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Top Ten Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance I See Everyday

I’ve been helping women balance their hormones and optimize fertility for over ten years now, and while every client’s personal situation is different, I see the same symptoms of hormone imbalance over and over. This week on the blog, I thought it might be really helpful to share the top ten symptoms of hormone imbalance I see time and time again, what causes the symptoms my clients experience, and most importantly, what to do about it.

Because if you’re reading this, odds are you’ve experienced one or more of these symptoms!

First and foremost, while you can get a good idea of where your imbalances lie according to your symptoms, it’s still really important to test your hormone levels to uncover the exact imbalance that may be happening which is at the root of the symptoms you’re experiencing. I always tell clients that trying to treat hormone imbalance or infertility without knowing EXACTLY what your hormones are doing is like trying to play darts with a blindfold on. Not the best idea 😉

The Comprehensive Hormone Panel is the hormone test I recommend for all women to get a baseline reading of the most important hormones to be aware of. This includes all the sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), adrenal hormones (cortisol x4, DHEA), and a full thyroid panel (TSH, free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies). Testing is done during your luteal phase in the comfort of your own home, and will give you powerful information to address any and all symptoms of hormone imbalance that you’re experiencing.

There are also some important basic foundational recommendations everyone should incorporate, regardless of where your imbalances lie:

Make sure you’re eating whole, real, organic food the majority of the time. This means organic veggies and fruits, high quality fats and oils, wild caught fish and seafood, pasture-raised eggs, and organic, pasture-raised meats. Second, make sure you’re drinking half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water every day. Third, make sure you’re moving your body every day, and getting at least 8 hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

With all that said, let’s dive into the top 10 symptoms I see most often in my practice.

1.Infertility

Cause:

Low progesterone and low thyroid

Foods to eat:

  • Egg yolks, which are rich in healthy fats, choline, and are a symbol of fertility.
  • Wild caught salmon, which contain omega-3’s, vitamin B6 for progesterone support, iodine for thyroid support, and zinc.
  • Grass-fed ghee, which contains omega-3’s and healthy cholesterol, necessary for the synthesis of pregnenolone (the “mama” hormone), which in turn makes progesterone. Cholesterol is also necessary for the production of thyroid hormone.
  • Fat from trusted sources of meat, wild caught fatty fish, and plant-derived fats like coconut oil, olive oil, olives, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Eat at least 2 tablespoons of fat at every meal.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Manage stress: chronic stress increases the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline at the expense of sex hormones like progesterone.
  • Acupuncture can help improve blood flow to the ovaries and the uterine lining, and is fantastic for relieving stress as well.
  • Circle + Bloom visualizations are a series of scientifically proven audio programs grounded in deep medical research that help you de-stress, reduce anxiety, and ultimately increase your chances of conception.

Supplements:

Want to know more about the foods and lifestyle choices that best support your fertility? Check out my 12-week protocol, The Fertility Code. Each weekly module covers the Science so you understand the WHY, and the Solution (laid out in easy-to-implement steps) so you can execute the HOW. You’ll have access to tons of done-for-you resources like cycle tracking tools, a daily fertility checklist, shopping lists, recipes, meal ideas, a daily supplement menu, and a ton more!

2. Miscarriages

Cause:

Low progesterone, low thyroid

Foods to eat:

