Unlocking Hormone Balance: Insights from a Health Coach
As a health coach, I have come across many clients who struggle with hormone imbalances.
Hormone balance is the state in which your hormones are functioning optimally to support your body's natural processes. When hormones are imbalanced, it can cause a host of
symptoms that can negatively impact your health and wellbeing. In this article, I will discuss the top hormone imbalance symptoms to watch out for and how a health coach can help you achieve hormone balance.
Understanding Hormone Balance and Imbalance
Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that regulate various functions, including metabolism, mood, sleep and reproduction. Hormones work in harmony to maintain balance in the body. Hormone imbalance occurs when there is an excess or deficiency of a particular hormone. Hormones can be influenced by many factors, including genetics, diet, lifestyle, detox pathways, quality sleep and environmental toxins.
The Importance of a Holistic Perspective
A holistic approach to hormone imbalance considers the whole person, including physical, emotional, and environmental aspects. It recognises that hormone imbalance is not just a physical issue but can also be caused by emotional and spiritual imbalances. By addressing the root cause of hormone imbalance, a holistic approach can help restore balance to your hormones and improve your overall health and wellbeing in a significant way.
Common Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
Hormone imbalance can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
Weight gain or loss
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, hormone imbalance may be at the root cause.
As a health coach, I have worked with numerous clients who struggle with hormone imbalances. Hormones play a crucial role in our bodies, affecting everything from our mood and energy levels to our weight and overall health. It is very common to see imbalances that can lead to a range of health issues. In this article, I'll share my insights on hormone balance and signs and symptoms to pay attention to in order to find your own version of what balance might look and feel like.
When our hormones are in balance, we feel our best with a clear mind and buckets of energy. Let's dive in.
Understanding Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance occurs when there is too much estrogen in the body relative to other hormones. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including weight gain, mood swings, and more. Estrogen dominance can be caused by a variety of factors, including gut health, liver function, diet, stress, and environmental toxins.
Symptoms and Causes
Estrogen dominance is a common hormone imbalance that may be the result of overproduction of estrogen by the body, changes in estrogen metabolism and detoxification pathways, or an imbalance in the estrogen to progesterone ratio. Symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
Factors that contribute to estrogen dominance include:
Exposure to environmental toxins
Liver function & ability to detoxify effectively
Diet & sensitivities to certain foods
Understanding Low Estrogen
During perimenopause estrogen can rise and fall dramatically while hormones recalibrate to a 'new normal' after the menopause which is one year after your final period. This process can take up to 10 years - that's one wild ride. Having holistic support during this time can make a huge difference to this transition.
When you have low estrogen, you may experience:
Loss of libido
An increased risk of insulin resistance
An increased risk of thyroid issues
An increased risk of osteoporosis
Research suggests that women who go through a natural perimenopause have a 25% chance of experiencing severe symptoms. Interestingly, perimenopause can serve as a
barometer for overall health as it can reveal and amplify underlying health issues such as thyroid dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, and sleep disturbances.
This is a really good time to become an expert in your own body and step into your power.
My clients often come to me frustrated with the lack of options and understanding from their GP or Doctor. It's so beautiful to see the shift when these women educate themselves and work through the signs and symptoms with clarity and strength, often with a team of supporters to call upon. 'A team' might sound a bit over the top, but this could be anyone from different holistic practitioners to mainstream medicine and emotional support from friends and family.
If you're reading this and you're in your late 30's to late 40's, this is the time to invest in yourself and your future health. Balancing your hormones throughout perimenopause and menopause can have dramatic impact on your ability to be the best version of yourself both for you and those around you.
The Importance of Progesterone
Progesterone is a hormone that plays an important role in regulating the menstrual cycle and maintaining pregnancy. It also helps to balance estrogen levels in the body.
Progesterone imbalance occurs when there is too little progesterone relative to estrogen. Symptoms of progesterone imbalance include:
Irregular periods, spotting
Hot flashes and/or night sweats
Factors that contribute to progesterone imbalance include:
Not having a healthy cycle, as you can only produce progesterone after ovulation.
