Ever Wondered If You Have a Hormone Imbalance?

Are you feeling out of sorts, but have no idea why?

Your hormones might be the answer…

Hormonal imbalance – You may have heard it before, its a buzz word on Instagram! This term is thrown around a lot in the wellness world, but what the heck does a hormonal imbalance actually mean? Or what might it look and feel like? Lets break it down…

First things first, what are hormones?

They are chemical messengers in our body that basically tell our bodies what to do and when to do it e.g. – sleep, wake, ovulate, just to name a few. Hormones affect everything in our body from metabolism to mood and sexual function. Our hormones are involved in almost every bodily function, there are lots of different types of hormones and they include more then just our sex hormones. As a Naturopath, I usually assess for a hormone imbalance in the 3 hormonal systems that tend to communicate with each other the most.

The Sex Hormones

The Thyroid Hormones

The Stress Hormones

Each has a very unique role and work together to keep your body functioning efficiently. So if one of these hormones is slightly off, you may notice significant symptoms.

Sex hormones – think estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

Imbalances in sex hormones will affect men and women differently –

 Males may notice changes in:

  • Libido
  • Muscle mass
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sperm count
  • Reduced body hair
  • Swollen breast tissue
  • Acne

Women may notice:

  • Irregular or missing periods
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Difficult periods – heavy or painful periods
  • Acne
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Swelling or tenderness in breasts
  • Fibroids
  • Weight gain, water retention plus more

Thyroid hormones:

Problems with thyroid hormones can cause two different extremes, (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism) and therefore can present with different signs and symptoms. However, the most common symptoms which present in hypothyroidism are:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Anaemia
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Issues with skin, hair and nails
  • Issues with metabolism and energy production

Stress hormones:

Problems with adrenal hormones or stress hormones including cortisol levels and DHEA, which may manifest as:  

  • Issues with fatigue/tiredness  
  • Problems with circadian rhythm – wired at night and tired during the day, with feelings of needing to nap
  • Sugar cravings
  • Unexplained weight gain – belly fat and water retention.

Root causes of hormonal imbalances may include but not limited to:

  • Compromised gut health – which could be a low-lying infection, or inflammation in the gut or high inflammation in the body overall.  
  • Chronic stress – one of the biggest killers of all hormonal systems.

The thing is, that once you knock one hormonal system down they tend to communicate with each other. For example, if there is a problem with your stress hormones it can affect your sex hormones and thyroid hormones. They are an intricate and interlinked system and that’s why it’s so important to take a deeper dive into the 3 main hormonal systems.

While there are medications to help with hormone imbalances, often the cause is lifestyle and environmentally driven factors. Which means, depending on the health condition, you can usually resolve hormonal imbalances naturally by changing your exposure and the way you live – through diet, herbs, exercise, lifestyle changes and supplementation.

When should you consider a getting a functional hormone test?

It’s important to note that not everyone’s health picture and symptoms will look the same. Symptoms of hormonal issues will vary in intensity and severity. If you experience any or all of the above and you’ve been unable to resolve these symptoms, then hormonal testing could help you get a deeper understanding and clearer picture of what’s going on in your body. Sometimes it’s best not to guess and instead get the test. This is very much a case by case approach.

I’m a naturopathic practitioner who does use functional hormonal testing when appropriate. It’s important to understand, that this is always dependent on the severity of the patient’s health condition and their health goals and outcomes. In saying that, I also believe that you can resolve hormonal imbalances without a functional hormone test, through, diet, lifestyle, herbs, supplementation and most importantly, a comprehensive case take.

Think you need more support?

Hormonal imbalances are an in-depth topic of conversation and this read only just scrapes the surface. I always recommend to seek further guidance of a qualified and registered practitioner, to understand what is the most appropriate protocol for you and your health.

If you are wanting more in-depth insight or advice, please feel free to book in for a 15 minute discovery call or a full initial consultation.

Jana Taylor – Registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. For your individual health concerns, it is important to discuss these with a health professional.