  • Eat plenty of healthy fats from wild caught fish/seafood, and other high quality, organic, pasture-raised meats.
  • Start Seed Rotation: From the first day of your cycle until ovulation, eat 1 tbsp freshly ground flaxseeds (not the pre-ground stuff) & 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds (to support estrogen). From ovulation until the first day of your period, eat 1 tbsp sesame seeds & 1 tbsp sunflower seeds (to support progesterone). You can add the seeds to salads, smoothies or eat them by the handful.
  • Eliminate gluten, dairy, refined sugars from your diet.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Get the right tests done. First, speak to your doctor about referring you to a specialist for an antiphospholipid antibody (APA) test. Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune imbalance which causes the body’s immune system to react to certain normal substances in the blood which can increase the chance of forming blood clots. It is estimated that 10% – 25% of women with recurrent miscarriages have APS, making testing very important. Doctors will generally treat this condition with low-dose baby aspirin and injections of heparin (blood thinner) during pregnancy.
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG): This is an x-ray test of the uterus. A dye is injected into the uterus and x-rays are taken to see the shape of the uterus, blockages of the tubes, growths and other abnormalities that could cause infertility or miscarriages.
  • Thyroid Panel: Hypothyroidism has been linked to miscarriages during all trimesters. Not all doctors will do a thyroid panel test, make sure to ask and work with a doctor that is supportive and up to date on thyroid issues.
  • Make sure to have your doctor test your progesterone levels in tested in the luteal phase specifically. This is the phase in your cycle when progesterone plays the most important role, and testing it at other times in your cycle won’t give you the information you need.
  • Manage stress: chronic stress increases the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline at the expense of sex hormones like progesterone, and can increase your risk of miscarriage.
  • Castor Oil Packs: in this therapy, a cloth is soaked in unrefined castor oil (referred to as a castor oil pack) and is then placed on the lower abdomen where the ovaries and uterus live. The castor oil soaks into the skin to stimulate blood circulation, and heals the tissues and organs below the surface of the skin. Check out this post for more details on using castor oil therapy.

Supplements:

  • Progest-Avail Progesterone Oil: 1 mL, twice daily (in AM & PM, ideally 12 hours apart). In the AM, rub into thin areas of your skin (face, neck, breasts, chest, inner wrists, palms of hands—make sure to rotate the site of delivery each morning); in the PM—put oil in your palm and then using your fingers, rub oil directly into vaginal tissue. Start using 3 days AFTER you get a positive ovulation sign, then use until you start your menstrual cycle; if you get a positive pregnancy sign, keep using the progesterone!
  • Vitamin B6: 50 mg/day minimum
  • Vitamin E: 2 capsules daily

3. Breast Tenderness

Cause:

Low progesterone and/or high estrogen

Foods to eat:

  • Fiber from foods like brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips, and berries
  • Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard
  • Eliminate conventional meat & dairy, also eliminate caffeine, coffee in particular, which can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and therefore also on your hormones.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Use castor oil packs on your breasts. In castor oil therapy, the castor oil soaks into the skin to stimulate blood circulation, and heals the tissue below the surface. Check out this post for more details on using castor oil therapy.
  • Clean Up Your Environment: Limit your exposure to xenoestrogens — substances not naturally found in nature that have hormonal effects on the body. These toxic substances are easily absorbed through the skin and build up in the body over time. Here’s what you need to avoid: non-organic meat from conventionally raised livestock, body care products containing chemicals like parabens and sulfates, car exhaust, plastics, non-organic fruits and vegetables, canned foods (contain bisphenol A, aka BPA), solvents and adhesives. For more details on how to avoid xenoestrogens, check out this post.

Supplements:

4. Low Libido

Cause:

Low estrogen, low testosterone, low cortisol

Foods to eat:

  • Egg yolks
  • Grass-fed butter/ghee
  • Coconut oil

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Acupuncture can address many libido-killing physical issues like vaginal dryness, low testosterone, chronic pain, as well as help support balancing hormones like estrogen and cortisol.
  • Take matters into your own hands, if you know what I mean ;). You need to ask for you what you want, but first you need to know what you want. Make time to research your sexuality and the underlying causes of your low libido. Once you know yourself better, ask for assistance or experimentation from your partner. No partner? No problem. Then take matters into your own hands more often ;).
  • Give vibrators a pass—they’re actually limiting your pleasure. Vibrators cause your body to bypass the plateau phase of orgasm. The plateau phase is mega important for all sorts of reasons—the longer the plateau before climax, the more nitric oxide and oxytocin your body produces, which have healing benefits for the whole endocrine system. It also increases blood flow to the whole pelvic area, setting you up for MORE orgasms and a higher sex drive.
  • Decrease stress using biofeedback, restorative yoga, long slow walks in nature, a hot bath, a massage, or whatever else brings you pleasure!

