On a daily basis, I hear my patients say, “I don’t feel like myself” in a tone consumed with fear and sadness.
The truth is our body is constantly communicating with us through symptoms and signs. This can present as physical or emotional symptoms, which aim to provide ‘insight’ into areas of imbalance. For this reason, we need to take these insights seriously and with respect.
OK SO WHAT COULD BE MAKING OUR HORMONES IMBALANCED? A little physiology…….. Hormones form part of the endocrine system, which includes pituitary, hypothalamus, pineal, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, adrenals and gonads (ovaries, testes). All these glands and organs are in constant communication with each other, so if one becomes deficient so will the other and so on.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF HORMONES ARE IMBALANCED? Here are some symptoms you will experience when your hormones aren’t harmoniously secreted:
- PMS (pre menstrual syndrome) – includes emotional changes, breast soreness and fullness, bloating, irregular bowel motions, headaches, acne all occurring prior to the period and can start from ovulation.
- Irregular bleeding – spotting mid-cycle, heavy bleeding/flooding, scanty flow, missed periods, short menstrual cycles and so on.
- Emotional changes – depression, flat, unmotivated, teary, stressed, inability to cope, irritable, angry.
- Menopausal Syndrome
- Reproductive health issues: PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility
- And many more
- Excessive Stress
- Contraceptive Pill
- Exposure to environmental pollutants or toxins through skincare, make up, personal care products and cleaning products
- Pregnancy, puberty
- Refined foods, excessive sugars, stimulants (caffeine), alcohol
- Shift work, irregular sleeping patterns
- Long days
- Recreational and Prescription medications
- Excessively exercising
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO REGULATE HORMONES? The endocrine system is complex but very intelligent. I always love the clear symptoms and signs it gives people to help them identify where the issues lie. Based on this complexity I would encourage seeing a natural health practitioner that is experienced in functional medicine and the understanding of the endocrine system. In traditional Chinese Medicine, we typically look at regulating the liver, kidneys and digestive system. Most importantly we look at the health of the adrenals and thyroid as these glands are instrumental in hormonal regulation and are quite easily affected with long term stress and poor lifestyle habits. Treatments such as acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine along with dietary advice and possibly supplementation will restore the body to optimal health and alleviate the symptoms and concerns that you once had.
It is important to understand that everything our body shows us is to help bring our awareness to something that needs our attention. Your body is always on your side and even if you feel let down due to health issues that are consuming you, I personally have experienced and whole heartedly believe that what may appear as a burden now will be highlighted as a blessing in the future.
In most circumstances, we take our experiences or challenges and create change in our life to better ourselves and those around us. A good place to start is by keeping a journal of how you feel and all your symptoms as this will be a wealth of information for the practitioner you choose to guide you back on the road to better health.