Balancing your hormones is a vital step towards health and healing. When your hormones are out of whack, your blood chemistry suffers. It affects your blood sugar, your thyroid, and your adrenals, among other things. It can be extremely challenging to achieve optimal health when your hormones need tuning. Control ober your hormones is essential. So many of my patients – and many physicians – aren’t aware of the connections between what we eat, our stress levels, the way we live our lives and hormonal imbalance. However, those connections exist and if we understand them, we can develop our own ways of living tht bring about balance.
There are six key hormones – insulin, cortisol thyroid,estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. It’s extremely important that they are in balance.
When the word “hormones” is uttered, visions of raging menopausal women come to mind for most. That’s so sad. Hormonal changes affect everyone from birth to death, yet we seem to have a very negative association with that word.
For women, the most pronounced changes come in their 40s and 50s, but can been seen as early as their mid-30s. Many more women are having hormonal symptoms earlier, which has a lot to do with not only our lifestyle and diet, but also the pollution, toxins and xenoestrogens (synthetic chemicals that act as estrogen in our bodies) that we’re exposed to every day.
Both men and women can have symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalances are:
1. Persistent weight gain.
Yes, there are lifestyle, diet and physical activity components to maintaining a healthy weight, but that isn’t the end of the story. Many women have underlying hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Unaddressed or emerging insulin resistance is one of the most common; small changes in diet — such as eliminating processed foods, sugars and wheat — are steps in the right direction.
2. Belly fat and loss of muscle mass.
When your endocrine system is under stress there’s an underproduction of certain hormones and an overproduction of others (mainly cortisol). This makes your body store fat for future use, making an increase in belly fat a clue to adrenal fatigue.
3. Low libido.
One of the most noticeable symptoms of hormonal imbalance is low libido, which starts with disturbed sleep. Without quality sleep our sex hormone production can diminish.
Can’t make it past mid-morning without some sort of pick-me-up? How about that mid-afternoon crash? It isn’t normal to feel sluggish, scattered or mentally foggy. Easy dietary changes, such as eliminating wheat and most grains, will help stabilize your blood sugar.
5. Anxiety, irritability and depression.
Not feeling like yourself? This isn’t the time for pharmaceuticals. Anxiety and depression are clues that you have an imbalance, toxicity, are overworked, stressed out, and most likely aren’t nourishing your body the way it needs. Listen to your inner voice and take the actions necessary to meet your needs.
6. Insomnia and poor sleep patterns.
This starts the cycle of physical stress and increases cortisol levels, which directly causes many hormonal imbalances. There isn’t one area of your life that insomnia doesn’t touch.
For many women, night sweats and hot flashes are the first uncomfortable sign that something is amiss. This isn’t the time to start hormone replacement therapy, but begin a food journal by jotting down what you eat and drink, how you feel physically, and any emotions that come up after. Many times our emotions are the trigger that increases internal temperature. The next time you feel the flashes coming on, stop and think about the thoughts swirling around in your mind.
8. Digestion problems.
Gas, bloating and slow digestion are common hormonal problems that aren’t usually associated with hormonal imbalances, but may be associated with eating bad foods, not chewing your food and eating too much. When you don’t have optimal digestion, your body is starving because of poor nutrient extraction.
After eating way more than you should have, or having gone through half a bottle of wine, do you look back and ask yourself why? Common causes of cravings and excess eating are adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, and other hormonal imbalances. Again, minimizing sugars, alcohol, dairy and wheat — although difficult — not only will help control cravings, but your digestive issues as well.
If one or more of the above signs describes you, it’s time to balance your hormones. The West Clinic will work to do testing and monioring hormone level through saliva testing, then treating imbalances with bio-identical progestoerone or estrogen to make a huge difference. It is also critical to test thyroid function both with the both with blood testing and body temperature charting. Dr. J, Dr Nelson and Shelby can wal you through your hormone balancing journey. Through homeopathic/natural therapies and supplements as well as medical/presciption management if needed, or team of health care providers strives to create hormone harmony in you body so that we can work toward achieving optimal health.