Your hormones are one of the most generally misunderstood topics in all of health. When people hear the words “your hormones are out of balance,” a million different things flash through their minds – and often times none of them are actually accurate for what’s going on.
Just like your nerves transmit information throughout your body about touch, pain, and body positioning, your hormones transmit information throughout your body about a host of different things. There are a host of different hormones in your body – the most commonly known being testosterone and estrogen, followed by insulin and adrenaline.
There are so many different interactions between your hormones and your body’s systems that it’s impossible to list all the health problems that can occur – which is why this article is going to give you all you need to know about how to naturally keep them in balance.
First, let’s start by talking about what to do if you’ve been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance.
What To Do If You’ve Been Diagnosed With A Hormonal Imbalance
You should always talk to your doctor to come up with the best treatment plan for you. Only you and your doctor have access to all the information you need to make a well informed decision about your health.
Chances are, if you’re feeling out of balance and think your hormones are the culprit, you can use the methods I’m about to describe below to help yourself feel much better.
If you’ve been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, like Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, Graves’ disease, or adrenal insufficiency, or other hormonal disorders like those just listed, always talk to your doctor about the treatment option that’s right for you. (1)
We’re about to get into natural ways to treat hormone imbalances that will certainly improve the way that you feel and help you feel better and reduce symptoms, but you should always follow your doctor’s advice when it comes to serious conditions like those listed above. Only you and your doctor know all the specifics of your current situation.
That being said, outside of diagnosed conditions like those listed above, there are a few advantages of using natural treatments to treat hormonal disorders.
The Pros Of Natural Treatments
In general, things start going hormonally wrong in your body when your hormones are out of balance. When you go to the doctor to get treatment for imbalanced hormones, it usually involves some sort of synthetic approach.
That means getting artificial hormone replacement therapy, or trying to use medication or injections to balance the hormones in your body and get you back to where you need to be.
Unfortunately, with that approach there are a few drawbacks. For instance, treatments like birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy or other treatments like that will cover up your symptoms, but they won’t solve them. In many cases, you’ll be treating the symptom and not the root cause, which could cause problems down the line.
In addition, many of these treatments have very unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. They can cause things like reproductive and sexual issues, osteoporosis, increased risk of stroke and cancer, anxiety, and many other side effects you would rather avoid. (2)
Finally, one of the biggest drawbacks of conventional treatments is that they have to be taken in perpetuity to keep them working. That means that you’ll be taking these treatments for the rest of your life if you want to control your symptoms – affecting both your overall health and your wallet.
Like I said before, you and your doctor will know best when it comes to deciding what type of treatment is right for you. For many diagnosed conditions, it’s much better to use conventional medicines and therapies, even with the drawbacks.
But for many many people, you can make an enormous change in how you feel and how happy you are just by making a few natural changes to your lifestyle. These changes can help to address the root causes of many disorders, rather than just masking the symptoms. (3)
If you want to try a more natural approach, here are some of the best natural ways to balance your hormones naturally and improve your health.
The Best Natural Ways To Balance Your Hormones
1. Stay Away From Harmful Toxins And Chemicals
If you’re suffering from a hormonal imbalance, it could be because there are harmful toxins and chemicals in your environment that you don’t even know about that are wreaking havoc on your body’s hormonal and endocrine system.
There are chemicals in many common household items and products that actually mimic the hormones in your body and throw your hormone production completely out of whack. (4)
Hormone-mimicking chemicals can be found in products like household cleaners, pesticides, mattresses, plastics, cookware, and even makeup products.
If you’ve got a hormone imbalance, try switching to cast iron or non-coated metal pans rather than pans that are nonstick or coated in Teflon – as those can contain chemicals that throw your hormonal system out of balance.
