Many women believe that PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is just another part of the monthly cycle they have to endure. But did you know that PMS is also one of the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance?
Many women just live with the symptoms of PMS every month – mood swings, break-outs, bloating, poor sleep patterns, and more without realizing that there could be a medical reason behind them. In many instances of PMS there is too much of the hormone estrogen and not enough progesterone. There is an imbalance.
Not only do our bodies produce estrogen, but this hormone also comes from many of the foods we eat. You get estrogen from dairy products and xenoestrogens from pesticides and even the chemicals on the back of receipts. Environmental toxins and exposure can alter our hormone levels. For example, the two most common industrial chemicals in the environment are BPA, found in plastics, and phthalates, which are in many products we use daily. Phthalates can be found in everything from nail polish and shampoo, to baby toys, vinyl flooring and car interiors, as well as many more places. These chemicals can affect our reproductive hormone levels and can cause many imbalances.
In addition to removing these chemicals from our lives, we need to get rid of the excess estrogen in the body. We can accomplish this by giving our body more of what it needs, essential nutrients to metabolize the extra estrogen. By adding more cruciferous vegetables and adding back important vitamins and minerals that are missing in the diet, we are helping the liver and the gut rid the system of excess estrogen.
What is important to understand is that it’s not just about having symptoms of a hormone imbalance such as PMS and being able to pop a pill to fix the issue. The key to balancing your body’s natural hormonal system is to first identify what is not in balance in your body.
Leveling Out Your System Is a Process
Our whole body is about balance. Understanding that all of the hormones in our body work together collectively, we address a woman’s symptoms by looking at the big picture first. If you have a bad gut (believe it or not, our gut plays a large role in hormone balance due to the gut bacteria’s role in generating hormones), you’re eating the wrong foods, you are not sleeping and you’re stressed, all of your other hormones will be thrown into disarray. This causes common symptoms of hormone imbalance such as PMS, mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, low libido, fatigue and even poor digestion.
The first step in treating hormone imbalance is going back to fundamentals. To begin, we look closely at what is off balance. We’ll check your gut health and cortisol levels, and then measure the hormones. From there, I look to see if there is too much of one hormone and not enough of another in your system. Often, we find that stress, lack of sleep and gut problems are throwing your body’s systems off.
At Shakthi, we do offer bioidentical hormone therapy for patients, but this is typically not our starting point. Our approach is to turn to more holistic remedies first. And, what we find is that once we identify what the body needs to be in balance, hormone issues typically fix themselves, naturally.