Why Your Hormones Call the Shots
Hormones are not independent but rather work as a team in a vastly complex and highly coordinated dance that spans every organ in your body. The endocrine system produces and manages hormones.
Do you know what an endocrine issue looks like in your body? Are you struggling with:
- Weight gain / inability to lose weight
- Mood swings
- Hair loss
- Sense of dread and overwhelm
- Exhaustion no matter how much sleep you get.
- Infrequent or nonexistent female cycle
- Sexual dysfunction
- Vaginal atrophy
- Body aches
All of these symptoms (and more) are a result of imbalanced hormones, and there are a number of lifestyle changes you can begin today to support your hormones:
- Take care of your gut. Hormone balance is dependent on gut health. We need to properly digest the building blocks of hormones – protein and fat – in order to have a robust endocrine system. Read more about this in my blog post “How your gut influences your hormones”
- Take care of your liver. The liver deconjugates hormones so they can be released from the body. When the liver isn’t working properly, hormones can be recirculated back into the body rather than excreted and hormonal imbalances are sure to follow.
- Drink water. The body sends messages in the form of hormones from one organ to the next via water.
- Establish a daily self-care practice to complete the stress cycle.
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption. Caffeine can increase the body’s stress response and put a strain on the endocrine system. Alcohol puts a strain on the liver and the endocrine system.
Read this blog post for more information on how to manage day-to-day stress so it doesn’t wreak havoc on your hormones.
Sometimes lifestyle changes just aren’t enough to support and heal the body. Hormonal dysregulation can be caused by many different factors and requires a unique approach.
You Are One-of-a-Kind
…and Your Approach to Your Health Should Be Too!
So often we forget that each of us is entirely and completely one-of-a-kind. From our face, to our cells, to our life story, we are different and the approach to healing must reflect this. Over and over again I have seen with myself and with my clients that a cookie-cutter approach to health just doesn’t work.
While the symptom presentation may fit into a particular condition, the path that got them there and the path that will get them out is almost always unique to them, and the protocol must be as bio-individual as they are.
Listening Is the Key
Listening is a lost art, and as a practitioner, this is one of the most important tools in my toolbox. You can learn a great deal about how to help someone just by listening to them tell their story. There are clues in everyone’s stories that direct us on the journey to feeling better.
Almost always there is a major life event that correlates with someone’s health crisis. It’s imperative that support is in place to help navigate the pitfalls of stress, especially when the crisis is long past but still wreaking havoc on the body.
It’s also important that my clients learn how to listen to themselves and to the cues their bodies are giving them all day long. I ask my clients to take notes about their day-to-day lives so that together we can weave the important points together. This process is often the key to helping us pinpoint where the health challenges started and with what area of the body.
I work with a lot of men and women who have significant hormonal imbalances that are deeply impacting their enjoyment of life. It’s not uncommon for me to discover that a client started experiencing severe mood swings and weight gain after being on a course of antibiotics. This may not have even occurred to my client until they wrote it down.
This information is pure gold and points us in the direction of supporting the gut alongside supporting the hormones. Mood swings, weight gain and body aches are just a few of the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalances, and they are also directly related to the health of the gut.
I also use an array of functional tests to help me pinpoint exactly which hormones are out of balance and address the organs “upstream”. For example, if I’m working with a woman who is in menopause and has osteopenia, I’ll use a Bone Health Panel to better understand what’s driving the bone loss. This is a convenient, non-invasive saliva test to assess estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, and follicle stimulating hormone. It also measures pyrilinks-D (a marker for osteoporosis).
In this example, let’s say cortisol was one of the hormones that tested out of lab range high. This is fabulous information to have for this client because when cortisol levels are high, it inhibits osteoblast formation which dramatically decreases bone building and bone density.
We can help to bring cortisol levels back to normal by supporting the adrenals through food and supplements, but we also need to layer stress-relief practices into her protocol like sitting in meditation, walking in nature and talking with her grandkids.
With this information, we can support her hormone balance by supporting the glands that produce the hormones themselves and thus reduce the osteoclast activity that is breaking down her bones. This is very different from bio identical hormones and in my experience is much more gentle and much more effective.
The best part is that we can use these tests to double-check our work over time, retest and ensure that hormone levels are optimized for healthy bones and overall quality of life.
Depending on the age and symptom presentation of my client, I’ll choose from a variety of tests to help us get the information we need. Some of the other hormone tests I use to help me create targeted protocols are:
Cycling Female Hormone Test: this is a great option for cycling women who are struggling with symptoms of hormonal imbalance like weight gain, mood swings, infertility and irregular cycles.
DUTCH Test: This is a great test for men and gives us valuable information regarding metabolism, stress, liver function and overall hormonal balance.
Adrenal/Stress test: This is a great initial test for people who are chronically stressed, exhausted, have insomnia or are struggling to lose weight. More often than not, we need to follow up with other tests to get a holistic understanding of what’s driving the adrenals to over or under perform.
For the last twenty years, I have helped people take charge of their health and feel better. I have been in your shoes - sick, tired, and overwhelmed by how to actionably care for myself. If you want to feel better, but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. Learn More >
Sign up for my monthly newsletter for health and wellness tips!