Hormones play a role in nearly every aspect of the body's day to day functioning. For example, they regulate sexual functioning, menstruation, pregnancy, bone health, and the body's overall mood and emotions. Hormonal imbalance occurs when the body produces too much or too little of a certain hormone or group of hormones. Hormones interact with every cell of the body and an increase or decrease of a hormone can easily cause illness and discomfort. Hormonal imbalance in women is most commonly caused by a disproportionate relationship between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. The symptoms of hormone imbalance tend to increase as a woman ages, tending to be especially prominent during menopause. Factors such as stress, body weight, time of day, time of the month, and prescribed medications can all cause temporary changes and imbalance to a woman's hormone levels.
The balance of hormones in a woman's body at any given time is affected by many factors. Changes in a woman's life such as puberty or the onset of menopause can bring about major alterations to hormone levels. During menopause, the ovaries typically reduce their production of certain hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. This fluctuation of hormone levels can result in discomfort and other health concerns. The two primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, exist in a delicate balance, and even slight variances can result in symptoms. The symptoms of hormonal imbalance usually increase as a woman ages and tend to be especially prominent during menopause. However, women of all ages may experience hormone imbalances. As hormones regulate almost all key functions of a woman's body, an imbalance can create a whole host of problems. Different women will have different symptoms of hormone imbalance; some may experience a single symptom and others may experience a combination of problematic symptoms.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Loss of libido
Hair loss and facial hair growth
Dry or oily skin
Heavy or painful periods
Tender or fibrocystic breasts
• Practice good sleep habits and get between 8-9 hours of sleep a night. • Reduce extra stress and avoid extra obligations • Avoid alcohol which can burden the liver; avoid smoking • Reduce caffeine; avoid energy drinks and sodas and drink less than 2 cups of coffee per day • Consider estrogen metabolite testing, and monitoring for hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, insulin levels, abnormal blood glucose, LFTs (liver function tests), GGT (glutathione), estrogen metabolite ratio testing, and genetic variances in detoxification pathways, such as CYPA12, COMT, and methylation pathways. Also check for heavy metal toxicity. • Use organic and safe cosmetics and household cleaners to avoid exposure to excess chemicals which can expose person to xenoestrogens and signal inflammation and oxidative stress; Use chemical-free and healthy unscented soaps, lotions/oils and detergents; References can be found on the Environmental Working Group’s “Skin Deep” Database -www.ewg.org • Consider investing in a HEPA filter and a water filtration system • Exercise. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises may help prevent excessive cortisol release. Circuit training may help improve insulin resistance and yoga may have a positive effect on mood and reducing anxiety. Opt for shorter workouts (less than 45 minutes) rather than lengthy endurance exercises, which may elevate cortisol.
Dietary Tips and Caveats:
• Strive to avoid all genetically modified foods • Avoid excessive consumption of coffee, black tea, and sodas • Choose lean, clean quality protein at each meal such as chicken breast, turkey breast, lean beef, fish (especially salmon and sardines),eggs and whey protein. Choose organic, antibiotic-free and hormone-free whenever possible. • Focus on high amounts of fiber from complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, organic vegetables and fruits (concentrate on cruciferous vegetables that supply beneficial isothiocyanates)• Gluten and dairy avoidance may prove extremely helpful for stabilizing moods • Avoid omega-6 oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, and safflower oil, and concentrate on omega-3 oils from flax seed, salmon, sardines or mackerel and omega-9 fats from olive oil, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados, macadamia oil and coconut oil; limit or avoid trans fatty acids (hydrogenated vegetable oil, margarine and shortening.)
The Brain and Female Hormones
The brain is linked to overall well-being in more ways than is widely known. Improving the brain’s balance and reducing learned patterns of dysregulation can have a powerful impact on hormonal and physical imbalance. The brain manages a number of complicated body processes such as breathing, digestion, circulation, growth, reproduction, and repair. To do this, the brain utilizes two separate systems, the nervous system and the endocrine system. The nervous system is the faster of the two. The messages are sent in a few thousandths of a second through electrical impulses that travel through nerve cells as fast as 650 feet per second. The endocrine system sends messages comparatively slowly. Hormonal messages travel through the blood stream to produce longer lasting effects. It may take several hours or days to reach the destination or to effect a change. The endocrine system is a collection of ductless glands throughout the body that secrete hormones directly into the blood stream. These glands include the pituitary, thyroid, thymus, adrenals, pancreas, ovaries or testes, and many others. The function of these glands is to control the internal environment of the entire body. For women who’ve experienced disruptions to sleep, focus, mood, energy and attention, other adjunct symptoms may arise as well. For example, anger, migraines, and seizure disorders have all been known to arise from PMS. When these issues are handled with neurofeedback, the benefit to the brain, and the whole body system many find relief with our Neurofeedback sessions.
Chiropractic Care and Hormone Balancing
Chiropractic care is a natural treatment that helps in balancing hormones and alleviating the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances. Since chiropractic care is a holistic approach, it supports many facets of hormone balancing. Chiropractic care stimulates proper communication between the brain and the glands of the body, thus promoting proper release and regulation of hormones. Chiropractic care also helps to get rid of pain, and chronic pain alters hormonal balances in the body