- Women's Health
How to Control Hormonal Imbalance in Women
The human body has an internal drive to become healthier with the passage of time. The body is designed to regain the balance, by achieving the unbalanced.
The word hormone is generally related to menopausal women, but the hormonal changes affect all from birth to death.
The hormonal changes come in women sometimes in their mid-30's, but generally in their 40's and 50's. The earlier occurrence is due to lifestyle, diet, pollution and toxins. The synthetic chemicals that act as estrogen in the body and known as xenoestrogen are also responsible for hormonal imbalances.
The hormones are made in specific cell groups called endocrine glands and act as chemical messengers in the body. They travel to the organs and tissues through the bloodstream and slowly work or influence the body processes.
The main endocrine glands in the body are pituitary, adrenal, thymus, thyroid, and pancreas. With exception of sexual organs, both men and women produce hormones in the same areas. The testes produce male hormones, while ovaries produce the female ones.
Only a small amount of hormone can cause significant body changes. About 6,000 endocrine-related disorders are caused by an imbalance of hormones. The body systems fail to function properly during the imbalance in hormones. It may be over or under production of particular hormones. Estrogen, the primary hormone causes such changes.
Untreated hormone imbalance causes serious diabetes like several medical problems. The imbalance in the pituitary glands causes growth disorders or overproduction of growth hormones leading to acromegaly or gigantism.
Hormone imbalance occurs as the body changes from childhood to adulthood. Both men and women experience these physical changes, but women experience hormonal changes in later life again.
Symptoms of Menopause and Hormonal Imbalance
High blood sugar
Low vitamin level
Low sex drive
Estrogen and Progesterone in Women
In female body, the hormonal imbalance occurs due to a reaction caused by the high level of estrogen and low level of progesterone.
The estrogen hormone is naturally produced by the ovaries and is necessary for the normal sexual development of women. During childbearing years, the estrogen prepares or maintains the female body and regulates the menstrual cycles.
Progesterone is dominant during the luteal phase or secretory phase (the latter phase of the menstrual cycle) and begins with the formation of the corpus luteum (an ovarian tissue which maintains normal menstrual cycle and protects the pregnancy). The progesterone is needed for to implant the fertilized egg.
In later life, the ovaries decrease the production of estrogen and progesterone. This causes the symptoms of hormone imbalance. This is treated by estrogen replacement therapy.
Generally, the estrogen is replaced, but the progesterone is also supplemented because the balance between the two is important. The excessive estrogen, as compared to progesterone, causes several problems like premenstrual syndrome (PMS), infertility, abdominal weight gain, menstrual problems, or breast cancer risks.
The permanent ending of the cycle of menstruation and the fertility is known as menopause. The menopause occurs exactly 12 months after the last period of menstruation.
At menopause, the ovaries of the women stop producing the eggs for fertilization, and the same amount of progesterone or estrogen are not produced by the body.
This is not an illness, but a natural biological process. The consequent hormonal imbalance due to menopause leads to disturbing physical and emotional experiences.
The common symptoms are hot flashes, insomnia, changes in sexual response etc.
To prevent the side effects the calcium and vitamin D should be taken under medical supervision. Besides, the afflicted should control the blood pressure, reduce the cholesterol level, take low-fat diet and go for regular physical exercise.
Hot flashes and night sweats
Sometimes the hot flashes and night sweats, begin at the age of 40, due to hormone imbalance. It reduces the body tone, and despite all efforts, there is no weight loss, which makes the women frustrated and depressed. The sleep loss causes tiredness, and there is a loss of memory too.
"Hot flashes or hot flushes", are sudden and intense feelings of heat on the face and upper part of the body. These feelings last for few seconds or an hour. These flashes cause increased sweating or heart rate and a feeling of being suffocated. Other effects are anxiety, red face, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness or sometimes an equal sudden chill.
These symptoms of menopause are caused by hormonal imbalance, low estrogen and the effects on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a part of the brain which controls body temperature, sleep, sex hormones, and appetite. Decreased level of estrogen, makes the hypothalamus believe that the body is too hot. Thus the hot flash occurs in the body as an attempt to get rid of this hypothetical excess heat.
Other nutritional, medical and environmental aspects increase the frequency, strength, and effect of hot flashes.
The Night sweats or sleep hyperhidrosis occur in sleep and cause more sweating than hot the flash. On waking up, a feeling of too hot or too cold occurs. It also impairs the nervous system of the body to regulate internal temperatures and is caused by chronic illness, hormone imbalance, andropause, menopause and certain medications. It also affects the hypothalamus and is a symptoms of menopause or hormone imbalance.
To root out these problem, the natural hormone therapy is used to balance the hormone levels. Due to this therapy, the night sweats and hot flashes are gone within few weeks.
Symptoms are the Blessings in Disguise
The common symptoms of hormone imbalance in male and female, include skin problems or acne, mood swings, fatigue, weight problems, reduced sex drive, and memory loss.
The more serious disorders caused in severe cases of actual hormone allergy are chronic fatigue, arthritis, and anxiety attacks; increased dryness of mouth, eyes, genitalia; fibromyalgia, urinary tract infections, and increased heartbeat. Most of the above symptoms occur at menopause.
The women fail to realize that the symptoms are connected to imbalances. This reversible metabolic message emanates from the body, and resolving the source of symptoms leads to better health.
Mostly the women have at least 8 symptoms given in the list. Many of these symptoms may be linked to other physical problems, so a blood test will confirm the causes.
The increase in blood sugar and hormone imbalance cause fatigue and one feel sluggish, scattered or tired. So eliminate wheat and most grains to stabilize the blood sugar.
