Balancing Hormones Naturally

HOW DO I NATURALLY BALANCE FEMALE SEX HORMONES?

Answered by Functional Medicine Specialist, Dr. Mark Hyman. 

“My hormones feel so out of balance” a female patient will tell me. “I’m tired of feeling crappy and terrible all the time. Do I need to do hormone replacement to feel better, or is there a natural way to get my hormones in balance?” Hormone imbalances are epidemic these days. When talking about hormones, I want you to think of a symphony. All of them interact, so when one gets out of whack, others quickly follow. There are many key players in this orchestra – adrenals, thyroid, insulin – but today, we’re focusing on women’s sex hormones. While many things can cause an imbalance in our sex hormones, the good news is that many women can fix these imbalances without medications. You might never know this from conventional medicine, which seems to subscribe to the idea that women are destined to suffer throughout their reproductive life. Women suffer from mood and behavior swings resulting from the three P’s: Puberty, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and peri-menopause (the years leading up to and just after their final period), or the three M’s: menstrual cramps, menopause and mental anxiety!

  

 

 

 

The truth is: Women do NOT need to suffer.

Instead of immediately resorting to a hormone replacement (which might be your conventional doctor’s first line of treatment), you need to figure out the “why” – what is causing the symptoms.  If you find that you do need hormones, then you need to find the way to replace them that most aligns with your body – low dose, topical, bio-identical, short duration.

In other words, figure out what creates these imbalances – and treat the underlying problem. That’s where Functional Medicine comes in: You treat the underlying cause(s), create balance, and symptoms get better. Most of us are living life completely out of balance. Unfortunately, many symptoms we come to accept as “normal” are just signs of imbalance, and the type of imbalance that affects almost everyone in our society is hormonal imbalance. These and other imbalances are all fixable. Think about the one thing you can do today to begin treating your symptoms.

 The Right Diet Becomes Your Number-One Reset Button

Balancing your hormones is a process, and sometimes it has little twists and turns. But by sticking with it, you can become vital, happy, alert, brilliant, and thriving.

Your diet is the foundation that helps balance your sex hormones. The first step involves removing the bad stuff. We know that sugar, caffeine, alcohol, stress, and lack of exercise all contribute to worsened PMS and all hormonal imbalances – including menopause.

Imbalances in your hormones are triggered by bad food. If you eat sugar, you’ll produce more insulin, more estrogen, and more testosterone. Any type of flour and sugar can lead to these imbalances.  Dairy and gluten are often triggers for inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Xenobiotics or environmental chemicals like pesticides in our food can act like powerful hormone disruptors and trigger our own hormones to go out of balance. If you are interested to know how these toxins disrupt our hormones then read Our Stolen Future by Theo Colburn.

Dairy is one of the biggest triggers of hormonal imbalances because of all the hormones found naturally in milk and because of the hormones and antibiotics added to milk. Even organic milk can come from pregnant cows, jacking up hormone levels. In fact, dairy has over 60 hormones that can contribute to imbalances. Dairy and gluten are among the most common food sensitivities that you might benefit from eliminating from your diet.

After removing the bad stuff, you will want to replace it with good stuff. Eat a whole, real, unprocessed, organic, mostly plant-based diet with organic or sustainably raised animal products. When you focus on this type of diet, you minimize intake of xenoestrogens, hormones, and antibiotics. Taking simple steps like choosing organic food and drinking filtered water can hugely impact hormone balance.

 Other Strategies to Balance Your Sex Hormones

Diet aside, there’s a lot you can do to balance your sex hormones without resorting to medication:

Supplement smartly. Fish oil and additional vitamin D and B vitamins help balance estrogen. Take these in addition to a good multivitamin and mineral with sufficient calcium and magnesium. Probiotics, antioxidants and phytonutrients (vitamin E, resveratrol, curcumin, n-actetyl cysteine, green tea, selenium), and the anti-inflammatory omega-6 fat (GLA or gamma linoleic acid) can help balance sex hormones. 

Exercise. When you exercise, you have less PMS and other problems. Find something that you love to do. Running, long walks, weight training, dance, or any other form of movement that you enjoy.

Reduce stress. Chronic stress can trigger or exacerbate hormonal imbalances. The key here becomes finding something that works for you to reduce stress. That might include meditation, yoga, tapping, therapy, or finding a creative or expressive outlet. 

Sleep well. Insufficient sleep can adversely impact PMS, menopause, and other conditions. Getting eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night is one of the best things I can think of to balance hormonal levels. 

Reduce or eliminate alcohol. Alcohol – yes, even red wine – jacks up estrogen and increases chances of cancer.

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For the full article, please visit: How Do I Naturally Balance Female Sex Hormones?  By Dr. Mark Hyman

Dr. Hyman is a practicing family physician, a nine-time #1New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor ofThe Huffington Post, and was a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and The View, Katie and The Dr. Oz Show.