In an ideal world, every body part should work together in a perfectly balanced routine. This is especially the case regarding your hormones, as these are the chemical messengers essential for almost every bodily function. They are vital for your heart rate, mood, body temperature, appetite, sex drive, growth and development, and so much more. There are almost fifty chemical messengers in the body that are produced by our endocrine system. At our functional medicine clinic in Tulsa, OK, we can look at what is causing your hormone imbalance and begin a treatment plan just for you.
What can cause hormonal imbalances?
Almost everyone will experience some type of hormonal imbalance at some point in their life, especially women. Often, these imbalances result from natural changes due to age, menopause, and puberty. As a child, your hormones were responsible for muscle and bone growth and reproduction changes such as menstruation and fertility in young women and sexual maturity in young men. This surge of hormones is also responsible for some adverse side effects such as mood swings, acne, and other issues that tend to affect teenagers.
Aging and hormone imbalances in functional medicine
Our hormone production will slow down as we leave our reproductive years behind. Less hormone production leads to both perimenopause and menopause in females and low libido and erectile dysfunction in men in their middle age.
What are some other causes of hormone imbalances in Tulsa?
There can be various reasons your hormones are unbalanced besides the natural aging process. Some of these include:
- Lack of sleep
- High blood sugar
- Chronic stress
- Being overweight
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- Birth control pills
- Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
- Steroids and other medications
- Pesticides, herbicides, and plastics
Some of the main symptoms of a hormone imbalance are:
- Weight gain, or weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Low libido
- Mood swings, anxiety, and depression
- Diarrhea, bloating, and constipation
- Insulin resistance
- Night sweats/hot flashes
- Brain fog
- Thinning and brittle hair
Thankfully, there are many ways you can address your hormone health and get relief from the symptoms you are experiencing, whatever your age.
How to fix your hormone imbalance naturally
Avoid foods that mess with your hormones.
Foods high in sugar or carbohydrates can spike your blood sugar and mess with your insulin levels. Your pancreas makes the insulin hormone, which helps turn glucose into energy and stabilize your blood sugar. If you consume a lot of sugar, it causes your body to release too much insulin to try to control the excess blood glucose levels. If this continues over time, it can lead to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes. Try to consume limited amounts of refined carbs and sweet foods for the occasional treat.
Watch out for certain foods with your hormones.
Eating protein for every meal will leave you feeling fuller for longer and decrease the “hunger hormone” ghrelin levels. It is essential to try to eat organic protein so that you aren’t ingesting any hormones typically used in regular livestock and farmed fish.
Get your body moving.
You can increase dopamine’s “feel-good” hormone by doing both cardio and strength exercises. It also reduces feelings of depression and stress. Regularly exercising can help your digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual function because of serotonin boosts.
Exercise can also increase the production of estrogen in women and testosterone in men. When their testosterone levels fall, men can have reduced libido, lose muscle mass and improve signs of aging. Women with low estrogen levels going through menopause can ease symptoms by doing daily exercise, especially high-intensity workouts like spin classes, running, and jumping rope. It is good to find an activity you like and can stick to so that it becomes a daily habit to find something you want, even if it is walking, as any movement will improve hormones in your body.
Remove plastics from your life
Almost every type of plastic releases chemicals which mimic estrogen in your body. Continuously exposing yourself to these chemicals can lead to hormone imbalance and risk of insulin resistance, male impotence, infertility, breast or prostate cancer, and many other health issues.
Check your body product labels
Many body products on the market today contain a whole host of hormone-distributing ingredients such as parabens and phthalates. They get absorbed into your body when you put them onto your skin, entering your bloodstream and messing up your hormones. Try to find body products free from such toxins by reading your labels carefully.
Get plenty of sleep
During sleep, your growth hormones are released, which boost your immune system and help tissue repair. Having a restful night’s sleep helps to control stress hormones and cortisol levels so that the next day you can deal with whatever the day throws at you throughout the day calmly.
Try to find ways to destress
If you have chronic stress, it can cause many side effects on your hormones. Chronic stress can cause hormone levels such as cortisol, adrenalin, thyroid hormones, and prolactin to dip up and down. This causes hormone imbalances which then cause a wide range of health concerns. These include diabetes, adrenal fatigue, Grave’s disease, and more. We know it is impossible to avoid all stress these days, which is why it is essential to find the best way for you to destress. This could be exercise, meditation, supplements, or building a community of social support. Find a stress reliever that works best for you and your stress levels.
Functional Medicine in Tulsa
Our functional medicine practitioners in Tulsa, OK, are here to help you to find the right mix of lifestyle changes, nutrition, and supplements for you and your hormone imbalance. This could be support to help relieve symptoms of PMS and menopause, adrenal support to support adrenal health, multivitamins, and so many more. They can help to balance your hormones and support your new lifestyle to get your hormones balanced again.