When you are feeling grumpy, you say: “It’s not me, it’s my hormones.” When you are gaining weight, you say: “It’s not me, it’s my hormones.” Hormonal imbalance is a very convenient excuse for things that are not going right in your body. But the truth is, it is not convenient to have at all.
Hormonal problems are common. It affects everyone at any age. Hormones act like chemical messengers that impact cellular activity and how organs work. It is also perfectly normal for them to shift at different points in your life: during puberty, when you have your period, menopause, and when you have medical issues.
And while hormonal imbalance is common among women, it can also happen in men. Hormonal imbalance in men commonly occurs as they get older and experience a decline in testosterone levels. And just like women, an imbalance is triggered by the same set of issues such as unhealthy diet and lifestyle, stress, inconsistent sleep patterns, age, and medical conditions. The effects of hormonal imbalance are also pretty much the same: weight gain, sleep disorders, acne, constant fatigue, headaches, and mood swings.
You can see here that the correlation of sleep, food, and hormonal imbalance is ever present. It is because food and sleep are the most basic factors of a healthy (or unhealthy) lifestyle, which is crucial in addressing hormonal fluctuations.
Below is a guide on the symptoms of hormonal imbalance and what to do to address or prevent it.
Hormonal imbalance is truly a convenient excuse for gaining weight because it really has a lot to do with it. This is why it is rude to generalize that overweight people are just lazy. Some might just have underlying hormonal issues that make it difficult for them to maintain their ideal weight.
Emerging insulin resistance is one of the most common reasons. It could also be that your estrogen levels dip, making you want to eat more. Drop in your estrogen impacts leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake.
What to do: Changes in diet, however small, are already big steps in the right direction. Food and hormonal imbalance are greatly related, and eliminating processed food, junk food, and sugars in your diet will make it easier to manage your weight, and most importantly, make you feel better about yourself. Fight cravings in your mind. A regular 10- or 15-minute exercise every day will also make your hormones happy.
People suffering from hormonal imbalance might also notice extra belly fat. This may be because of your adrenal system becoming fatigued. Since your bodily functions are messed up, your adrenal system could be signaling your thyroid to slow down your metabolism. The pancreas might also respond by conserving fat and storing it in your midsection or your back.
The tiny cells in your gut also react when your estrogen and progesterone levels are higher or lower than usual. As a result, you will experience digestive problems or suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. This is also why women experience stomach pain, feel bloated, and even nauseous before and during their period.
What to do: Avoid certain foods such as those that are high in fat, gas-producing foods, sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. You may also consult your doctor for medication and supplements. There are also herbs that can improve digestion.
Sleep disorder is also a common symptom of hormonal imbalance. Sleep and hormones go hand in hand. If you don’t get quality shut-eye, your hormones could be the ones to blame. Progesterone helps you catch sleep, so if it drops, it would be harder for you fall and stay asleep. At the same time, low estrogen triggers hot flashes and night sweats, making you feel even more uncomfortable.
What to do: Address sleep deprivation by fixing your sleep-wake routine. Avoid foods and activities that keep you alert. Create for yourself a comfortable sleeping environment and begin by getting a high-quality, memory foam mattress with just the right firmness, relieves pressure, and adjusts to your movements. There are also mattresses with cooling technology to help cool you down, prevent night sweats, and make you feel more comfortable.
Hormonal imbalance can make you feel unusually sluggish, constantly tired, and mentally foggy. Sometimes, you just want to crash in the middle of the day. Excess progesterone can make you feel sleepy, and low levels of thyroid hormones can drain your energy. They control your body’s metabolism so much so when it drops, all systems slow down.
What to do: You may start by eating right to stabilize your blood sugar. Again, food and hormonal imbalance are inseparable. And when you’re feeling like you want to crash even if you have just been sitting all day, give into a quick nap. Slow down, do some relaxing stretches, and clear your mind.
Mood swings and depression
When you’re easily irritated and annoyed, it is common for people around you to comment: “Are you having your period?” This is because mood swings and the blues can be signs that there are things going on with your hormones.
Estrogen affects key brain chemicals and a drop in its production can really mess with how you feel. Anxiety and depression may also suggest that you are stressed, overworked or experiencing toxicity.
What to do: You have to listen to your body. You have to nourish it. Relieve stress and don’t spread yourself too thin. Get the proper amount of sleep and rest whenever you feel you need it.
A very noticeable effect of hormonal imbalance is crazy breakouts. It’s normal to have acne before or during your period, but if it simply won’t go away, the problem could be more chronic. This could mean an excess in androgen, the male hormone, which causes oil glands to overwork. They also affect skin cells in and around hair follicles, clogging your pores.
What to do: Cleanse and exfoliate gently. Avoid fatty foods and those that cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Increase consumption of zinc-rich foods such as yogurt. Make sure that you have enough hours of restful sleep, which contributes to a healthier and more radiant skin. You may take medication or supplements upon the advice of your doctor.
The seemingly common changes in our body could be more than skin deep. Hormones are responsible for how our cells and organs work and the little things we do every day impact them greatly. Eating healthy and getting enough sleep are just two main factors that affect most of the bodily changes that we shouldn’t take for granted.