Balancing Hormones Naturally
Hormones — such as estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin — are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health.
Hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin are created in the endocrine glands and work as chemical messengers throughout your body to accomplish a wide range of important physical and chemical functions, from turning on and off hunger cues to running your reproduction systems, and even triggering emotional states including balancing your mood.
Understanding the major hormones and what they do will help our patients take control of their health.
Synthetic hormone replacement therapies such as birth control pills, insulin injections, and thyroid medications are frequently prescribed in conventional care. Unfortunately, using these therapies can trigger a wide range of negative, long-lasting side effects that patients aren’t always aware of.
- Taking prescription drugs oftentimes just masks the symptoms but does nothing to remedy the root cause of the imbalance — which can be poor diet or nutritional deficiencies, gut issues, toxic environmental factors, or genetic tendencies.
- Using prescriptions to mask symptoms is dangerous as it allows the disorder to progress without the patient knowing — and in many cases can create imbalances in other areas of the body.
- Many medications also have serious side effects — such as stroke, osteoporosis, anxiety, reproductive problems, cancer and more.
Balancing hormones naturally is not only effective but also can have additional benefits such as increased energy, weight loss, improved sleep, and healthier skin. That’s why at Functional Medicine Center of Montana , treating the root cause of your imbalances involves a personalized plan that also provides you with the tools to lead a healthier, more vibrant life.
Understanding The Endocrine System
When it comes to hormone health, your endocrine system is at the heart of hormone balance since it is a collection of glands that produce various hormones responsible for essential functions such as metabolism, maintaining healthy tissue, sex drive, reproduction, sleep cycles, and mood. The endocrine system pairs specific hormone functions to each organ, to determine which chemicals need to be released, at what time, and for which purpose.
The pituitary gland, a small pea-sized gland, is also called the “master gland” as it controls the other glands in your body. It produces many hormones, like the growth hormone (GH or somatotropin), while stimulating other glands to release additional hormones like cortisol.
Other important glands of the endocrine system include the pineal gland, a pine cone-shaped gland that regulates melatonin and circadian rhythm, the thyroid gland important for thyroxine (T4) production, the thymus gland responsible for childhood growth and releasing disease-fighting T cells as well as the adrenal glands that maintain cortisol levels.
The glands that are part of your endocrine system works together, like a complex hormonal symphony to control the level of hormones that circulate throughout your body at any given time.
So when just one of these glands is “out of tune”, creating imbalances, it can lead to widespread health issues ranging from chronic fatigue to increased risks for other life-draining imbalances like low metabolism and libido.
Signs & Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances
Symptoms of hormone imbalances can manifest in many ways, including:
- Painful or irregular periods or PMS
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss and change in appetite
- Depression, anxiety or brain fog
- Fatigue or low energy
- Insomnia or lack of deep sleep
- Low libido
- Digestive issues, skin issues, or vision issues
- Hair loss and thinning hair
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances can range quite a bit depending on what role that specific hormone plays in balancing your body.
For example, high estrogen or storing too much estrogen in the body, can contribute to longterm health issues including blood sugar imbalances that may lead to diabetes, unexplained weight gain, changes in appetite, and problems with eyesight.
Some issues associated with standard hormonal imbalances may include:
- Estrogen Dominance: disrupted sleep patterns, weight and appetite fluctuations, increased stress and anxiety, and slowed metabolism
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): infertility, weight gain, acne, abnormal hair growth
- Low Estrogen: decreased libido, reproductive issues, loss of menstrual regularity, mood changes
- Hypothyroidism: slowed metabolism and fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, irritability, digestive problems, irregular menstrual cycles
- Low Testosterone: erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, fatigue and mood issues
- Grave’s Disease: anxiety, hair loss, weight loss, IBS or digestive issues, irregular sleep and heartbeats
- Diabetes: weight gain, neuropathy, vision loss, fatigue, trouble breathing, dry mouth, skin issues
- Overworked Adrenals: muscle aches, fatigue, anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, brain fog, reproductive challenges
Potential Causes of Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances are created by a combination of lifestyle factors — such as diet, exercise, environment, genetics, stress, and exposure to toxins from plastics, makeup, cleaning supplies and even pesticides in food. Some of the major causes of hormonal imbalances include:
- Food allergies & gut flora imbalances: New scientific research shows that the flora in your gut (microbiome) plays a crucial role in hormone regulation and regulating inflammation that is at the root of so many chronic illnesses. If you have IBS, SIBO, leaky gut syndrome or a lack of good gut bacteria residing in your intestines, you’re more susceptible to hormonal imbalances.
- Weight gain or obesity
- High levels of inflammation caused by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle
- Genetic predisposition
- High levels of toxin exposure including exposure to pesticides, harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, cigarette smoke (even second-hand), excessive alcohol and other harmful chemicals or compounds like lead and formaldehyde
- High amounts of stress and regular release of stress hormones like cortisol, paired with a lack of rest and deep sleep
The earlier hormonal imbalances are diagnosed, the sooner you can start addressing them naturally – feel free to schedule a complementary phone consultation to see what the best next steps are for you.