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What is hormonal imbalance and how to regulate it

 What is hormonal imbalance and how to regulate it

It is a fact that women, in comparison to men, have to deal with far more physical issues, especially regarding hormones. Hormones are boys’ chemical messengers, which the endocrine system produces and helps control the significant processes within your body. If the endocrine system makes too much or too little of a hormone, it can lead to hormonal imbalance.

Which hormones are specifically crucial to women, their period cycles, and stress regulation? An interplay of progesterone, estrogen, insulin, and cortisol plays a significant role in women’s physical and mental well-being. But how would you know if you are going through a hormonal imbalance and what are its causes?

Causes of hormonal imbalance

Some causes of hormonal imbalances in women are natural as the hormones fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. Consequently, it leads to symptoms such as bloating or insomnia; pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause contribute to hormonal changes. However, some additional reasons lead to imbalances, such as:

Thyroid issues

An underactive thyroid called hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of certain crucial hormones. Although initially, a person may attribute the symptoms of getting older, they may develop more severe problems as the metabolism continues to slow. Some symptoms include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, elevated blood cholesterol level, heavier than usual or irregular menstrual periods, thinning hair, slowed heart rate, depression, etc.

On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of a hormone causing to accelerate your body’s metabolism. Consequently, this can lead to unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase. Other symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, irritability, changes in bowel patterns, increased sensitivity to heat, etc.

Stress

hormonal imbalance

There are a lot of reasons that causes stress in a person’s life, which ranges from work-related pressure, balancing professional and personal lives, maintaining several responsibilities, etc. Unfortunately, stress leads your body to produce too much cortisol, which causes Cushing syndrome. This condition results in exaggerated facial roundness, weight gain around the midsection and upper back, thinning of your arms and legs, easy bruising, and stretch marks.

Furthermore, long-term stress exposes one’s body to high cortisol levels for long periods and can affect the other hormones’ levels in the body.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can affect hormone levels, leading to too little estrogen, low bone density, and other problems.

Birth control

Some types of birth control have hormones in them, which affect the hormones in one’s body and cause several problems. Some major issues include lack of periods, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, weight gain, digestive issues, and more.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women

Hormones are compounds that affect every cell and system in the body and have a debilitating impact. However, some hormonal shifts are expected, like monthly fluctuations of sex hormones responsible for menstruation and ovulation or changes during pregnancy. Also, menopause is another significant time for a normal hormonal shift in a woman’s life.

Most of the symptoms are very noticeable, including bloating, fatigue, irritability, hair loss, palpitations, mood swings, problems with blood sugar, trouble concentrating, and infertility. Simultaneously, many women may experience weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, and diminished sex drive during this time. These fluctuations may be due to a medication or a medical condition.

How to balance hormonal imbalance in women?

Hormonal imbalance can significantly affect overall health. Although some factors are beyond a person’s control, they can take a few steps to manage the hormone levels and their effects.

Getting enough sleep

Navigating through long hours of work commitments that often demands women to do overtime to complete a specific task has become a regular routine for many. But this takes a toll on mental and physical health. Moreover, lack of proper sleep contributes to some hormone levels, which may rise and fall throughout the day.

According to many studies, the adverse effects of sleep disturbance on hormones lead to obesity, diabetes, and appetite problem. Therefore, getting a full, undisturbed night’s sleep helps the body regulate hormone levels.

Manage stress

hormonal imbalance

Researchers and medical experts have pointed out the link between stress, the endocrine system and hormone levels. They have emphasised that too much stress leads to an increase in adrenaline and cortisol; if the levels of these hormones go beyond a certain limit, it can disrupt the overall hormonal balance. Therefore, it can contribute to issues such as obesity, changes in mood, and cardiovascular problems. So, it is significant to reduce stress; although it is easier said than done, you must find ways that suit you best.

People have different ways of dealing with stress; some prefer smoking, which is responsible for respiratory and lung problems. Hence, doctors suggest looking for alternative methods like listening to music and doing physical activities, such as biking, running, yoga, etc.

Exercising

Studies show that exercise increases dopamine levels in the brain, which helps to decrease stress and depression. At the same, it also helps to regulate the hormone levels that control appetite. Also, it reduces the risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes.

Maintain gut health

There is a relationship between the gut’s health and hormones, as when gut health is not optimal, hormones become imbalanced. For instance, recent research has pointed out that the microbiome plays a significant role in estrogen regulation. These studies indicate that poor gut health increases the risk of estrogen-related diseases such as PCOS, endometriosis, and even breast cancer.

An imbalanced gut microbiome is one of the leading causes of a low-performing thyroid, also called hypothyroidism. Common symptoms include chronic fatigue, weight gain, and hair loss.

Eating a nutrient-rich and anti-inflammatory diet is instrumental in improving gut health. Consuming probiotic-rich food like yoghurt, milk, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha helps balance the healthy bacteria in the digestive system.

Types of food to eat

A balanced diet is an optimum choice to achieve hormonal balance and a healthy heart.

Healthy fats

For efficient hormonal functioning, the body needs sufficient good fats as hormones to thrive on fat production. You can have coconut oil, butter, ghee, egg yolks, and different nuts.

Seeds

In a process called seed cycling, you need to consume four different kinds of seeds that help regulate the hormones. In the first phase, you need one tablespoon each of pumpkin and flax seeds; in the second phase, you need to consume whole and raw sesame and sunflower seeds one tablespoon each. These seeds are rich in Zinc and selenium and support the thyroid gland.

Rainbow diet

Rainbow diet

According to the rainbow diet, you need to include food of different colours in your daily diet, including fruits and vegetables. Also, eating different colour food ensures the intake of varied nutrients and improves health and immunity in various ways.

  • Purple – Brinjal, Purple Cabbage, Black Current, Raisins
  • Blue – Blue Berries
  • Green – Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale
  • Yellow – Yellow Bell Pepper, Saffron, Avocado
  • Red – Apple, Plum, Water Melon, Cherry, Strawberry, Beetroot
  • White – Banana, Mushroom, Ginger, Cauliflower

Herbal beverage

The liver is responsible for hormone metabolism and the body’s detox system, which also depends on particular nutrients and minerals. To ensure optimal hormone balance, consuming caffeine-free herbal tea infusions like tulsi or dandelion root helps the liver detox and stress reduction.

Arpita Pawan

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