How To Balance Hormones Naturally: 8 Ways
Hormone imbalance can cause problems within the body ranging from metabolic problems to fertility issues. Learn how to help balance hormones.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally: 8 Ways
The body's ability to regulate body temperature, blood sugar, sleep, mood, and other processes rely heavily on biological signaling pathways in the body. Many people think of the brain and nervous system as the control center of the body.
While the nervous system does play a large role in the regulation of bodily processes, there is another system that helps to maintain order, known as the endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands, hormones, and receptors that work together to regulate a number of different bodily systems, including digestion, sleep, and growth.
Below is a closer look at everything you should know about the endocrine system and hormone balance, including what hormones are, how they function, and how balance can be disturbed.
Going through your everyday life, you have most likely heard of molecules such as testosterone, estrogen, adrenaline, and insulin. These molecules function very differently within the body but are all considered hormones.
Insulin helps to regulate the digestion of carbohydrates, while estrogen and testosterone play essential roles in your sexual health. Even though these molecules have very different functions, they are all considered hormones.
These molecules are considered endocrine hormones because they are released from glands, enter the bloodstream, and enact changes in target tissues. Hormones are the body's chemical messengers, and over 50different hormones have been identified.
While sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone are produced in the gonads, other hormones are produced in glands all over your body. These include the thyroid gland, the adrenal gland, and the pituitary gland.
What DoHormones Do in the Body?
Hormones are biological molecules that act as chemical messengers within the body to help regulate different processes within the body. Although hormones are created in specific endocrine glands, they are released into your circulatory system, where they bind to receptors on target tissues, facilitating a cellular response.
Insulin, for example, helps to maintain a healthy blood sugar level within the body. When blood sugar levels rise after a carbohydrate-rich meal, insulin is secreted from your pancreas into your bloodstream.
The insulin binds to receptors found on nearly every cell within your body, signaling them to take in sugars from the blood. This process helps to lower blood sugar levels and achieve a state of homeostasis.
Hormones are not just limited to functioning as metabolic controls. For example, female hormones like estrogen and progesterone work together to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Estrogen and progesterone are released by the ovaries and work in tandem to facilitate fertility by regulating the endometrial lining of the vagina, which plays an important role in implantation and getting pregnant. Meanwhile, growth hormone plays a huge role in helping you grow through childhood.
Hormones can also impact your mental well-being and stress level. Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones and play an important role in the fight or flight response to a stressor.
Cortisol and adrenaline work together to prepare the body for an emergency situation by increasing heart rate, elevating respiration rate, and suppressing body systems like digestion and immunity to best prepare your body to fight or flee.
Another function hormones have within the body is that they help your body establish its circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm refers to the 24-hour cycle your body goes through daily.
One of the most important aspects of this 24-hour regulation is the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin is one of these hormones; it helps your body to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night.
What Causes Unbalanced Hormones?
Hormones are potent chemical messengers that can have a wide variety of different impacts on the body. Because of this, hormones are usually well-regulated by the human body.While most people go most of their lives with their hormones in check, hormone imbalance can happen.
There are many different causes of the development of hormone imbalances. Some develop hormone imbalances as a consequence of age; some develop hormone dys-regulation due to their genes, while others develop hormone problems as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle.
There are a number of potential causes behind hormonal imbalances, and determining the exact cause can be difficult. If you discover that you have unbalanced hormones through a lab test result, you should consult with your healthcare provider to help discern the underlying cause and find the most effective treatment plan for your circumstance.
What Are the Side Effects of Unbalanced Hormones?
It is easy to see that hormones are incredibly important within your body but what exactly happens when hormones become unbalanced? The answer is that many different symptoms can arise due to mis regulated or unbalanced hormone levels.
Below is a closer look at some common symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Understanding these common signs can enable you to be proactive and get tested early if you notice potential signs of hormonal imbalance.
Some potential outwardly apparent signs of a hormone imbalance include the development of acne or other skin problems, hair loss, increased hair growth, unexplained weight gain, and even drastic weight loss.
Along with these more apparent symptoms, an individual may experience a decline in sex drive, hot flashes, bloating, fatigue, altered mental well-being, poor sleep, night sweats, irregular periods, digestive issues, and a harder time regulating blood sugar.
In women, medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), menopause, hypothyroidism, and medications like birth control can cause hormonal imbalances like estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is when estrogen levels are chronically elevated. In women, hormonal imbalances can lead to the symptoms above, as well as infertility or premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
How Do You Know if Your Hormones Are Unbalanced?
Having symptoms of a hormone imbalance can point to the potential of having a hormonal imbalance but in and of itself is not a way of determining whether you have a hormone imbalance. The best and most conclusive way to determine your hormone health is to get a lab hormone test.
There are countless people that suspect a hormone-based issue but are left only to guess as to whether or not hormones are to blame. Getting tested is an easy and simple way to put your fears to rest and get the answers you deserve.
Get a test, receive your answers, and then decide what’s right for your body and your situation.
What Can You Do To Help Balance Hormones?