Make sure you source your food carefully, especially meat and produce. You want to buy organic as much as possible – and make sure to carefully wash all your produce to get rid of any traces of pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
In addition, use glassware to store and heat your foods rather than plastic. The chemicals in plastic could leech into your food, resulting in hormonal imbalance symptoms. (5)
Finally, choose and source your body and beauty products well. That includes makeup, deodorant, body cleansers, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. Make sure you know exactly what’s going into the products you apply directly to your skin – as many common ingredients have not been tested for long term effects and it is very easy for chemicals from body products to get into your body from your skin and hair.( 6)
2. Keep Your Hormone Balance Healthy Through Probiotic Foods
If you want to balance your hormones and improve your quality of life, a great first place to look is at your dietary habits and at the health of your gut biome. Your gut biome is made up of all the bacteria in your stomach, and if you’re not eating enough probiotic foods, your whole digestive system can be suffering. (7)
Make sure your stomach and digestive system is in tip top shape by eating probiotic foods. When you eat probiotic foods, you nurture the health of the good stomach bacteria that help your digestive system work correctly.
The good bacteria in your stomach crowd out the bad with the help of the probiotic food sources, and that can have all kinds of benefits, from repairing your gut lining, to cutting down on inflammation, to speeding up your metabolism and helping your stomach process foods better.
It also helps to prevent food particles from getting out of your digestive tract and causing inflammation in other parts of your body – which could lead to hormone imbalances, especially in the thyroid. (8)
Try adding probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to your diet in order to improve your gut health and help balance your hormones.
3. Add More Healthy Fats To Your Diet
When your body wants to produce hormones, there are vital compounds and nutrients that it uses in chemical process. If you’re not getting enough of those nutrients, your body simply isn’t able to produce the amount of hormones it needs – leading to hormonal imbalance and unpleasant symptoms. (9)
Some of the most important hormonal ingredients your body uses are fats – specifically saturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and even cholesterol. These fats also give your metabolism a boost, help you lose weight, and help keep inflammation down in your body.
If you’re trying to overcome a hormonal imbalance, one of the best things you can do is replace carbohydrates in your diet with healthy fats instead. When you do that, you’re giving your body more of what it needs to produce the right amount of hormones and keep itself healthy, while cutting out the carbohydrates that might be doing damage to your endocrine system overall. (10)
If you want the best sources of good, healthy fats, look no further than some of the staples, like salmon, coconut oil, and avocados. All 3 of those contain amazing healthy fats that keep your body healthy and happy.
Salmon in particular is an excellent source of the healthy fats your body needs. It’s chock full of omega-3 fatty acids which serve too many different purposes in your body to list. They cut down on inflammation, they help your brain function better, they help protect your brain health – there’s almost no end to the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. (11)
One thing to remember is that not all omega fatty acids are created equal. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for your body and your health – while omega-6 fatty acids should be limited and you should watch your intake carefully. You can find omega-6 fatty acids in sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil, among others. (12)
The only type of omega-6 fatty acid that’s good for you is called gamma-linoleic acid, which can be found in supplement form and can help keep your hormonal balance healthy.
Finally, consider cutting the above oils out of your diet and using coconut oil instead. Coconut oil is an excellent cooking oil and has numerous health benefits, including killing off bad bacteria in your body and helping your body to burn more fat. Avocados are also an excellent addition to any diet, giving you tons of fiber and potassium, keeping your inflammation levels low, and even helping to improve your cardiovascular health.
4. Stay Away From Medications That Can Mess With Your Hormones
Every type of medication has some sort of side effect. If you’re not careful about which medications you’re taking, you could be experiencing hormonal imbalance symptoms through their side effects.
If you’re taking medication that’s causing symptoms like depression, appetite changes, fatigue, lowered libido, or messed up sleeping patterns, it could be due to the medication’s effect on your hormonal balance.
You should always talk to your doctor about whether the medications you’ve been prescribed are right for you. Sometimes there are other options that you and your doctor can explore to reduce the incidence of side effects and keep you as healthy as possible.
Medicines that have an effect on your hormonal balance include glucocorticoids, dopamine agonidsts, statins, rexinoids, stimulants, and corticosteroids. If you’re on any of these types of medications and are experiencing unpleasant side effects, talk to your doctor about a possible solution or alternative. (13)
5. Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Sleep is a vital part of the hormone production process. Some hormones in your body are only produced when you’re asleep – and if you’re not getting enough healthy sleep it can absolutely cause a hormone imbalance that leads to many extremely unpleasant symptoms. (14)
People require a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep each night. When they don’t get it, it messes up the circadian rhythm and completely screws up hormone production.
