Hey there, have your hormones been out of whack lately?
You’re not alone! Hormonal imbalances affect millions of people, and the symptoms can really take a toll on your health and happiness. The good news is there are many natural ways to support your hormone health and start feeling like yourself again.
In this blog we will give you the basics on hormones, common imbalances, and simple strategies you can implement right away to balance your hormones naturally and thrive.
Let’s get into this:
Understand Your Hormonal Fluctuations
Your hormones are constantly fluctuating, so the first step is understanding how they change throughout your menstrual cycle or lifetime.
Women, your estrogen and progesterone levels rise and fall during your menstrual cycle. Estrogen peaks around ovulation, while progesterone ramps up after ovulation. Both hormones drop before your period, which can lead to PMS symptoms.
Additionally, for both men and women, cortisol, the “stress hormone,” varies based on factors like sleep, diet, exercise, and emotional health. High cortisol over long periods can negatively impact your health and mood.
The key is recognizing how your unique hormone profile affects you. Track your symptoms and moods to identify patterns. Once you understand your fluctuations, you can make lifestyle changes to support hormonal health.
However, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, reducing stress, and limiting alcohol/caffeine are all ways to keep your hormones in check. Exercise also helps, as it releases feel-good hormones like endorphins while lowering cortisol.
Tips for Dealing with PMS Symptoms
Dealing with PMS symptoms is no fun, but the good news is there are some effective ways to find relief. Here are a few tips to help you cope:
- Exercise regularly: Go for a walk or jog, do some yoga, anything to get your body moving. Exercise releases endorphins that improve your mood and acts as a natural pain reliever.
- Eat a balanced diet: Focus on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit sugar, salt, and caffeine which can worsen symptoms. Staying hydrated also helps, so drink plenty of water.
- Get enough sleep: Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can intensify symptoms, while rest helps your body and mind handle hormonal changes.
- Try over-the-counter medications: For cramps or bloating, an OTC pain reliever like ibuprofen or naproxen can help. You might also ask your doctor about birth control pills to prevent or lessen PMS symptoms.
- Practice self-care: Make time for yourself to unwind. A warm bath, reading a book, or light stretching are all great options. Managing stress through meditation, deep breathing, or journaling may provide relief from both emotional and physical symptoms.
- See your doctor if needed: If your symptoms are severe or disruptive, talk to your doctor. Prescription medication or hormonal birth control may help get your symptoms under control so you can feel like yourself again.
With some trial and error, you’ll find the right combination of lifestyle changes and treatments to ease your PMS symptoms. Be patient and remember, this too shall pass! Staying in tune with your body and being gentle with yourself will help you cope and thrive.
Getting Your Thyroid Health in Check
Your thyroid gland controls your body’s metabolism, so if it’s not functioning properly it can wreak havoc on your hormones.
Ask your doctor to test your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). For most people, The normal range of TSH levels in adults is between 0.4 to 4.0 mIU/L . If your levels are higher or lower, it could indicate hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Consider Thyroid Medication
If you have hypothyroidism, a daily thyroid medication like levothyroxine can help. Finding the right dosage and timing may take some trial and error. Be patient through the process and get retested regularly. For hyperthyroidism, medications or procedures may be options to slow an overactive thyroid.
Chronic stress can negatively impact your thyroid. Try relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, massage, or deep breathing. Spending time with loved ones, limiting screen time in the evening, and exercising regularly can also help lower stress levels.
Eat a Thyroid-Friendly Diet
A balanced diet with plenty of nutrients will support your thyroid health. Focus on whole foods like:
- Seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids and selenium like salmon, sardines, and shrimp
- Zinc-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, and chickpeas
- Iron-rich foods such as grass-fed beef, spinach, and Swiss chard
- Iodine-rich foods such as seaweed, cod, eggs, and Greek yogurt
- Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli, and berries
In addition, limit processed foods, sugar, gluten, soy, and dairy which can be inflammatory. Staying hydrated, exercising regularly, reducing alcohol, and quitting smoking will also benefit your thyroid and overall health.
While coping with hormone issues can feel overwhelming, making self-care a priority and working closely with your doctor will help you feel empowered and thrive.
How to Balance Estrogen Naturally?
Many chemicals found in plastics, cosmetics, and household products mimic estrogen in the body. Reduce your exposure by avoiding:
- BPA found in plastics like water bottles, food containers, and receipts
- Parabens and phthalates in cosmetics and skincare products
- Triclosan in antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers
- Pesticides and herbicides which can accumulate in non-organic foods
- Opt for glass or stainless-steel containers, all-natural cosmetics, and organic produce when possible.
Eat an Estrogen-Balancing Diet
Certain foods can help balance your hormones naturally. Aim for:
- Cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts which support estrogen metabolism
- Flax and chia seeds, high in lignans which help block excess estrogen
- Turmeric or curcumin supplements, which have anti-estrogenic effects
- Green tea, shown to inhibit an enzyme involved in estrogen production
Limit or avoid:
- Sugar, refined carbs, and excess alcohol can spike insulin and estrogen
- Factory-farmed meat and dairy high in added hormones
- Soy products like tofu in large amounts, as soy acts as a weak estrogen in the body
- Reduce Stress Levels
Keeping your cortisol and estrogen in balance will benefit your health and mood. Make self-care a priority!
Balancing your estrogen naturally may take time and consistency. But by being mindful of your exposures, diet, and stress levels, you can feel empowered to support your hormone health. Keep at it and be patient with yourself. Your body and mind will thank you.
Stress Management and Your Hormones
Stress can wreak havoc on your hormones. When you’re stressed, your body produces cortisol, the “stress hormone,” which can throw other hormones out of balance. Here are some tips to better manage stress and support your hormone health:
Practice deep breathing
Taking some deep, slow breaths can help lower cortisol and activate your body’s relaxation response. Try taking 5-10 deep breaths, inhaling through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. Do this a few times a day or when you’re feeling stressed.
Get enough sleep
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to allow your hormones to regulate themselves. Lack of sleep can elevate cortisol levels and negatively impact other hormones like growth hormone, melatonin, and sex hormones.
Making a few lifestyle changes and practicing self-care techniques like these can significantly impact your hormone health by lowering excess cortisol and promoting balance. Reducing stress will allow your body’s natural rhythms to flow more freely, empowering you to better cope with life’s challenges. Staying on track with the basics will help you thrive.
So, there you have it, some key tips to help you better understand and manage your hormone health. While hormones can sometimes feel out of our control, the reality is there are many empowering steps we can all take.
Educate yourself on the basics, track your symptoms, make lifestyle changes, limit stress, improve your sleep, eat a balanced diet, stay active and consider supplements or medications as needed. You’ve got this!
By making your hormone health a priority and taking proactive steps each and every day, you will feel better equipped to cope with challenges and thrive. Here’s to a happy, healthy hormonal balance and an even happier you.