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How I'm Balancing My Hormones Naturally

 

As a teenager, I had an extremely rough time with my hormones from abdominal and back pain that would cause many ‘sick’ days off school with painkillers and heat packs, acne on my face and chest, extreme mood swings, and hair loss. I was also conditioned to believe that the females menstrual cycle was an annoying, painful inconvenience. Over the years, learning about hormones and the female cycle has allowed me to learn more about myself, why I do what I do at certain times, and why I feel a certain way during difference phases of the month and cycle.

I was 17 years old when I first went on the contraceptive pill. Unfortunately, there was never a conversation about the long term side effects of using a hormone altering pill daily for years, and I experienced ALOT of them! After being on the contraceptive pill for 5+ years, I got so fed up with the side effects that I decided to go off the pill. It was then that my hormones went absolutely mental (can you blame them?), and it was during this time that I first started researching and speaking to other women in the best approach to balancing my hormones.

Recently, I went through a huge bout of chronic stress due to personal life stuff. I noticed things started to feel off, and I experienced some symptoms that did not seem right. Naturally, I always see symptoms as a way the body sends little messages and signals that something is out of balance.
So, off I went to my integrative health practitioner and I had some lab work, and the results showed that my hormones were imbalanced. My test results were also showing signs of Adenomyosis (a female medical condition), and possibly Endometriosis (which couldn’t be confirmed unless I had a surgery). My doctor discussed conventional hormonal treatment such as the contraceptive pill and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUD), as well as a natural hormonal treatment route with me.

Over the years, I’ve thankfully become acquainted with my body, and I’ve gotten to know my own workings inside and out and back to front.
To me, it’s never felt ‘normal’ to suffer through crippling cramps, painful headaches, and unpredictable mood swings throughout a women’s cycle. What’s normal? Drama-free, pain-free menstrual cycles, stable moods, clear skin, and vibrant energy.

In the past, Doctors wanted to put me on medication to help regulate my hormones, but thankfully I have found there are other natural ways that you can heal a hormonal imbalance.
I know from past experiences, that taking the natural approach to healing can take longer, but it’s usually worth it, so this is the approach that I have decided to take.

What are hormones?

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers that circulate and concentrate in certain areas of the body (there are 50 estimated). These hormone messengers play a role in bodily functions such as appetite, sleep cycle, reproduction, and our emotions and mood. Our bodies make it’s own hormones, but there can also be man-made, synthetic hormones as well as chemicals and toxins that mimic our own hormones.

 

How do hormones become unbalanced?


Our diets, lifestyle and the chronic stress from work, relationships, and life can all play a role in hormone balance or major imbalance. There can be many factors that can affect our hormones and cause a hormonal imbalance. I spoke to my health professionals and have done a tonne of research on this, so here are some that I’ve gathered and listed below. 

  • Birth control pills
  • Chemical exposure
  • Plastic chemicals
  • Heavy metals exposure
  • WiFi, microwaves, cell phones, radiation exposure
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Overuse of pharmaceutical drugsOverconsumption of refined sugars
  • GMO’s & Glyphosate
  • Commercial/conventional/processed animal
  • products
  • Gluten intolerance
  • Gut and digestive issues
  • Stomach acid problems
  • Liver stress or illness
  • Long-term stress
  • Long-term use of alcohol or drugs
  • Food intolerances
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Chlorinated tap water
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Nutrient deficiencies (specifically Vitamin D)

Things that I believe have personally contributed to my hormonal imbalance recently, and over the years:

  • Exposure to eating and drinking from hormone disruptive plastic chemicals
  • Exposure to unhealthy processed foods for 20+ years
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Getting put on the contraceptive pill as a teenager
  • Being a heavy binge drinker for years
  • Taking multiple rounds of antibiotics throughout my life
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals from paint fumes and spray paints from a young age (my Dad was a painter by trade)
  • Sleep issues
  • My liver was continually under stress from poor food choices, alcohol, toxins (the liver detoxes estrogen)
  • My particular gene mutations that affect my body's ability to detox
  • And more recently… chronic stress

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

If you are experiencing any of these below symptoms, then there is a possibility that you may also have a hormone imbalance where your hormones are either too high or too low, and it may be a good idea to speak to a health professional to get your hormones tested.

