Do you suffer from hormonal imbalances?
Many women suffer hormonal imbalances at some point in our lives. This is quite simply because our hormones are in a continual state of flux from puberty on wards. The natural cycle of highs and lows may be very mild for some women, or extreme for others, but it is there for all of us. What is more, there are stages where our hormones must completely recalibrate. Our first period, pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding, the common experience of “baby rabies”, and finally the menopause are all either common or universal to women. And at these times our hormones get thrown off their normal cycle. Usually when this happens we rebalance. We either go back to our old hormone cycle, or settle comfortably into a new one. But sometimes when we find a new pattern, there are hormonal extremes that harm our mental and physical health. These are some signs of hormonal extremes that are not healthy or natural. If you are experiencing any of these, please consult with your doctor.
An androgen excess in women is fairly obvious. It can cause us to lose fats from our hips and thighs. It can sometimes cause us to gain fat around our waists, but this is usually redistribution (the fat from our thighs changing places), or due to a cortisol excess (see below). We can gain facial hair, or experience pattern baldness. We will lose our cycles, and may even find our bodies developing masculine traits like a square jaw.
A lack of estrogen can also cause women to lose fat from our hips and thighs, and to lose our periods. This is because hip fat is an omega oil store for feeding a fetus, and a period is a sign we ovulated. When we don’t have enough female hormones, we can become infertile. However, we may not develop masculine traits or excess hair at all.
But women can also lack androgens and have too many estrogens, and these imbalances often go together. A lack of androgens is usually marked by lowered mood, muscle weakness, hairloss, and sensitive skin. An estrogen excess is usually marked by rapid weight gain, sudden and extreme bursts of sexual need, sore breasts, and heavy, painful periods.
A lack of progesterone can interfere with your fertility too, causing missed periods, infertility, and even miscarriages. Your sex drive will crash, you will suffer hot flashes, you may experience bleeding outside your periods, or constantly, and you may suffer migraines.
A cortisol excess is caused by stress. When we are fine our cortisol levels spike only briefly when we are stressed, but under chronic stress they are permanently high. At first you may experience indigestion, lack of appetite or extreme appetite, and fat around your midsection. But later on your body will increase androgens to fight the stress, resulting in another imbalance.
An under active thyroid can cause a deficiency in thyroid hormone. You will feel fatigued and weak. Your weight will increase and you will retain fat and water weight easily. You will show signs of nutrient deficiencies, no matter how good your diet is, such as hair loss, dry skin, and constipation. Your whole body may start acting oddly.
A lack of happy hormones can be caused by either not producing enough dopamine, serotonin, or oxytocin, or by reabsorbing them too fast. When this happens our mood will be flat, and we will feel irritable or depressed even when things are going well. Lethargy and episodes of paranoia are also common.
Finally, remember that your hormones work in a cycle and a balance. It is normal as you move from stage to stage of your cycle to have a few hours or even days of being imbalanced. Likewise, you may have high hormones all round and feel great, because your hormones are proportionate to each other. Or you could have a blood test and find out that you have perfectly normal hormone levels, but feel awful because your hormones are not proportionate to each other. What is normal depends completely on your normal cycle. And what is healthy depends on whether you feel right or not. If you are noticing something unusual, and feel bad, then something may be wrong, so you need to try and fix it.
A healthy lifestyle helps in regulating hormonal imbalances, including
- Eat balanced meals (avoiding under eating or over eating and making sure you have enough protein at every meal)
- Consume health fats
- Consume a high fiber diet
- Avoid refined sugars (and sugary drinks)
- Learn to manage stress
- Engage in regular exercise
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Written by Batista Gremaud