Contact Sheena today on +64 21 316677

Hormones — such as oestrogen, testosterone, adrenaline and insulin — are extremely important chemical messengers that affect many aspects of your overall health. Hormones are secreted by various glands and organs, including the thyroid, adrenals, pituitary, ovaries, testicles and pancreas. The entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced, it can cause widespread major health problems.

Conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances usually include synthetic hormone replacement therapies, birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medications and more. Unfortunately, for most people suffering from hormonal disorders, relying on these types of synthetic treatments often does three things:

  1. It makes people dependent on taking prescription drugs for the rest of their lives in order to keep symptoms under control.
  2. It simply masks the patient’s symptoms but doesn’t solve them, which means that the patient can continue to develop abnormalities in other areas of the body while the disorder progresses.
  3. It causes a higher risk for serious side effects such as stroke, osteoporosis, anxiety, reproductive problems, cancer and more.

The good news is there are ways to balance your hormones naturally. Below you’ll learn what type of hormonal imbalance your specific symptoms might be pointing to, what the root causes of your hormonal problem are, and how you can help treat the problem without experiencing the negative side effects associated with synthetic treatments.


What Is the Endocrine System?

To fully understand your hormone health, it certainly helps to know about your endocrine system and how your hormones work together to maintain homeostasis. The endocrine system is in charge of coordinating the relationship between different organs and hormones, which are chemicals that are released into your bloodstream from cells within your endocrine glands.

Once your hormones are in circulation, they target specific tissues or cells by binding to receptors that are located inside the cell or on its surface. These hormones work as chemical messengers and play a key role in your body’s daily functions.

The endocrine system is made up of many glands, including the pituitary gland or “master gland” that’s responsible for sending information from your brain to other glands in your body. The pituitary gland also produces many hormones that travel throughout the body and have different important functions.

The pituitary gland is made up of two different tissue types: the anterior pituitary that synthesizes and releases classic hormones, and the posterior pituitary gland that secretes neurohormones that are made in the hypothalamus.

Two hormones that are secreted by the anterior pituitary gland are growth hormone, which is responsible for your proper growth and development, and prolactin, which is the hormone that stimulates milk production after childbirth.

Tropic hormones are also produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland, which is an endocrine gland, and they also target other endocrine glands. These hormones include:

  • thyroid-stimulating hormone
  • follicle-stimulating hormone
  • luteinizing hormone
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone

The posterior pituitary gland doesn’t produce hormones on its own, but stores and secretes two hormones made in the hypothalamic region, vasopressin and oxytocin, and then releases them into the bloodstream.

Other important glands of the endocrine system include the pineal gland, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, thymus gland and adrenal glands.

There are two major groups of hormones that circulate the human body — those that derive from amino acids (protein hormones, peptides and amines) and those that derive from lipids (steroids). Here’s a quick breakdown of these hormone subgroups:

  • Amine hormones: Hormones that are synthesized from the amino acids tryptophan (such as melatonin) and tyrosine (such as thyroid hormones and dopamine).
  • Peptide hormones: Hormones that consist of short chain amino acids and include antidiuretic hormone (called vasopressin) and oxytocin.
  • Protein hormones: Hormones that consist of longer polypeptides and include growth hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.
  • Steroid hormones: Hormones that are derived from cholesterol and include testosterone, oestrogens and cortisol.

When these hormones send messages, they are received by hormone receptors that process the message and signal specific event or cellular mechanisms that initiate the target cell’s response.

As you can see, the entire endocrine system works together to control the level of hormones that circulate throughout your body. When just one of these hormones is even slightly imbalanced, it can lead to widespread health problems that affect your growth, sexual development and function, sleep, metabolism and hunger.


Signs and Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalances include:

  • Infertility and irregular/heavy periods
  • Weight gain or weight loss (that’s unexplained and not due to intentional changes in your diet)
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido
  • Changes in appetite
  • Digestive issues
  • Hair loss or hair thinning

Symptoms of hormonal imbalances can range dramatically depending on what type of disorder or illness they cause. For example, high oestrogen can contribute to problems that include endometriosis and reproductive issues, while diabtes symptoms often include weight gain, changes in appetite, nerve damage and problems with eyesight.

