Hormones. Does that word conjure up feelings of moodiness, concern about acne, sugar cravings, irritability, weight gain, the feeling of being at war with your body? If you feel sluggish and brain fogged, or your struggle with difficult PMS or weight loss, you could be dealing with unbalanced hormones. The good news is you can get started today and improve your hormone balance right away.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers traveling around your body telling glands and organs how to do their jobs to regulate the processes in your body. Your brain tells your endocrine system when to release hormones to regulate your sex drive, fertility, menstrual cycle, weight, mood, and much more.
The endocrine system, a series of glands responsible for secreting hormones, is an amazing but delicate system, especially in women. It’s fascinating, really. Your brain communicates with your thyroid, adrenals and ovaries to trigger ovulation and menstruation all the while regulating your metabolism, mood, stress response, energy levels, weight, and sex drive.
Women these days are wearing many hats– they’re on top in their careers and are managing families and home life after 12 hour work days. This type of stress can cause your hormones to go haywire. Blame cortisol, your main stress hormone, which spikes during times of stress, and it stays elevated due to the chronic stressors modern life presents.
While cortisol is intrinsically not bad, chronically high cortisol can become problematic. Chronic stress can cause inflammation and affect your thyroid and female hormones, especially negatively impacting estrogen and progesterone. Low progesterone can cause menstrual irregularities, depression, breast tenderness, mood swings, insomnia, low sex drive, fatigue, and anxiety, to name a few symptoms. Low progesterone can also leave you estrogen dominant which
If you’re experiencing a worsening in PMS, hot flashes, changes in your cycle, difficulty with weight gain, or any of the above symptoms, listen up. Here are 4 tips to get you started balancing your hormones– and you can start right away. Better yet, you should feel improvement quickly!
4 Tips to Balance Your Hormones
Lay off the sugar & wine
Are you self medicating with a glass (or bottle) of wine every night to unwind? Or are your sugar cravings overpowering during the day? Sugar and booze are two of the biggest endocrine disruptors, and they contribute to the body’s stress load. Sugar causes inflammation and feeds bad bacteria in your gut (read: causes bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, candida), and wine stresses your detox system, which needs to be kept in good working order to metabolize your hormones and contribute to overall hormone balance. Kick both and feel better in a week. Your hormones will be happier too.
This supplement is a great choice to help combat cravings when weaning off booze and sugar (do not use if you take SSRIs). This supplement helps regulate blood sugar and control cravings, and it contains kudzu, which helps squash alcohol cravings. Click here for more about how to stop sugar from ruining your life. Check out this program for help kicking alcohol if you’d like to support to stop drinking.
Sleep is the cheapest and best Rx for stress. Sleep is the lifestyle factor we skimp on most, and poor sleep puts us at a greater risk of many health problems and diseases (source). We’re burning the candle at both ends, and our hormones are paying for our constant busy-ness. Lack of sleep causes high cortisol, weight gain, sugar cravings, hormone imbalance, and fatigue. Aim for 8 hours nightly. Don’t be afraid of a 20 minute nap on the weekends (or during the workday). Click here for my tips to get better zzzzs, and start tonight by creating an easy bedtime routine to wind down. Melatonin can be another good choice for sleep, if used correctly. Here is my post on it.
Support your liver
As I mentioned, your liver is in charge of metabolizing hormones and plays a crucial role in hormone balance. Your liver is your hardest working organ, so be kind to it. It has to filter everything you eat (including medications), drink, breathe, and apply to your skin. So ditch the diet sodas, sugar, booze, white flour, and chemical-laden processed foods. Swap them out for liver-loving cruciferous veggies, organic proteins and eggs, leafy greens, beets and carrots, and green veggie juices. Here is my list of top liver cleansing foods. Try this easy roasted broccoli or spicy cauliflower for dinner tonight.Start tomorrow morning with a mug of hot water, lemon, and turmeric. Need a jumpstart? Download my book for a 21 day program to cleanse your liver.
Fix your stressful relationships
This one may take some time, but toxic relationships really negatively impact your wellbeing. This could be a relationship with your boss, spouse, parent, or friend. You can start by asking yourself these questions: Are you trapped in an unhappy or unhealthy relationship? Be open and honest with yourself. Would seeking therapy help? Examine all the close relationships in your life and figure out how you can improve them. Don’t forget about your most important relationship– your relationship with yourself! Your emotional wellbeing is crucial to happiness and hormone balance. Finding a spiritual path can help– whatever speaks to you. I recommend meditation. Click here for a practice to keep you grounded and centered during the day.
