Expereince Life in Alignment!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Female Balancing Act ~ Balancing Hormones Naturally Throughout Your Lifetime

Hormone imbalance is no longer something that just effects women as they approach the menopause years. Hormone imbalance is effecting almost all women at every stage of their lives, from teenagers to women in their 30's. Even those who don't know or think they are experiencing hormone imbalance, often after doing some digging into the underlying cause of health problems, imbalanced hormones are identified as a contributing and often the root cause of many woman's health complaints. Balancing hormones naturally is something that can be done, but first you must understand if you are experiencing hormone imbalance. Here are some common hormone imbalance symptoms:

  • Moodiness
  • Inability to loose weight
  • Weight Gain
  • Chronic Tiredness
  • Skin Problems
  • Health symptoms around the monthly cycle (PMS)
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Problems with conception 
  • Cysts
  • Diagnosed female health conditions (i.e. POS)
  • Sleep Problems

These are all symptoms of hormone imbalance. In my practice, I would say at least 80-90% of all the women I see are suffering from some type of hormone imbalance. Why is that? A toxic environment, stressful lifestyles, lack of exercise and the food we eat are all the main culprits in hormone imbalance. Most women who are experiencing hormone imbalance are either receiving no treatment at all or are on perpetual prescription drugs including birth control pills. Neither of these address the underlying root cause of hormone imbalance or work to bring hormones back into balance. There are steps you can take to balance hormones naturally and prevent even more severe hormone imbalance from occurring as you age. 

To prevent and reverse any health condition you must first know and understand the cause. If you never look to the cause you will continue in practices that contribute to the original health symptom and continue the cycle. 

Hormone imbalance is predominately caused by...


Stress plays a major role in hormones imbalance. The Franklin Institute explains that stress causes the brain to flood the body with adrenal hormones that are produced in order to help the individual respond to danger. This response is known as the fight-or-flight response. These stress hormones are naturally supposed to subside within a relatively short amount of time (as soon as the perceived danger is gone), but in lifestyles that are perpetually stressful, stress hormones continue to flood the body. The female body uses progesterone to minimize and water down the effects of these powerful stress hormones. As progesterone is used too frequently, estrogen levels begin to rise. This imbalance between progesterone and estrogen is the classic hormone imbalance reactionWhen estrogen levels become high, in relation to progesterone, early symptoms of estrogen dominance, such as breast tenderness, anxiety, headaches, weight gain, water retention, and irregular periods can occur. Many other symptoms have been related to abnormally high levels of estrogen, including decreased sex drive, mood swings, fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, and memory loss. A number of more serious health problems, such as cancer of the breast, uterus, and ovaries, infertility, endometriosis, osteoporosis, gallbladder and thyroid disease, unstable blood sugar, mineral deficiencies, PCOS, and stroke have also been linked to estrogen dominance.

Implementing a healthy stress management routine is essential to balancing hormones naturally. By managing stress in a healthy way you prevent and cleanse the body from too many stress hormones. This in turn keeps your progesterone and estrogen levels in balance and avoids all the health symptoms that come along with estrogen dominance. Yoga, exercise and deep breathing are all tools in managing stress. Creating a healthy stress management routine should be an integral part of your treatment protocol when addressing hormone imbalance. 

Blood Sugar Imbalance

More and more women are also experiencing problems related to blood sugar imbalance. If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, chances are you are also experiencing blood sugar imbalance from time to time. This usually goes without diagnosis unless it becomes a chronic disease such as Diabetes Type 2. Blood sugar levels skyrocket with the use of stimulants such as caffeine, refined and processed foods (muffins, donuts, bagels pasts, pizza, ect) and eating too many calories. Blood sugar issues come with many of the same symptoms of hormone imbalance tiredness, moodiness, 2pm crashes and weight gain. Insulin is a hormone produces by the body that is responsible for converting blood sugar into cellular energy. When blood sugar is irregularly high, or stays high for too long this causes insulin levels to go up and stay up. The body uses cortisol (the stress hormone) to balance insulin. When insulin stays high for too long, cortisol also stay high for too long and your body cycles into the same situation previously discussed under stress.

Insulin Increase ---> Cortisol Increase ---> Progesterone Decrease ---> Estrogen Increase (Estrogen Dominance)

There is another problem with increased levels of insulin. Insulin is a growth factor, meaning it causes cells to grow. There has been a strong link found between increased insulin levels and breast cancer. This is because cancer is simply the over growth of certain cells. Insulin stimulates the growth of cells and often this means the growth of cancer cells. If you know you have insulin issues or have been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 it is important to take extra caution to prevent the development of breast cancer by balancing hormones naturally. 

Chemicals & Toxins

Some of the chemicals used in foods, food growing, personal care products, cosmetics, the air we breathe, plastics and cleaning products mimic estrogen inside our body. These chemicals are called xeno-estrogens. These synthetic xeno-estorgens are much more powerful than estrogen made inside the human body causing extreme estrogen dominance. Too much estrogen is a problem not only because of the health symptoms we already discussed but because estrogen stimulates cells to grow and divide, which is needed for the development of sex organs, but can spiral out of control. An excess of estrogen in the body has been linked to hormone cancers. Cancer cells continue to grow and divide without any regulation or control. Too much estrogen only feeds this process. BPA, one xeno-estrogen, is mainly found in hard plastics, but residues have been found in virtually all plastic products. In a recent study, scientists conducted lab tests on more than 20 top-brand baby bottles along with more than 450 plastic food and beverage-packages, and found virtually all leached chemicals that acted like the hormone estrogen, even though many were free of BPA. "Baby bottles, plastic bags, plastic wrap, clamshell food containers, stand-up pouches: Just about anything you can think of that's made of plastic that food or beverages are wrapped up in, we found this activity," said study author Stuart Yaniger, vice president of research and product development at PlastiPure. These chemicals are more rapidly leeched out of plastic and into foods when the food is wet. Taking wet store-bought organic produce and placing it in soft plastic bags at the grocery store poses a potentially very serious health risk. Instead, buy reusable fabric mesh produce bags or just throw all your produce into one of your cloth reusable grocery bags.