Supplements:

  • Libido Stim-F
  • FemGuard + Balance
  • Femmenessence (maca): 1 capsule in morning, 1 capsule in afternoon. The magical herb maca has consistently been shown to help with vaginal dryness (stop using when you become pregnant.)

5. Weight Gain

Cause:

High or low cortisol, high or low estrogen, low thyroid, or high insulin

Foods to eat:

  • Eliminate all sugars & sweeteners & caffeine, which throw your blood sugar and your hormones off balance.
  • Eliminate gluten
  • Only eat REAL, whole foods:: organic vegetables, fruits, organic protein sources, high quality fats—nothing out of boxes, bags or packages
  • Focus on nourishing your body rather than on dieting. Eat mindfully, and learn to distinguish physical food cravings from emotional food cravings. If you absolutely have to have some form of special “treat” food then have it. Enjoy it. Savor it. Offer gratitude and then let it go. Get right back on the wagon and keep moving forward.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Consistent, adequate, and unmedicated sleep is critical. Sleep in a dark and cool room (68 degrees or less), black out your room. No LED lights from alarm clocks, fire alarms, TV’s etc., no screens (including phones, television, e-readers, computers, etc.) for at least one hour before bedtime, dim the lights around you when the sun goes down.
  • Exercise daily, preferably outside.
  • Finish eating at least 2 hours before going to bed. No alcohol after dinner.
  • Aim for at least 8-9 hrs of sleep. You should wake up without an alarm, feeling refreshed.
  • Blood sugar maintenance: make sure to have 20-30 grams of protein within 1 hour of waking; eat clean protein + healthy fats + TONS of vegetables at every meal; no grazing on food throughout the day—instead eat 2-3 solid, well balanced meals

Supplements:

For more help with weight gain, read this post, and this post.

6. Fatigue

Cause:

Low thyroid, high or low cortisol, low estrogen, high insulin

Foods to eat:

  • Eliminate sugar & caffeine, which throw off your blood sugar, your cortisol (stress hormone) and therefore create chaos at the hormonal level, resulting in a yoyo affect on your energy levels (and drastically affects your hormones long-term!).

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Restorative sleep is a biggie for this one too. Sleep in a dark and cool room (68 degrees or less), black out your room. No LED lights from alarm clocks, fire alarms, TV’s etc., no screens (including phones, television, e-readers, computers, etc.) for at least one hour before bedtime, dim the lights around you when the sun goes down.
  • Exercise daily, preferably outside.
  • Finish eating at least 2 hours before going to bed. No alcohol after dinner.
  • Aim for at least 8-9 hrs of sleep. You should wake up without an alarm, feeling refreshed.

Supplements:

  • Adrenotone
  • B Supreme
  • Femmenessence (maca): 1 capsule in morning, 1 capsule in afternoon. Maca has consistently been shown to help with insomnia, depression, memory, concentration, and energy. Stop using when you’re pregnant.

7. Poor Sleep/Insomnia

Cause:

Low estrogen and/or progesterone, high or low cortisol, high thyroid

Foods to eat:

  • Eliminating sugar & caffeine is important here too, as even if you don’t realize it, your cup of sugary coffee at 6am could still be messing with your ability to sleep at midnight. You want to cut out anything that’s going to cause your blood sugar and energy levels to fluctuate so you can allow your body’s natural rhythms to stabilize.
  • Eat high quality fats at every meal, and a small snack containing high quality fat before bed

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Try having 2 tsp raw honey before bed, which can help encourage restful sleep.
  • Maintain your blood sugar by eating 20-30 grams of protein within 1 hour of waking, don’t skip meals, eat high quality fats with every meal and high quality protein consistently throughout day.
  • Optimize your quality of sleep by sleeping in a dark and cool room (68 degrees or less), and completely blacking out your room.