Some specific problems associated with some of the most common hormonal imbalances include:

  • Oestrogen dominance: changes in sleep patterns, changes in weight and appetite, higher perceived stress, slowed metabolism
  • Polycystic ovaries (PCOS): infertility, weight gain, higher risk for diabetes, acne, abnormal hair growth
  • Low oestrogen: low sex drive, reproductive problems, menstrual irregularity, changes in mood
  • Hypothyroidism: slowed metabolism, weight gain, hair loss, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, digestive issues, irregular periods
  • Low testosterone: erectile dysfunction, muscle loss, weight gain, fatigue, mood-related problems
  • Hyperthyroidism & Grave’s disease: anxiety, thinning hair, weight loss, IBS, trouble sleeping, irregular heartbeats
  • Diabetes: weight gain, nerve damage (neuropathy), higher risk for vision loss, fatigue, trouble breathing, dry mouth, skin problems
  • Adrenal insufficiency: fatigue, muscle aches and pains, anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, brain fog, reproductive problems

Risk Factors and Causes of Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances are multi-factorial disorders, meaning they are caused by a combination of factors such as your diet, medical history, genetics, stress levels and exposure to toxins from your environment. Some of the major contributors to hormonal imbalances include:

  • Evening primrose oil: contains omega-6 fatty acids, such as GLA, that support overall hormonal function. Supplementing with evening primrose oil can help to relieve premenstrual and PCOS symptoms. It also helps to create a healthy environment for conception.
  • Nutrients such as magnesium and B6, vitamin E and D..
  • Vitamin D: almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low. This is why people who live in dark areas often suffer from seasonal depression and other health problems unless they supplement with vitamin D. Sunshine is really the best way to optimise vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight. Most people should supplement with around 2,000–5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 if they live in dark areas, during the winter, and on days when they’re not in the sun.
  • Bone broth: soothes the digestive system and supplies the body with nutrients that can be easily absorbed. Consuming bone broth or protein powder made from bone broth is especially beneficial to your health because it contains healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, which have the power to boost your overall health.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones. When undigested food particles, like gluten, for example, leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation that impacts the entire body — especially glands like the thyroid that is very susceptible to heightened inflammation. Most people with leaky gut have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can improve your production and regulation of key hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin.

Adrenal dysfunction is the largest cause of the hormonal imbalance

With the sex hormones — especially because of something called the “cortisol steal.” This occurs when cholesterol, which usually helps to make the sex hormones, combines with too much stress and the enzyme 17/20 lyase blocks the conversion; the production of cortisol ensues. Cortisol then causes the imbalance of progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone, causing hormonal balance symptoms.

7 Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally

Step 1: Swap Carbs for Healthy fats

Eating a variety of foods high in short, medium and long-chain fatty acids is key to keeping your hormones in check. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss. Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.

Here’s a rule of thumb: Steer clear from oils high in omega-6 fats (safflower, sunflower, corn, canola, soybean and peanut), and load up on rich sources of natural omega-3s instead (wild fish, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts and grass-fed animal products). I also want to mention that there is a type of omega-6 fat that you want to get in your diet called GLA. GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) can be taken in supplement form by using evening primrose oil or borage oil, and it’s also found in hemp seeds. Studies show supplementing with GLA may support healthy progesterone levels.

Step 2: Use Adaptogen Herbs 

These are a unique class of healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from a wide variety of diseases, including those caused by excess stress. In addition to boosting immune function and combating stress, research shows that various adapotogens — such as ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola and holy basil — can:

  • Improve thyroid function
  • Lower cholesterol naturally (Globe artichoke and Phellodendron are great for this)
  • Reduce anxiety and depression (from St John’s Wort to Zizyphus)
  • Reduce brain cell degeneration
  • Stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels (Cinammon, Gymnema..)
  • Support adrenal gland functions

Step 3: Address Emotional Imbalances

A major component of balancing your hormones naturally is addressing any emotional imbalances that you are dealing with. You can do this by reducing stress levels, engaging in personal reflection and taking time for yourself. Practising meditation or healing prayer can be extremely beneficial, and so can deep breathing exercises, spending time outdoors and exercising every day. Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies like acupuncture and massage can also help to improve hormonal balance, combat stress and improve blood flow.