Other chemicals are endocrine disruptors which mean they disrupt the hormone process. From interfering with the making of hormones, to the process of transporting hormones, these chemicals prevent a healthy hormone cycle.

The best way to eliminate xeno-estrogens and balance hormones naturally is to avoid them all together. You can do this by reducing exposure to toxins, using only organic body care, cosmetic and
 cleaning products and never heating food in plastic which causes these chemicals to leak into food. 

Weight Imbalance

Carrying excess weight causes hormones to become imbalanced. Fat cells contain an enzyme called armomatase. This enzymes converts testosterone into estrogen. The more fat cells you have, the more of this enzyme your body is producing. Eventually by converting all testosterone into estrogen your body ends up in a state of estrogen dominance. 

There are many important health reasons for finding and staying at your naturally balanced weight. Balancing hormones naturally is one of the most important for women. 


In order for your body to be able to create a healthy supply of hormones, it needs a good supply of nutrients. Minerals, vitamins and healthy fats are all needed for your body to create hormones. Vitamin D, zinc and good fats such as those found in nuts and seeds, coconut and olive oils are used by your body to manufacture hormones. If your body is deficient, depleted or missing some of these key nutrients hormone production slows. Vitamin D, for instance, plays an integral role in the formation of healthy hormones, however it is known more then 80% of the population is deficient in this key nutrient. Nutrients are the foundation and building blocks for all good health including healthy hormone production. Refined foods actually interfere with mineral and nutrient absorption and assimilation eventually creating a nutrient deficient. Addressing deficiencies through cleansing, whole, organic foods and nutrient dense raw foods and juices is vital to assisting your body in balancing hormones naturally. 

Hormone Laden Foods

A large portion of our food supply is now contaminated with synthetic hormones. Cows were not created to make gallons of milk each and every day for human consumption. Their bodies do not not naturally produce milk in these quantities. To increase milk production and corresponding profits, the dairy industry regularly gives cows synthetic hormones to increase their milk supply  These hormones are passed along in their milk and end up in your body by consuming in-organic dairy products. This includes refined products that utilize dairy in the food making process. This additional hormone intake, through the consumption of dairy, causes major internal hormone imbalance. Organic dairy does not use hormones, so if you are a dairy consumer, organic is a must. 


Increased hormone imbalance can also be attributed to the increase of soy in our diets. Soy is a goitrogen, which blocks iodine uptake in the body. In women, iodine is stored in the thyroid gland, the breasts and the ovaries. Iodine deficiency causes thyroid disorders (including goiters, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer), cysts in the breasts and ovaries, and breast cancer and ovarian cancer.

You may think you don't eat much soy if you don’t drink soy milk or eat tofu. But soy is in almost everything. Most restaurants use soybean oil to cook with, and most packaged and processed foods contain soybean oil and/or soy lecithin. Most of the meat and dairy we consume is from animals fed soy. Most mayonnaise and salad dressings contain soybean oil.

It is okay to eat soy in small amounts, everything in balance, and is best when naturally fermented (like naturally fermented soy sauce, miso, tempeh, or natto).

Key Factors in Balancing Hormones Naturally

  1. Address Stress - Create Healthy Stress Management Routines. These should be consistent and on going, not just once and awhile. 
  2. Clean Up Your Nutrition - Ditch refined and processed foods, sugar and foods with added sugars and include lots of organic, fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. Fresh juicing is a great way to get a high amount of fresh living nutrients. 
  3. Create a Consistent Exercise Routine - Exercise helps in numerous ways to balance hormones. Exercise helps to reduce stress, detoxify additional estrogen, toxins and stress hormones. It also helps to balance blood sugar and regulate internal processes. 
  4. Naturally Balance Weight - By implementing a natural weight balancing program, you reduce the build up of excess weight and decrease the amount of estrogen in your body. Even if you are thing, but eating a highly refined and processed diet you may still have toxic fat cells stored in your body. 
  5. Go Green & Organic - By committing to buying organic products and foods you not only eliminate synthetic hormones, endocrine disruptors and xeno-estrogens but you also help to decrease the toxicity of the environment  which has additional added benefits for the health of you and your family. 
  6. Don't Use Plastics - Better for your health and environment, using glass prevents BPA's and other plastics chemicals for getting into your food. Use reusable cloth bags for groceries and produce and store your foods in glass container, like pyrex, instead of soft plastic wrap or containers. 

Balancing hormones is a highly personalized experience  especially if you have been diagnosed with hormone imbalance related healthy condition. While these general principals are a good tool to utilize in preventing and restoring hormone balance, it is imperative to work hand in hand with a holistic health care provider to ensure complete healing and restoration. 

At Align we offer a free 30-minute holistic health exam which is a great place to start if you are interested in using natural methods to heal and restore hormone balance. 

Please visit our web site to learn more about the free exam and our philosophies toward health and healing. www.alignholistichealth.com


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