Hormones are chemicals that are released into the bloodstream, playing a major function in the body and affecting all aspects of it. Hormones work to regulate a number things, including metabolism, appetite, heart rate, sleep cycles, reproductive cycles, sexual function, mood, stress levels, and body temperature. Holistic medicine can be a great way to naturally restore the hormone balances of your body.
Hormonal imbalances can be a major disruptor to a person’s lifestyle. Hormones play a major function in the body and affect just about every part of it. Hormones are chemicals that are released into the bloodstream and it is possible to have either too much of a hormone or too little. The endocrine glands are what produce hormones and the major glands are the pituitary, pancreas, thyroid, pineal, thymus, and adrenal glands. An imbalance in any of these can result in serious issues and may require continuous medical care. Women naturally have an influx in hormones when they go through puberty, pregnancy, and menopause and men see changes when they also hit puberty and start to age. Hormones work to regulate a number of things, including metabolism, appetite, heart rate, sleep cycles, reproductive cycles, sexual function, mood, stress levels, and body temperature. So, if someone is experiencing a hormonal imbalance then holistic medicine might be a great way to naturally restore that balance, without having to turn to pharmaceuticals that can potentially have side effects.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalances?
There are many underlying medical issues that can trigger an imbalance. Other factors, such as lifestyle and environment, can also contribute to a disruption in the endocrine glands.
If these glands are not functioning properly it may be caused by the following: Chronic Stress, Diabetes (both types), Hyperglycemia, Overactive or Underactive Thyroid, Poor Diet and Nutrition, Pituitary Tumors, Cushing’s Syndrome, Addison’s Disease, Endocrine Gland Injury, Allergic Reactions or Infections, Cancers that Relate to the Endocrine Glands, Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Pancreatitis, Turner Syndrome, Phytoestrogens (estrogen-mimicking hormones found in soy products) and exposure to toxins.
This is just to name a few, as there are plenty of other things that can cause hormonal imbalances. Women are especially susceptible to imbalances since they experience more fluctuations throughout their lives than men and can develop medical conditions due to their reproductive organs and cycles. Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are disorders that specifically affect the reproductive system and can cause infertility and hormonal issues. Using hormonal contraceptives can also mess with hormone levels and have some pretty bad side effects, even though they are often prescribed to regulate hormones. With Menopause, women actually lose a lot of estrogen and progesterone and this can set off a whole list of issues. Unfortunately, most of the conditions that women can have will last for years, if not their entire lives.
How Do You Know You Have an Imbalance?
Symptoms can vary depending on the exact issue. Natural life cycles will of course cause fluctuations for both men and women, like when going through puberty, but it is possible that these changes are accidentally kicked into overdrive and have a negative impact on your life. It is important to be able to recognize when there is an imbalance and to seek out medical attention if it becomes too much of a problem. If traditional medical care is not something you are interested in then you may want to see a holistic doctor, as there are some natural remedies for hormone imbalances.
Signs you might have a hormonal imbalance:
- rapid weight gain or weight loss
-excessive sweating, sleep problems
-difficulty regulating body temperature
-changes in blood pressure or heart rate
-anxiety and depression
-changes in appetite
-changes in sex drive
A person can experience multiple symptoms at a time and it is not always easy to recognize that you have a hormonal imbalance. If you suspect this is the issue then a medical professional can run blood tests to check for hormone levels and confirm it that’s the problem.
Holistic Treatments for Hormone Imbalances
Typically, the side effects of hormonal imbalances are more irritating than they are truly detrimental to one’s way of life. So, it is not always ideal to start taking prescription drugs and racking up medical bills. Seeing a holistic doctor may be the way to go in this case and they can work with patients to achieve results more naturally. As the holistic doctor gets to know you personally and understand your individual issues then they can create a plan of care that will treat your symptoms. Some of the broader treatments they might recommend are to:
- Get Better Sleep: Sleep is a vital aspect for the body to repair and replenish itself. While it is not fully known why people sleep, it is understood that the body undergoes processes that rejuvenate itself and restores basic functions. Poor sleep is linked to a number of problems, including spiked levels of chemicals (cortisol, insulin, etc.). There are multiple ways to get better sleep, since both quantity and quality matter in this matter. Going to bed at a consistent time, eliminating screens at least an hour before bedtime, no intense aerobic exercise within hours of trying to fall asleep, and meditating are some of the different methods you can employ.
- Stay Away from Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates: Consuming refined sugars and carbohydrates can lead to a multitude of health problems. Research shows that removing refined sugars and carbohydrates can regulate insulin levels, which is directly correlated with diabetes. High-fructose sugar and even natural sweeteners like honey have an effect on the body. White bread is already known to have no nutritional value, as the nutrients are removed when it’s processed, and it may also mess with the body’s ability to take in insulin.
- Eat Healthy Fats: Making healthy fats a part of your diet can have so many benefits. Incorporating foods, such as nuts, avocados, and fish into your diet may help control appetite. It is also another aspect that has to do with insulin levels in the body. By feeling full and satisfied for longer, you are less likely to reach for snacks and junk food, which are often highly processed and contain chemicals that can also mess with hormones.
- Improve Gut Health: Having a balanced gut is an essential part of good health. The gut is a microbiome that houses about 100 trillion bacteria, both good and bad. Hormones, like serotonin, are produced by the gut so it is important to keep it in check by eating foods that promote a healthy gut. Foods like whole grains, nuts, veggies, and even dark chocolate should be part of your diet. Probiotics, which can be found in both healthy foods and as capsules sold as over-the-counter medication, can also be a great way to improve your gut.
- Consider Herbs: There are several herbs that are thought to restore hormone balances. Those herbs can include Nigella seeds, which are supposed to be therapeutic for women with PCOS. Ashwagandha helps with stress by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Black Cohosh Root is for PMS and symptoms of menopause. Chasteberry can balance levels of prolactin, which is associated with PMS, menopausal symptoms, and PCOS. Ginseng, for irritability, anxiousness, and sleep problems caused by menopause.
Alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is a route for women who are dealing with extreme symptoms of hormone loss after experiencing things like menopause or a hysterectomy. If you are having hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, pain during sex, mood changes, or sleep problems then you may need hormone replacement therapy. Generally, those who go on this type of medication will need it for the rest of their lives to replace estrogen and progesterone hormones that their bodies are no longer producing on their own. However, these medications can increase serious risks, such as heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Some may want to consider alternatives to hormone replacement therapy if they do not wish to take on this extra risk, especially if they are predisposed to any of these conditions.
First, a doctor may recommend changes in lifestyle to help reduce the effects of menopause. Engaging in regular exercise and a healthy diet can have a profound effect on the body, like improving mood and sleep. Also, cutting back on caffeine intake and spicy foods might help with hot flashes. And reducing stress levels by engaging in relaxing activities is known to better regulate all sorts of chemicals in the body.
Bio-identical hormones are a more natural alternative that doctors may have someone take. These hormones are derived from plants and can simulate the hormones that people naturally produce. They are commonly used to replace estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Some of these prescription medicines are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and others are made by a pharmacist, who works with the doctor to personalize the hormones for each individual’s needs. Medical practitioners will use urine and salivary testing to see the level of dosage needed.
Want to Try Holistic Medicine for a Hormonal Imbalance?
If you are currently struggling with a hormonal imbalance and are interested in trying out holistic medicine by itself or in combination with your traditional medical treatments call Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! Dr. Jyothi Rao is a highly skilled and experienced physician who can effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call (301) 703-5067 and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today.