Stop Suffering Alone: Recognising Hormone Imbalance And What The Experts Tells Us Works
At 23W we value holistic health and wellness to support your training and lifestyle.
We are excited to be collaborating with Women’s Health Nutritionist Tris Alexander to host
an information packed 90 minute workshop on ‘Nutrition To Balance Your Hormones and Improve Your Health ‘.
If you are a woman who experiences the unpleasant side effects of PMS, PCOS, Endometriosis, hormonal skin breakouts, and difficulty losing weight, this workshop is NOT to be missed.
Are you ready for a taster? This article will skim the surface of some of these topics.
By Tris Alexandra
Understanding if you have hormonal imbalances and which hormones are in fact out of balance can help you to address your underlying causes and clear your symptoms, naturally.
Hormonal imbalances are incredibly common, but often they go undiagnosed with women living for years with painful or debilitating symptoms. Women often pass off symptoms as being “normal” because they seem to be common, however any symptoms that are affecting your quality of life absolutely warrant further investigation and follow up. Often hormonal imbalances are diagnosed as conditions such as Endometriosis, PCOS, Hypothyroid, however you can have hormone imbalances without it being a diagnosable condition.
Even with a healthy diet and lifestyle, hormonal imbalances can occur for a number of reasons including genetics, environmental toxin exposure, history of exposure to viruses, medications and antibiotics, stress and history of stress, mineral and nutrient depletion, undereating, and more.
You might also be surprised to know that hormonal imbalances don’t just refer to reproductive hormones (oestrogen and progesterone), but also insulin, androgens, cortisol (stress hormone), thyroid hormones and more. Our hormones impact everything in our body from communication, immunity, menstrual cycle, fertility, metabolism, weight, skin, energy, mood and so much more.
There are numerous symptoms that hormones can contribute to, but here are the 5 most common signs you may have a hormonal imbalance:
Irregular or absent menstrual cycles
Irregular menstrual cycles are common but actually not normal, and a sign many hormones could be out of balance. A normal menstrual cycle is considered anywhere between 25-35 days. If you cycle is consistently shorter or longer than this or constantly changing lengths, it’s worth further investigations.
Heavy, painful and/or prolonged periods
A little cramping and bloating around your period are normal. However, days bed ridden, heavy bleeding (>40ml loss), periods lasting longer than 7 days, or pain that impacts your day to day life is not.
Unexplained weight gain / difficulty losing weight
Whilst there can be a number of reasons for difficulty in losing weight it is often a symptom of hormonal imbalances. In PCOS, high insulin and androgens cause weight gain particularly around the middle. Slow thyroid function in another key reason women struggle to lose weight despite reporting moving more and eating less.
Skin breakouts and acne
Acne or skin breakouts that have a consistent pattern around the jawline and chin (although you can also have acne anywhere on your face, neck or back), typically worsening leading up to your period is a sign of hormonal imbalances. It’s also common in PCOS due to high androgen hormones that trigger PCOS symptoms.
Its normal for your libido to fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle (and different life phases such as postpartum), however if it is continually low, it may be a sign of low oestrogen, oestrogen:progesterone ratio imbalance, or low testosterone (less common but women do need a small amount of testosterone).
Now that you have a clearer understanding if you may have a hormonal imbalance (including PCOS, Endometriosis, Hypothyroid etc), what’s important to know is you can use nutrition and lifestyle to address your symptoms!
4 ways nutrition can help you find balance
Balance blood sugar levels
Blood sugar dysregulation can wreak havoc on our hormones including increasing cortisol (causing stress, sleep disturbance, mood changes and irritability), insulin and insulin resistance. Insulin worsens PCOS symptoms and contributes to fatigue and weight gain. Eating adequate protein with each meal, having macronutrient balanced meals (with enough protein, carbs and fats for our needs), regular spaced meals, combining carbs with protein and/or fats, and avoiding coffee before breakfast are some of the key steps to balance blood sugar levels.
Support hormone detoxification
The liver and detoxification pathways produce, metabolise and detoxify hormones to keep them in balance, whilst the gut eliminates excess hormones, especially oestrogen and cholesterol. The right nutrition supports our gut health, liver function and detoxification pathways to ensure hormonal balance, and is key in PCOS and Endometriosis.
Stress plays a huge role in impacting our hormones (and fertility). Under stress, our body quickly uses up and depletes nutrients including vitamin C, minerals such as magnesium, and electrolytes, as well as impacting the immune system, which causes further dysfunction and symptoms. Replenishing nutrients is vital for restoring hormonal balance (particularly progesterone).
Inflammation is an underlying cause of hormonal imbalances, particularly in conditions such as PCOS, Endometriosis and autoimmune thyroid conditions. Nutrition can help to reduce inflammation in the body to begin restoring hormonal balance and managing these conditions.
Hopefully this little insight has given you a clearer understanding of how we can support our bodies naturally with nutrition, and how important it is for us to have happy, healthy, balanced hormones!
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Ange Drake is an personal trainer, women’s empowerment coach and fitness blogger in the northern suburbs of Melbourne. She is the director of one of the few womens’ only strength training gyms in Melbourne, 23W. Ange helps women to learn how to use strength based training, nutritional strategies and a positive mindset to transform their bodies, relationship with food and mind.
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