I have hormonal imbalance, How do I balance hormones naturally?
This is one common question I've been getting recently especially from women.
Maybe you are out there with the same question or perhaps you are wondering...
How exactly does hormone get out of balance?, what causes hormonal imbalance?, how do i know if my hormones are not balanced or what are the symptoms of hormonal imbalance, and how can I treat hormonal imbalance naturally then you can sit back and relax cos this article is meant for you.
Table of Contents
- 1 What are Hormones?
- 2 Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
- 3 Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance.
- 4 How to Balance Hormones Naturally (STEP BY STEP)
- 5 Final Thoughts
- 6 Now Its your Turn
What are Hormones?
Hormones are essential chemical messengers produced by endocrine glands. They are released directly into the blood so that the blood can carry them to various specific organs and tissues of the body where they can carry out their duties.
For example, the progesterone hormone is targeted towards the uterus to prepare it for implantation each month.
These essential chemical messengers called hormones control majority of the bodily functions from basic needs like thirst or hunger to complex ones like reproduction.
The level of hormones circulating through the body are controlled by endocrine system (collection of the endocrine glands made up of the pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal glands, hypothalamus, pancreas, ovaries and testes).
A problem with the endocrine system can affect hormonal levels and cause major health problems. Further to that, presence of toxins in the body + lack of both cholesterol and good fats which are essential building blocks for hormones might also affect hormonal balance.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal Imbalance are caused by a combination of multiple factors which include the food we eat, the toxins we absorb, the stress level we cope with, the exercise we get, genetic susceptibility etc.
Below are some of the major factors responsible for hormonal imbalance.
- Poor diet
- Stress (Inconsistent sleep patterns, emotional stress)
- Gut issues
- Belly fat, Obesity
- Toxins (cigarettes, too much alcohol, pesticide, body care products)
- Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise) and too much exercise
- Aging (menopause)
- Medications (birth control pills, antibiotics, antidepressant etc)
- Medical problems (diabetes, thyroid issues)
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance.
Wondering how to know if your hormones are out of balance?
Without a few basic tests, you may not be sure
Nevertheless, here are common signs and symptoms you should watch out for
- Digestive problems
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Irregular period (heavy or very light period)
- Changes in appetite
- Internal heat
- Hair loss
- Low libido (reduce sex drive)
- Mood changes (depression, anxiety etc)
- Fatigue, migraines and headaches
It is important to note that many of these symptoms can also be linked to other physical problems, and a simple blood test can determine if there is any underlying condition to worry about.
If you have one or more of these mentioned symptoms, or you have undergone a test confirming your hormones are out of balance, then you need to continue reading to learn how to balance your hormones naturally.
How to Balance Hormones Naturally (STEP BY STEP)
Unlike the flawed conventional approach in which hormones are measured and the low ones are replaced (Replacement model), Natural approach involves addressing the problem from the source, resolving the possible cause and supporting the body to produce hormones normally.
Here is the step by step ways to balance hormones naturally.
Step 1 - Quit Poor Diet and Stick to Real Food
Eating good food is one of the pillars of healthy living and it is a fact that poor diet is one of the leading causes of early death around the world
The first step is to remove or quit all the bad and unhealthy stuff because hormonal imbalance are triggered by bad food.
Here are some bad stuffs to reduce or remove completely from your food.
Your body produces more insulin and more estrogen whenever you eat excess carbohydrates especially SUGAR, REFINED FOOD and any type of flour. This further messes with your hormone levels.
Well you may wanna ask how this happens... Here is the explanation.
Carbohydrates we eat are broken down into glucose. It is the job of insulin hormone to move these glucose into the cells for energy. When the body is loaded with more sugar than it can cope with, then insulin resistance arises.
This condition increases the risk of obesity and diabetes as concluded by this research
Furthermore, carbohydrates which are not needed are however stored as fat. Increase in body fat raises estrogen levels and later tends to cause estrogen dominance.
Caffeinated Beverages, Alcohol and Smoking
While caffeinated drinks and alcohol may have their own benefits, taking much of it is not ideal for people with hormonal imbalance.
Caffeine, an alkaloid compound that stimulates the central nervous system, raises heart rate and increases alertness, is capable of increasing cortisol level and impacting adrenaline production. Caffeine is addictive, may cause insomnia, anxiety and nervousness.
