Being a hypothyroid patient I know a bit about hormone imbalance. However it is quite a complex topic as it can cause so many different health problems in many areas in our body. The symptoms of hormonal imbalance are in many cases overlooked and only small amount of hormone imbalance can cause some serious health issues.
Lets look first at what are the main hormones in women:
Estrogen: The Hormone Behind Your Period
Estrogen is the female hormone that fluctuates over the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle and is also an important factor in maintaining women’s bone and cardiovascular health.
Girls begin producing estrogen at puberty, and estrogen production declines as a woman ages, until she isn’t making enough to thicken the uterine lining and have menstrual periods. In addition to the end of menstruation, some signs of low estrogen levels are hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
|Estrogen dominance is a term that describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal or excessive estrogen, but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body. This excessive amount of estrogen is caused by external factors such as pesticide, detergents, petroleum products, plastics and cosmetic products. Estrogen dominance is thought to increase the risk of endometriosis, uterine fibroids, polycystic ovaries, breast cancer, uterine cancer and thyroid imbalances.|
Progesterone: Essential for Pregnancy
During a woman’s childbearing years, progesterone levels rise during the second half of her menstrual cycle, after the monthly egg is released from her ovary. If she becomes pregnant, the progesterone level continues to rise, and helps keep the uterine lining thick for the developing baby. If she does not become pregnant, levels of progesterone fall, signaling the body to shed the uterine lining during menstruation.
Progesterone is also responsible for those horrible symptoms we get before our period, known as PMS.
Testosterone: It’s Not Just for Men
Another hormone, testosterone, is produced in low amounts in women, but is generally considered a male hormone. Elevated levels of testosterone may cause virilizing symptoms — meaning that some male physical characteristics may occur, such as abnormal, male hair growth patterns.
If your testosterone levels are abnormally high, it could be a sign of a health condition such as:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovarian tumor
- Tumor on your adrenal gland
- Congenital adrenocortical hyperplasia
Thyroid: controls metabolism
Thyroid hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. During infancy and childhood, adequate thyroid hormone is crucial for brain development.
|Low thyroid level causes; fatigue, dry skin and hair, hair loss, memory loss, irritability, constipation and depression. I’ve definitely had most of these symptoms before I found out that I have low thyroid problem. My neck was very much enlarged, but I never knew that was a sign of a thyroid problem.|
Hormones are incredible chemical messengers in our body that affect our brain, heart, bones, muscles, and reproductive organs and are an essential part of the workings of every cell in the human body. Hormones work best when balanced. However, hormones can become imbalanced.
Hormone imbalances are caused by:
- Higher than average levels of stress
- Poor food choices
- Inadequate sleep
- Taking synthetic hormones, such as birth control pills
- Sedentary lifestyle (lack of movement or exercise)
Signs of Hormone Imbalance
- Anxiety, Irritability & Mood Swings
- Breast Changes
- Cycle Changes
- Fuzzy Thinking
- Headaches & Migraines
- Hot Flashes & Night Sweats
- Loss of Libido
- Trouble Sleeping & Fatigue
- Vaginal Dryness
- Weight Gain
As usual my advice is to avoid as much medicine and drugs in your body in order to cure the hormone imbalance problem, but rather opt for the natural remedies. I’m a perfect example of someone who has been on thyroid hormone replacement therapy for the past 4 years and have seen very little improvement in my symptoms. First of all, when I did find out that I will have to consume this medication for the rest of my life (according to my doctor) I was in utter shock. My thyroid gland was still very much swollen and I still had many of the low thyroid symptoms, especially fatigue. However, the blood test was showing that the hormone level was normalized so I continued with the same dosage but very little positive effect.
I read a lot about brining back the balance through a specific, rather strict diet. However, couldn’t get myself to commit all the way, the only thing I removed from my diet was broccoli and duck meat. Not until I started consuming lingzhi and bee pollen that I’ve seen a completely new change in my thyroid symptoms. My energy levels tremendously improved, the size of my thyroid decreased greatly as well and my memory and mood improved a lot.
Here are some steps to follow for hormone imbalance:
1. Avoid High Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fats
Don’t eat fats like Vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening, or other chemically altered fats. Choose fats like coconut oil, real butter, olive oil (don’t heat!) and animal fats (tallow, lard) from healthy sources instead and eat lots of high Omega-3 fish.
2. Limit the Caffeine
Too much caffeine can create imbalance in the endocrine system so limit to 1 cup a day or substitute with tea. Of course always choose a healthy type of coffee with non dairy creamer and pure coffee bean powder.
3. Avoid Toxins
This is something I’ve been doing for the past 1 year. Of course you can’t live in a bubble where there are not toxins around, but whatever you can control try not to use chemicals and toxins. The easy one is remove all toxic cleaning products and choose the natural ones with bio-enzymes. Substitue all the skin care and body care products with the ones which include natural ingredients.
4. Quality Sleep
If you don’t get enough quality sleep every night, your hormones simply won’t be balanced so if you have trouble sleeping find some relaxing method which works for you. Here are some tips to help improve your sleep.
5. Exercise lightly
If you do have hormone imbalance, heavy exercise can cause more damage, it is more important to get good sleep.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut Oil is amazing for hormone health. It provides the necessary building blocks for hormone production, can assist weight loss, reduce inflammation, and even has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
7. More Fibre
Get more fiber into your diet with raw fruit, and raw vegetables. Fiber binds itself to old estrogen, clearing it out of the system, and leading to better overall balance. This is good for men and women who suffer from estrogen dominance.
8. Choose your Supplements wisely
Choose the best quality supplements that don’t include any chemicals and which are completely natural. Don’t fall for just any marketing gimmick and do your research before consuming the products.
9. Manage Your Stress
Of course this is easier to be said than done. However you need to consciously decide to stress less and train yourself through yoga, meditation or any other way which works for you. When I find myself in stressful situations these days I stop and think about how to react and is it worth stressing out over. Last time I would explode at any situation which didn’t go according to plan. Don’t get me wrong I still do get angry every once in a while when it concerns something that is very dear to me such as my family and friends, but as for the rest of the situations it is just not worth the stress.
Please keep on a lookout for all these imbalanced hormone signals and address them when you are still young and don’t have serious complications yet. For those who find themselves with already serious illnesses due to hormone imbalance, it is almost always possible to reverse some of the damage, but it just takes time.