How to recognize hormonal imbalance?
Recently, Daily Spoon has been talking more and more about hormones and their balance/imbalances. Hormones are molecules produced by the endocrine system, which send messages to various parts of the body. They help regulate processes in the body, such as hunger, blood pressure, and sexual desire. While hormones are essential for reproduction, they are also crucial for all your body systems and travel through the bloodstream to tissues and organs. Hormones control numerous functions, including metabolism, reproduction, growth, mood, and sexual health. Although they flow throughout the body, they only affect specific cells designed to receive their messages. Hormones and their receptor sites work together like a lock and key. Here are some key things to know:
- Hormones instruct your body on how to breathe, grow, drink, and eat.
- If you have a menstrual cycle, your reproductive hormones constantly change throughout the cycle unless you are using certain hormonal contraceptives.
- Hormonal imbalances can be caused by conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and PCOS.
What is the function of hormones?
In all organisms, hormone regulation occurs constantly, every day. When you eat food, the pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which helps regulate the level of sugar in the blood. When you press the brakes to avoid a car collision, the adrenal glands release the hormone adrenaline (epinephrine) to help you act quickly. The pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin, which allows you to sleep peacefully at night. Hormonal imbalance can be responsible for endocrine disorders. Excessive hormone levels (hyperfunction) or insufficient hormone levels (hypofunction) can cause certain health problems.
Common symptoms of hormonal imbalance:
Women’s sex hormones
Women’s ovaries and adrenal glands are the main producers of sex hormones. Female sex hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and a small amount of testosterone. They have the most significant impact on a woman’s health, from menstruation to pregnancy, menopause, and more. However, your body produces and uses many other hormones that influence other aspects of your health, such as energy levels, weight, mood, and more. We will now review the main hormones present in a woman’s body, their functions, and what happens when there is an imbalance of these hormones, either too little or too much.
Also known as the female sex hormone, it is secreted by a woman’s ovaries. Estrogens are responsible for the physical changes that turn a girl into a woman during puberty, including breast enlargement, the onset of the menstrual cycle, and so on. Besides its obvious role in childbirth, estrogens help control cholesterol levels in the blood, maintain bone health, affect the brain (including mood), heart, skin, and other body tissues, and participate in blood clotting. The main source of estrogens in women is the ovaries, where the female eggs are produced. However, the adrenal glands located above each kidney, along with fat tissues, also produce small amounts of estrogens. Estrogens circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream and affect various parts of your body. Their levels fluctuate throughout the month, being highest in the middle of the menstrual cycle and lowest during menstruation. Estrogen levels decrease during menopause.
Women who experience reduced estrogen levels due to menopause or surgical removal of the ovaries may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Menstrual cycles become less frequent or stop altogether.
- Hot flashes and/or night sweats.
- Difficulty falling asleep, insomnia.
- Decreased libido.
- Mood swings.
Women with excessive estrogen levels may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Weight gain, especially in the waist, hips, and thighs.
- Menstrual disturbances, such as very light or heavy bleeding.
- Aggravation of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Fibrocystic breasts (non-cancerous breast lumps).
- Decreased libido.
Progesterone, as a steroid hormone, is secreted by the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine gland formed after ovulation, which women produce. It prepares the endometrium (uterine lining) for potential pregnancy after ovulation. Progesterone encourages the endometrium to accept the fertilized egg and, at the same time, prevents painful contractions of the uterine muscles that could expel the egg. If the woman does not conceive, the corpus luteum disintegrates, and the level of progesterone in the body decreases, leading to the onset of menstruation. In the case of pregnancy, progesterone continues to stimulate the blood vessels in the endometrium, nourishing and supporting the growing baby.
Women with low progesterone levels often experience irregular menstrual cycles or have difficulty conceiving because the lack of progesterone creates an inadequate environment for the fertilized egg to grow. For women with low progesterone levels who do manage to conceive, there is a higher risk of miscarriage or premature birth since progesterone helps support pregnancy. Low progesterone levels can also lead to an increase in estrogen levels, which may contribute to the following symptoms:
- Decreased libido.
- Additional weight gain.
- Issues with the gallbladder.
Testosteronas is the main male sex hormone, but it also plays a significant role in the female body. It is commonly associated with sexual desire, but it is also closely related to muscle and bone mass as well as fat cell distribution. Although produced in small amounts in the ovaries and adrenal glands, testosterone is released into the bloodstream, contributing to female sexual desire, bone density, and muscle strength.