Certain medications including some hormonal contraceptives.
Underlying inflammatory issues such as dairy sensitivity, leaky gut, gluten sensitivity, histamine issues, insulin resistance and thyroid issues.
Progesterone is beneficial because it reduces inflammation, lightens periods, regulates immune function, and supports a healthy brain, bones, thyroid, and breasts.
Ways to increase progesterone during your cycling years are:
Eating nutrient dense foods anti inflammatory foods that contain protein, carbohydrate, healthy fat, iodine and zinc.
Taking out inflammatory foods and foods you may have a sensitivity to.
Learning how to regulate your nervous system when faced with stress.
Recognising Insulin Imbalance
Insulin is a hormone that regulates our blood sugar levels. When our bodies become resistant to insulin, we may experience insulin imbalance, which can lead to weight gain around the middle - think your classic apple shape, fatigue, and an increased long term risk of developing dementia, heart disease and osteoporosis. Insulin imbalance can be caused by a variety of factors, including diet, and a lack of movement.
The most effective way of enhancing insulin sensitivity is through physical activity. This is accomplished in two ways: firstly, during exercise, glucose uptake into cells is enhanced; and secondly, insulin sensitivity is improved by building muscle mass. Strength training is an effective way of building muscle and could include resistance bands, weights, lunges and planks.
Eating enough protein builds muscle and keeps you full longer, so you tend to eat less. There is an increased need for protein at certain times of our lives including pregnancy and menopause.
Intermittent fasting can work well for some people and is a simple way to improve insulin sensitivity. When you restrict food and drinks that spike insulin, even overnight for 12 hours it can train your cells to burn ketones rather than glucose. It's this flexibility that we are after. This is a key to long term health. I'd like to mention here that intermittent fasting is not always suitable for people who are struggling or have struggled with disordered eating. Support from a specialist in this area is recommended in this instance before dipping into time restricted eating.
I generally recommend either cutting down or eliminating refined sugar in general but this is especially so for insulin resistance. A good hack is to always pair a food with fructose like fruit with a good fat and protein as it helps maintain blood sugar balance and avoids those energy dips throughout the day. A date stuffed with almond butter is one of my faves just before the school run.
The Impact of Stress on Hormone Balance
Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. When our bodies are under prolonged stress, cortisol levels can become imbalanced, which can lead to a range of symptoms, including weight gain and fatigue. Cortisol imbalance can be caused by a variety of factors, including chronic stress, which is when the body isn't able to regulate throughout the day and a lack of or poor quality sleep.
Coming back to the breath can be a powerful tool in regulating the body. Breathing deeply stimulates the vagus nerve which automatically shifts the body back into 'rest and digest' as opposed to being stuck in 'fight or flight'. In our modern world, our bodies are reacting to an email or being cut off while you're driving in the exact same way our bodies evolved to react when needing to run away from an animal in the wild. Stress can be incredibly useful. It causes excess blood to go to our arms and legs, it sets our heart racing so we can run faster but if we are in a constant state of stress, we can't digest our food properly and our hormones will be totally out of wack. The next time you feel your shoulders around your ears, notice it. Then breathe.
Hormone Balancing Tips from a Health Coach
As a health coach, I have worked with many clients to help them achieve hormone balance. I take an individual approach to all my clients so no two health plans are ever the same but broadly, most people benefit from:
Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of whole foods, healthy fats, and lean protein.
Getting regular exercise to help regulate blood sugar levels and reducing stress.
Managing stress through practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Avoiding environmental toxins, including pesticides and plastics.
Getting enough sleep to help regulate hormone levels and reduce stress.
Hormone balance is key to feeling your best. By understanding the role of hormones in the body and making lifestyle changes to support hormone balance, you can improve your health and wellbeing.
As a health coach, it's my privilege to support women like you on their journey to hormone balance. If you have any questions or would like more information, please don't feel shy. Shoot me an email or a DM on instagram, I'd love to hear from you.
If you'd like to learn more about how to get better quality sleep, you can download my free ebook 6 Steps to Better Sleep.