Imbalance hormones can place a very real strain on your day-to-day life. Not feeling yourself and having to deal with the symptoms of hormone imbalance can make it difficult to work, be present in the moment, and enjoy life to its fullest.
There are a number of medical options for treating hormone imbalances, including hormone therapy. While medicinal treatment can be helpful, so can adjusting your lifestyle to help support a healthy endocrine system and hormonal balance.
Below is a closer look at some simple ways you can support proper hormone functioning.
Nearly everyone loves a sweet treat every now and again. However, too much sugar consumption can lead to hormone problems such as insulin resistance and weight gain, which can also have a detrimental impact on your hormone balance.
Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin receptors throughout your body lose insulin sensitivity. As a result, your body has a harder time properly managing sugar. This inability to properly process sugar is known as diabetes; overtime, diabetes can wreak havoc on your body.
Decreasing the amount of sugar you eat in a given day can have a positive impact on your hormonal health and overall wellness. A good place to start is to avoid added sugar whenever possible. The recommended daily intake of sugar for men is 150 calories, and for women, it is 100 calories.
If you are diabetic, stay on top of your blood sugars through blood tests and adopt a diet with foods with a low glycemic index. Your provider may also ask you to get an insulin blood test to help monitor your condition.
Current CDC estimates find that more than a third of the U.S. adult population is obese. Obesity is a condition characterized by the accumulation of excess body fat. Obesity can have a number of detrimental impacts on your body, including on your hormone balance.
Excess fat can elevate the levels of hormones like estrogen while also making you more susceptible to hormone disorders like diabetes.
Being chronically overweight or above 25 on the BMI scale isn’t the only way weight can impact your hormone balance. Underweight people can also experience hormone problems such as problems with sex hormone regulation and fertility.
Women with low BMI (below an 18.5 on the BMI scale) can experience hormone issues, such as ovulation problems or missed periods known as amenorrhea.
Another key component to proper endocrine functioning is to fuel it with the nutrients it needs to produce hormone molecules. Hormone production heavily relies on the intake of healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and olive oil.
Eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet is a great way to support your hormone balance while simultaneously supporting your overall wellness. Getting your nutrition sorted is a worthwhile endeavor and may be able to bring balance to your hormones.
Sometimes it’s hard to get all the nutrients you need through dietary sources alone, so you may also want to talk with your primary care physician or nutritionist about what supplements can help based on the root cause of your imbalance.
In today's day and age, it is becoming harder and harder to stay mindful and in the present moment. Technology has undoubtedly brought good to the world, but it has also increased the amount of time we spend busy and preoccupied.
While some people find this an advantage, constantly being busy can have its drawbacks in the form of anxiety, stress, and fatigue, all of which can negatively impact your hormone balance.
Chronic stress and anxiety can elevate cortisol and adrenaline, leading to health problems such as sleep problems, weight gain, and much more.
Practicing mindfulness is a great strategy to help improve your mental well-being and cope with stress and anxiety. Some common mindfulness practices include meditation, mindfully doing activities, and ensuring that you have time for yourself.
Taking a few moments out of your day to practice mindfulness can help naturally reduce stress hormone levels and allow you to breathe a little easier.
Digestion plays a vital role in your overall wellness, and there are a number of different hormones that help to regulate it. Some of the hormones that help regulate digestion include Ghrelin, Cholecystokinin, Pancreatic Polypeptide, Peptide, and Glucagon-Like Peptide 1.
These hormones work together to coordinate the movement of food and enzymes throughout the digestive tract in addition to controlling hunger and satiation. Supporting your digestion through quality nutrition and proper gut health may help to facilitate better digestive health, which in turn may help with your digestive hormones.
Having a sedentary lifestyle is somewhat of a norm today, but it has a number of detrimental impacts on your health. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to an increased likelihood of developing diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and countless other health complications.
Getting regular physical activity is one of the best preventative health measures you can take to support a healthier body. From a hormonal perspective, exercise can help by keeping excess fat off, helping reduce cortisol levels, and helping to facilitate muscle growth through elevation in testosterone.
Macromolecules are important molecules that your body utilizes to function. The major classes of macromolecules include lipids, protein, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates.Each of these macromolecules is important to maintaining your health, but it is important to ensure you get an appropriate amount through your diet.
Western diets generally contain a disproportionate amount of carbs compared to other diets, which can contribute to hormone problems like insulin resistance over time. Limiting your carb intake to roughly half of your caloric intake is a good goal.
One of the best things you can do to support your hormonal health is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some things you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle include getting enough sleep each night, physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining healthy mental well-being, and making beneficial lifestyle changes.
When your body is well supported through a healthy lifestyle, it can have a profound effect throughout your body, including within your endocrine system.
Hormones are important molecules that play an integral part in your overall well-being.While necessary, these chemical messengers can also be problematic in the event of hormonal imbalance. Symptoms like mood swings, sleep disturbances, and general dysfunction can all impact your overall well-being.
Taking steps like getting tested at a reputable laboratory, getting medical advice from a healthcare provider, and supporting your endocrine system are great ways to help overcome a hormone imbalance and get back to your day-to-day.