Hormones are queer little cookies capable of artfully manoeuvring the way you look, the way you feel and the way you think. They may be invisible, but they sure are feisty, and when they’re down, they’ll let you know exactly how they feel.
A hormonal imbalance can appear in a variety of ways, from sporadic or absent periods to excessive facial hair and sudden weight gain. Of course, hormones evolve as you age, and their impact is often governed by not just genetic factors, but also environmental attributes such as pollution, toxins and xenoestrogens that you come by on a daily basis.
If you’re not clear about what hormones are and how they work, allow us to fill you in. Hormones are regulatory substances released by glands that control one or more bodily functions. Needs spanning a spectrum of complexity are controlled by hormones; from basic ones like thirst and sleep to more intricate ones like fertility. For instance, the adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol, which regulates the stress response.
However, elevated cortisol levels can impact a woman’s libido as well as her menstrual cycle. It can also give rise to depression and stress. Similarly, oestrogen and progesterone are sex hormones that are integral elements of the female reproductive mechanism. They collectively control the menstrual cycle, fertility and libido. Aside from these, there are a sequence of other hormones responsible for the fundamental working of the human body.
Hormonal imbalances in women may be caused by a genetic predisposition, or by environmentally triggered factors. Common causes include:
A hormonal imbalance may be signalled by one or more of the following symptoms:
Hormonal imbalance can most often be controlled through informed lifestyle choices. Some basic measures are outlined below.
A healthy, nutritious diet can mitigate issues stemming from hormonal imbalance, such as oestrogen dominance, adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems. Meet a nutritionist to help you create a meal plan with the right mix of nutrients. Omega 9 fats, short-chain fatty acids like butter and cheese, omega 3 fats like walnuts and flax seeds, medium-chain fatty acids like coconut, and various forms of omega 6 should find a place on your plate.
A balanced diet and a disciplined exercise regime go hand in hand. Exercise can relieve emotions like anxiety and stress, which are known to elevate insulin levels. Regular exercise can keep insulin in check and maintain the hormonal equilibrium. Yoga and meditation also serve as holistic healing techniques, improving blood circulation, regulating cortisol and adrenaline, and relaxing the body, mind and soul.
Discuss your supplement intake with your gynaecologist to know which nutritional gaps need to be filled. Supplements can augment your diet and keep hormonal imbalances at bay. Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is an organic supplement that can correct hormonal skews by treating adrenal problems triggered by anxiety. Your doctor may also suggest a medicated treatment plan based on your health condition.
A hormonal imbalance can take a toll on your appearance, your weight and your peace of mind. If you’ve been battling unwanted facial hair, sudden weight gain or extreme mood swings, take heart in knowing that these symptoms can be countered with the right lifestyle and treatment. If you struggle with irregular menstruation, polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid or another form of hormonal dysfunction, consider joining a virtual support group to manage your condition better. There’s something amazing about drawing energies from kindred souls. Most often, hormonal imbalances can be set right.
If you’re concerned about your fertility, meet a gynaecologist for an evaluation, and to know your treatment options. A hormonal imbalance is your body’s way of saying “Hold on, there’s something wrong”. It’s a sign that needs acknowledgement and acceptance. If you’ve received the sign, know that it’s time to rise up to it. On Cloudnine, we’ll help you strike the balance again.