Could your hormones be imbalanced?

A naturopath and nutritionist shares the symptoms of hormone imbalance and how to treat them.

Hormones are chemicals that are produced by the glands in the endocrine system and are vital for our bodily processes to function efficiently. However, hormones can become imbalanced for various reasons, including stress, lifestyle, some medications and poor nutrition. As hormones have such essential jobs, even the slightest imbalance can wreck havoc in our bodies.

If you are suffering from hormone imbalance, you might be experiencing a range of symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, weight loss, skin issues and problems with menstruation.

As a naturopath and nutritionist, one of the more common hormonal issues that I see in women is that of oestrogen dominance. The symptoms for this particular hormone imbalance are weight gain, slow metabolism, fatigue, depression, anxiety symptoms and decreased sex drive as well as fluid retention.

As you can imagine, these symptoms can really stress a woman out, but there’s a lot we can do to clean up our lifestyle in order to help hormone imbalances, as well as see your health care professional. Here are my recommendations:

Manage stress

Stress causes our bodies to ‘steal’ the calming hormone, progesterone, to manufacture cortisol, leaving an excess of oestrogen. Managing stress is vital in allowing your hormones to balance properly. Although no foods contain progesterone, there are macronutrients that can help support your body to boost progesterone levels, such as Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium and B Vitamins, in particular B6. Therefore, eating a diet rich in quality nutrients is essential.

Take care of your gut by reducing processed and high sugar foods and try limiting alcohol, caffeine and other stressors to the liver. Swap for nutritious foods and green tea and engage in some stress reducing activities such as meditating.

Exercise

Exercise helps detox and improve circulation, promotes lean muscle growth, and helps metabolism. A healthy metabolism supports the balance of oestrogen and progesterone. When you’re feeling stressed, aim for restorative style exercise like walking, Pilates, stretching and yoga. Get outside as much as you can, spending time in nature in the fresh air can reduce stress levels.

Go natural

Make sure you are aware of what you are putting on your skin, and using around your household. I recommend using more natural cleaning products and skin care. Endocrine disruptors are many of our household and skin care products that we use on a daily basis.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for overall health, in order for our body to rest and recover. Our hormones can affect our sleep, but so can not having enough restful sleep. Cortisol, insulin, ghrelin, leptin and the growth hormone are some of the hormones that are directly impacted by sleep, or lack of. Aim for eight hours of restful sleep a night.

Jess Blair is a Naturopath, Nutritionist and Founder of holistic lifestyle education and consultation platform, Wellness by Blair. 

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