When I was in my 20’s I was prescribed COC’s (combination oral contraceptives) for acne and dysmenorrhea. I took these for over 8 years without even batting an eye, because the doctors told me it was safe.
Now I realize that they weren’t really all that good for my body after all. In fact they probably did more harm than good. Hormone imbalance is a very real thing faced by so many women. The symptoms are not as easy to diagnose but generally may present as feeling down, tired, moody, suffering insomnia, bloating, brain fog, acne etc.
Here are a couple of ways find balance and equilibrium once more…
1. Address Gut Health
Did you know that our gut bacteria actually modulates estrogen, progesterone and testosterone? Getting the Gut flora, fauna and microbes in equilibrium and harmony, is the secret to healthy hormones since the gut regulates and excretes, even makes, hormones. Adding a good probiotic to your diet, eating lots of full fat, sugar-free yogurt each morning, can contribute to the good bacteria in your gut and in turn, regulate hormone balance.
2. Eat more Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cauliflower and Kale contain two powerful and well-studied bioactive compounds called sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to help with estrogen dominance by binding to excess estrogen, and both help improve the gut flora and fauna, which results in better hormone health as well.
3. Cut Refined Sugars from the diet
Sugar.. toxic to say the least. Hormones that govern our weight, hunger, and blood sugar balance like insulin, leptin, and ghrelin, all become less effective when you’re chronically eating sugar. These hormones determine how well we’ll burn fat and also have a huge influence on your energy levels and menstrual cycles. Insulin and leptin resistance not only drive you to store fat, they increase inflammation and affect your levels of estrogen and testosterone.
4. Reduce Stress
I’m referring to Cortisol here. And did you know that even extreme exercising or extreme diets (fad, or even long periods of fasting) can also affect cortisol levels. Yoga, meditation, shorter HIIT sessions (vs Long Distance Running for eg.) our just walking in the park are good ways to stay healthy yet manage stress levels without adding to it.
5. Add to the mix, Adaptogens
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that are marketed as helping the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, but they’re having a renaissance today. Ashwagandha, rhodiola, and maca root are some of the ones to consider. If you are doing everything right when it comes to stress management, food, and exercise, adaptogens can be a really good tool for hormone balance.