Supplements for Hormone Balance
I often recommend herbal tinctures or supplements to help bring hormones back into balance. I like blends with adaptogenic herbs and vitex (chasteberry) or wild yam. I also recommend a full thyroid panel and saliva hormone testing to check your hormone levels, then I can design a program customized to you to balance them. This female support product is highly recommended.
Other hormone disruptors:
- processed soy, or too much soy in general. Soy is estrogenic.
- endocrine-disrupting chemicals from your cosmetics or environment, like BPA and plastics
- birth control pills (or other hormonal birth control)
- eating conventionally raised meat & fish that has been fed growth hormones or antibiotics
- yeast overgrowth
- bad bacteria or parasite infections in the digestive tract.
Click here for my 21-day holistic liver cleanse.
How I Completely Eliminated my PMS
Try Tulsi tea for stress relief and hormone balance.
My article on how to support yourself during times of stress.
GAIA adrenal support is awesome to maintain healthy cortisol during stressful periods.
My top tips for hormone balance
Please share and +1!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.
This information is very welcoming. I’m surely going to take your advice starting today
Hello, when I was pregnant and to my surprise the doctor found three fibroids that I did not know I had. I have 39 years and have never had menstrual problems, I’ve been pregnant quickly, I have not ever had chemical contraceptives. Is there anything I can do to take away, some need to avoid food or increase? I take I eliminated milk dairy, soy milk and gluten. I read something about calcium-D-glucarate, DIM and indole-3-carbinol, are safe during breastfeeding or should wait for later?
Thanks and sorry for my English.
This supplement can help break down fibroids: http://amzn.to/1128uIj
I would also recommend female hormone saliva testing to see if your estrogen levels are high, then you can supplement accordingly to bring them back to balance.
Can I take that suplemement during breast-feeding?
probably would be fine, but it’s always best to not take supplements while breast feeding, and check with your doctor.
I am doing ALL of these things suggested above but I’m still having hormonal imbalance problems. I’m 35 years old, and I’ve had issues with this off an on for about 8-9 months. It started not long after my second child was born. I have an 18-month old daughter and a 6-year old daughter. I’ve been eating a Paleo/Primal diet for over a year but every three weeks or so, I wake up in the morning, feel what seems like a hot flash, then I throw up repeatedly (about four times usually_) and sometimes diarrhea too. I feel crappy for a half-day. By mid-afternoon, I’m able to eat food again and resume normal duties. But this happens repeatedly. I’ve got an appointment scheduled with my OBGYN but I’m afraid they’ll just want to put me on meds or birth control pill again. I want to do find a natural alternative to regulate my hormones. I already have a great diet and receive enough sleep and do the above things. What else can I be doing? Is there a natural pill I can take? I’d love more feedback and more suggestions other than the above listing/article. The above isn’t enough for me and I think I’m still too young to just chalk it up to menopause or something like that!!! Thanks in advance to anyone who can respond with helpful suggestions!
Good advice. I am working on this area because I have severe PMDD, to the point that I am sometimes suicidal and it is ONLY during a few days a month, like clockwork. I can’t get a doctor to listen to me. They just want to give me prozac which I refuse to take. It’s really bad. So I am trying hard to figure out how to get this under control naturally.
The link in #3 for your book isn’t working. 404 nothing found error.
Loved your article on balancing hormones. I had two miscarriages this year and from what I read I’m pretty sure I’m low on progesterone. Any advise my husband and I want to try again. Also forgot to mention I’m 39
fixed, thank you!
I have been using bio identical hormones to help me balance out for the last 4yeara. Dietary changes weren’t enough for me. I still maintain a paleo based diet and no sugar along with my treatment. For me to feel my best I have to do them both. Bioidenticals are a safer alternative to conjugated hormones.
I recommend plant-based bio-identicals from a trusted source too.
I’d recommend female hormone testing (a month-long saliva panel to measure estrogen and progesterone levels throughout the month + to see if and when you ovulate), then design a hormone balancing program based on the results. I offer this in my practice.
When struggling with hormone imbalances and all the symptoms that go along with that, The problem with relationships can often be YOU!!! I know that sometimes I get so grumpy but still blame the other person.
Hey! I was just wondering what you meant by saliva test… like, something you can do at home? how does it work?
ohhhhh….. nevermind… just saw that comment before mine! lol
This is a huge thing for me. I thought my IUD was to blame for everything, then I got it out, and nothing changed. I do drink wine from time to time…maybe once every 2 weeks or so. That just started though, and the year before I still couldn’t change it. I tried to talk to my doctor but he doesn’t know how to help. He’s like “just push yourself and take diet pills if you need to because losing weight will balance your hormones” I don’t want to take pills and I work out hard 6 days a week now. I don’t know. I feel like a lost cause which adds to the stress.
