Young woman in pain

Often when looking for solutions to get healthy we look outwards and not inwards. We look for solutions for a problem without looking at what’s causing the problem in the first place. This phenomenon is very common with hormonal imbalances so let’s have a look at some of the reasons your hormones become imbalanced and then look at what it takes to balance them.

Stress

Stress is part of life today however this does not mean we have adapted to avoid the impact on our health. Stress in a way is a natural contraceptive. In stressful times our bodies halt the correct production of reproductive hormones and replace them with cortisol and adrenaline needed to manage stressful situations. Stress has an immediate impact on our reproductive hormonal balance. Long term stress then depletes the adrenal glands which are particularly necessary during perimenopause and menopause stages to produce adequate levels of hormones which start to deplete.

The effects of stress are cumulative, but so are forms of relaxation. You can offset the effects of stress with counter measures such as meditation, yoga, exercise and hobbies. When your nervous system is constantly ‘0N’ then your reproductive hormones will be ‘OFF’. Remember this.

Hormone metabolism

If you do not metabolise hormones well then there are multiple knock-on effects from this. Hormones are very powerful moderators in your system and if they are not broken down well then there is a duplicate and triplicate effect on your body. This is especially common in women with chronic hormone disorders such as PMDD, PCOS and endometriosis. It is also common in a classification of hormonal imbalance called oestrogen dominance.

To improve hormone metabolism there are 2 systems which need attention. The liver and digestive system. It’s the livers role to metabolise hormones and the digestive system to further breakdown and excrete hormones. Genetic conditions such as MTHFR and pyrrole disorder predispose women to having issues metabolising hormones.

There are also several nutrients which are commonly deficient which assist in hormone metabolism. These are Vitamin B6, B9 and B12, zinc and magnesium. Ironically these are all depleted from synthetic hormone use.

Synthetic hormones

If you have taken synthetic hormones for a period of time this will have disputed your overall endocrine balance. No question. You may not realise it but there will be underlying issues as a result. If you have taken them for 10+ years then there will be obvious issues. If you are currently taking synthetic hormones then this will be a direct block for your endocrine system to balance your hormones.

Thyroid

Thyroid imbalances are at epidemic levels today and have risen in conjunction with hormonal imbalances. This is because the whole endocrine system is interconnected. Thyroid issues are particularly common in women who have been on synthetic hormones longer term. Thyroid conditions like hashimotos are also commonly linked to food intolerances, especially gluten. Kelp and liquid iodine are two simple and effective ways to re-stimulate thyroid function.thyroid

Insulin resistance

Sugar has many impacts on your hormonal control and hormonal balance has an impact on your sugar cravings. Again your whole endocrine system is interconnected. High sugar intake disrupts your hormonal balance, your digestive gut ecology, liver function to the point of fatty livers and even sleep patterns. Small amounts are fine but sugar has infused our food chain so minimising sugar intake and improving insulin sensitivity to regulate sugar levels is an important step in balancing hormones.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome PCOS is a good example of how insulin resistance can be associated with hormonal issues. Chromium and zinc are two important minerals to improve insulin resistance along with a herbal medicine Gymnema which is contained in Happy Hormones(HH).

Diet

Possibly diet should be at the top of the list in terms of blocks to balancing hormone levels. Diet alone often will not rebalance your hormones but poor diet choices will definitely stop your hormone balancing and cause hormonal imbalances. Processed foods, sugary caffeinated drinks, low fibre foods, coffee, processed dairy, fatty foods and commercial meats are some of the common culprits. Its critical for women with chronic hormonal conditions to eat a clean, unprocessed diet and for normal women it makes good sense as well.

Nutrient deficiencies

There are some common nutrient deficiencies which should be considered. These are iron, B12, zinc, magnesium, iodine, selenium, potassium, vitamin D and general antioxidant status.

Sleep

Sleep connects all our cycles including the hormonal cycle of 28days. Shift workers, insomnia, irregular sleep and general poor sleep have an impact on causing hormonal imbalance and hormonal imbalance has an effect in disrupting sleep. Looking in causes for poor sleep patterns and addressing these are important for hormonal balance. Many factors contribute to poor sleep and this article may assist. The herb passionflower contained in Happy Hormones(HH) is a gentle and natural way to calm the nervous system without side effects. Actually improved sleep is the second most improved condition ladies report after taking HH.

Adrenal fatigue

I alluded to the impact of adrenal function earlier related to stress levels, however some women have diagnosed adrenal fatigue which needs deliberate attention. Many herbal medicines and nutrients can assist in restoring adrenal function however when the larger endocrine imbalance is addressed the results are faster and longer lasting. One of the most common and effect herbs is Licorice which has been used for centuries as a general energy tonic.

Toxins

Toxins are part of life and even the healthiest person will be exposed to environmental toxins and the body produces metabolic toxins as part of its normal daily function. Its good practice for your health to do a yearly cleanse focusing on clean diet and taking liver and digestive tonics. If you have never done this then expect that your system will be storing toxins in fatty tissues and your hormone receptor sites. This can then lead to unexplained weight gain. If you have not looked after your health then do not expect it to restore overnight as many of these toxins must be released from your system for the body to recover.

Surgery

Any form of surgery, from small procedures to lifesaving interventions will leave a lasting impression on your body. A good example for women is a tubal ligation. A seemingly benign procedure can have severe and long lasting effects on the hormonal system. An ablation or surgery to remove endometrial tissue will leave scar tissue that will give pain at different stages in the cycle. So with all recovery from hormonal imbalances keep in mind any previous interventions that may have been performed.

Anxiety

Finally and most importantly often a health anxiety can develop. To the point where every food, remedy and regime is overanalysed often restricting any treatment at all or leading to long term anxiety over getting well or trying another remedy. Its important to be aware of this situation and be open to new treatments and approaches because to date if you are unwell, then whatever you have been doing is not working. Health is a journey….have fun with it and embrace new approaches.

Summary

Every lady is different in terms of their own individual health nuances yet if you can follow the fundamentals of healthy diet outlined in the 8 week program. This may take a few weeks to see changes or it may take a few months depending on how many blocks exist in your body and how much you commit to making the necessary changes. The health rewards flow onto multiple other systems in your body and the little effort it takes rewards you with huge health and wellbeing benefits. Don’t wonder, just do it.

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About Jeff Butterworth:

Jeff Butterworth B.App. Sc, N.D is a Naturopath with over 20 years experience specialising in treating hormonal disorders. Jeff developed the Happy Hormones program after discovering a unique way of treating hormonal disorders - by focusing on endocrine balance rather than hormonal levels - which gives long-lasting and dramatic results.