Hormones 101: How to Know When They are Out of Balance
In this world of stress, poor diets, electronic interference, and toxins, many of us are unaware that our hormones have become unbalanced. Often the changes are subtle and slowly progress over time so that we hardly notice what is happening. Then, “wham”, the symptoms coalesce and we find ourselves with diminished functioning.
Hormonal imbalance affects both men and women and the effects often are masked by the fact of getting older. Well, you do not have to feel like an alien in your own body anymore!
- Are you tired of being tired?
Fatigue is rampant in our society and most of us think we just have to put up with it. We don’t. While more exercise is needed by almost all of us, even that won’t solve the fatigue problem if our hormones are wacko.
- Are mood swings wrecking havoc in your life?
Have you snapped at anyone lately? Do you find yourself gesticulating at the drivers in front of you if they don’t do what you want? Mood swings can negatively impact so many aspects of our lives and often we feel helpless when it comes to controlling them. Well, hormone imbalances can cause these swings and effective hormone management can really help!
- Is your libido lower and causing friction in your relationship?
Age does not have to lower our libido. A healthy libido can help keep your relationship vibrant and alive, making intimacy a regular and important part of your partnership. Certain combinations of prescription drugs and a sedentary lifestyle can be causes of reduced libido. Guess what else contributes to it? Yes, hormonal imbalance.
- Has our sedentary lifestyle caused some extra pounds to appear and you are struggling to get them reduced?
Have you added exercise into your regimen and just aren’t seeing the results you crave? You guessed it; hormone imbalances can make it hard to lose those extra pounds.
- Are strange cravings appearing?
If you are pregnant, then we get it, but if you aren’t and strange cravings are showing up, you might want to get your hormones checked because they can be the cause of these new desires.
What to do?
All is not lost, there are things you can do to minimize the above symptoms. Once you have checked your hormone levels the following will help restore and maintain healthy hormone levels.
- Change your diet.
Consume fresh vegetables every day, especially the cruciferous type (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy, collard greens, and cabbage). Limit “convenience” foods and avoid the high-fat diet that most of us have.
- Reduce Stress.
Try meditation or enjoy a yoga class and see if it is for you. Most health facilities offer yoga classes at regular times throughout the day. If you feel stress coming on, try to find a quiet place and just breathe deeply or listen to music that is soothing to you. You could even visualize sitting at the ocean or imagine relaxing by a quiet mountain stream.
- Minimizing toxins in food and environment.
Use pesticide-free foods whenever possible as they can cause hormone disruption. Try to limit your use of plastic containers and consider storing your food in glass receptacles. Buy organics whenever possible.
- Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.
Seven to nine hours is recommended and this time is critical for the brain to re-balance and replenish essential hormones. Consider getting blackout curtains, as they are available inexpensively at major retailers and can keep out unwanted light. Try to stop electronic interference for several hours prior to going to bed (that means turning off the TV). If you use a sleep aid, consider the herbal alternatives.
- Hormone therapy.
Bio-identical hormones can help restore the body’s balance and are available through specialized clinics. Also, use liver supporting herbs to keep the liver properly functioning. Ashwagandha, Maca root, Avena Sativa (Oats) and others are effective in supporting hormone function. Adrenal support is needed for almost all people in our modern society and healthy adrenal glands are critical in hormone regulation and balance.
Hormone balancing involves many moving parts and can be a tricky endeavor. But it can be managed effectively. While the above suggestions can be a great way to maximize your hormone health, it is always helpful to use a qualified practitioner for a full analysis.