10 Signs You May Have a Hormone Imbalance - and What to Do About It
Hormones are like chemical messengers, and govern nearly every cellular action in our body. While very important, our sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, are actually not essential for our survival. They’re responsible for sexual functioning and fertility, as well as in more of a “beauty” capacity - keeping our skin, hair, and nails vital and youthful looking.
On the other hand, stress hormones (like cortisol and epinephrine, also known as adrenaline) are critical to our survival because 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 (the “hormone of stress”) will be made at the expense of sex hormones. No wonder we can start feeling whacked out at certain stages of life!
So what happens when hormones stop playing well together?
We can often experience a ripple effect - even when there’s a slight hiccup in hormone function. Also, due to the the interconnected nature of your endocrine system, one hormonal imbalance can lead to an 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
Resistant excess weight and body fat, especially around the belly that can’t be explained by diet and exercise
Low libido or sexual dysfunction
Acne or other skin issues
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
While there are many causes, here are the most common ones that have been identified:
Age and stage of life
Medications (e.g., the Pill)
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., digestive system inflammation)
Simple ways to counteract this and rebalance your hormones naturally
Eat whole foods: Processed, packaged foods offering little to no nutritive value will also offer little to no fuel for your hormones.
Be sure to eat fresh over packaged foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruit, and quality sources of meats and eggs. Also, if tolerated, nuts, seeds, and legumes in moderation.
Grains and dairy may cause or exacerbate hormonal problems for some people, so avoid them or talk to your doctor if you are concerned.
Eat more good 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.
Opt for sources of good fats from whole foods, such as avocados, raw nuts and seeds, extra virgin olive oil, real butter or ghee (grass fed preferable), wild-caught salmon, and eggs.
Exercise daily: Working out on a regular basis, engaging in resistance (or strength) training, and incorporating high intensity interval training (HIIT) 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 keeping your hormones in check above all other measures (but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the other ones!).
Stress management and 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!
Learn better coping mechanisms (like breathing techniques), practice mindfulness and be sure to engage in daily self-care.
The 5 Most Important Health Concerns for Women Guide
Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the health concerns and screenings you hear you should pay attention to?
Do you need a quick and simple low-down on what you should be concerned about?
I used to put off health screenings and finding out about my risk levels. In an effort to make sure you don’t behave like the old me, my guide highlights the health concerns you should be monitoring and give you risk factors for them. Get my guide to learn about your risks for:
- Breast cancer
- Heart disease
- Colon cancer
- Type-2 diabetes
- Cervical cancer