Your emotions and hormones are connected, so by working to balance one, you are impacting the other. If you are ever feeling stressed, angry, agitated or even fearful, understand that this is affecting your hormone balance and can lead to even bigger health issues. Keep working on your emotional balance by making it part of your daily routine.

Step 4: Eliminate toxins from everyday life

To balance your hormones naturally, it’s important that you eliminate toxins in your body by avoiding conventional body care products that are made with potentially-harmful chemicals including DEA, parabens, propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate. A better alternative is to use natural products made with ingredients like essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil.

Step 5: Supplement

It’s sometimes necessary to supplement in order to fill nutritional voids that can be leading to a hormone imbalance. Here are the top supplements that I recommend for your hormones:

  • Evening primrose oil: contains omega-6 fatty acids, such as GLA, that support overall hormonal function. Supplementing with evening primrose oil can help to relieve premenstrual and PCOS symptoms. It also helps to create a healthy environment for conception.
  • Nutrients such as magnesium and B6, vitamin E and D..
  • Vitamin D: almost acts like a hormone inside the body and has important implications for keeping inflammation levels low. This is why people who live in dark areas often suffer from seasonal depression and other health problems unless they supplement with vitamin D. Sunshine is really the best way to optimise vitamin D levels because your bare skin actually makes vitamin D on its own when exposed to even small amounts of direct sunlight. Most people should supplement with around 2,000–5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 if they live in dark areas, during the winter, and on days when they’re not in the sun.
  • Bone broth: soothes the digestive system and supplies the body with nutrients that can be easily absorbed. Consuming bone broth or protein powder made from bone broth is especially beneficial to your health because it contains healing compounds like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine, which have the power to boost your overall health.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics can aid in repairing your gut lining, which in turn can balance your hormones. When undigested food particles, like gluten, for example, leak through your gut into your bloodstream, it causes disease-causing inflammation that impacts the entire body — especially glands like the thyroid that is very susceptible to heightened inflammation. Most people with leaky gut have a deficiency of probiotics in their guts. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can improve your production and regulation of key hormones like insulin, ghrelin and leptin.

Step 6: Beware of Medications and Birth Control 

Are you aware of your medication’s side effects? Some can disrupt your hormone balance, leading to side effects like fatigue, appetite changes, altered sleeping patterns, low libido, sadness and even depression. Some medications that can mess with your hormone balance include corticosteroids, stimulants, statins, dopamine agonists, rexinoids and glucocorticoids. Beware of your medications, talk to your doctor about the side effects and research natural alternatives whenever possible.

Birth control is another dangerous medication that alters hormone levels. “The pill” is a type of hormone therapy that may raise oestrogen levels to such dangerous levels that it can cause many complications. I cannot urge you strongly enough to stop using the pill, especially considering that there are many other (safer) ways to prevent pregnancy. Studies show that the health risks of taking them, especially long-term, such as:

  • Breakthrough bleeding between cycles
  • Increased risk of uterine bleeding, blood clotting, heart attack and stroke
  • Migraines
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Weight gain
  • Back pains
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Benign liver tumours
  • Breast tenderness

Step 7: Get More Sleep

Unless you get 7–8 hours of sleep every night, you’re doing your body no favours. A lack of sleepor disturbing your natural circadian rhythm can be one of the worst habits contributing to a hormone imbalance. How so? Because your hormones work on a schedule! Case in point: Cortisol, the primary “stress hormone,” is regulated at midnight. Therefore, people who go to bed late never truly get a break from their sympathetic flight/fight stress response.

A lack of sleep, long-term use of corticosteroids and chronic stress are three of the biggest contributors to high cortisol levels.

Sleep helps keep stress hormones balanced, builds energy and allows the body to recover properly. Excessive stress and poor sleep are linked with higher levels of morning cortisol, decreased immunity, trouble with work performance, and a higher susceptibility to anxiety, weight gain and depression. To maximize hormone function, ideally try to get to bed by 10 p.m, leave phones and devices outside the bedroom. and stick with a regular sleep-wake-cycle as much as possible.

