Hormones Are Like An Orchestra
Hormones are little communication molecules that are made by endocrine glands like the hypothalamus, pineal, thyroid, adrenals, ovaries, pancreas, and the pituitary gland.
There are around 50 different hormones in our system. After being created they are sent to different body parts where they help control how cells and organs do their work. They also help us to adapt to the ever changing environment.
Those glands and hormones work in symphony together. Imagine that all of our body’s hormones are the instruments in an orchestra, each playing an instrument beautifully to create a musical piece which is our body functioning in a perfect hormonal balance. But if one of those instruments is playing out of tune, the entire music peace doesn’t sound right. And this is what can happen in our bodies. If one or more of our hormones are out of balance, our entire body can feel the effect of it.
How does it feel to have your hormones in balance?
- Deep restorative sleep
- Waking up feeling rested
- Having steady energy throughout a day
- Strong, healthy and hydrated hair and nails
- Clear and hydrated skin
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Strong libido
- Good digestion
- Daily bowel movement
- Warm hands and feet
- Healthy and regular cycle with little or no PMS
- Being fertile
Don’t worry if you feel it’s not you when reading any of the statements above. Nowadays, it is more difficult than ever to maintain a natural balance of our hormones due to pressures of the modern environment we live in and its sometimes detrimental impact on our genes and body systems.
Hormones do not have a great rep, actually, as they can disrupt our moods and health and can be a root cause of PMS, missing and/or painful periods, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), infertility, endometriosis, fibroids, underactive or overactive thyroid and more.
Hormonal imbalances are common but they can be controlled and it is not an impossible thing to achieve.
How can you bring the control back?
It is a multifaceted job, but it doesn’t have to be hard. First, we need to figure out if there is an actual hormonal imbalance or is there something else going on. Taking extra tests including blood/saliva/urine to check hormone levels is one of the first steps. You can try and ask your GP for that or you can work with another health practitioner like a Nutritionist who specialises in hormones and can recommend and analyse more comprehensive functional testing for you like Dutch test.
However, looking only at these lab values can sometimes show only a part of the whole picture toward the underlying problem. A comprehensive physical exam, complete lifestyle evaluation, and full diet review are also advised to gain a 360 degree perspective of what is actually happening in the body. With this valuable information, your health practitioner can tailor specific recommendations for you to support you in bringing the body back into balance.
In the meantime I have listed some important steps you can take straight away without any extra investigations.
3 Steps To Improve Your Hormones
1. Improve Your Sleep Hygine
I cannot stress enough how 7 to 8 hour, good quality sleep is important for our hormonal health. Hormones which regulate our appetite, metabolism and immune system are produced while we sleep. Also the queen bee of all the hormones which is cortisol (stress hormone) may be dysregulated due to poor sleep impacting all other hormones in our system.
This may show in you experiencing blood sugar fluctuations throughout a day affecting your energy levels, also you may be more anxious and less motivated to introduce healthy habits. It can lead to irregular and more painful periods and lower immunity too.
Tips on how to improve your sleep:
- Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Go to bed before 10.30 pm.
- Make sure you sleep in a dark and cool room. Use blackout curtains if possible or use an eye mask.
- Replace Netflix and Instagram scrolling with a bath or a good book instead. Blue lights emitted from TV’s or your phone can affect the quality of your sleep.
- Replace a glass of wine to a calming tea instead like Chamomile. Alcohol is actually stimulating even though it feels like it helps you get to sleep easier. It affects your sleep and does not allow you to get a deep restorative sleep needed for your body to recover.
2. Get Outside For A Brisk Walk
There is a lot of evidence showing that ⅔ of women with hormonal conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis appear to be vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D has a direct impact on our sex hormones and also thyroid hormones. Your body can’t produce Vitamin D and your primary source is always to be sunlight. When your skin is exposed to sunlight even behind the clouds it helps to improve your sleep, your stress levels, your mood and balances your hormones.
Also, getting outside can be a good way to add that extra physical activity to your routine. Physical activity helps to improve heart rate, immune function, blood sugar, body fat and muscle mass and hormone levels. It also improves insulin sensitivity which assists in weight management.
3. Go All Natural
Environmental toxins are everywhere including our food, plastic bottles and containers, soaps and shampoos, fragrances in cleaning products and more. There is mounting evidence that a woman’s exposure to these toxins (known as endocrine disrupting chemicals) can modulate her reproductive system, by mimicking hormones in a system and leading to symptoms like PMS, heavy periods, and overall oestrogen dominance.
First steps to going all natural:
- Clean up your makeup and other cosmetics – Do it gradually so replace one product at the time when one of your old items finishes. This way you will avoid high costs at the start. My favourite make up brands are Ere Perez and Ilia
- Go local – Buy your vegetables, fruits and meat organic. To avoid high costs I recommend finding local farmers markets and local butchers and buy in bulk. Processed meat and dairy products are a major source of hormone disrupting chemicals so it is better to eat less but better quality. With animal produce go for organic, free range and grass fed.
- Eat clean, whole food majorly plant based diet – This way you will provide high nutritional content with the lowest amount of toxins.
- Ditch sugar and refined flour – White sugar, refined flour, and simple carbs can cause obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, and plenty of hormonal problems. Replace them with honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia as sweeteners. Change white flour products to buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, brown rice flour, sprouted grains, quinoa, buckwheat, or brown rice
- Ditch plastic – Do not use plastic containers to microwave your food as this may cause chemicals to leach into your foods. Use refillable glass bottles and reusable grocery bags.
- Use essential oils instead of artificial home fragrance – Commercial candles, home sprays, air fresheners blow toxic fumes which we breathe in. Replace them with good quality essential oils from Neal’s Yard or doTERRA.
- Make your own cleaning products – Commercial cleaning products are carcinogenic and are one of the worst endocrine disruptors. Follow this link for all-purpose cleaners and disinfectants you can whip up right now.
I hope this article was helpful.
I’m a Nutritional Therapist and Endo Warrior. I show women with Endometriosis & other hormone imbalances how to use Nutrition and Lifestyle to move from surviving to thriving.
Gain clarity on what to do to feel in balance with your hormones so you can have smooth menstrual cycles, get pregnant naturally, feel full of energy and live the life you deserve.
What is Nutritional Therapy?
It focuses on the whole person. This means that I try to find a root cause of your health problems by taking a holistic viewpoint assessing your diet, lifestyle, work/life balance, your purpose in the world, toxicity at home, underlying nutritional deficiencies, sleep and relaxation, ongoing stress and more. This all plays into our general health and wellbeing.
All prospective clients are offered a free discovery conversation, giving you the opportunity to learn more about the process and ask me questions before committing to a full paid consultation.