Your body thrives best when everything is balanced, but this is unfortunately not always going to be the case when it comes to your hormones. Hormones can be wildly unpredictable under certain circumstances, and this is especially true when you’re going through menopause, a lifestage change that by definition comes with fluctuating hormone levels.
Luckily, even though there are a ton of reasons that your hormones could be out of whack, there are also a ton of solutions. Medical treatments and therapies exist, but they’re not always going to be the right solution for everybody. So here’s the natural way to find your hormone balance again.
What Causes Hormone Imbalances?
Your hormones essentially act as messengers: they’re compounds that signal to your body to trigger actions and systems all in the name of keeping you alive, well, and functioning as normal.
So your body depends on a variety of hormones for almost everything - and as such, any irregular changes and/or imbalances can lead to a variety of life-disrupting symptoms and can even be a cause for concern.
There are several reasons that hormone imbalances can occur, including:
- Diseases, injuries, and other health conditions
- Chronic stress
Natural life cycles also play a role in your hormone levels. Take menopause, for example. When women reach menopause, they start to see a decrease in their reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
While this is a normal process that all women will eventually go through, the fluctuations and unpredictability can lead to noticeable, inconvenient, and even distressing symptoms.
Testing For Hormone Imbalances
So maintaining regular hormone levels is obviously crucial for nearly every aspect of your health and wellbeing. But you have so many different hormones that the signs of an imbalance can be subtle, so you might attribute feeling “off” to a variety of other conditions.
Your individual hormones don’t exist in a bubble, either: several hormones could affect any system in your body, which means that you may feel like you have a hormone imbalance but have no idea which hormones are actually to blame.
This is why it’s important to test for hormone imbalances, so you know exactly what you’re dealing with. Hormones can usually be tested with a sample of your blood or saliva. You can even try at-home hormone tests so you don’t have to actually go in to the doctor to take a look at your hormone panels, just remember hormone testing is only recommended in women under the age of 45. If you’re over 45 and noticing changes in how you feel that can often be enough to determine perimenopause
From here, you can consult with a medical professional to understand your results, determine whether it’s a major cause for concern, and take the right steps to correct any imbalances.
Natural Hormone Balancing Methods
There are medical interventions for serious hormone imbalances. For example, hormone replacement therapy or HRT can be used to replace lost estrogen as a treatment for menopausal symptoms in specific conditions. However, treatments like this aren’t always right for everyone and can present different health risks during the process.
Luckily, there are several natural changes that you can make to find some balance for your hormones, and many of those solutions can be chalked up to the healthy lifestyle changes that you may already be thinking of improving!
Natural ways to balance your hormones include:
Your diet is one of the most key things that you can change to improve your hormone levels. The nutrients you eat and the hormones in your body are intricately connected, which means that a poor eating pattern can absolutely affect your hormone levels.
Some of the most important nutrients to make sure you’re including in your diet to balance hormones include:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Balancing hormones with your diet can also mean minimizing your intake of lower-quality foods. For example, sugars and simple carbohydrates can lead to spikes in the hormone insulin, which can be particularly concerning during menopause since menopausal women are at higher risk for gaining weight and for developing serious chronic conditions like Type 2 diabetes.
Herbs and supplements
Some women find that they need to supplement their diet with key vitamins and minerals that they aren’t getting from the diet alone.
In addition, certain herbs may also help you with your hormone balance. For example, some herbs like black cohosh and red clover contain phytoestrogens, a plant-based compound with similar qualities to estrogen. Some women have reported including phytoestrogen-rich herbs into their diet and supplement routine helped minimizing the symptoms that come from estrogen imbalances due to menopause, but it is important to remember herbs can interact with many medicines and may not be recommended in certain cases - like in patients with breast cancer, for example - so it is important to consult with a doctor before including to your diet.
Physical activity is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Staying active can reduce your stress hormones, increase the release of “feel-good” hormones, and help you to lose weight if needed, all of which can go a long way in minimizing the effects of imbalance.
And in good news for any woman going through menopause, studies have shown that regular physical activity can help balance your sex hormones!
Watch your weight
Hormone imbalances can be a result of several unhealthy lifestyle factors, including an unhealthy weight. This is of particular concern if you’re a woman going through menopause - those hormonal changes can lead to higher weights and increased belly fat, both of which can have serious implications for your health in the long run.
Luckily, it goes both ways: eating the right diet and staying active can help you lose weight, which improves your hormones, and those improving hormone levels can help correct your weight even more!
Many hormones are released according to a strict timeline. Your circadian rhythm is the “biological clock” that your body adheres to for releasing hormones on time, and any disruptions to your sleep cycle can also lead to disruptions in normal hormone levels.
Make an effort to get a solid sleep every night by minimizing distractions, practicing winding down earlier, and keeping your bedroom comfortable.
There are plenty of ways that you can stop hormone imbalances from running you ragged and affecting your quality of life. Start by getting your hormones tested, consulting with a doctor, and incorporating natural healthy lifestyle changes. Everything is better with balance!