Are you experiencing hormonal imbalances and wondering what you can do about them? Have you experienced PMS, migraine, weight gain and other changes that had no direct explanation?
In this article we are going to talk about hormonal imbalances, the causes, and the 3 steps to take to help support healthy hormonal balance so you can feel like you again and have healthy fertility.
Signs of hormonal imbalance
Severe PMS or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Some hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle are normal, like mild cramping, slight moodiness or temporary bloating. Yet, if you have severe PMS that affects your daily activities, your hormones could be out of balance. The common culprits: high estrogen levels, low progesterone; dietary deficiencies, high stress.
Long-lasting fatigue unrelated to pregnancy can be a sign your hormones are out of balance.
The common culprits: elevated progesterone (especially fatigue around ovulation), an imbalance in thyroid hormones, adrenal exhaustion. Progesterone has a mild sedative effective and can cause dips in blood pressure or blood sugar. Low testosterone (low T) is another cause of fatigue for women. Fatigue can also be caused by hormone-containing contraceptives or autoimmune issues.
Premenstrual or Menopausal Migraines
Hormone fluctuations definitely trigger and worsen migraines for many women.
The common culprits: sensitivity to decreases in estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle, hormone changes caused by perimenopause. Birth control pills and HRT drugs also routinely cause migraines, as can coming off the pill.
Breast tenderness and swelling, Fibrocystic breasts
If you have breast swelling (not related to puberty or pregnancy) that increases your bra size by a cup or more, your hormones could be out of balance.
The common culprits: excessive estrogen or progesterone levels. Estrogen encourages swelling in fat cells in the breasts. Progesterone increases the size of the milk glands.
Unexplained weight gain around the middle, buttocks, hips, and thighs that is difficult to get rid of can be a sign your hormones are out of balance.
The common culprit: weight gain around the hips, thighs, and buttocks is usually caused by excess estrogen. Weight gain around the waist and stomach may be related to high cortisol levels.
Cystic Acne, Acne Rosacea, Dry Skin
We see the acne-hormone connection clearly for adolescents during puberty. Unfortunately, acne persists for some people well past their teenage years. Rosacea, which is associated with acne-like breakouts with redness around the cheeks and nose, is tied in part to hormone issues.
The common culprits: excess testosterone, dietary deficiencies or excessive sugar in the diet. In women, acne around the chin may be hormone-driven, related to PCOS or hormone-containing drugs. Extremely dry skin is often related to low thyroid.
Vaginal dryness/Low libido
Vaginal dryness and low libido are tied to hormone changes during perimenopause. Vaginal dryness and low libido also regularly occur after childbirth or during breastfeeding.
The common culprits: low estrogen or progesterone levels, low cervical mucus, menopausal changes, premature ovarian failure, hysterectomy, chemo or radiation treatments. Low libido in women is also caused by low testosterone (low T).
Head hair loss/Facial hair growth
Head hair loss and facial hair growth are troubling problems for women. Sometimes tied to genetics, but stress, nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalance play a role.
The common culprits: excess testosterone, dietary deficiencies, PCOS, hormone changes after childbirth (falling hair), adrenal problems, and hormone-containing drugs.
When your period has been absent for 3 to 6 months during your reproductive years, it’s defined as amenorrhea.
The common culprits: too much or too little estrogen. Being underweight or having a BMI over 30, premature ovarian failure, stress, thyroid or pituitary issues, PCOS, perimenopause or menopause play a role, too.
Dysmenorrhea, Menorrhagia & Endometriosis
Long, heavy periods with clotting (menorrhagia), that are sometimes painful (dysmenorrhea), are a big problem for women in their reproductive years. These period issues can be related to an overly thick uterine lining or endometriosis. Heavy blood loss can cause anemia. In other cases, abnormal tissue growth from endometriosis blocks fertility.
The common culprits: excess estrogen, which thickens the uterine lining or causes spider web-like growths of endometrial tissues outside of the uterus (endometriosis), HRT drugs, possibly linked to estrogen exposure in the womb.
Anovulatory cycles – not ovulating
Anovulatory cycles are menstrual cycles that occur without normal ovulation. Having an occasional anovulatory cycle is okay, but if it occurs regularly, it’s a sign of a deeper hormone imbalance and a cause of fertility problems.
The common culprits: hormone changes related to breastfeeding, rapid weight gain or loss, high stress, oral contraceptives, PCOS, pituitary or thyroid problems.
The common culprit: high estrogen or progesterone levels. Caffeine, soy foods, and hormone-injected meats and dairy products aggravate fibroids by further disrupting hormone balance.
The common culprits: excess progesterone or estrogen, abnormal egg follicle development during ovulation, endometriosis (blood filled cysts called chocolate cysts), PCOS.
Resource: How to Help Ovarian Cysts Naturally and Safely with Herbs and Supplements…
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)
The common culprits: Elevated testosterone, androstenedione and estrone; androgen exposure in the womb; obesity; insulin resistance; chronic inflammation.
Resource: How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs
While a large number of miscarriages result from chromosomal abnormalities, recurrent pregnancy loss is sometimes tied to hormonal imbalance.
The common culprits: Low progesterone, luteal phase failure, elevated prolactin causing problems with uterine lining development, thyroid or adrenal issues, diabetes.
The 3 steps
- Nourish – Nutrition & Sleep
- Protect and eliminate – Cleansing, stress, xenohormones
- Balance and support – track your cycle, learn what your period is telling you, use herbs, essential oils and supplements to help bring balance and support to your hormones