The hormonal imbalances, diet, lifestyle and physical activity make it difficult to maintain a proper weight. Make small changes in diet like eliminating the sugar or processed foods.
Low libido is one of the most notable symptoms of hormonal imbalance. It starts with disturbed sleep due to which the production of sex hormone decreases.
There is an underproduction of certain hormones or overproduction of others like cortisol etc. when the endocrine system is under stress. Thus the body stores the fat for future use and the belly fat increases. It is a clue to adrenal fatigue.
The anxiety and depression give the clues of hormonal imbalance. The reasons are toxicity, overwork, stress, and undernourishment. So take necessary actions as a remedy.
Sleeplessness induces physical stress and increases the cortisol levels, which in turn leads to hormonal imbalances.
Overeating and craving cause hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance etc. Reduce the intake of sugar, alcohol, dairy, and wheat etc.
The causes of hormone imbalance include stress, birth control pills, overuse of cosmetics, and nonorganic products.the other medical causes are obesity, genetics, tumors, pregnancy, lack of exercise, lactation, sedentary life and auto-antibody production.
Obesity is the number one medical cause, while pregnancy is the number one lifestyle cause for hormone imbalance.
Stress management can prevent hormone imbalance caused by adrenal fatigue. The environmental factors can also be changed to prevent the hormone imbalance by reducing exposure to those chemicals in an environment which mimics estrogen. Such chemicals are found in paints, pesticides, and plastics etc. Use of organic food instead of conventional food and choosing low VOC paint (volatile organic compound) reduces the exposure to pesticides and chemicals respectively.
Always use glass or metal containers for food or water storage storage, because plastics products trigger estrogen effect.
The crisis of emotional stress is caused by losing the jobs, homes, investments, health etc. So the adrenal fatigue precedes the stress periods.
To cope with stress, listen music, practice yoga or meditation an occasionally get massaged. Take care of adrenal and endocrine glands which get affected by stress. Avoid adrenal fatigue and regain the energy, sleep, the concentration.
The HRT or hormone replacement therapy should be carefully taken. The patients with a history of blood clots, breast or endometrial cancer, pregnancy, liver disease or pregnancy should consult the physician before going for HRT.
The first type of HRT is the estrogen replacement, which is available in tablet form, cream form, or in patch form, and is given in the lowest dose to relieve the symptoms.
The other form HRT combination therapy given as a combination of estrogen and progesterone and is given for the shortest time to reduce the risks of side effects. The side effects include blood clots, irregular spotting, dizziness, breast tenderness, headache, fluid retention and even the stroke.
The HRT alternative is the use of natural products. The exercise and diet are effective against the symptoms of menopause.
Hormone Balancing Food Plan
The average lifestyle of modern women has led to the imbalances of insulin and estrogen levels in their body. These lopsided balances have increased the risks of PMS, breast cancer, depression, heart problems, blood pressure (high), and arthritis.
Follow the food plan and a balanced diet to control the blood sugar and to balance the hormone levels. The nutrients can either be obtained from food, or from the available food supplements.
Stress is caused by a bad diet, which includes sugar, preservatives, lifeless food or a food without nutrition. Eat regular meals consisting of seeds, fresh fruits, and organic vegetables.
Too much caffeine and alcohol also act as stress triggers and imbalance the hormone during pre-menstruation.
The stress blocks the estrogen by producing excessive cortisol in the body. This loss of estrogen causes lower amounts of serotonin in the female body and leads to mood swings.
The aerobics release the chemicals in the body, thereby balancing the mood swings, caused by a lack or excess of reproductive hormones in the female body.
To save the calories for dinner, the women generally skip the breakfast or the lunch, or sometimes even both. But the metabolic rate goes up at noon and then slows down, thus the food taken at night gets stored as a fat. The metabolism jumps for the day when the breakfast is taken.If breakfast is skipped the metabolism slows down, and leads to weight gain. So take at least three meals per day and include the proteins in each meal.
The intake of refined carbohydrates like baked potatoes or bananas which contain high glycemic index should be reduced. Sometimes, due to unique metabolism, these foods prove to be a healthy diet for certain people.
Eliminate refined carbohydrates like white rice, sugar, bread and alcohol. Also avoid the white flour products like pasta, muffins, snack food, bagels etc., and burn the stored fat in the body to keep insulin and blood sugar at normal levels.
Due to high fiber contents, take the whole grains like rye, wheat, oat and millet flour. The fiber binds itself to the estrogen and clears it out of the body, thereby maintaining the hormone balance.
Regularly consume a variety of fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, red - yellow -green pepper, berries, and tomatoes. Because the deep and bright colored pigments present in them contain powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants fight against the cell damage caused by free radicals, and also against the causes of chronic conditions like cataracts, cancer, heart disease and muscular degeneration.
Daily take healthy fats in the form of essential fatty acids. The omega–3 and omega–6, fatty acids assist the functioning of brain, nervous system and several other body systems. The omega-3 fats transport the hormones to their destinations in the body and make the cell membranes healthy. These fats are contained in oysters and fish like sardines, tuna, salmon, and trout etc. The walnuts, flax seeds, eggs, and soybeans also contain omega-3 fats.
The zinc enhances the production of testosterone in the body.The foods having high contents of zinc are dark chocolate and peanuts. For non-vegetarians, the option is the oyster, crab, beef, lamb, veal etc.
The women avoid all types of fat, to eliminate the intake of saturated fats from the diet. This makes the skin sallow or pale yellow, increases the chances of infections and causes obesity despite strict dieting. It makes the hair and nails brittle and also leads to loss of concentration.
© 2013 Sanjay Sharma