Cortisol is a hormone that’s extremely sensitive to sleep schedule. When you’re going to bed really late at night, it screws up your body’s ability to regulate cortisol – leading to high cortisol levels, difficulty losing weight, and hormonal imbalance. (15)
The best way to build a healthy sleep schedule is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. That means that you might miss out on a couple hours of extra sleep on the weekends – but you’ll more than make up for it with improved quality of life and less hormonal imbalance symptoms.
6. Try Different Supplements To Improve Your Hormonal Balance
Especially with western style diets, it’s very easy to have gaps in your nutritional habits. Without key nutrients, hormonal imbalances can develop – leaving you feeling terrible.
If you want to make sure all of your nutritional bases are covered, try following these recommendations for supplements. The right supplements can cover any holes in your dietary habits, and can help balance your hormones.
For instance, Vitamin D is one of the most important substances for your body. It literally acts almost like a hormone itself, and is crucial for many different processes in your body – including hormone production.
Vitamin D is synthesized through your skin upon direct contact by sunlight. If you don’t get enough sunlight, you may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, which could cause symptoms like depression and other health problems.
If you know that you don’t go out into the sun and get direct sunlight, you might want to try supplementing with vitamin D3. Talk to your doctor about your sun exposure and the appropriate level of vitamin D supplement for you. (16)
Finally, if you’re looking for foods that will supplement your diet with lots of stuff your body needs to keep your hormones in balance, try adding bone broth to your diet. Bone broth is one of the most easily digestible food sources available, and is packed with essential nutrients like glycine, glutamine, proline, and collagen – all of which will improve how you look, how you feel, and help cut down on hormonal imbalance symptoms.
7. Keeping Your Emotions In Balance Helps Keep Your Hormones In Balance
There is a lot of conventional wisdom and history behind the idea that your emotions directly affect your body’s physical state and health. Some practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine hold that your emotional imbalances can cause and exacerbate hormonal imbalances – causing symptoms that further reinforce the emotional imbalances and leave you feeling awful.
If you want a natural and holistic way of helping your body to feel healthier and happier, addressing emotional imbalances and emotional negativity is a great place to start. For instance – your stress has a direct relationship with your cortisol levels in your body. Cortisol is one of your hormones, and when you get stressed out, your cortisol levels get all out of whack – messing up many different key systems in your body.
So if you’re finding that you’re frequently stressed, try working on reducing your stress in natural ways. You can try breathing exercises, meditation, even yoga as a way to reduce stress. (17)
In addition, acupuncture and massage have also been used as de-stressors for millennia – helping you to reduce your stress naturally and feel better. You can also take the time to look at the sources of your stress and work on ways to avoid the things in your life that cause you the most stress as much as possible.
8. Try To Avoid Taking Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills directly alter the amount of estrogen in your body – which leads by design to a complete estrogen imbalance.
Your levels of estrogen rise dramatically when you take birth control pills – which can lead to all sorts of complications that severely negatively impact your health. (18)
There has been much study and research on the long term impact of birth control pills. Scientists have linked long term birth control use to weight gain, nausea, back pain, migraines, mood changes, raised blood pressure, tenderness of the breast, in-between cycle bleeding, and increased risk of stroke, clotting, heart attack, breast cancer, and liver tumors.
There are an enormous amount of alternative birth control methods available that do not mess with your estrogen levels and cause serious health complications. If you’re having hormonal problems and you take birth control pills, seriously consider switching to a birth control method that does not cause serious hormonal side effects.
9. Try Cutting Down On Caffeine
For those that indulge in a little bit more than the average person when it comes to drinking coffee, and for those who mainline the stuff – coffee might be the root of your hormonal woes.
Coffee has been known to mess with your endocrine system, inhibiting your body’s ability to balance and regulate its hormones and exacerbating other problems and conditions that could be affecting your body.