  • Low sex drive
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue and lack of energy
  • Breast tenderness
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid weight gain or weight loss
  • Heavy menstrual cycles
  • Acne
  • Loss of menstrual cycle
  • Mood swings
  • Hot flushes or night sweats

 

Things that I'm doing to help balance my hormones

First off, this is not medical advice. This is what I’ve learned from my personal experiences over the years, and what I'm still continuing to learn on my own individual health journey. I always suggest you talk to a health professional about getting your hormones balanced as everyone’s body is different, so figuring out what YOUR body needs is your best plan of action.

Here are a few tips and things that have worked for me in the past, and are currently working for me now.


Infrared sauna

I’ve spoken a lot about infrared saunas. They have helped me immensely over the years with supporting my body and health. Infrared saunas helps balance cortisol and other stress hormones in your body. Using an infrared sauna also aids in detoxing estrogen from the body. This is because estrogen goes through 3 phases of metabolic processes in the body - the first 2 are in the liver known as phase I detoxification and phase II detoxification. And, the the 3rd is getting the estrogen metabolites out of the body and ensuring all exit and detoxification pathways are open - this includes poop, urine, and sweating. By regularly sweating, you can assist your liver and lymphatic system in estrogen detoxification, as well as other harmful toxins and chemicals.

You can read more about my experience with Infrared Saunas and how they have benefited me here.

 

 

Reducing stress

This isn’t always easy for me, as naturally I have been a highly stressed person, coming from an anxious ‘go a million miles per hour’ type of family that these traits, habits and behaviours became embedded deep within me. So much so, that I had a nervous breakdown and my physical health crashed when I was hospitalised a few years ago. I have to work REALLY hard at implementing habits to create a stress-free, calm, and peaceful inner state.

Stress in all forms whether that be emotional or physical releases both adrenaline and cortisol in the body. If this stress is chronic and is present over an extended period of time, this has been shown to be detrimental to our health and body, impacting our adrenal glands and our hormones. When our adrenals get overworked, they can tire out which eventually leads to adrenal fatigue. When this happens, the body can’t produce enough hormones adequately, thus leading to hormone imbalance.

Learning to manage your stress is essential in balancing hormones - and keeping them balanced.
Try some things like:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Gentle movement
  • Journaling
  • Seeking a therapist
  • Talking to a friend you trust

 

Continuing to clean up my beauty and cleaning products

Unfortunately, there are chemicals that are used in mainstream products that can alter and affect our hormones. Over the years, I have become an advocate for living a toxin free life and I always try to avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals and toxins, either in my skincare, household and cleaning products, and my beauty products. I have done a fair amount of research on the types of chemicals and nasty ingredients that I should avoid, and I even use certain mobile apps like the ‘Think Dirty’ app on my smartphone that can detect some of these ingredients for me.
Always try and opt for products that are as natural and tox-free as possible. We have a range of natural tox-free, organic and clean products in our online store.


Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been amazingly beneficial for my hormone related symptoms and has worked to naturally balance my hormones over the years.
Acupuncture can be used to restore hormonal balance, regulate energy and stress levels, and help to manage menstrual cycle problems.


A clean, organic and anti-inflammatory diet

Cleaning up my diet and looking at making dietary changes is one of the first things that I looked at when treating my hormones naturally. This mean limiting processed foods, foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body, and foods that I am sensitive too. Some inflammatory foods can include dairy, gluten, sugar, grains, and corn. My diet is primarily focused around organic produce, whole foods, anti-inflammatory, and plenty of vegetables and good fats. We are what we eat, and I want to give my body the right fuel.

Try adding things like cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), leafy greens, healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids (avodados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds such as flax and chia) to help balance your hormones.

Cleaning up my diet also included stabilising my blood sugar levels, as I’ve learned recently that blood sugars can play quite a big role in hormone imbalance. This is because, when our blood sugar is imbalanced, this then puts stress directly on to the body. Blood sugar levels can spike and crash throughout the day if we don’t eat at regular intervals, skip meals through the day, or go too long in between meals (guilty). I now focus on eating balanced meals that usually include protein, fat, fibre and carbohydrates with each meal. 


A good sleep routine

Sleep is one of the essential things that we need to keep us healthy and balanced, and we need sleep to restore our body. When we sleep, our body is in restorative mode and is active in removing toxins, recharging the mind, and creating hormones. If you are not getting enough sleep, then it can be difficult to balance your hormones.
I recently wrote a blog post about insomnia and getting a deeper sleep which you can read here for tips on getting a better sleep.