  • No LED lights from alarm clocks, fire alarms, TV’s etc., no screens (including phones, television, e-readers, computers, etc.) for at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Dim the lights around you when the sun goes down.
  • Exercise daily, preferably outside.
  • Finish eating at least 2 hours before going to bed. No alcohol after dinner.
  • Aim for at least 8-9 hrs of sleep, but if you have trouble settling down or wake in the middle of the night, do your best not to stress about the fact that you’re not sleeping, which makes your insomnia worse. The best thing you can do is lay quietly, try some deep breathing and/or meditation, which will still be restful.for your body even if you aren’t able to fall asleep

Supplements:

  • Femmenessence (maca): 1 capsule in morning, 1 capsule in afternoon. Maca has consistently been shown to help with insomnia, depression, memory, concentration, and energy. Stop using when you’re pregnant.
  • Ashwagandha
  • Magnesium: 2-3 capsules at bedtime

8. Hair loss, Thinning Hair

Cause:

Low or high thyroid, high testosterone or high estrogen

Foods to eat:

  • High quality protein at every meal, especially grass-fed beef, bone broth, nuts, and egg yolks.

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Reduce stress, which can cause hair follicles to stop producing.
  • Use a humidifier to help hydrate dry, damaged hair.
  • Be gentle to your hair: let your hair air dry, try a tea tree shampoo, wash your scalp/hair follicles to reduce follicle scarring (this can cause permanent hair loss), and avoid over-washing (aim for every other day, or once a day at most)

Supplements:

9. Foggy Brain

Cause:

Low thyroid hormones, low estrogen, low cortisol

Foods to eat:

  • Walnuts
  • Egg yolks
  • Wild caught fish/seafood
  • Eliminate sugar and eliminate vegetable oils

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Daily movement (especially cardio-based movement), to optimize sleep quality.
  • Blood sugar maintenance: 20-30 grams of protein within 1 hour of waking, don’t skip meals, eat tons quality fats with every meal, and high quality protein consistently throughout the day.

Supplements:

10. Anxiety, Depression, Feeling “Blah”

Cause:

Low thyroid, high/low cortisol

Foods to eat:

  • Wild caught fish/seafood
  • Egg yolks
  • Eliminate sugar + caffeine

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Blood sugar maintenance: 20-30 grams of protein within 1 hour of waking, don’t skip meals, eat tons quality fats with every meal, and high quality protein consistently throughout the day.
  • Sleep in a dark and cool room (68 degrees or less), black out your room. No LED lights from alarm clocks, fire alarms, TV’s etc., no screens (including phones, television, e-readers, computers, etc.) for at least one hour before bedtime, dim the lights around you when the sun goes down.
  • Meditation, prayer, & connecting with your community.
  • Daily movement; incorporate high intensity interval training

Supplements:

In a Nutshell

  1. Even though different symptoms of hormone imbalance have different causes, there are some basic things you can do that help ALL imbalances.
  2. Getting your hormone levels tested is an important first step..
  3. Once you know exactly which hormones are imbalanced, you can target your diet and lifestyle to address those imbalances naturally.

Let’s Talk!

I want to hear from you—leave me a comment below and we can continue the conversation!

What led you to read this blog post? Have you experienced any of the symptoms of hormone imbalances discussed above? Have you ever had your hormones tested?

Spread some healthy hormone lovin’! I bet you have some friends who would love to read this too :).

Looking for more hormone help?

I’ve created a FREE video series to share my top natural remedies to heal the six most common hormone conditions that wreak havoc on your body AND your fertility. Get it HERE.

Research shows you have the power to shift your hormonal health and optimize your fertility with FOOD, and I’ll teach you how HERE. !

Let’s Meet!

Looking to have a more in-depth conversation about hormone imbalance? Schedule a consultation with me!

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