“IT’S NOT ME, IT’S MY HORMONES!”
Written by: Melissa Perna (Holistic Hormone Specialist)
Our hormones cop the blame for so many of our ups and downs in life. Instinctively, we know that they have a powerful influence over the functioning of our bodies, but often we downplay the impact they have on our capacity to feel calm, cope, be happy and even how “at home” we feel in our bodies.
In essence, our hormones run the show. The endocrine system (the system of glands that excrete hormones) influence every cell, organ and function of our bodies.
Hormones travel to EVERY organ and tissue to give orders to your cells to do particular things. They regulate everything from mood to metabolism and guide your growth and development, even before birth. Hormones are the reason you age (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone), sleep and wake up (melatonin) and feel hungry (thyroid), stressed (cortisol) or fearful (adrenalin).
So, you can see how hormonal imbalance can have a drastic effect on the body, ranging from serious disorders such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), right down to signs and symptoms that sometimes may be out of whack.
SOME OF THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF HORMONAL IMBALANCE ARE:
- Heavy or long periods
- Irregular periods/cycle
- Mood swings
- Changes in appetite
- Low libido
- Hair loss and hair thinning
- Weight loss or weight gain (unexplained and not by intentional diet changes)
- Depression and anxiety
- Breast tenderness
- Thyroid imbalances
- Blood sugar imbalances
While these symptoms are common, they are not normal. They are a sign that something is out of balance and it likely involves estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen plays numerous roles in our bodies, including those associated with reproduction, promoting bone density and supporting cardiovascular health. Challenges occur when there is too much estrogen compared to other hormones, progesterone in particular.
Progesterone is a powerful anti-anxiety agent, an antidepressant and a diuretic which means it helps your body to eliminate excess fluid.
Progesterone controls your monthly menstrual cycle, helps prepare the body for conception and pregnancy, plays a role in libido and helps with sleep too!!
The hormone progesterone is critical during the second phase of a woman’s monthly cycle, the luteal phase.
However, many women don’t produce enough progesterone during this phase and this is the reason why so many women experience such debilitating symptoms or conditions associated with their periods.
HOW DID MY HORMONES GET OUT OF BALANCE?
A hormone imbalance is usually a result of several different factors.
- Stress – one of the most common contributing factors to pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is stress.
- PCOS - rises in testosterone means lower levels of progesterone.
- Estrogen dominance – occurs whenever a woman produces too much estrogen relative to her progesterone levels.
- Endocrine disruptors mimic hormones to alter how the endocrine system would naturally do things.
Stress and toxic chemicals are the main culprits. There’s no escaping these entirely, however, making conscious lifestyle choices and reducing your exposure to endocrine-disrupting hormones is a great start.
Toxins also play a huge, but overlooked role in hormone imbalance. As a woman, it is important to understand the harmful effects that toxic ingredients have on the body, that are found in common cleaning and personal care products.
These chemicals hang around in our body and throw our hormones out of balance by messing with our liver, our digestive system and even more so, messing with our hormones.
HOW CAN I BALANCE MY HORMONES NATURALLY?
When women understand the impact that imbalanced hormones can have on our lives and health, then they are able to take control of their systems instead of allowing their systems to be in control.
It is possible to introduce a few simple changes into our daily routine that will bring our hormones back to a place of balance.
Whilst it’s not possible to balance your hormones overnight, even small changes implemented over a long period of time will see your symptoms improve. You have tremendous power over balancing your hormones naturally.
Here are some tips that I hope you will find helpful.
Reduce or eliminate sugar and other food sensitivities.
Sugar keeps insulin elevated, knocking other hormones out of balance and paving the way for insulin resistance. Food sensitivities including gluten and dairy can also increase inflammation and contribute to hormonal imbalances including cortisol.
Balance stress levels.
Chronic stress is all-round bad news for hormonal balance, creating or exacerbating hormonal imbalances. Research shows that a meditation or mindfulness practice can help reduce stress and the negative impact of the cortisol on hormone balance. They promote healthy moods, good immunity and restful sleep. Making time to slow down and be present and mindful is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Whether is it yoga, deep belly breathing, or even going for a walk.
Aim for 8 hours sleep every night.
The rest and repair it offers our body, is critical to life. With great sleep, we have improved memory, cognition and better immune function.
With restorative sleep, we have improved mood, enhanced physical and emotional resilience, increased physical endurance and better hormonal function.
Avoid hormone disruptors.
Environmental factors also play a large role in hormonal balance. There are hundreds of thousands of synthetic chemicals that are either put directly into food, used as pesticides, added into packaging or food processing. Many of these act like hormones and can disrupt a fragile endocrine system by confusing the hormonal messages sent around our bodies, changing our sexual and reproductive health and development.
Take a good quality magnesium supplement.
Magnesium helps to relax muscles, it soothes and calms the nervous system and regulates cortisol. It aids with sleep and is essential for the production of cellular energy. Magnesium improves the function of insulin, leptin, thyroid and female hormones. It is anti-inflammatory and is essential for the manufacture of both estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Eat good quality fats.
Our hormones are made using amino acids from protein and fatty acids from fats. The better quality materials we use, the better quality hormones our bodies create. Good fats can help boost proper hormone production (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut and olive oil).
Essential oils are great at bridging the gap to healthy hormone balance. Made from complete natural plants, essential oils offer significant health benefits. Not only can essentials oils help to improve the mindset, create a more positive mood, relieve stress and increase feelings of well-being, they can also support the body’s own hormone production. My favourite essential oil blend to recommend for balancing women’s hormones is Clary Calm.
Incorporate Ancient + WILD Organics Marine Collagen into your diet.
Collagen is a great source of amino acids (arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline). We need amino acids to produce healthy levels of hormones.
Collagen can help with gut health issues like leaky gut syndrome, repairing holes in the gut and preventing the inflammatory response (and subsequent hormonal havoc) that can come from food passing through these gaps undigested.
The amino acid glycine is liver-supportive, helping your liver function to process and eliminate pesticides, xenoestrogens, and other avoidable and unavoidable toxins from the environment, food, and products we use.
Collagen supports healthy thyroid function and offsets cortisol (stress hormone) imbalance.
What should I do if I suspect I have a hormone imbalance?
If you suspect you have a hormone imbalance or are suffering with any of the above symptoms, please feel free to contact me and I will be able to guide and support you through the steps to regain healthy balanced hormones again, or for the first time.
“Balance your hormones, balance your life”
Melissa Perna | Holistic Hormone Coach
E: firstname.lastname@example.org | W: www.melissaperna.com.au
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