"Could I have a hormonal imbalance?" It's a question I hear quite commonly, and that makes sense because most people experience at least one noticeable period of a hormonal imbalance at some point in their lives.
But there are certain times in your life that you’re more likely to experience them and certain signs and symptoms to look out for. So, I want to discuss the topic of hormonal imbalances, the top signs you could have one, and what natural steps you can take to help remedy it!
Simply put, a hormonal imbalance is when estrogen, testosterone, or another hormone presents at higher or lower levels than normal. Now, keep in mind that hormones are chemicals within your body that carry messages from certain tissues and organs to others via your bloodstream. Basically, they tell your body how to function.
Here’s where it gets really interesting, though: Research has identified at least 50 different hormones in your body, meaning there’s a ton of communication happening in your body at the same time.
You may be surprised to learn (or perhaps not so surprised, if you’ve been on this journey with me for a while) that you’re already familiar with some hormones outside of the basic sex hormones we all know, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
For example, insulin is the hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar while cortisol is the hormone that helps your body responds to stressful stimuli. Adrenaline prepares you for “fight or flight” while multiple thyroid hormones support your metabolic health.
Now, with all the different hormones that exist within your body, there’s ample opportunity for something to go awry.
While hormonal imbalances are more common during certain periods of life, such as during a woman’s period, pregnancy, and even perimenopause and menopause, the truth is that they can occur at any time. And they’re especially common during times of stress.
Here’s why: Your body functions best at homeostasis, meaning everything is ordered and stable. But when you’re under chronic stress, your adrenal glands go into overdrive and produce too much cortisol in an effort to help your body adapt to and manage that stress.
The result? For simplicity in explanation, your body “tells” your other hormones to “take a back seat” to cortisol, as it’s looking to address the most pressing need. When your other hormones aren’t functioning properly, you begin to experience symptoms—and some take a while to present while others make themselves known rather quickly.
Keep reading to learn what to expect when you have a hormonal imbalance.
Could you have a hormone imbalance? Check out these common hormonal imbalance symptoms to find out:
So, what should you do if you suspect a hormonal imbalance? The first thing you should do is reach out to your physician and make him or her aware that you suspect you may have a hormonal imbalance.
In order to get a true diagnosis, your doctor will need to order a thorough lab panel to assess your hormone levels. You can also order your own lab tests with my custom panels here.
Now, if you’ve discovered you have a hormonal imbalance, you’re likely wondering how to balance hormones and get back to the old you, right?
Most standard physicians will treat your hormone imbalance in one of two ways. First, if you have low hormone levels, you’ll likely be told you need hormone replacement therapy in the form of pills or injections. And this is warranted in some cases, but not all.
Second, if you have high hormone levels, you’re likely facing therapy in the form of medication or even surgery.
Personally, I like to take a more natural approach first, especially since I’ve found that addressing the most common root cause of hormone imbalances—your body’s ability to effectively manage stress—is highly effective.
Accordingly, I recommend trying my four-step approach before turning to medication, if you and your doctor agree this is a possibility based on your individual circumstances.
You can learn more about my approach here, but it involves eating whole foods known to support your adrenal gland health and hormone production, supplementing with quality nutrients and herbs that have been scientifically proven to support your stress response, incorporating enjoyable movement, and prioritizing the mind-body connection.
And if you need a second opinion on how to treat your own hormonal imbalance, you can always schedule a health consultation with me to discuss your options.