Hormones are a chemical substance produced by the body. The endocrine system controls the level of hormones circulating to cells and organs. If one or more hormones are out of balance, it can cause not only physical health problems but mood and emotional issues that can also affect your quality of life. There are prescription medications available to help restore normal function but they often come with unwanted side effects. Today I will be discussing lifestyle changes that can help balance your hormones.
Factors that contribute to hormonal imbalance
There are several things that can contribute to unbalanced hormones. Some of these things are poor diet, adrenal exhaustion, stress, lack of sleep, oral contraceptives, toxins and pesticides.
Signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance
Do any of these sound familiar?
- weight gain
- facial hair growth in women
- irregular periods and infertility
- increased sweating or night sweats
- low sex drive
- thinning hair or hair loss
- vaginal dryness
- memory problems
- digestion problems
- muscle mass loss
- increased belly fat
How do you know if your hormones are balanced?
If you find that you are experiencing some symptoms listed above. You should consider seeing your doctor and ask to be tested for all hormone levels. A saliva test is considered to be the best way to test because it measures active parts of the hormones. Hormone levels can also be determined by blood or urine.
Tips to balance hormones naturally
1. Don’t buy vegetable oils. Eat healthy fats and real butter instead.
Vegetable oils (including peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine and shortening) contain high amounts of Omega 6,an inflammatory fatty acid.
Healthy fats include real butter, coconut oil, olive oil and lard. These oils contain Omega 3, a neutral fatty acid that will not contribute to inflammation. Other sources of Omega 3 are flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts and salmon.
Omega 3 can also be taken as a supplement. 500 mg a day is the usual dose.
2. Get enough sleep
This is the one I struggle with the most. Sleeping 7-8 hours per night will help correct hormonal imbalance. Lack of sleep has been shown to increase cortisol levels and decrease thyroid levels. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. I know. This is easier said than done. Keep your bedroom dark and at an optimal temperature. Mute as much sound as possible. Don’t sleep with the TV on.
3. Avoid chemicals that mimic hormones
Most people don’t know that there are synthetic chemicals called xenoestrogens that mimic and have the same effects as real estrogen. It is best to avoid products that contain them. The bad news is they are everywhere including cosmetics, shaving creams, make up, shampoo, conditioners, household cleaning supplies, bleach, fabric softener and pesticides. That is a long list. Since that list contains products you probably use every day your best bet is to shop for natural and organic products that are not as likely to contain them.
4. Let the sunshine in.
Natural light has been shown to increase serotonin levels during the day and increase melatonin levels at night.
Keep your shades open during the day and try to spend at least 30 minutes outside every day.
5. Treat your digestive Health
Hippocrates said “all disease begins in the gut” Obviously, that’s not true for all diseases but there is evidence that this may be the case with some hormonal issues. Leaky gut syndrome causes symptoms such as gas, bloating and cramps. It causes problems with your thyroid as well as your digestive track. The best way to deal with it is to take a high quality probiotic supplement .Kefir, bone broth and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut can also help.
6. Use essential oils
Essential oils can reduce the need for hormone replacement therapy.
Here are some to try:
- Clary sage is used for regulating menstrual cycles, PMS symptoms, treat infertility, depression and anxiety.
Use3-5 drops in an air diffuser to relieve anxiety and depression. Mix 5 drops with coconut to massage on your stomach to relieve menstrual cramps.
- Lavender is my favorite essential oil. It is a mood stabilizer used to treat anxiety, depression, and stress, It will also help you sleep better which will also help your hormone levels.
It can be used several ways. Use 5 drops in an air diffuser. Place 5 drops in warm bath water before going to bed. Apply 3 drops topically to your wrists, temples or neck.
- Fennel essential oil can be used to improve gut health, increase metabolism.and reduce inflammation.
Rub 2 drops on your stomach or place 2 drops in warm water or tea and drink internally.
- Thyme oil improves the production of progesterone. It can be used to treat infertility, pcos, insomnia, hair loss depression and fibroids.
Add 2 drops to a warm bath or mix 3 drops with coconut oil and rub on your abdomen.
- Sandalwood oil promotes relaxation and mental clarity to reduce stress. It can also increase libido.
Tips for buying essential oils
- Look for pure aromatic plant oils that are not diluted with a carrier oil.
- Look for the Latin botanical name on the label.
- Look for oils that are certified organic.
- Do not buy anything that says it is a fragrance oil. This is a perfume not a botanical oil
How to store essential oils
- Buy essential oils in dark colored glass vials.
- Store in a cool dark place away from heat and light.
- Do not store with the rubber top dropper in the bottle. Some oils are concentrated enough to eat through the dropper. This will contaminate your oil.
There are different methods available to treat hormone imbalances. A good place to start is to make lifestyle changes that can help to regulate the endocrine system. These changes can lead to more balanced hormones. Please consult with your doctor before making the decision to stop taking hormone replacement medications.
Let me know in the comments below if you have tried any of these lifestyle changes . Tell me if they helped to improve your condition.