Do you have mood swings, weight gain, brain fog, hot flashes, migraines, bloating, hormonal acne or fatigue? You could have a hormonal imbalance. Check out these 10 ways to balance your hormones naturally.
Do you feel like your hormones are out of control? You’re not alone. Most women have experienced a hormonal imbalance. Here are the signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance…
21 Signs of a Hormonal Imbalance
Have you experienced any of these symptoms?
- Foggy thinking
- Increased forgetfulness
- Water retention
- Weight gain around the waist
- Abdominal fat
- Decreased muscle mass, and strength
- Decreased urine flow
- Prostate problems
- Increased urinary urge
- Difficulty sleeping
- Decreased stamina
- Dizzy spells
- Frequent colds/flu
- Morning fatigue
- Sugar cravings
You could have a hormonal imbalance. The first thing you need to do is do an at-home hormone test or take the hormone quiz I recommend below to see what’s out of balance.
What Causes Hormone Imbalance?
Virtually everyone experiences imbalanced hormone levels at some point in their lives, especially women. These imbalances are often a result of natural changes that occur with age, such as puberty and menopause. When you were growing up, hormones triggered bone and muscle growth. They also set in motion the reproductive changes that led to menstruation and fertility in young women, and sexual maturity in young men. This surge of hormones is behind the acne, mood swings, and other “teen” issues that affect most adolescents.
On the other end of the spectrum, hormone production slows as you leave your reproductive years behind. A decline in hormone production is what leads to perimenopause and menopause symptoms in women, and low libido and erectile dysfunction in men entering middle age.
Some hormonal imbalances, however, can have other underlying causes beyond the natural aging processes, including:
- Chronic stress
- Elevated blood sugar
- Lack of Sleep
- Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism)
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) or birth control pills
- Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- Being overweight
- Endocrine disruptors such as pesticides, herbicides, and plastics
- Steroids and other medications
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Why Is Hormone Balance Important?
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They help control every physiological process in your body, including metabolism, immune system, menstrual cycle and reproduction. A precise hormone balance is vital to proper body functioning.
How to Test Your Hormones
One of my favorite resources for balancing hormones naturally is the book The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried. She has a quiz you can take in the book to figure out on your own what hormones are out of balance, and she gives natural remedies, exercises, supplements, and other tips to balance hormones. For instance, if you have higher cortisol levels, you’ll want to stay away from running and intense exercises like kickboxing. Yoga and mind-body exercises are better suited for you.
While The Hormone Cure is a great start, I also recommend getting a hormone lab test. It’s the most accurate way of finding out what’s going on with your hormones. It’s an at-home hormone lab test that tests saliva samples (which is one of the most accurate ways to test hormones). This test provides an assessment for estradiol/estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, lutenizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, and cortisol (am, noon, dinner and before bed).
And the best part? You can schedule a one-on-one consultation with a functional medicine doctor with True Health Labs to go over your test results. There’s no need to schedule a doctor visits. There’s no need to drive to your appointment. Just add the consultation to your cart when you order the at-home hormone lab test. The entire process took about 2-3 weeks from the time I received the kit, sent in my samples, waited for the results, and had my consultation.
You can then use the tips in this post and The Hormone Cure book to balance your hormones naturally.
Video Q&A with Dr. Brady Hurst
I also interviewed Dr. Brady Hurst of True Health Labs on the basics of women’s hormones, how hormones affect other body systems, symptoms of hormone imbalances, how diet and lifestyle can affect hormones, natural ways to balance hormones and how to get an at-home female hormones test.
10 Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally
1. Try seed cycling
Did you know you can actually regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce PMS (and PMS-related symptoms like cramping) naturally? You can with seed cycling. This concept may seem new but naturopathic health practitioners have been using this method for a while to balance hormones. Cycling seeds (such as pumpkin, flax, sunflower or sesame seeds) at certain times of the menstrual cycle can help your body to produce hormones or eliminate certain hormones to quell PMS symptoms. Find out more about how to balance hormones naturally with seed cycling.
2. Avoid GMO foods
While it’s no surprise that dairy, meat and pork may come from cows and pigs who have been treated with hormones, genetically-modified (GMO) foods can cause hormonal imbalance too. Long-term ingestion GMO foods that are sprayed with pesticides can cause hormonal issues that have been linked to depression, infertility, PCOS and cancer. Eating a diet with little to no GMO foods and rich in local and organic produce can help to balance hormones.
