There are 10 common signs that can show up when you’re experiencing hormonal imbalance. Let’s talk about what they are and what you can do about it.
Hormones are like chemical messengers that govern just about every cellular action in our body.
The most familiar hormones are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, which are sex hormones. These three hormones are important, but they’re not essential for our survival.
They’re responsible for sexual functioning, fertility, and are responsible for our physical appearance — keeping our skin, hair & nails vital and youthful looking.
Then we have our stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) which are critical to our survival. They synthesize proteins, maintain cellular electrolyte balance, regulate heartbeat and blood pressure, and transport glucose into our cells — essentially feeding our brain.
These hormones are so crucial that in times of chronic stress, cortisol (also known as a stress hormone) will be made at the expense of sex hormones. No wonder no one’s in the mood for an intimate encounter when they’re stressed out!
So, what happens when hormones stop interacting with each other?
Due to the interconnected nature of our endocrine system, when one hormone goes out of balance, there’s often a ripple effect. One hormonal imbalance can lead to another one and then another, causing multiple symptoms and overlapping health issues.
The 10 most common signs that you may have a hormonal imbalance:
- Poor sleep – not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep
- Fatigue that’s not alleviated by sleep
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Excess weight and body fat, especially around the belly
- Low libido or sexual dysfunction
- Acne or other skin issues
- PMS symptoms
- Foggy thinking (brain fog) and difficulty concentrating
- Mental health issues – depression and anxiety in particular
- Mood changes like irritability and anger
The main causes of hormonal imbalances:
There are many causes of hormonal imbalances. Here are the most common ones that have been identified:
- Age and stage of life
- Chronic stress
- Medications (especially birth control pills)
- Toxins and endocrine disruptors like xenoestrogens
- Poor nutrition and lack of adequate key nutrients
- Blood sugar regulation problems
- Disrupted circadian rhythm
Chronic inflammation (e.g. leaky gut & digestive system inflammation)
Simple ways to support and rebalance your hormones naturally
Avoid processed foods: processed, packaged foods offering little to no nutritional value. They also offer little to no fuel for your hormones.
Be sure to eat fresh food over packaged foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and quality sources of free range and grass-fed meats and eggs. Also, if tolerated – nuts, seeds, and legumes in moderation.
Consider eliminating grains and dairy as these foods may cause or exacerbate hormonal problems for some people.
Eat healthy fats: Good fats are essential for hormonal health because sex hormones need fat as a building block — and your body can only use the ones you give it. Sources of good fats come from whole foods, such as avocados, raw nuts & seeds, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, real butter or ghee (grass fed preferable), wild-caught salmon, and free range eggs — yes, you can eat the yolks!
Exercise daily: Working out on a regular basis, engaging in resistance (or strength) training, and incorporating a specific workout called HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been proven to be especially beneficial for keeping our bodies AND our hormones fit.
Better sleep: getting deeper, more restorative sleep can be the key to supporting your hormones, above all other measures (but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other ones!).
Stress management & self-care: the truth is — stress can be devastating for hormonal health.
We need to equip ourselves to manage the stress and “business” of everyday life through the actions that bring back balance and wellbeing to our bodies AND our minds — like good nutrition, exercise and sleep!
Keep things in check by learning coping mechanisms (like breathing techniques and meditation), practice mindfulness and be sure to engage in daily self-care.