A reasonable amount of coffee is fine – it’s when you start getting upwards of 4 or 5 cups of coffee per day that the amount of caffeine really starts to mess with your system. It’s even worse if combined with other things that negatively impact your endocrine system like stress or environmental toxins. (19)
Finally, too much coffee and caffeine can mess up your sleep schedule – making it hard for you to fall asleep at night and further screwing with your body’s ability to produce and regulate its hormones.
10. Get The Right Kind Of Exercise To Keep Your Hormones Happy
If you already have imbalanced hormones, you might think that exercising can help put them back into balance – but in fact the opposite is sometimes true. It all depends on what type of exercise you do.
When you exercise for extended periods of time at an intense level – like doing extended cardio workouts – you can mess with your hormonal imbalance even more and make your symptoms even worse. (20)
At the same time, if you’re leading a sedentary lifestyle and not getting much or any exercise, that can also have a negative impact on your body’s hormonal balance.
The best types of exercise for hormonal balance tend to be weightlifting exercises. Short, quick sets of heavy weight lifting actually trigger your body to produce more of the hormones you need and keep your hormone levels balanced nicely. Just make sure to use a trainer or research the best ways to do these exercises, as doing heavy weightlifting with incorrect form will hurt you more than it helps you.
Who Is At Risk For Hormonal Imbalances?
There are many different factors and causes of hormonal imbalances. It’s impossible to list them all, since they arise from a combination of different factors. Just having a small imbalance in your diet might not be enough to throw off your hormonal balance, but if you combine that with a particular gene expression in your genetics, or with toxins in an environment or stressful lifestyle, it can cause major hormonal imbalances.
Still, there are several lifestyle and genetic factors that can increase your risk of hormonal imbalance. If you’re in any of the following groups, you should keep a closer eye on your hormonal health than you would otherwise.
People who are obese or overweight are more likely to suffer from hormone imbalance and the symptoms that go along with it. In addition, those who lead a sedentary lifestyle or who have high levels of inflammation are also more at risk of hormonal imbalance.
People whose jobs, residences, or habits lead them into contact with toxins that could harm your body’s ability to produce hormones should also be more careful with hormonal imbalances. That includes things like cigarettes, alcohol intake, pesticides, viruses, and other types of toxins.
Those who suffer from high amounts of daily stress are more at risk of hormonal imbalance. If working in an extremely stressful field or facing large amounts of daily stress, make sure to keep a close eye on your body’s hormonal health.
Many people are simply more susceptible to hormonal imbalance because of their genetic makeup. If your family has a history of hormonal imbalance and conditions arising from that, it’s a good idea to watch your hormone balance more closely.
Finally, people who suffer from food allergies and other digestive and stomach issues are more at risk for hormonal imbalance. Leaky gut syndrome and other stomach ailments can increase your chances of having issues with your hormone balance – because they cause inflammation that can mess with the vital organs responsible for regulating and balancing your body’s hormones.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hormone Imbalance?
If you suspect you have a hormone imbalance in your body, talk to your doctor. There are many tests that can be done to diagnose different types of hormone imbalance and figure out the best kind of treatment for them.
People with hormone imbalances often suffer from symptoms like fatigue, lowered or abnormal libido, hair loss or thinning, infertility, depression or anxiety, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, insomnia, appetite changes and problems, digestive problems, and irregular menstrual cycles.
It all depends on the type of hormonal imbalance you have and which hormones are out of whack in your body. Your doctor will be able to diagnose exactly which hormones are out of balance and need additional assistance in regulation.
The Best Natural Ways To Balance Hormones
- Stay away from harmful toxins and chemicals
- Keep your hormone balance healthy through probiotic foods
- Add more healthy fats to your diet
- Stay away from medications that can mess with your hormones
- Fix your sleep schedule
- Try different supplements to improve your hormonal balance
- Keeping your emotions in balance helps keep your hormones in balance
- Try to avoid taking birth control pills
- Try cutting down on caffeine
- Get the right kind of exercise to keep your hormones happy