Tracking my menstrual cycle

As I mentioned briefly above, tracking my cycle over the years has allowed me to learn so much more about myself, who I am, why I do what I do at certain times, why I feel a certain way during different phases of my cycle every single month, and I understand my skin and bodily changes, and how they can change due to the fluctuations of different hormones during the stages of my cycle.
I recommend downloading a mobile app (there are loads like Flo, Stardust, Clue, and Period Tracker) or keeping track of your cycle in a diary or journal.


Herbal support

Herbs have been absolutely amazing for me during my health journey over the years, and I have a huge passion for herbs and herbal remedies.

Because the liver and the gut are the two major organs responsible for clearing hormones, it’s important that they are both working at their best to prevent a build up of hormones (such as estrogen) which can contribute to hormonal imbalances. I’ve also been taking herbs to not only support my hormones, but also support my liver and digestive health.

There are certain herbs that I have began taking to naturally support my body, support my liver, and balance my hormones.
Here are some herbs which have been shown to balance hormones and support liver health:



Supplement program (supported by both my Integrative practitioner and Naturopath)

I’m not going to share here the exact supplements my Doctor and health professionals have recommended for me, as these are all tailored for me. In short though, my Doctor has put me on some supplements that will help me and support my body with mineral support, hormonal estrogen detox, my gut flora, vitamin D, nutrient deficiencies, and progesterone.


Staying hydrated

Not drinking enough water and becoming dehydrated can in turn affect your body’s glandular function which can lead to hormonal imbalance. Drinking water helps flush toxins from the body that could be impacting hormones, such as high estrogen levels.
Drinking plenty of water will also make every function of your body work better. You’ll think clearer, have better digestion, more energy, sleep better and so much more. 


Sun exposure

Getting the right amount of sun exposure daily has been beneficial in helping to balance my hormones and for the absorption of vitamin D to realign my circadian rhythm.
Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all, it’s actually a hormone that communicates with other hormones in the body, which makes it essential to help balance other hormones.


Womb massages

Some traditional and natural healing systems incorporate abdominal therapy and womb massages for reproductive health, fertility, and to help balance hormones. Gentle massages aim to improve blood flow and move stagnant lymph in the body. You can find a specialised womb and fertility massage specialist or womb healer in your area, or learn how to do womb massages on yourself by watching videos on Youtube for example.


Limiting caffeine

I used to be a very big coffee drinker and I l enjoyed having my daily coffee as part of my morning routine (and I may have had more than two to three cups of coffee a day…eek). Eventually, I ended up quitting coffee but I turned to other coffee alternatives or caffeinated beverages over the years which I have since had to reduce for a short time. Too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine systems and impact our adrenal glands. If you are looking to balance your hormones too, cut down on the coffee if you can and replace with a green juice or herbal tea.


Essential oils

Essential oils are capable of supporting the body and bringing it back into balance to help heal your hormones. Essential oils can also be used to help relieve PMS symptoms during a women’s monthly cycle.
My favourite essential oils for diminishing symptoms of PMS, reducing stress, and balancing hormones are:


Resources

Three books that I can recommend if you are starting your own journey with balancing your hormones naturally:

 

WomanCode by Alisa Vitti - This book is probably one of the most common books that people share regarding how to balance hormones naturally. The author Alisa covers a lot about certain lifestyle changes.

In The Flo - Another book by author Alisa Viti who is also a Gynecologist who weighed 200 pounds and was covered in deep cystic acne before she was diagnosed with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). Alisa goes into depth about working with your monthly cycle, what to eat, and how to exercise depending on what phase you are in.

Balance Your Hormones Balance Your Life by Dr. Claudia Welch - Dr. Claudia Welch passionately educates women in the simplest ways possibly in this book and explains how important self-care is in balancing your hormones. I felt even more inspired in taking a natural approach after reading this one.

 

If you have a hormonal imbalance, I highly recommend you gain support from a naturopath, hormones specialist, endocrine specialist, traditional Chinese doctor, and/or an integrative medical doctor. I encourage you to research in-depth, for the more help and information you can gain from these, the more you can get to the core understanding of why you are having health issues such as hormonal imbalances, PCOS, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis, and finally get to the root cause.

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