5 Ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally to Heal & Feel Better
Every week I receive messages from women in our community asking about tips to balance hormones. If you’ve been learning from me long enough, you know that I’m obsessed with hormones. Many of the health challenges women face today are associated with imbalanced hormones, so today I’m taking the time to share five of my favorite ways to balance your hormones.
First, what the heck are hormones?
The dictionary definition of hormone is, a regulatory substance produced in an organism and transported in tissue fluids such as blood to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. In other words, hormones are your body's chemical messengers that help to control nearly every physiological process in your body. This is WHY hormone health is important!
What are the symptoms of hormonal imbalance?
Many women experience hormonal imbalance without even knowing their symptoms are a result of this. The hormone system is a complex ecosystem: and when one aspect is out of balance it affects the whole.
Here are a few of the symptoms of hormone imbalance:
- Chronic pms or PMDD
- Premenstrual headaches or migraines
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Heavy, long or painful periods
- Vaginal itchiness or dryness
- Mood swings or anxiety
- Insomnia or sleep challenges
- Low libido or decreased sex drive
- Weight challenges
- Breakouts around the chin, jaw, or neck
- Unexplained hair growth on the face or thickening and/or darkening of bodily hair
- Water retention
- Spotting before menstruation
- Night sweats
- Uterine fibroids
- Endometrios or adenomyosis
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Chronic infections and low immune system
While this list isn't exhaustive, if you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms I know it isn’t fun. So I want to share with you five tips so you can start cultivating hormone balance today.
1. Move your body and have fun with exercise.
As a formal fitness trainer, I love making recommendations for women to add physical activity into their wellness routine. Movement and exercise has such a powerful impact on your hormones.
When hormones are out of balance we often just look to diet and supplements to bring them back to optimum levels. After all, certain foods, such as those high in sugar, can trigger elevated levels of hormones, like insulin— the hormone that directs cells to store blood sugar for energy. But your workout routine can also be a tipping point for hormone regulation and is often overlooked as a way to keep them balanced.
Exercise is one way we can communicate to our body and to our endocrine system — the glands around the body that are responsible for secreting our hormones at the correct levels. Some of the hormones that are influenced by exercise include insulin, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone, human growth hormones and progesterone.
So using movement and exercise to balance hormones should be a no brianer!
2. Learn how to destress, relax and get more meaningful rest.
We live in a chronically stressed and sleep-deprived world. Pushing, forcing, hustling, stressing and overworking our way through life catches up to us eventually, and when it does it often results in hormonal imbalance and health issues. That's just the truth! For women, it doesn't honor our true feminine nature.
Chronic stress in the body is not an isolated event or condition – it affects all of your vital systems by elevating heartbeat and blood pressure, changing your breathing, inhibiting proper digestion and elimination, raising acidity and inflammation levels, suppressing immune function, cause an imbalance in the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, and the list goes on and on!
The body always prioritizes survival over reproduction or procreating, which makes sense at the most basic level according to evolution.
Giving yourself permission to end relationships that longer serve you, quit a stressful job, clear your schedules, turn off the phone, and prioritize your own well-being is not only imperative for the balance of your hormones, but for your ability to find balance and ease in a world that teaches women the opposite. One of the most profound ways we can add meaning to our relaxation is by planning and structuring it, i.e. going to a class, a retreat, or even setting a timer for ourselves during a period of relaxation daily.
3. Support your gut and digestion health.
In the ancient eastern science and of Ayurveda, the health of our digestive fire is essential for the health of all other bodily systems. According to this science, over 95% of all states of dis-ease are caused by impaired digestion and poor gut health. Hormonal imbalance is no different.
Hormones are metabolized in your body through your digestive system and organs of detoxification like the liver and kidneys. When you’re unable to properly digest your food, your body excretes vital nutrients like vitamins and minerals that are precursors to healthy hormone production. Stagnant waste in the gut puts excess strain on the liver and kidneys, two important organs of detoxification that are also responsible for metabolizing excess hormones during the menstrual cycle.
Nourish your digestive system by adding carminative herbs like ginger, cumin, fennel, black pepper, turmeric, and mint into your diet. Experiment with adding a daily serving of live fermented food into your diet like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi to feed the beneficial microbes in your gut and support healthy digestion. Last but certianly not least, heal you stomach lining and promote healthy intestinal permeability with my Gut Health Support supplement.
4. Avoid endocrine disruptors as much as you can.
An endocrine disruptor, when absorbed into the body, can decrease or increase normal hormone levels, mimic the body’s natural hormones, or alter the natural production of hormones. Endocrine disruptors are compounds in the environment, such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, herbicides, plastics, flame retardants, and fragrances in lotions and cleaning supplies, that can cause hormonal imbalances. Medication, prescription drugs, and birth control are included as well.
In todays world it's absolutely impossible to avoid every single endocrine disruptor in our environment. The goal is to be more mindful and control what you can by eliminating toxic products as much as you can. Opt for eco-friendly organic beauty, skin and household products. And in the case of the endocrine disruptors that you can't avoid, make sure you're detoxing to support your body's hormone health.
5. Take a quality herbal mineral supplement daily.
Minerals are so important, not only for the proper function of your hormone system, but for the production of your bones, teeth, hair, and nails, and the proper function of the digestive and nervous system. Minerals are some of the most overlooked and misunderstood nutrients in modern nutrition today.
Many of us don’t pay attention to them, simply because we assume that the foods we’re eating contain the minerals we need. Let’s be clear – unless your family has stewarded the same piece of land for generations and personally nurtured and cared for its well being, it’s likely that the food you’re eating isn’t exactly nutrient-rich. Although it may look the same, the food we eat today is not the same food that our grandparents once enjoyed.
The food we eat sources its nutrients from the soil. When the soil has been used repeatedly to grow the same crop season after season, it’s vitamin and mineral content is depleted. Less minerals in our soil mean fewer minerals in our food and eventually, fewer minerals in the body.
There are two ways to ensure you’re getting proper minerals in your diet. Know where your food comes from. If it’s possible in your area, buy from small, local farmers when and if you can. Get to know the people who touch, nurture, and grow the food you’re putting in your body. Second, take a quality multivitamin supplement, purchase my Women's Multivitamin. It isn’t always possible to know where your food comes from. Even when I do, I still take a quality multivitamin supplement just to make sure I have my basis covered.
One of the reasons that western medicine or allopathic treatment can have side effects or even be ineffective is because it focuses on balancing only one hormone at a time. The human body is a living, breathing ecosystem. Treating one part of the body without thinking about how it affects the whole is often both ineffective and may come with a range of side effects.
In our fast-paced world, many of us feel we have no choice but to push our body to its limits in order to meet a certain standard of so-called ‘success’. The body can only meet this unrealistic standard for so long, and eventually, we may experience various challenges like adrenal burnout, digestive issues, thyroid problems, insulin resistance and fertility challenges as the body’s way of communicating with us something isn’t working. Women as a whole need to learn how to slow down.
If you’ve been challenged with hormonal imbalance, remember to be patient with yourself. You cannot get to a new destination by taking the same path, we have to forge a more feminine way – we have to be soft with ourselves. Healing your hormone system and gently guiding your body back into balance can take time and a myriad of tools.
More and more women reach out to me every day for support with hormonal imbalance.