.
Use Anti Inflammatory Products And Practices
Hormone production can be affected by inflammation, so we advise engaging in anti-inflammatory products. To lower inflammation, eat anti-inflammatory foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids. Some fishes and high-fibre plants contain these omega-3 fatty acids and if you don’t like fish, opt for fish oil or olive oil.
The right type of exercise has positive impacts on the human body. Exercise is good for your health because it boosts your growth hormone and keeps you looking younger. It also helps blood production and circulation and ensures that the necessary nutrients are transported around the body system. Follow through with your exercise program, and you’ll notice that hormone imbalance will be less of an issue.
Seek Professional Assistance
Besides using natural supplements to balance hormones naturally, pay a visit to your health practitioner. Doctors use blood tests to determine the production of hormones in your body. They also employ correctional treatment by using bioidentical hormones to correct hormonal imbalances.
It is always essential that you ask questions concerning the downsides of these treatments before you agree to them.
Another health practitioner you might want to visit is a chiropractor. Their medical practice can help balance your cortisol hormones and improve cortisol, regulating your stress response.
Eat Healthy Fats
Keep your meals free from saturated fats, and incorporate healthy fats that tame your appetite and enhance your hormone balance. If your meals are free from saturated fats, your leptin levels will be balanced, and you won’t overfeed yourself.
Use Vitamin D Supplements
Vitamin D is derived chiefly from exposure to sunlight for about 30 minutes to an hour. But sometimes, this is unrealistic for some people because of climate conditions and other reasons.
Vitamin D has significant bodily functions like enhancing immunity and tackling inflammation. Inadequate Vitamin D can lead to heart disease, increased attacks of different cancers, and tuberculosis. I advise that you take Vitamin D supplements to minimise your risk of these health challenges.
Your Vitamin D level decreases as you grow older, and eating foods rich in Vitamin D will replenish lost ones.
Use Essential Oils
Certain essential oils are very effective in balancing your hormones naturally. For example, fennel essential oil help in boosting metabolism, reducing inflammation, and relaxing your body. You can add 1 to 2 drops of this essential oil to a glass of warm water or tea.
Clary sage is another essential oil that is known to help balance your estrogen levels. It helps regulate your menstrual cycle, treats infertility and PCOS, and relieves PMS symptoms. Other essential oils that are known to balance hormones are lavender and sandalwood.
What Supplements Are Good for Balancing Hormones?
The following supplements are good for hormone balancing.
Magnesium is an essential nutrient that enhances a balanced body system and normalises your insulin levels. Foods rich in magnesium include chia seeds, dark leafy greens, and legumes. Avocados, dark chocolate, and lentils also contain adequate levels of magnesium. Having enough magnesium in your diet will promote sugar-free meals because your body will have better insulin sensitivity.
Lastly, I know dark chocolate is much more than a snack, but you need to take it cautiously. You don’t want to risk increasing your sugar levels and setting off those hormones.
Vitamin B is essential when you experience hormonal problems. Apart from B-complex supplements, foods like salmon, spinach, eggs, beef, oysters, milk, and beans are excellent sources of this vitamin.
Vitamin C is important because it prevents your liver from breaking down and causing a shortage of estrogen. Therefore, you can support your liver by taking supplements like turmeric, oranges, spinach, tomatoes, and alpha-lipoic acid.
Please, do well to include Vitamin D supplements in your diet. Fatty fish, sun exposure, and egg yolks have more than enough vitamin D.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Foods rich in this nutrient include egg yolks, salmon, flax seeds, chia seeds, sardines, and anchovies. Olive oil and fish oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, and it will do you a world of good to add them to your meal.
These vitamins are excellent health supplements and provide enough support for your body system. And although there are several herbs that you might come across, the one in the next section comes highly recommended.
What is the Best Herb for Hormonal Balance?
The best herb for hormonal balance is red raspberry. Raspberry is famous for its soothing effects, and it can help balance estrogen and testosterone levels.
Sometimes, this herb is mixed with other supplements for optimal function, and other times, it is drunk simply as herbal tea. A red raspberry herbal tea that comes highly recommended is the Cycle Harmony Tea. Its primary function is to help balance hormones in your entire cycle and improve your health.
Hormonal imbalance affects millions of people globally. Some of the noticeable symptoms are usually anxiety, tiredness, weight gain, weight loss, and low sex drive. These often lead to disorders like diabetes, menstrual irregularities, estrogen dominance, and low testosterone.
You don’t need to suffer the unpleasantness of hormonal imbalances like mood swings, low sex drive, and unhealthy weight loss. Yes, part of the reason could be your increased stress levels, sugar intake, and poor diet, but you can work on them.
A healthy diet, the proper vitamin, and natural supplements can balance your hormones. Also, getting enough sleep and incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet will improve your health and help you balance your hormones naturally.