Step 8: Eliminate Xenoestrogens

Endocrine disruptors are a category of chemicals that alter the normal function of hormones.  Normally, our endocrine system releases hormones that signal different tissues telling them what to do. When chemicals from the outside get into our bodies, they have the ability to mimic our natural hormones; blocking or binding hormone receptors. This is particularly detrimental to hormone sensitive organs like the uterus and the breast, the immune and neurological systems, as well as human development.

Xenoestrogens are a sub-category of the endocrine disruptor group that specifically have estrogen-like effects. Estrogen is a natural hormone in humans that is important for bone growth, blood clotting and reproduction in men and women. The body regulates the amount needed through intricate biochemical pathways. When xenoestrogens enter the body they increase the total amount of oestrogen resulting in a phenomenon called, estrogen dominance. Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable so, they are stored in our fat cells. Build up of xenoestrogens have been indicated in many conditions including:  breast, prostate and testicular cancer, obesity, infertility, endometriosis, early onset puberty, miscarriages and diabetes.

Check out this link for some of the sources of xenoestrogens, but it is by no means exhaustive. We are constantly exposed to these substances in the world we live in. Examples of everyday items that may include xenoestrogens are fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides, plastic water bottles and Tupperware, nail polish, makeup, birth control and on and on.


How to Test Your Hormone Health

Contact me to discuss which tests may be right for you

If you are concerned about your hormone health, you can have your hormone levels tested in the following ways:

  • Saliva testing: Saliva testing measures your body’s hormones levels at the cellular level. A saliva test can measure your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and DHEA levels.
  • Blood testing: This type of hormone test requires that your blood is collected at a lab and then measured for hormone levels.
  • Urine testing: A urine hormone test requires that you collect every drop of urine for a 24-hour period. Then your urine is tested to identify each hormone that is present and at what levels on that day. This is the most extensive hormone health test because it measures your hormone levels throughout the entire day, instead of the levels for a moment in time, which is the case for blood and saliva tests. I just love the DUTCH test because it tests hormones as well as cortisol, melatonin, and organo acids to give us the full picture. Pricey but worth the cost. Ask me about this test and whether it is right for you
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone testing: This type of test is commonly used to measure the hormonal status of premenopausal women who are beginning to experience symptoms of menopause.

Precautions When Treating Hormonal Imbalances

In some cases, synthetic hormonal treatments (such as insulin or thyroid medication) will be necessary to treat a hormonal imbalance. For example, many young women rely on birth control to avoid pregnancy and using progesterone cream during days 7 to 21 of the pill can decrease hormonal problems. Some women need thyroid support as not all the natural options correct the imbalance.

However, the majority of people can feel a lot better by making the lifestyle changes described above. For people with diagnosed hormonal disorders — including type 1 or type 2 diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, Addison’s disease, Graves’s disease and Cushing’s syndrome for example — it’s always important to speak with your doctor before discontinuing medication use.

The natural treatments above can still help you overcome your illness and greatly reduce symptoms, but these recommendations shouldn’t take the place of medical supervision. Because hormone imbalances vary so widely in terms of severity of symptoms, always keep track of how you’re feeling, do your research and evaluate how you respond to different treatments.


Final Thoughts on Hormonal Imbalances

  • Hormonal imbalances affect many millions of people worldwide, in the forms of common disorders like diabetes, thyroid disorders, menstrual irregularities, infertility, low testosterone and oestrogen dominance
  • Symptoms include feeling anxious, tired, irritable, gaining or losing weight, not sleeping well and noticing changes in your sex drive, focus and appetite
  • Causes for hormonal imbalances include poor gut health, inflammation, high amounts of stress (emotionally, physically and mentally), genetic susceptibility and toxicity
  • Natural treatments include eating an anti-inflammatory diet, consuming enough omega-3s, getting good sleep, exercising and controlling stress

What next: Please feel free to contact me (Sheena Hendon) today for more information and or book in for an appointment

Download Our Free Ebook: Ready. Set. Recharge.

10 fabulous evidence-based sure-fire tips to boost your energy and motivation that actually work.

Thank you - We've just sent you an email with access to your download link!