Hormone replacement is usually NOT the answer
Our hormonal, or endocrine, system plays a vital role in chronic disease and the ability to recover. Hormone deficiencies and imbalances are important to consider with inflammation, autoimmune flare-ups, leaky gut, food and chemical sensitivities, and other breakdowns in health.
This isn’t to say you need hormone replacement therapy. Although, in rare cases, that may be necessary for those who have lost their endocrine reserves by midlife, most people can restore balance to their hormonal system through reducing inflammation, stabilizing blood sugar, restoring adrenal health, and addressing any chronic infections.
How do you know if hormonal imbalances are a problem for you? Check out the symptoms below and see if they apply to you:
Hormonal imbalance symptoms in women
- PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Difficulties with perimenopause and menopause
- Urinary incontinence
- Hair loss on the scalp (balding pattern)
- Facial hair growth
- Deepening voice
- Weight gain
- Loss of libido
Hormonal imbalances in men
- Male breasts and hips enlarged
- Cry easily
- Hot flashes
- Grumpy and prone to rage
- Loss of motivation
- Loss of muscle mass
- Difficulty recovering after workouts
- Loss of libido
Hormones and the brain and body
Sufficient hormone levels are necessary for healthy brain function. People who see their hormone levels drop may also see a decline in memory, mood, basic cognition, sleep, and stress handling. This will also affect how well the brain communicates with the digestive tract and other organs.
Sufficient hormones are necessary to help dampen inflammation. The hormonally deficient person may experience chronic pain and inflammation, more injury, and triggering of autoimmunity flare ups.
You also need the right amount of hormones to have a healthy gut. The gut depends on the sex hormones to regenerate the intestinal lining and for proper function. When hormones are imbalanced, a person is more prone to leaky gut, bacterial overgrowth, digestive problems, and food sensitivities.
It’s also important to be able to clear your hormones properly through liver detoxification. Some people have impaired detoxification that can actually convert into a more toxic form and lead to hormonal excess.
Hormones affect all aspects of health and personality
Hormones have a profound effect on how we feel and function. Any woman who has struggled with PMS or a miserable perimenopause and menopause doesn’t need to be told this.
Studies show PCOS in pregnant women can raise the risk of autism in their children. Hormonal imbalances that cause you to take on the characteristics of the opposite sex — balding and facial hair in women or breasts and hot flashes in men — are embarrassing and disconcerting. Hormones so profoundly affect our behavior that they can break up marriages and have us fail at our jobs.
Likewise, for a couple trying to conceive, infertility is deeply troubling.
Functional medicine hormone help
Fortunately, most people have quick and positive changes in their hormone function in response to functional medicine strategies. Diet and lifestyle changes along with some very effective nutritional compounds can restore hormonal balance.
Different nutritional compounds have been shown to be very effective and powerful in various aspects of hormone balance:
- Hormonal gland support
- Communication between the brain and hormonal glands
- Hormone activation
- Hormone receptor site modulation
- Hormone detoxification
In fact, many women struggling with infertility have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and babies once their hormonal balance is restored.
People have also found their brain function restored, their mood brightened, their libido returned, their anger dissipated, and their relationships improved.
Ask my office how customized functional medicine basics can help you restore hormonal balance.