If you’d asked me a long time ago what I thought of when I heard the term ‘hormone imbalance’, I would have said “menopause” – I’d get visions of a woman crying and suffering from hot flashes.
While my view on hormonal imbalance has changed (given I work with women in Sexy Lady Balls on issues like: PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, bad PMS, acne, Hashimoto’s, adrenal fatigue and so much more), there are still some not-so-common issues that I wanted talk about…
Why: because I know there still are many women out there wondering, “Are my hormones are out of balance?”
So what are these not-so-common issues anyway?
I’m glad you asked. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Other than bloating, this is the top complaint I receive from women today.
Frankly, there are multiple reasons why you could be tired. The most common reason is because your adrenals are feeling the pressure. Your cortisol (the hormone that’s released in response to stress) could be elevated, or even bottomed out (which isn’t exactly better).
I’ve heard from women countless times that don’t feel like they have a hormone imbalance, but when asked, “Well are you stressed?”, the overwhelming answer is always a, “YES!”. Remember that if your stress hormones are elevated, over time they will begin to compete with your sex hormones (i.e. estrogens, progesterone, testosterone).
However, out of whack cortisol levels aren’t the only reason for fatigue, low levels of estrogen and testosterone could be factors too.
You find that as much as you try to ‘think positive’, your moods are all over the place. You may grapple with irritability and even feel weepy (especially before your period). So what the heck is going on?
One of the possible causes is that you may have low progesterone. Progesterone is a nourishing, feel-good hormone, so when levels are low you can suffer the progesterone blues.
When I asked women to describe their libido, I had one woman who stepped up and said, “Netflix.”
The description was bang-on because the majority of women I’ve seen in practice have admitted that while they love their husband, they would rather watch Netflix than have sex. From a hormonal perspective, there are multiple reasons for this, and certainly stress plays a massive role in this picture. Other factors include testosterone levels, and even low levels of estrogen.
How do you find out where your hormones levels are at anyway?
Quite often women will ask me if they can simply just ask their medical doctors for a hormone test. And while you can, the chances are your doctor won’t do one. Additionally, blood (while accurate) won’t exactly give you the most complete picture required.
In Sexy Lady Balls, we keep our membership fee low ($57/mo) so that women are able to upgrade to receive testing (like hormone testing for example), and get a clear understanding of what’s going on. This test is done via urine and it’s shipped out to you with a pre-paid UPS form.
To give you an understanding, urine allows us to see your metabolites, which blood and saliva tests won’t do. Sex hormone metabolites (especially in the cases of estrogen) are crucial to the treatment protocol given. I can’t tell you how many women I work with who have been given a cocktail of health store purchased formulas to ‘balance their hormones’ – and you’ll never see me use a formula, because I individually pick what’s right for the case at hand.
So what are some tools that will help me balance me hormones?
Please note, the following are general recommendations only…
1. Ditch the coffee for 30 days and up your water intake.
I know that the thought of eliminating coffee seems near impossible, especially given that your one cup a day has been helping to get your butt out of bed. Plus, the caffeine withdrawal headaches can be vicious, right?
Up your water intake and add a dash of sea salt for every cup you drink. The salt will help you efficiently hydrate and replenish lost minerals which your adrenals would otherwise need.
I’d suggest drinking half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 140lbs, you will divide that number by two and you’d get 70, which means you’d be drinking 70 ounces, or roughly 9 cups, of water daily.
2. Add in liposomal vitamin C.
This type of vitamin C is one of the most bioavailable forms of vitamin C there is (many of them you just pee out!). Take one pack directly in the mouth and quickly wash it down with water. Vitamin C is supposed to be the most abundant nutrient in your adrenals, and is often lost during times of stress. I would suggest consuming roughly 3,000mg to even up to 6,000mg of vitamin C per day.
And fun fact: vitamin C can actually help to boost progesterone levels.
3. Swap out those starchy carbs for healthy fats.
In no way am I saying that carbs are bad, there are just different types of carbs. You’ve got starchy, complex carbs like breads, pasta and rice, and then you’ve got carbs from vegetables, which are the most nutrient dense ones to consume.
In today’s society, people are over consuming complex carbs which is contributing to out of whack blood sugar levels, increased food cravings, and elevated insulin levels (the hormone that tells the body to store fat).
Fats to include are avocado, butter, coconut and eggs.
4. Get your vitamin D levels checked.
Many doctors are now telling patients to just take vitamin D because we’re all deficient anyway. But in my opinion, you should still be fighting to get these levels checked because you need a baseline.
Once you have one, you can work with a practitioner to understand what the right dose is for you. Once you get your vitamin D levels rechecked in 3-6 months, you’ll be able to see if you can lower your current dose.
Side note: functional ranges are different than lab ranges. Lab ranges are based off of the average population (who, side note, is sick!). Functional ranges for vitamin D are anywhere between 60-85 and lab ranges are often times 30-100!
Vitamin D helps with cognitive function, it’s an anti-inflammatory, energy levels and a deficiency in it can be preventing you from losing weight!
5. Watch out for various medications like the birth control pill.
The birth control pill can be a real doozy to the system as it can impact the bacterial balance in your gut, reduce thyroglobulin levels (thus impacting your thyroid), and it can even raise estrogen levels.
Are you on the progesterone only pill or progesterone only IUD? Well consider this: it’s not progesterone that’s in it, but rather progestin, a synthetic form of progesterone which has been shown in a large Norwegian study to increase chances of breast cancer.
6. Get to bed!
This is the number one reason why I see women struggle. It’s why many women can’t lose weight or manage their stress levels.
Think about it, if you’re not sleeping, you’ll be tired right? And last time you were tired, how was that inner critic of yours? Loud as HELL, right? I always say, “never trust your thoughts on a tired brain.” And frankly I have to remind myself of that one, because man it can play tricks on you!
When you’re tired and feeling a bit ’emo’, what do you want to do? EAT!
If you’re up watching another episode on Netflix or aimlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, I guarantee you will not fix any of your health issues. You can take all the supplements and eat all the green foods you want, but you’ll just be a tired, miserable mama with green shit on her face… ‘Nuff said.
7. Love your liver!
Every single protocol I create for women requires liver support, because without your liver, there is no way you’ll balance out those hormones.
Ways that you’re hating on your liver: lack of sleep, poor stress management, eating loads of sugar and starchy complex carbs, excess coffee, and more than four servings of alcohol per week. And please, if you think that buying a boxed cleanse from the health food store is going to detox an organ that has two phases of detoxification, and over 560 functions, you’re kidding yourself!
When I work with women in Sexy Lady Balls I offer liver support, but when they upgrade to test (versus guess), I’m able to see which phase of their liver is under (or over) performing. Then we can get super targeted on what to do.
Now, because I want to leave you with a kick-ass recipe to love up that liver, I thought I’d show you how to make my Beet It Hummus, which is AIP friendly, beautiful, and so good you may prefer it over the original.
- 2 small-medium sized beets, roasted in the oven for one hour
- 1/4 cup tahini paste
- Juice from one lemon
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp cumin
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- Cracked pepper
- Topping (optional): drizzle of organic olive oil, roughly chopped walnuts and cilantro
- Chop up roasted beets and throw them into a blender with all the other ingredients.
- Blend in a high-powered blender and top with toppings of your choice.