I had a total hysterectomy in October at the age of 43. I now have horrible, frequent hot flashes. I eat paleo, take natural supplements for this issue (that haven’t helped so far), I don’t drink wine, and recently started drinking non gmo organic soy milk. Any suggestions would be welcomed.
Melissa, I can’t really give you particular health advice unless you are a client of mine, but I would recommend working with a practitioner to regulate hormone levels with natural therapies. Bezwecken makes some great hormone-balancing products, but you would need to do some testing to determine what you need. I do NOT recommend soy milk, which can damage thyroid and further disregulate hormones.
Pls where can ℓ̊
buy vitex in port harcourt?
Hi I am 40 year old female with endometriosis for last 6 years . I was on novalen for a year and post that developed pigmentation on cheeks . I had an extremely stressful period last year with work and personal issues and developed adult acne and hairutism. I was put on aldactone for 6 months which cured my acne and hair on face problem but my scalp hair started thinning.I left aldactone after 6 months and 2 months after that experienced hair shedding. My ferritin is low 17 and vit d is also very low . I am taking supplements for them and also taking more protein rich diet though I am a vegetarian. I have lost 50 percent of my hair volume and my hair has started shedding at even more rapid rate. Pl
Advice what I do . The doctors are asking me to take spiro or fin astride again but I am scared . Pl help me
I cannot give you advice about your health unless you are a client of mine. You can contact me via my contact page for info about my services.
Eating conventionally raised foods has never been proven to have any negative impact on health. And spreading rumors about hormones and antibiotics hurts the producers trying to feed the world. No food source is ever sent to the public market with added hormones or antibiotics. Please check the facts.
I encourage you to check out the phrase “you are what you eat eats.” This is to say that when you ingest animals that have been administered antibiotics and hormones to expedite growth, you are also receiving antibiotics and hormones via their flesh. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 70% of all antibiotics used in the United States are fed to livestock. And, as many as six different growth hormones may be given to beef cattle. This is a scary fact behind the growing antibiotic resistance– we’re getting a dose of antibiotics every time we eat non-organic feedlot meat. These animals are not fed biologically appropriate diets, making them unhealthy (hence the antibiotics they’re fed to prevent them from getting sicker), and the fatty acid and nutrient profiles of the meat is skewed to contain more inflammatory omega 6 fats and fewer omega 3s. And the hormones they are administered have an estrogenic effect on both women and men. The most troubling thing about your comment, however, is “spreading rumors about hormones and antibiotics hurts the producers trying to feed the world.” I am not spreading rumors– it is a fact that CAFO animals are fed antibiotics and hormones that end up in the meat you eat (look it up). But most disturbing is the conditions the “producers trying to feed the world” allow for the animals you are eating. They are raised in inhumane conditions, in dirty, crowded operations that spew runoff into area groundwater, and are horribly mistreated. We desperately need a new paradigm for the meat we eat– meat that is fed an appropriate diet and not abused or pumped with meds before we eat it. The meat we are eating that is contains antibiotics and hormones is making us sick. At the very least, we can vote with our dollar and buy from sustainable and local operations that treat animals well before slaughter. I encourage you to do a little more research before blindly assuring yourself that the feedlot meat you’re eating is fine.
I had a partial hysterectomy due to fibroid issues. Afterwards premenopausal systems kicked up bad. Nothing seemed to work until someone mentioned flaxseed oil. Wow, what a huge difference. Take one a day and feeling great. No more waking up with night sweats and feeling like a volcanoe every month.
Thanks for this great article. This topic is so important and I have lerned something. In January I will made one month completely sugar free. 🙂 Thank you Mary. Greetings from Berlin / Germany.
WOW congrats, great work! 😀
My 17 year old daughter has very bad acne on her face she gets really bad cramps ,headaches and gets moody when she starts her period and her acne gets worse..any good recommedations?? Thank you
Try avoiding dairy. That often clears up acne. She could also try vitex: https://www.maryvancenc.com/how-to-use-vitex/
Nice solution for hormones im balance
Hi I used the Ginette pil for 18 years and stopped using the pil
4 months ago and after I stopped using the pil I gain weight. I went to a dr he said to me that I must drink 10 provera pills. My periods didn’ t come. A month ago I went to a Gini and he cant give me an answer why do I put on weight. I told him that I drinked 10 provera pills as well and I haven’t received my periods. The Gini said I must use a new pill named Zoely. This is my second week that I am on the pil, so hopefully after 2 weeks my periods will come. All that I can think is that my hormones is heavy confused!!!!
PLEASE CAN SOMEONE HELP ME WIHT ANSWERS.
I need help as regards weight gain and neck and face discoloration