3. Walk barefoot
Crazy as it may sound – the key to lowering cortisol (a hormone associated with stress, inflammation and sleep dysfunction) may be to walk barefoot – like on a grassy lawn, sandy beach or even a concrete road. There are 1,300+ nerve endings per square inch on the soles of your feet – more than any other part of your body. Walking barefoot – or earthing – helps to ground you to the earth and in a way conduct the energy from the ground. Keep reading The Healing Power of Earthing.
4. Eat more liver
Your mother was right. Liver really is good for you – and in a way you wouldn’t expect. Liver is the most nutrient-dense food you can eat. It can help to curb PMS and mood swings, increase energy and improve cardiovascular stamina. While the thought of eating liver each day may seem unfathomable, you can take liver pills (de.
5. Cut down on sugar and alcohol
The two biggest endocrine disruptors are sugar and wine. Sugar can lead to inflammation and feeds yeast in the gut, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other digestive issues. Alcohol disrupts your body’s natural detox abilities, which helps to keep your hormones in check. Lay off both sugar and alcohol to feel better within just a week.
6. Take a detox bath
Balance your hormones with a relaxing bath. But not just any bath. A detox bath with epsom salts. Epsom salts provide magnesium help to balance and support healthy hormones.
7. Drink water sole
Unlike you’ve been told as a kid, drinking salt water is good for you. Unlike ocean water or salt water made with table salt, water sole is made with natural salt such as Himalayan pink salt. It’s like a natural electrolyte drink. Drinking a lot of plain water can dilute the fluid in the body and may cause a stress response – such as an increase in stress hormones. Water sole hydrates without diluting the body. Natural salt also helps to reduce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline – encouraging a better night’s sleep. Read more on how to make water sole and its benefits.
8. Avoid soy
Soy and soy products have been touted as a health food for decades, but the reality is that soy is not healthy. If eaten unfermented, soy has anti-nutrients that actually block the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. In addition, eating as little as two tablespoons of soybeans per day for a month can significantly increase thyroid-stimulating hormones. Soy consumption is linked to thyroid issues such as hypothyroidism, goiter and autoimmune thyroid disease.
9. Ditch the low-fat diet
Fat is really good for you, especially saturated fat. Your body depends on fat for necessary functions. It supports metabolic rate (metabolism), thyroid function, immune system and digestion. The best options for saturated fats are butter (from organic or grass-fed cows), ghee, and rendered fats (such as lard and tallow).
Cold-pressed olive oil is another great fat source – just don’t heat it. Save it for salads or as a garnish on foods. While saturated fats from animal fat and are good for you, there are two fats you should avoid.
Vegetable oils (such as canola, cottonseed, soybean and grapeseed) are polyunsaturated fats that actually cause inflammation and can cause a hormonal imbalance. These fats are usually derived from GMO sources, contain pesticides and are heavily refined and processed. Trans fats are another fat to avoid – occurring in hydrogenated oils such as Crisco and food products with hydrogenated oils.
10. Consider supplements
Sometimes eating a whole food diet isn’t enough to help balance hormones. Consider supplements such as magnesium, calcium and fish oil/omega-3 – as well as herbs and whole foods such as Tulsi (holy basil), gelatin, Maca root. These delicious treats help to balance stressors in the body – including estrogen imbalance.
Sleep And Hormone Imbalance
No matter how nutritious your diet is and how much exercise you get, your health will suffer if you don’t get enough restorative sleep.
Poor sleep has been linked to imbalances of many hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone.
Inadequate or poor-quality sleep has been shown to decrease fullness hormones, increase hunger and stress hormones, reduce growth hormone and increase insulin resistance.
Top Tips To Balance Hormones Naturally
- Take a bath with epson salts for a detox.
- Avoid GMO foods
- Tulsi is a great natural supplement to help with hormone imbalance.
- Make sure to get enough good quality sleep.
More Posts You Might Like
- Are Your Hormones Out of Whack? Try This Hormone Test at Home
- 5 Health Benefits of Collagen Powder
- 14 Health Benefits of Infrared Saunas
- 10 Of The Most Effective Natural Sleep Aids by The Sleep Doctor
- Alternative To Soy by Kitchn
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto.com / Milkos