If you are a woman over the age of 12, then you likely have some experience with the ups and downs of female hormones. And I’m sure most of you would agree that when your hormones are out of whack, it throws your whole life out of balance!
As women, our hormones play a key role in our reproductive health, sexuality, and overall well-being. So it’s really no wonder that unbalanced hormones can have such far-reaching effects! When our bodies over- or under-produce certain hormones, it can negatively affect our moods, fog up our brains, and trigger physical symptoms like acne, insomnia, even weight gain.
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If you have concerns about your hormone levels, the first thing you should do is talk with your doctor. In most cases, a simple blood test will be be able to determine if you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance. There are also a few simple things you can do to to support your own hormonal health, and I’ve listed them out for you below! :-)
What’s The Deal With Female Hormones?
Before we start talking about ways to balance hormones, I thought it might be helpful to have a quick review about hormones and the role they play in the female body. (It’s been a long time since I took biology, after all!)
There are three main hormones at play in the female body:
- Estrogen – This hormone spikes during puberty, and plays a large role in sexual development and reproduction. It also affects bone and cardiovascular health.
- Progesterone – This hormone helps keep estrogen in check. It rises during the second half of the menstrual cycle to aid in (potential) pregnancy, often resulting in annoying premenstrual symptoms like bloating, breast tenderness, and acne.
- Testosterone – This hormone is typically present in low levels in the female body. Abnormally high levels of testosterone could be a sign of health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or ovarian tumors.
Signs & Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Since these hormones impact so many different systems in the human body, having unbalanced levels of these hormones can produce a wide variety of symptoms. The following symptoms may be a result of hormonal imbalance:
- Weak nails
- Night sweats
- Tingling limbs
- Hair loss
- Puffy face
9 Ways To Balance Your Hormones Naturally
1. Get More Sleep
Evidence suggests that even a single night of restricted sleep can affect levels of cortisol and leptin in women. If unbalanced, these two particular hormones can become risk factors for chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. To make sure you’re getting enough sleep, try to make a habit of going to bed and waking up at a consistent time every day.
2. Limit Caffeine Intake
I know, I know… no one wants to hear that they should be drinking less caffeine. But the fact of the matter is that going overboard with regard to caffeine intake can wreak nearly as much havoc on your hormones as not getting enough sleep! (That being said, a cup or two of coffee in the morning is probably fine.)
If you need a little boost, try a cup of green tea. It has less caffeine than other teas, and has beneficial properties that can lower your risk of heart disease and even help protect against cancer.
3. Eat Your Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, bok choy, and collard greens contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol that can help promote the production of healthy estrogens. So listen to Mom and eat your veggies! :-)
4. Supplement With Probiotics
High cholesterol may contribute to an overactive production of estrogen, a hormone imbalance that has been linked to breast cancer. Taking a probiotic supplement like this one can help you manage your cholesterol for optimal estrogen levels.
5. Avoid Dairy
Because milk and other dairy products are produced by pregnant cows, they contain higher than average levels of estrogen and progesterone. The hormones in dairy may not be enough to cause a hormonal imbalance, but researchers worry these extra hormones could make an existing hormonal imbalance worse.
So if you’re worried about unbalanced hormones, you may want to avoid dairy for a while and see how you feel.
6. Use Your Oils
Using certain essential oils and carrier oils may help regulate hormone production. Clary sage essential oil has been shown to help regulate levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. And fatty acids like those found in virgin coconut oil are fundamental building blocks for healthy hormone production!
7. Exercise More
Exercise is one of the most effective things you can do to bring balance to your body’s hormones. It helps reduce levels of insulin in your body, helping to reduce your risk of inflammation, diabetes, and even cancer. Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress and promote a health metabolism!
8. Avoid Hormone Disruptors
Some chemicals found in everyday products are known endocrine disruptors, capable of interfering with the body’s endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to increases in infertility, endometriosis, and other female reproductive disorders.
Two known endocrine disruptors are particularly widespread: BPA and parabens. BPA is present in certain plastics and can linings, so look for options that are marketed as BPA-free. Parabens are very common in cosmetic products, but there are plenty of good paraben-free alternatives available too!
9. Manage Your Stress
Even if you’re doing everything else you can to balance your hormones, stress can undo all your hard work! If your body is continually flooded with the stress hormone cortisol, that can lead to weight gain, sleep problems, mood disorders like anxiety and depression, and more.
So finding ways to unwind and relax is not only good for your mind, it’s crucial for your physical health too! No matter whether you prefer to de-stress by going on walks, doing yoga, meditating, or something else entirely, just make sure to do it regularly!