Common Signs You Are Experiencing Hormone Imbalances

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/archeon/2941655917/">hans s</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>For most women, the most notable changes in their bodies happen in their 40's to 50's but can been seen as early as their mid-30's, and it doesn't matter if they have given birth or not.

Many more women are having hormonal symptoms earlier and that has a lot to do with not only our lifestyle and diet, but also the pollution, toxins and xenoestrogens (synthetic chemicals that act as estrogen in our bodies) that we are exposed to every day.

What this means is that there is a lot that can be done before you even consider HRT and all of them are diet, lifestyle and environmentally related.

Some of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalances are:

Persistent weight gain and fat stores. Yes there are lifestyle, diet and physical activity components to maintaining a healthy weight but that isn't the end of the story.

Contrary to what you hear all over the interwebs, measuring calories in and calories out won't solve the problem.

Eating less and less is going to put physical stress on you body and it is going to convert your food and nutrients to fat stores for future use.

Many women have underlying hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to maintaining a healthy weight.

Chronic Fatigue and Low Energy. If you find it difficult to rise or drag your ass in the morning or need a pick-me-up mid-afternoon, this is a solid sign that something is amiss. It isn't normal to feel sluggish, scattered or mentally foggy. Dietary changes make a BIG difference here.

Anxiety, Irritability and Depression. Not feeling "like yourself"? This isn't the time for antidepressants as you aren't inherently broken.

Anxiety and depression aren't disorders they are symptom telling you that something is wrong.

These are clues that you have an imbalance, toxicity, are over-worked, stressed out, and most likely aren't nourishing your body the way it needs. Listen to your inner voice and take the actions necessary to meet your needs.

A note here; antidepressants are commonly prescribed to "solve" hormonal symptoms.

This is absolutely the wrong course of action.

Its like putting a Band-aid on a big gaping wound. It just isn't going to cut it or fix the underlying problem. And personally I feel it is a cop out by mainstream medicine that deals with symptoms and not underlying causation.

Insomnia and Poor Sleep Patterns. This starts the cycle of physical stress and increased cortisol levels which directly causes many hormonal imbalances. The causes are very similar to having increased anxiety, depression and foggy thinking. There isn't one area of your life that insomnia doesn't touch. The #1 cause of insomnia is too much alcohol.

Sweating (& Chills). For many women night sweats and hot flashes are the first uncomfortable sign that something is off. I've lived right here for many years. Some days I just don't care, other days I feel effing insane and I just want it to stop. I completely understand that this one thing can make you crazy.

This isn't the time to start HRT but start a food journal jotting down what you eat and drink, how you feel physically, and any emotions that come up after.

Many times our emotions are the trigger that starts the internal temperature rising. Next time you feel the flashes coming on, stop and think about the thoughts swirling around in your mind. We will be exploring this further in a later article.

Low Libido. One of the most noticeable symptoms of hormonal imbalance is low libido. There are some main culprits such as birth control pills (funny, I know.) and disturbed sleep.

Without quality sleep our sex hormone production can diminish. The interesting thing is that sex helps with hormone balance by releasing oxytocin, seretonin, DHEA... Sex & orgasm = happy hormones.

Digestion Problems. Gas, bloating and slow digestion are common hormonal problems that aren't usually associated with hormonal imbalances, but tagged to eating bad foods, not chewing your food, and eating too much.

The most common culprits of chronic gas and bloating are sugars, alcohol (which breaks down to sugars), dairy, wheat and gluten. When you don't have optimal digestion your body is literally starving because of poor nutrient extraction.

Cravings. After eating way more than you should have, or having gone through half a bottle of wine, do you look back and ask yourself why?

Common causes of cravings and excess eating are adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, and other hormonal imbalances.

Not just these but when we don't actually pay attention to what we eat and how we eat (like its a race to the end)Again minimizing sugars, alcohol, dairy and wheat; although difficult, will also improve not only cravings but your digestive issues as well.

Acne, facial hair and changes in skin. I once had a doctor who attempted to put me on Tetrycycline for 6 months to rid me of the acne on my forehead.

There is so much wrong with that.

Not once was it considered that it could be related to a hormone imbalances, diet, stress, allergies, or other medications. Nor were the long term affects of that type of antibiotic considered; total overkill and unfortunately a common course of action that many women experience.

What You Can Do

The single most common denominator for the majority of hormonal imbalance is stress. Physical, emotional, mental stress have a major impact on your quality of life.

Start by documenting what you eat, how you feel before and after you eat. If you feel yourself swing wide on the emotional spectrum, you need to note it. The only way you are going to figure out what is going on with you is by continually documenting what is going on, and yes this means journalling. Doing this will give you clues to what is going on with you.

If you are interested in exploring possible imbalances further, check out the short quiz on my site. It is an abbreviated version of the quiz I use with my clients. It will give you a clear idea if what you are experiencing could be hormonally related.

photo credit: hans s via photopin cc

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