Hormone disorders usually are the result of having too much or too little of a particular hormone. Even small changes can have severe effects throughout your whole body.
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. Produced by the endocrine glands, these potent chemicals travel around your bloodstream telling tissues and organs what to do. They help control many of your body’s primary processes, including reproduction and metabolism.
A straightforward way of explaining the importance of hormone balance is by comparing them with the ingredients in a cake recipe. Too little or too much of any one component can affect the final product. While some hormone levels fluctuate throughout your lifetime and may just be the result of natural aging, other changes occur when your endocrine glands get the recipe wrong.
The Most Common Symptoms of Hormone Disorders
Your hormones perform a fundamental role in your overall health. Because of that, there’s a wide range of symptoms that could indicate a hormone disorder. Your symptoms will depend on which hormones or glands aren’t working correctly. General hormone disorders affecting both men and women could cause any of the following symptoms:
- Weight gain;
- Constipation or more frequent bowel movements;
- Increased sensitivity to cold or heat;
- Puffy face;
- Dry skin;
- Increased or decreased heart rate;
- Unexplained weight loss (sometimes sudden);
- Frequent urination;
- Muscle weakness;
- Tenderness, muscle aches, and stiffness;
- Increased thirst;
- Thinning hair or fine, brittle hair;
- Stiffness, pain, or swelling in your joints;
- Increased hunger;
- Anxiety, nervousness, or irritability;
- Decreased sex drive;
- Blurred vision;
- A fatty hump between the shoulders;
- Purple or pink stretch marks;
- Rounded face.
What Causes Hormone Disorders?
There are many possible causes of a hormone disorder. Reasons differ depending on which hormones or glands are affected. Common causes of hormonal imbalance include:
- Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid;
- Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid;
- Cushing syndrome;
- Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules;
- Tumors (benign or cancerous);
- Hormone therapy;
- Eating disorders;
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia;
- Cancer treatments;
- Pituitary tumor;
- Adrenal insufficiency;
- Injury or trauma.
Best Natural Remedies and Supplements for Hormone Disorders
There is no shortage of dietary supplements on the market, and many of these nutritional supplements claim to treat hormone imbalance and menopause. Sadly, just a few of them are also backed up by concrete scientific evidence.
Luckily there are a few treatment options, including several natural alternatives and various supplements that may alleviate the symptoms associated with a hormone disorder. An excellent example of such supplements are those containing plant-derived hormones. These are sometimes called “bioidentical” hormones because they chemically resemble the body’s natural hormones. However, additional research is required to prove that these supplements work better than regular hormone therapy.
Some individuals find that practicing yoga helps treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is excellent for your flexibility, strength, and balance. It may also help you lose weight, which can help regulate your hormones. Ideally, you want to combine the use of dietary supplements and exercising techniques with several other lifestyle changes, such as proper diet.
Weight Gain and Hormone Disorders
Hormones play an integral role in your body’s ability to use energy and it’s overall metabolism. Hormone disorders like Cushing syndrome and hypothyroidism can cause you to become overweight or obese.
People with Cushing syndrome have elevated levels of cortisol in their blood, which can result in increased fat storage and increased appetite. People with hypothyroidism have low levels of thyroid hormones. This means that their metabolism doesn’t function as well as it should. Even while dieting, individuals with hypothyroidism can still gain weight.
Many women gain weight during menopause because the metabolism slows down. In this situation, patients may find that even though they’re eating and exercising like usual, they still gain weight. The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to address the underlying condition.
4 Great Methods to Balance Hormones Naturally
1) Adaptogen Herbs
Adaptogen herbs are an unusual class of healing plants that improve hormone balance and protect the body from a wide assortment of diseases, including those caused by excess stress. In addition to combating stress and boosting immune function research shows that some adaptogen herbs – such as medicinal mushrooms, ashwagandha, holy basil, and Rhodiola Rosea – benefits health in many other ways.
Some of these benefits include:
- Improving thyroid function;
- Lowering cholesterol naturally;
- Reducing anxiety and depression;
- Supporting adrenal gland functions;
- Reducing brain cell degeneration;
- Stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels.
Holy basil (commonly known as tulsi) helps to regulate cortisol levels, thereby working as a natural remedy for emotional stress and anxiety. Clinical research shows that holy basil can also defend your tissues and organs against chemical stress from heavy metals and pollutants, which are additional factors that can lead to hormone disorders.
Ashwagandha can be extremely efficient at balancing hormones. It benefits thyroid function because it promotes the scavenging of free radicals that cause cellular damage. Ashwagandha can be used to overcome adrenal fatigue, and it can also help to support an overactive thyroid or sluggish.
Your adrenals can become overtaxed when you experience too much mental, physical, or emotional stress, leading to the disruption of hormones like progesterone, cortisol, and adrenaline.
2) Carbs vs. Healthy Fats
A proper diet that includes a wide variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is essential to maintaining good health and an appropriate balance of hormones. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including cholesterol and saturated fat.
Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they promote weight loss, boost your metabolism, and keep inflammation levels low. Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which can mess with the balance of your hormones and result in inflammation.
Some of the best sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats include avocados, coconut oil, wild-caught salmon, and grass-fed butter.
- Avocado benefits include lowering inflammation, improving heart health, contributing to your daily intake of fiber and nutrients such as potassium, and controlling your appetite.
- Coconut oil uses are plentiful. For instance, coconut oil (or cream/milk) has fat-burning and natural antibacterial effects.
- Salmon nutrition is also impressive. It’s one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Research confirms that Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease pro-inflammatory responses and defend against hippocampal neuronal loss. Omega-3 fatty acids are a vital component of brain-cell membranes and are essential for cell-to-cell communication in the brain.
3) Address Emotional Imbalances
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the fact that internal emotions have a direct impact on a person’s health and addressing lifestyle choices. External factors and emotional imbalances can help to prevent health conditions linked to hormone disorders. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners expect that the emotion of fear, for example, can cause disease in your kidneys, adrenals, and reproductive organs, affecting cortisol levels.
This can lead to severe conditions like infertility and PCOS. The emotions of unforgiveness, impatience, and frustration cause disease in your liver, which can lead to an estrogen imbalance. And feelings of anxiety and worry can cause issues with your insulin levels, which can then affect several hormones.
A principal component of balancing your hormones naturally is approaching any emotional imbalances that you are dealing with. You can do this by taking time for yourself, engaging in personal reflection, and reducing stress levels.
Practicing healing prayer or meditation can be extremely beneficial, as well as exercising every day, spending time outdoors, and deep breathing exercises. Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like massage and acupuncture can also help to improve blood flow, combat stress, and improve hormonal balance.
4) Beware of Prescription Medications and Birth Control Pills
Are you aware of your medications adverse effects? Some can upset your hormone balance, leading to unwanted adverse effects like appetite changes, sadness, fatigue, low libido, altered sleeping patterns, and even depression.
Some prescription medications that can mess with your hormone balance include statins, corticosteroids, dopamine agonists, stimulants, glucocorticoids, and rexinoids. Beware of your medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects and research natural alternatives whenever possible.
Birth control is another dangerous medications that alter hormone levels. “The pill” is a type of hormone therapy that raises estrogen levels to such dangerous levels that it can cause many complications.
Studies show that the risks of taking them, especially long-term, can include:
- Increased risk of breast cancer;
- Breakthrough bleeding between cycles;
- Increased blood pressure;
- Increased risk of uterine bleeding, blood clotting, and heart attack;
- Back pains;
- Weight gain;
- Mood changes;
- Breast tenderness;
- Benign liver tumors.