Are my hormones even out of balance?
Hormonal imbalance symptoms that arise when our endocrine system is not working well can be easily overlooked. Often we see these symptoms as being caused by old age, exhaustion or general poor health. We tend to disregard these symptoms as ‘inevitable’. For illustration purposes, if you experience a problem with a critical bodily system, like your cardiovascular system, this might lead to imminent death (not to be too dramatic!). You therefore address it with the urgency it demands. Conversely, the chronic low-grade symptoms resulting from hormonal imbalances slowly and sneakily erode your quality of life. They affect you physically, and mentally and often in ways that ripple out to those around you. Well I have news for you: hormonal imbalances don’t have to be a part of your life.
When your endocrine system functions sub-par for years, it can leave you feeling exhausted, depleted, and struggling with chronic health conditions. To some extent, the relentless nature of ‘Western’ culture, conditions us to see these kind of symptoms as ‘acceptable’. These symptoms are within the normal range of ‘unhealthy’. They are a natural byproduct of the largely unavoidable rat race that is life. And so we struggle on through. But listen to me: These hormonal imbalance symptoms are a critical message from your body.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance are a critical message from your body
Yes, you can silence your body with pills, ignore the messages it is trying to deliver and stoically push on through. But the very likely outcome of this choice is that the messages from your body will become louder and harder to ignore. In other words, you will be at high risk of developing a more serious health condition. A condition that will likely affect your vitality and your overall longevity. The good news is that balancing your hormones brings with it a multitude of unseen benefits spanning many areas of your life. You will feel like a better version of yourself than you could ever have imagined. That is how integral your hormones are to your overall health.
Hormonal imbalance symptoms
What kind of hormonal imbalance symptoms am I talking about?
- Abnormal periods – very heavy or light, very painful or long, irregular or with spotting between periods. For a woman, our periods are one of the main indicators of our overall health
- Fatigue, lethargy, insomnia or the inability to stay asleep
- Brain fog, confusion or overwhelm
- Depression, anxiety, low mood, PMS or PMDD
- Headaches or migraines, particularly around the time of your period
- Weight gain and intense food cravings
- Dry skin, rashes, acne outbreaks, skin tags or other growths
- Low sex drive, vaginal dryness or painful sex
- Breast tenderness, body aches or itching
- Problems with consistent body temperature or night sweats.
The risks of hormonal imbalance
Much more serious conditions can develop if you don’t address these symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Conditions such as osteoporosis (brittle or weak bones), infertility, sub-fertility, or the growth of cysts and cancers.
The reasons for hormonal imbalance
Unfortunately western society is set up in such a way that is almost guaranteed to negatively impact your hormones.
- Unethical marketing of processed foods, sugary drinks and grab-and-go convenience.
- The onerous capitalist structures that demand fast-paced and relentless action from us.
- The introduction of more and more endocrine disrupters for cost saving, yield boosting and product ‘improvement’ which is negligent of our health. These are in our foods, even from source where these foods are originally grown, they are in the products we use, the packaging they come in, they are prolific and insidious.
- Cultural narratives about how there is ‘a pill to fix every ill’, and the normalisation and mass acceptance of being less than healthful.
- The complete void in education on how to live healthfully and in a way to elicit good hormone balance.
The solution to hormonal imbalance
Thankfully, all of our endocrine systems are the same in that they all need the same nutrients and conditions to function optimally. When we provide nutrients required by certain bodily systems and organs central to healthy hormone function, our body is able to work much more effectively. Learning how to look after your hormones can be boiled down to an easy to understand template.
There is a difference of course in how we each consume this necessary nutrition. Each of our bodies has unique tolerances for different foods and lifestyle factors not to mention our likes and dislikes. It is imperative that we are aware of and respectful of these individual needs. Interested in how to build this kind of bodily awareness? Check out this post on mindful eating. First we need to understand the fundamental needs of the body. Then we can take a responsible, wholesome, intuitive approach to diet. This can be both enjoyable and indulgent without having a negative impact on your body. The way I see it, gaining a thorough understanding of your bodies inner workings, and applying this knowledge through diet and lifestyle choices is the ultimate form of self-love that you can practice.
Interested to learn more about my own recovery story from hormonal imbalances? Have a read of it here.
The take away
The experience of hormonal imbalance symptoms are so prevalent in our society that they have largely been accepted as a cultural norm. But by becoming aware of these symptoms we begin to see that they are sapping your vital energy and negatively impacting you and the people around you. These symptoms are important in delivering the message that your body is not ok. If you ignore this message it is likely to become louder and harder to ignore as the seriousness of your chronic health conditions escalates.
Fixing these hormonal imbalances naturally is as easy as understanding what your body needs to function optimally, and then loving yourself by providing these things consistently. During the healing process you will need to patiently support your body to recover from the (probably) years of not having provided it what was needed. When your body is given the time it needs to heal and you recover to optimal hormone health you will reap a myriad of unexpected and welcome health benefits and begin to radiate health and vitality.
Love yourself enough to uncover the immense treasure of healthful wellness to see you through your journey in this life.