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How To Tell When Your Hormones Are Outta Whack

How to Tell When Your Hormones are Outta Whack

In the last blog, What are “Female” Hormones?, we learned that our hormones are the chemical messengers in our bodies that help it function properly.  Hormones effect the brain, heart, bones, muscles, and reproductive organs and are an essential part of the workings of every cell in the human body.  As you can see, having balanced hormones is a very important part in overall health and wellbeing.  So in this blog I will discuss how hormones get thrown outta whack as well as how to tell if your hormones are balanced or not.

How do Hormones Get Out of Balance?

Our bodies are ingeniously designed machines and they withstand many years of torture from our toxic life styles.  Hormone balance is deeply connected to the foods we consume, the amount of movement that we do, how many toxins we take in, how much weight we carry and the stresses that we deal with.  Let’s do a quick review of a few of the many factors that can throw off your hormonal balance.

Consistent high levels of stress: When stress takes center stage in our lives and becomes chronic, Cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, floods the system and total hormone production is disrupted. The body tries to compensate for this disruption by stealing its own supply of available progesterone, to make more cortisol, thus depleting this key hormone.  Prolonged stress tears up our bones, melts our muscles, robs us of vital energy and strength, lowers our libido and overwhelms or immune system.  All of these factors put our bodies at serious risk of chronic illness, cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Poor food choices: Insulin, serotonin, cortisol, and dopamine, not to mention estrogen and testosterone are each affected by the food choices we make.  Xenoestrogens in animal products and byproducts all throw off your hormonal balance (more on Xenoestrogens below).

Inadequate sleep: Sleep deprivation has been shown to lower the appetite-suppressing hormone known as leptin and increase the hormone that stimulates hunger known as ghrelin.  Chronic sleep deprivation wreaks havoc on your bodies stress response hormone, cortisol.  Having these hormones out of whack will affect your brain function, ability to keep off weight as well as damaging your immune system.

Taking synthetic hormones: Synthetic versions of Estrogen and progesterone hormones may change the way your body absorbs or discards critical nutrients and can also have an adverse effect on your mood.  They can also impact the hormones that make your body interested in sex so that you find your libido pretty much non-existent.

Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of movement or exercise cause a host of problems in the body, hormone imbalance being only one. 

Xenoestrogens: These man-made toxins mimic the estrogen that is naturally created by the body.  Unlike natural estrogen, these fake hormones severely overstimulate cellular activity, wreaking havoc on the internal balancing mechanisms of the body raising the estrogen burden and along with it the risk of breast cancer.  Xenoestrogens are found in beef and dairy that is pumped full of synthetic growth hormones, in personal care products, household cleaners, in plastics, acetone (paint thinners, removers & even fingernail polish remover) and in pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and more.  The scariest thing about these Xenoestrogens, is that once they are introduced into the body, they are not easily removed.

SIGNS THAT YOUR HORMONES ARE OUTTA WHACK

Even when only one unbalanced hormone is present, it may result in the following hormonal imbalance symptoms in women.  This list is not all encompassing, please remember that hormones are messengers and if they are not functioning properly you will have some sort of dis-ease of the body.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women

  • Fatigue not relieved by rest
  • Tired all the time/no energy
  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • Poor sleep
  • Craving for salty or sugary foods
  • It takes more effort to perform every day tasks and duties
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Decreased ability to handle stress
  • Increased time to recover from illness or injury
  • Light headed when standing up quickly
  • Light headed, dizzy, or nausea after periods of not eating
  • Hirsutism (excessive facial hair)
  • Depression
  • Lack of enjoyment or happiness
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Food intolerance
  • Sinus problems
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Excessive allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Dry and thin skin
  • Excessive hunger
  • No hunger
  • Hair loss
  • Unexplained headaches
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Infections
  • Liver disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Low body temperature
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Mood swings
  • Poor memory
  • PMS
  • Sleep disorders
  • Tender breasts
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty building muscle
  • Cramping
  • Fluid retention
  • Slow metabolism
  • Irritability
  • Chronic illness
  • And more and more and more

Today we learned about the causes of hormone imbalance as well as common symptoms.  Check back tomorrow for different natural ways to balance these hormones during the Maiden, Mother and Matriarch Phases of life.

Check out the Full Medical Disclaimer Here.

 

What are “Female” Hormones?

By: Stephanie Phillips

Hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate or change the functions of organs and structures throughout your body.  Hormones are created in small organs, called glands and move throughout the body, usually through the bloodstream.  The release of hormones is one ways that different parts of the body communicate with one another.  While hormones are present in both males and females, the main ones we will focus on in this blog are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone as it relates to female development.  These hormones are created by the ovaries, two almond-shaped sex glands that are in the pelvis.  Your ovaries also produce a woman’s eggs.

During fetal development, the sex glands are relatively active.  By the time, you are born, every egg is fully formed and stowed away in the ovaries.  During infancy and childhood, or the Maiden Phase, they slow down production.  Then, when puberty hits, the sex glands kick back into high gear.  At this time, they begin to produce adult sexual development and urges.  Mood swings area also associated with puberty.  After this period, most women settle into a regular ovulation pattern.

As mentioned before, the ovaries make both estrogen and progesterone, along with other hormones in a cyclic fashion (ie. Why it is called the monthly cycle).  The levels of these hormones rise and fall with ovulation.  This takes between 21 to 35 days, and ends with a two to seven-day period of menstruation.  This is called the Mother Phase, since this is when your hormones have balanced out and your eggs have had time to mature.  This process will continue for 30 to 40+ years of your life.  It is important to remember that your cycle can be interrupted now and then, of course by pregnancy but also by stressful events.

Estrogen is the primary female hormone, building up the uterine lining, stimulating breast tissue and thickening the vaginal wall.  It also effects almost every organ in the body.  It plays a critical role in bone building and is thought to have very important effects on the cardiovascular system.

Progesterone, is also a very important hormone, especially when it comes to pregnancy.  It is produced only during the second half of the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterine lining for an egg to implant.  Progesterone also has other effects on any of the tissues that are sensitive to estrogen.

Testosterone, is also produced by the ovaries and plays a role in generating energy, developing muscle mass and stimulating sexual desire.

The balance of these hormones in your body at any given time is affected by many factors.  The pituitary gland, a gland found at the base of your brain, and your ovaries are constantly communicating via their respective hormones, dictating the changing hormone levels of your monthly cycle and the production of eggs.  The pituitary gland produces a follicle-stimulating hormone among other hormones.  Medications, stress, body weight (over or under), time of day and even time of the moth can all cause temporary changes in your hormone.

Once we reach the Matriarch Phase of life, permanent changes to the hormone levels and hormone balance occur.  The ovaries will slowly begin to stop releasing eggs, which at this point may no longer be viable.  When this happens they also quit producing their hormones.  This will usually happen over a period of time, beginning anywhere from the late 30’s to the 40’s and even early 50’s in some women.  Progesterone is the first hormone to slow down production, this can lead to heavier and more frequent periods.  This is known as “perimenopause”.

After that the estrogen production begins to taper off, this is what leads to the common discomforts and health concerns that are associated with menopause.  Fluctuating and falling estrogen levels disrupt your internal thermostat, causing hot flashes or vasomotor instability.  Your sleep cycles and some muscle tone are affected by the drastic reduction in estrogen, most notably muscle tone in the pelvic area.  Therefore it’s so vital to keep up those Kegel exercises.

This has been just a quick description of the female hormones and how they work.  Tomorrow I will put up a blog on How to Tell When Your Hormones are Outta Whack.