This is something I have a lot of personal experience with and something I think needs to be talked about more. Todays post is focused on helping you identify possible hormone imbalances. Hormones can be a touchy subject but we all have to deal with them every single day. It would be easy to write about this topic for the next 10 posts but for today I am going to focus on estrogen and cortisol.
Estrogen dominance has become a common diagnosis in women. Estrogen at high levels is toxic to our health. Some of the symptoms of Estrogen Dominance are lower libido, irregular and abnormal menstrual cycles, water retention, breast swelling, acne and weight gain. These are common complaints I hear from women every day! Many of them just assume that this is part of their physiology. Often times the use of the birth control pill can aggravate these symptoms! Many young teenage girls are offered birth control as a solution to their period pain, this sets them up for long term hormone disruption. Often our bodies are not receiving the support they need and hormone therapy can further confuse us. I personally experienced this while on birth control, I thought I was losing my mind. My mood was all over the place, I ate enough for two people and I carried around a significant amount of water weight. I was put on the pill to help treat my painful periods, when in reality the cause of my painful periods should have been addressed. I’m not saying this is everyone’s story but it is a common one. This leads me to hormone disruptors.
Phytoestrogens and Chemicals
We are constantly being exposed to phytoestrogens and other hormone affecting substances. Something as simple as our daily makeup routine can be leaking chemicals into our body. We are constantly putting things in, and on, our bodies that change our hormonal balance. We also live in a world full of pollution. The scariest part is that most of us don’t even realize that these hormonal disruptions aren’t natural. You aren’t supposed to feel like crap when you have your period. Sure you may be a bit tired but acne, cramps and digestive disturbances shouldn’t be accepted as a normal occurrence. Having trouble losing weight? Your hormones could be the culprit. Being aware, and eliminating, as many toxins as possible from your home is a good place to start.
Cortisol is also known as the bodies stress hormone. When our body senses a stressor, cortisol is released to help the body fight the perceived stress. If you experience chronic stress, such as in the workplace, your body will eventually stop producing cortisol resulting in burnout. Cortisol levels are supposed to spike in the morning upon waking and slowly decrease throughout the day. This helps maintain regular sleeping patterns. With the fast paced, high stress lifestyles we live today many people do not have a proper cortisol pattern.
Symptoms of high cortisol are:
high blood pressure
Symptoms of low cortisol are:
low blood sugar
low blood pressure
You may have noticed one commonality, severe fatigue. Cortisol levels that are too high or too low both cause fatigue. Fatigue should not be a daily occurrence. If you have recently travelled or had a longer day than usual, then fatigue makes sense. Your daily life should not exhaust you.
What Do I Do About It?
If you recognize yourself in the above symptoms, there is still hope! With the proper nutrition and lifestyle changes, you can rewire your body back to its proper hormone balance. A diet high in nutrient-dense food, and low in processed food, not only supports your hormones but also lowers your cortisol levels. Learning to handle stress is also important. Talking to a counsellor, participating in physical activity ,or even just taking time to write down your worries can all help lower your perceived stress. I also recommend getting rid of as many chemical-containing products as possible. This can be done slowly over time.
If you want to talk more about making some nutrition and health changes, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Starting September 10th, 2018 I have an all online 45 day program starting. This program is for women ONLY and will address all the above issues. Follow this link for more information.
Eat Your Veggies!