In the first part of this series, we examined hormones important to men and lifestyle changes for naturally improving hormonal balance. Now, it’s time to look at female hormones and learn what can be done to naturally balance them for a healthier and happier life.
When we talk about general hormone health, typically women’s hormones come to mind because hormones are an integral part of the menstrual cycle. It’s the delicate ebb and flow of hormones throughout the month that creates times of fertility and allow pregnancy. And once a woman becomes pregnant the intricate dance of hormones help develop and nurture the baby.
Hormones are really quite impressive.
They do much more than influence your monthly cycle. They are important chemical messengers that regulate your mood, appetite, stress levels, sex drive, and more. Having balanced hormones is critical to feeling good and having optimal health.
I can’t stress this enough – If your hormones are off balance, you’ll feel off balance
In part two of this series, we are going to examine the inner workings of female hormones. Together we’ll cover:
- Female hormones 101 – everything you need to know about your hormones
- 5 Ways to naturally balance your hormones
- Are bioidentical treatments right for you?
Hormones are a hot topic right now. People are realizing if they want to maintain their youthful vigor and vitality, balancing their hormones is a must. Even a slight imbalance can leave you feeling not quite yourself. If left unchecked for long, unbalanced hormones can lead to major health conditions.
Female hormones 101
Your hormones are synthesized in the endocrine system and act as messengers telling different organs when to do what and when. Hormones are critical for sending signals to the brain telling your brain what’s going on in the rest of the body.
For example, when your stomach is empty, the hormone ghrelin is secreted, which notifies the brain that you’re hungry. Once you respond by eating and start to become full, your fat cells release leptin which tell your brain you’ve had enough and you’re done eating.
There are over 50 different hormones in your body involved in numerous signaling systems like ghrelin and leptin – it makes you wonder, who’s really in charge here?
Though men and women share the same hormones, women require a different balance. A few hormones associated with women include:
- Estrogen – Estrogen is the hormone most commonly associated with women. Estrogen stimulates tissue growth. It’s important for cognitive function, memory, libido, and sleep (to name a few). Estrogen also dulls the perception of pain, increases good cholesterol, preserves bone mass, and elasticity of the skin.
- Progesterone – It’s important that progesterone and estrogen exists in a balance with one another. If estrogen is thought of as the “growth hormone,” then progesterone can be considered the calming hormone. It’s important for sleep, insulin sensitivity, bone, and cardiovascular health.
- Testosterone –Though testosterone is more often associated with men, if women do not have enough testosterone, it can cause lethargy, muscle weakness, depressed mood, low sexual desire and weight gain.
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – DHEA is an important hormone that protects against inflammation and stress. It also improves libido, immune system function, and sense of satisfaction. DHEA is a fascinating hormone that can be converted into estrogen and testosterone.
When your hormones aren’t balanced, it can cause a number of conditions, including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Infertility and irregular periods
- Digestive issues
- Reduced sex drive
- Mood fluctuations
- Reduced attention span
- Memory difficulty
- Hair loss
- Endocrine disorders such as hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, estrogen dominance, fertility issues and more.
Several factors can contribute to hormone imbalance including food sensitivities, genetic predisposition, high stress, inflammation caused by a poor diet, toxin burden, and being overweight.
The good news is there are a number of things you can do to improve your hormone balance naturally. Let’s check out some of the best ways you can improve your hormone balance.
5 Ways to naturally balance your hormones
- Increase healthy fat intake – Women are more likely to put themselves on a low-fat diet, believing it will help them lose weight. But we are learning more and more each day just how terrible extremely low fat diets are for you. A recent study found diets with the right kinds of healthy fats reduced risk of death overall. You need fat to make hormones so be sure to increase your healthy fat intake.
- Examine emotional stress – Unfortunately, it’s not talked about often but traumatic experiences especially those in childhood can negatively impact hormone balances. If you’ve experienced trauma it can put your body in a fight-or-flight mode, which can cause your hormones to be seriously impacted. Through work with a qualified functional medicine doctor you can deal with these traumas and improve your health overall. Other beneficial practices you can incorporate into your lifestyle include meditation, acupuncture, yoga, deep breathing, and positive self-talk exercises.
- Use balancing essential oils – Essential oils such as clary sage are effective at naturally balancing hormones. Clary sage contains phytoestrogens that help regulate menstrual cycles, improve fertility, reduce PMS symptoms, and symptoms of menopause like depression and anxiety. Other essential oils good for balancing hormones include fennel, sandalwood, and thyme.
- Get high-quality sleep – Though we know the importance of sleep, still so many Americans skimp on getting quality sleep. It’s important that you do more than lay in bed for seven to eight hours a night – it should be uninterrupted sleep so you can get to the deep healing stages of three and four sleep.
- Use adaptogen herbs – Adaptogen herbs are known to naturally balance hormones. Some of the best adaptogenic herbs for women include:
- American ginseng
Nearly every woman’s hormones levels would benefit from these lifestyle changes. However, some women will still need bioidentical hormone treatments – this is especially true as we age.
Are bioidentical hormone treatments right for you?
Many patients of mine don’t realize their hormones are off balance until we test and correct their levels. Often, they are living with the low-level impacts and simply writing it off as “getting older.”
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I urge you to have your hormone levels tested by a functional medicine doctor who specializes in bioidentical hormone treatments. At Dynamic Life Health Center , we measure all of your hormones including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone , DHEA, pregnenolone, cortisol, insulin and thyroid. Our expertise and Board Certification in Anti-Aging and Functional Medicine ensures you receive the highest quality of care. Bioidentical hormone treatments can help you find the balance that’s missing in your life.
My patients are often amazed by how widespread the effect can be when their hormone levels are balanced.
All hormones are important but finding the right balance for your hormones is vital to your quality of life. In fact, hormone balances even differ from woman to woman, which is why you should check your levels with an experienced doctor who can take the time required to identify which levels make you feel great.
Bioidentical hormones could be the missing piece of your health you never realized you needed. Share this article with a friend who would benefit from learning about the power of hormones.