Rather than taking coffee, one or two cups of green tea (lower in caffeine) may be ideal during the day if you need a boost.
Excessive alcohol as well does much harm than good. It can adversely affect the functioning of the liver, lower testosterone, enhance estrogen dominance, affect the pancreas, and increase the risk of liver disease
If you are going through menopause, or struggling with hot flashes, internal heat or night sweats, it is important you limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption.
It is also imperative to steer clear of smoking as Smoking can sabotage hormonal balance and cause reproductive damage.
The next step is to take more of healthy foods
Here are some examples
Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Veggies
Eat food rich in plant nutrients such as leafy greens like spinach, collards, kale, and Cruciferous vegetables which include broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, produces a substance called diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM helps to modulate hormones (especially estrogen)
Step 2 - Eat Healthy Fats
When it comes to hormone building, fats are essential. This is because your body needs various kind of fats and cholesterol for hormone production. They are also important for inflammation reduction, increased metabolism and weight loss promotion.
There are three types of natural fatty acids.
- Saturated fatty acids
- Monounsaturated fatty acids
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are also referred to as essential fatty acids (EFA), this is because they cannot be created by the human body and they need to be obtained from our diets.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are types of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that have different functions and structures.
Ideally, our body need both Omega-6 and Omega-3 in the right balance of 50/50 from our diet. The ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 should be 1:1
However, a lot of Nigerians get too much Omega-6 from most of our foods such as refined vegetable oils, fast foods, cookies, crackers, sweets etc. but we are not getting enough Omega-3
This has resulted in an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 25:1 to 40:1
Due to this imbalance, there has been an higher incidence of inflammatory diseases, hormonal imbalance, male infertility, coronary heart disease, autoimmune disease and various forms of cancer.
The way out is to stop the intake of oils high in Omega-6 fats such as vegetable oil, soybean oil, groundnut oil, these oils were wrongly assumed to be healthy in the past years but a lot of recent studies like this research and this research have pointed out that they may cause serious diseases and cancer.
The following oils are suitable and better alternatives for cooking.. Coconut oil, Real Butter, Olive oil, Palm oil, Animal fats (lard, tallow)
Furthermore, Take more of Omega-3 fat rich fishes such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, black cod, and bluefish. Walnuts and flaxseeds are also rich sources of omega-3
When buying supplements, All you need buy is Omega-3 supplement because that is what you are getting less of. You don't need to buy supplement that claim to have a balance of Omega 3, Omega 6 and Omega 9. Your body can produce Omega-9 itself when needed and you are already getting enough Omega-6
Step 3 - Avoid Potentially harmful chemicals
Often times ladies especially ones trying to conceive spend a lot on detoxification and cleansing yet they end up with little or no result.
Does that makes detoxification and cleansing not good? NO!
Detoxification is great but one thing that makes it effective is when you stay away from substances that brings in toxins to your body.
These potentially harmful chemicals (xenohormones) are present in pesticides, body care products, plastics etc. These chemicals behave as if they are hormones and so they fool the body and prevent the body from producing real hormones.
While there is no way to completely avoid this hormone disrupting chemicals, being cautious and avoiding them as much as possible can limit your exposure.
This is the way out especially for those people trying to conceive.
- When using body care products (make ups, body creams, soaps, shampoos, etc), use only natural products such as essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil
- Change your plastics and aluminium to stainless steel, ceramics, or glass (especially the ones for food storage and hot food)
- As much as possible, eat only organic meat and produce (example is choosing the local chicken over the feed fed ones)
These minor precautions can go a long way in minimizing the amount of toxins that finds their way into your body.
Step 4 - Exercise Rightly
We all know exercise is important when it comes to living healthy.
It promotes glucose use up in the cells (lowers insulin), enhances immune system, increase alertness, promote healthy weight, reduces inflammation and lowers stress among others.
When it comes to balancing hormones naturally, exercise is awesome but it is important to exercise in the right way and not to overdo it.
This is because strenuous and prolonged exercises increases cortisol levels and lowers thyroid hormones
Experts have recommended relaxing exercises such as swimming and walking, coupled with short round (5 sets) of heavy weightlifting for about 15 mins, 3 times a week. You can always consult a professional to know what is best for you.
