Hormones, which are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system, travel throughout the body to maintain balance in the body. They control the various biological processes and functions within the body. It is the hormones that help control body metabolism and appetite, energy levels, sexual function, the cycle of reproduction, sleep cycle, mood levels, etc. But sometimes, the endocrine system starts making less or more levels of hormones than normal which leads to hormonal imbalance.
These imbalances can lead to problems such as an increase in weight, various diseases and disorders, early menopause, and sometimes also ovarian cancer and breast cancer. It is natural but sometimes it may also be triggered by an unbalanced lifestyle and medical conditions. This is why maintaining hormonal balance is a very important aspect of women’s health.
There are different causes and also many signs and symptoms that can be attributed to hormonal imbalance. Understanding them will help one to prevent them and restore hormonal balance to facilitate balanced and healthy growth of the mind and body.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
Many factors can disrupt the hormonal balance of the body and pose a risk to women’s health. Some are natural, such as puberty, fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, menopausal transition, pregnancy, etc., while others arise out of lifestyle habits such as eating disorders and unhealthy diet.
1. The level of thyroid hormone in the bodyis an important factor to be considered. Overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism) thyroid can cause imbalances in the hormone. It is caused by auto-immune conditions in which the body misidentifies healthy cells in the body as damaged cells, various medications for other diseases such as diabetes, or tumors, and more.
2. A stressful life or long-term stresscan disrupt the levels of other hormones in the body by producing higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone) leading to Cushing syndrome. A normal level of cortisol helps in regulating blood sugar and maintaining blood pressure. It damages the natural production of estrogen and progesterone hormones.
3. Poor diet and nutritionand eating disorders are some of the most common reasons for destroying the ideal balance of hormones in the body. While an unhealthy diet leads to overweight problems, the fear of gaining weight or too much exercise leads to low body weight (anorexia nervosa) in women. It further leads to low estrogen production and low bone density among other problems.
4. Birth control medications and contraceptivesalso disrupt the natural flow of hormones in the body. It leads to irregular periods, bleeding, mood swings, and other complications.
The Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms depend on the type of hormone out of balance and the gland of the body that is affected.
1. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)– It is one of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. It is when the body starts producing high-level higherhlevelsses that leads to irregular periods in women.
2. Lower sex drive– Hormonal imbalance can also lead to a drop in the estrogen levels of the body thus creating less desire for sexual intercourse. Vaginal dryness is also another result of frequent usage of contraceptive pills and antidepressants which creates hormonal imbalance and can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
3. Weight gain– An unexplained gain in weight may be caused by low levels of thyroid hormones (underactive thyroid) which fail to regulate body metabolism and high levels of cortisol, which is also a steroid hormone that regulates vital metabolism functions of the body. It also contributes to heart diseases and diabetes.
4. Infertility– Hormonal imbalance can also lead to complications of fertility by affecting the menstrual cycle of women. It is affected by early menopause and other conditions such as Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
5. Loss of sleep cycle– An imbalance of progesterone which is the relaxing hormone can lead to insomnia while a high level of progesterone results in chronic fatigue, and headache. It will lead to irritability, anxiety, and stressful life which will further register changes in blood pressure and heart rate in the body.
6. Bloating– The cells of the gastrointestinal lining are composed of both estrogen and progesterone receptors. Changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone affect the process of digestion and also can lead to stomach issues and bloating.
7. Mood swings– It is natural for hormonal changes to occur during the menstrual cycle or menopause, but only that it leads to mood swings in women like premenstrual syndrome (PMS). An imbalance of estrogen and thyroid hormone can also contribute to frequent mood shifts in women.
8. Other symptomsinclude changes in appetite, breast tenderness due to estrogen imbalance, hair loss and deepening of the voice in females, etc.
Maintaining hormonal balance – A healthy diet
From estrogen therapy to thyroid medications, the cause of hormonal imbalance will guide the treatment for it and a higher degree of intensity may even call for medical intervention. But some basic self-help to achieve hormonal balance is weight management, weight loss, and following a healthy diet.
1. Following a balanced diet with a sufficient intake of nutritious foods and enough protein with every meal.
2. Exercising regularly to regulate metabolism and maintain healthy body weight.
3. Keeping an eye on personal hygiene and drinking green tea.
4. Avoiding processed foods and very spicy and hot food.
5. Putting a limit on sugars, carbohydrate consumption, and calories intake.
6. Stress management and proper time management with quality sleep at night.
7. Quitting smoking and cutting down consumption of alcohol.
8. Relying less on over-the-counter medications for minor problems.
9. Lessen exposure to harmful substances present in the environment like pollution and protect your body always.
10. Consumption of healthy fats, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables for the production of the right hormones in the right amount and controlling appetite.
11. Avoiding overeating and undereating and controlling cravings for junk food.
12. Taking supplements to improve hormone levels.
Supplements to improve hormone levels and weight management:andMe Green and Lean Drink and PCOS and PCOD Drink combo
1. andMe Green and Lean Drink– It is a nutritional drink with a blend of ayurvedic herbs and a combination of 30+ vegetables and fruits. It helps to improve hormones and also manage weight with its rich composition of fruits and vegetables. The perfect blend that includes Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, and Vitamin B6, provides for detox, increased immunity, and digestive functions, weight management, and energy.
Its alkalizing blend helps to reduce body acidity and the detox and digestion blend helps cleanse the body, improve digestion and thus facilitate the production of necessary hormones. As a weight management drink, it manages weight and boosts immunity and its antioxidant blend protects the brain and promotes a healthy heart. It has no added sugar, no added preservatives, and no artificial ingredients and is completely plant-based and vegan.
2. andMe PCOS PCOD Drink –For hormonal balance and regular periods, this plant-based drink is made with all the ingredients that are important for a healthy PCOS diet. It helps in balancing hormones in women, regularizes periods, manages weight gain due to PCOS, and helps reduce acne. It also helps in boosting energy levels by providing sufficient nutrition.
It is natural and vegan and contains no preservatives or any added sugar. It is an effective alternative to contraceptives that provides the best PCOS treatment by balancing the hormones from within and managing irregular periods by providing 30% daily nutrition and also helps in losing weight.
So, for the proper facilitation and stimulation of hormones and the healthy growth of your body, a healthy diet is extremely important. Because it is the proteins and the nutrients rich food we consume that provides for the fuel to produce hormones in your body.