Women who produce excessive testosterone may experience the following factors:
- Irregular or absent menstrual periods.
- More body hair than the average woman.
- Increased muscle mass.
- Deeper voice.
When women reach menopause and the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, the testosterone levels also decrease, although not as rapidly. For most women, the typical side effect is a reduced libido, which can often be addressed by taking testosterone supplements.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located low on the front of the neck, which produces several hormones. If the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), it may indicate hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid function.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which regulates many metabolic processes. It performs various functions, but its main role is to convert glucose (sugar) from the food you eat into a form that the body can use for energy. Insulin helps regulate the level of sugar in the blood. Thanks to this hormone, your organs, liver, and fat cells can absorb glucose. When the body cannot produce or process insulin properly, it may lead to insulin resistance, prediabetes, or diabetes.
Human Growth Hormone
Human growth hormone is often referred to by the initials HGH. Sometimes it is simply called “growth hormone.” It is a type of hormone produced by the pituitary gland. As its name suggests, HGH is primarily associated with growth and development. It stimulates cell growth, cell regeneration, and cell replication in children. It also helps promote metabolism.
The pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin, which is essential for your sleep and wake cycles and internal body clock. When daylight transitions into nighttime darkness, the brain increases the production of melatonin to prepare for sleep. Natural interruptions of darkness can disrupt melatonin levels and sleep quality. For example, exposure to blue light from screens late in the evening can disturb the natural sleep pattern.
Also known as the stress hormone, cortisol is a natural warning system of the body that signals that you are under tension. It has numerous functions that help maintain health and energy. Cortisol helps regulate metabolism, control blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory effects, and even plays a role in memory formation. While it is beneficial when responding to imminent danger, consistently high levels of cortisol can lead to anxiety, weight gain, migraines, heart issues, irritability, brain fog, and sleep disturbances. Too little cortisol is associated with low blood pressure, weakness, and fatigue.
Hormone balance refers to the appropriate level of hormones at a given time, which is the complete opposite of the concept of “hormone imbalance.” Just as moderation is the key to a healthy and sustainable diet, hormone balance is crucial for a woman’s overall health. Hormone balance is necessary for everything in a woman’s body to function properly. When a woman’s hormones become imbalanced, several unwanted consequences can occur. Everyone can experience hormone imbalances at least once in their life. For women, imbalances can occur during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and menopause. However, these are not the only reasons that can lead to hormone imbalances.
How to restore balance?
- Ensure a nutritious diet – increase the intake of beneficial nutrients and proteins daily. One of the quickest and simplest ways to do this is through superfood blends. One option is the for Balance blend. Find more examples of nutritious foods below.
- Stay hydrated – dehydration can affect the functioning of the body’s glands, potentially disrupting hormone balance. Drinking water helps flush toxins out of the body and supports optimal cell functioning.
- Exercise – physical activity reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in the body. It also stimulates the production of endorphins – natural painkillers and mood enhancers in the brain.
- Most importantly, take care of yourself holistically. Overall well-being depends on various factors – as mentioned, a nutritious diet, lifestyle, habits, environmental factors, stress, and more. It’s worth reviewing and making changes to these factors to improve both life and its quality, not just when facing health issues like hormone imbalance. It is beneficial for enhancing life quality as a whole.
TOP products for hormone balance
We recommend including the following products in your diet at least once a week:
|Flaxseeds and other seeds||Help reduce excess estrogen.|
|Berries||A source of fiber and antioxidants, low in sugar. We recommend choosing organically grown berries to avoid pesticides (endocrine disruptors) that may negatively affect proper hormone function.|
|Cruciferous vegetables||Help reduce excess estrogen. (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes)|
|Dark leafy greens||Help reduce excess estrogen. (spinach, kale)|
|Jerusalem artichokes||A prebiotic that is important for proper gut function and helps control blood glucose levels.|
|Maca and/or Ashwagandha root||Elevate mood and energy levels, help alleviate menopausal symptoms.|
|Ginger||Has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, may help reduce menstrual pain. Salmon or other fatty fish: Reduce inflammatory processes and insulin resistance, help regulate women’s testosterone levels.|
|Salmon or other fatty fish||Reduce inflammatory processes and insulin resistance, help regulate women’s testosterone levels.|
|Avocado||Reduce inflammatory processes, insulin resistance, and help regulate estrogen and stress hormone levels.|
|Nuts||Reduce inflammatory processes and insulin resistance.|