Engaging in one or two sessions of yoga for 45 mins is also great for hormonal balance.
Step 5 - Sleep Better and Get Rid of Stress
You might have heard of the saying that "Sleep is for the weak" mostly from people who don't wanna sleep or who claim to be hardworking.
In-fact I've heard some people boast that they only sleep for 4 hours in a day and channel the remaining 20 hours towards productive activities. The truth is skipping sleep doesn't really get us ahead. Without sleep, you become weak, unhealthy, depressed, fat and will age at an accelerated rate
During sleep, the body engage in various activities such as toxin removal, regulation of hormones, energy building, helping the body to recover properly etc. Therefore depriving yourself of sleep means to hinder the body from performing the aforementioned activities
Talking about hormonal imbalance, studies show that people who sleep less than 6 hours every night are twice likely to develop diabetes and have shown high risk for obesity.
Further to that, lack of sleep is capable of elevating your cortisol (a hormone that enable our bodies respond to stress appropriately so that we don’t become ill).
Having substantially high levels of cortisol in your body can increase your stress levels, blood pressure, and visceral fat
Except you get about 8 hours of sleep every night, you are not doing your body any good
Having said all that, Here are what to do to make things right.
- Create a daily routine and stick to it even on weekends. For instance, sleep by 10 pm and wake by 6 am
- Avoid taking naps in the afternoon if you have trouble sleeping
- Drink adequately during the day and stop drinking water at least 2 hours before bed to avoid waking up to use the toilet
- Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and possibly non toxic.
- Bath, meditate, read, pray, etc.. Just do something that reduces stress and makes you feel relaxed.
Step 6 - Support Gut Health.
It is mandatory to support your gut health because gut issues contributes to virtually every modern chronic health disorder.
Dysbiosis, an imbalance of microbial community in the gut has been linked to various human diseases including obesity, diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. This is because dysbiosis can promote leaky gut and increase the level of inflammatory and proliferative estrogen metabolite
Now that you understand that a problem with your gut means a problem with your health
What then is the way out?
- Avoid medications like Antibiotics, Birth control and NSAIDs as much as possible. Here is how antibiotics can affect
- Eat fermented foods like yogurt, palm wine, locust beans, ogi, agidi, ogiri etc.
- Supplement with digestive enzymes and multi-species probiotic that can help improve your production and modulation of important hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin
- Remove all dietary toxins including vegetable oils and gluten (if you have gluten sensitivity)
- Manage stress
- Avoid diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods but consume high-fiber foods like vegetables
Step 7 - Take Supplements and Herbs for Hormonal Balance
Ideally, all the nutrients we need should be gotten from food and our environment at large but that is not the case as the foods we eat are often lacking in essential nutrients. Hence, there is need to take supplements so that we can make up for the nutrients we miss.
Important supplements for hormonal imbalance include
Vitamin D - Essential for good heath as explained in this study ( I will assume most Nigerians get adequate amount of this from the sun)
Omega-3 - Its importance cannot be over emphasized in balancing of hormones and inflammation elimination
Probiotics - High quality and multi-species probiotic to improve gut health.
Magnesium - Can be used topically or taken orally
Herbs are capable of helping the body to restore hormonal balance. Adaptogen herbs which are unique group of herbs that promotes the adrenal health and protects the body from a wide range of various diseases.
Taking any of these or mixture of the adaptogen herbs is a natural way to hormonal balance in most people. They can also boost immune function, improve thyroid function, etc. Examples of adaptogen herbs include; Cordyceps, Reishi, Maca root, Panax ginseng, American ginseng, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero
Apart from taking adaptogens, your doctor can help with a with herbs tailored towards your conditon
A large number of people are suffering from hormonal imbalance.
As a result, many are suffering from diabetes, infertility, and several inflammatory diseases.
Quitting poor diet, eating healthy fats, exercising rightly, supplementing wisely, sleeping appropriately etc. can go a long way in balancing your hormones naturally.
Now Its your Turn
Now I want to hear from you:
What do you think of this hormonal Imbalance?
Or maybe you have a question about something.
Either way, leave a quick comment below.
I’ll be around to reply to comments and answer questions.
So if you have a question or thought, make sure to leave a comment right now.