At some point, you’ve probably heard someone say, “Sorry, I’m just being hormonal.” Or how about the teenager with the “raging hormones” who can’t seem to keep her head on straight?
When things aren’t going right and when you don’t feel quite like yourself, you CAN blame it on your hormones. Why? Because your body is ruled by hormones. It’s not your fault and you can tell your husband that the next time he leaves the toilet seat up and you set his underwear on fire.
Hormones are little chemical messengers that travel through your blood stream to tell different parts of your body what to do. From simple things like how fast your heart beats when you’re under stress, to more complex processes like fertility and reproduction. Hormones affect nearly every single process in our bodies.
Produced in our endocrine cells, there are about 50 different hormones. When it comes to a woman feeling “hormonal,” there are about 5 hormones that come into mind when she complains that her hair is falling out, she’s gained a spare tire around her waistline, she’s lost her mojo, or other day-to-day physical dissatisfactions.
The 5 hormones that may drive you crazy are:
So… You might be wondering, “Do I suffer from one of these imbalances?”
Here are some clues to each type of imbalance:
High Cortisol – Tired yet wired? This can leave you feeling wired, anxious and moody, tired but have trouble falling and staying asleep, gaining weight especially in the belly area, low sex drive, acne or other skin changes, a puffy and flushed face, and can also give you high blood pressure, brittle bones, a crappy immune system, and an irregular menstrual cycle (if you still get them). You can probably thank a stressful lifestyle or a traumatic childhood for this one.
Low Cortisol – Tired and weak? This can make it especially hard to get out of the bed in the morning, have insomnia at night, sugar and salt cravings, easy weight gain, low sex drive, foggy thinking, depression and anxiety, and can also give you heart palpitations, cold hands and feet, and low blood pressure. Low cortisol tends to happen after cortisol has been high for a long time. Think of an engine going full-speed before burning out.
High Thyroid – High thyroid speeds your body up. This is when you lose weight and you don’t know why. You can get nervous, jittery, moody, anxious, persistently tired yet feel wired, sensitive to heat, and have a swollen neck. In some cases, it can make your eyeballs look like they are bulging out. High thyroid can give you a fast and/or irregular heartbeat so you should never try to “self-diagnose” or treat this without a doctor monitoring too.
Low Thyroid – Hello, weight gain. Low thyroid slows your body down, making you feel tired, constipated, lose your hair, have dry skin, feel cold, and forget things. Low thyroid is also something you shouldn’t self-diagnose or treat without a doctor monitoring too because it can slow your pulse down and if bad enough, land you in a coma. This happens more often to women than men and usually kicks in mid-life.
Low Estrogen – This is when you feel dry (everywhere, if you know what I mean), moody, you’d rather do the laundry than make love, your memory is shot, and you might wake up at night in sweats and/or have hot flashes that make you want to turn the fan on even though it’s winter. Sex can hurt, you can’t sleep, and to top it all off, your bones are falling apart. Thank you, menopause.
High Estrogen/ Low Progesterone – Are you bloated, emotionally volatile, and your boobs hurt? This is often the case, along with feeling depressed, more headaches than usual, weight gain, often uterine fibroids and/or fibrocystic breasts (lumpy and bumpy). Plus, your blood sugar goes on a rollercoaster ride and you might get yeast infections more often. This imbalance can happen in the younger years or the period as menopause is approaching.
Low Testosterone – This is when you want your partner to keep their hands to themselves. Sex drive is in the gutter, it’s difficult to achieve an orgasm, you feel tired and weak, you gain weight, and you can’t sleep. This lovely imbalance usually happens after menopause.
High Testosterone – This is often associated with Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOS) and most often affects younger women. Hair falls out on your scalp but also pops up in places it doesn’t belong, your skin breaks out with acne, voice becomes deep, you miss periods, and it’s very difficult to become pregnant. In addition, it can contribute to diabetes and obesity.
Notice how a lot of these symptoms overlap? Some women see their gynecologist or primary care practitioner to help them figure out if they have an imbalance of one or more of these hormones.
If you suspect something is going on but you really aren’t sure what it could possibly be, you can take a quiz to lead you in the right direction: THE MENOPAUSE SWITCH
Depending on the hormone imbalance (because some types can actually be quite dangerous, such as when it comes to thyroid imbalance), medications may be used.
Now don’t get me wrong, medications CAN be a lifesaver when it comes to feeling like you-know-what, when you’re having hot flashes faster than a firecracker on the 4th of July. And they can also save your life, preventing you from going into a coma if your thyroid gland is pumping out zero thyroid hormones.
But… There are also some pretty nifty, natural supplements for whatever hormonal rage (or lack of) you’re battling with.
Here they are:
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