Our bodies often send signals too obvious to ignore. Sore throat and sneezing? Must be coming down with a cold. Developed a rash? Probably an allergy. Sometimes though, the signals are subtle especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
That’s the case with hormones. It’s not just the emotional effects you have to watch out for because hormones control such a wide range of metabolic processes in the body that if there’s an imbalance the symptoms can appear more physical in nature and as such not instantly recognizable as hormone related. Here’s how to spot if your hormones need help or not.
Mood swings – This is perhaps the most common symptom of hormonal imbalance, at least that women often recognise. Feelings of frustration, anger and anxiousness can be the result of estrogen and progesterone levels not being at an optimum level. The rule of thumb is it’s ok to be angry at the boss, the partner or the kids but when you feel like this for extended periods of time (unnecessarily) or outside your normal monthly cycle, hormones are likely the issue.
Difficulty Sleeping – If you can’t sleep or you don’t get good quality sleep it could be due to low levels of progesterone, a hormone released by the ovaries that helps you relax at night. The problem with sleep deprivation and hormones is that it can turn into a vicious cycle. The less sleep you get, the more likely your body feels fatigued or stressed which in turns upsets your hormones, which can cause more sleepless nights.
Acne – Many women experience monthly breakouts before or during their period, however, chronic acne is something different. Acne that does not go away may be due to excess androgens, male hormones like testosterone that both women and men have. Excess levels of these androgens make oil glands extra productive.
Fatigue – Your adrenal glands sit above the kidneys and release a stress hormone known as cortisol. If your food and lifestyle habits throw off your adrenal’s normal production of cortisol, you might start feeling the opposite of how you should e.g. instead of feeling a natural jolt of energy in the morning from your body’s surge of cortisol, you’ll feel sleepy and lethargic.
Low libido – Testosterone is typically thought of as a male hormone but both men and women have it, just at different levels. It plays a big part in sex drive so if your levels are low, you’re likely to experience a low libido.
Weight gain or difficulty losing weight – If you want to keep hormone levels balanced, crash dieting might not be the answer. The body interprets starvation as a challenge which causes cortisol to be produced, which then tells your body to hang on to fat (because it’s going to need it to survive if you don’t eat properly). Also, mood swings can cause women to reach for comfort foods high in fat, sugar, and salt. Never a good thing if you’re trying keep the pounds off. Lastly, falling estrogen levels also affect leptin, a hormone that inhibits hunger.
Hormones are varied and directly influenced by your total wellbeing. The healthier you are, whether that’s through getting enough sleep, eating or exercising right, the more likely you are to keep your hormones balanced. If you think you need extra support, try 30 PLUS NuWoman, a naturally derived formula that helps the body keep estrogen and progesterone levels at a healthy level.