Our hormones are essentially responsible for all the functions of our body. Hormones are chemicals secreted by glands to send “messages” through the bloodstream. These messages tell our organs what to do to keep us alive and healthy.
For example, thyroid hormones monitor metabolism, energy levels, and body temperature, and the "stress hormone" cortisol plays a role in fetal development and response to physical and psychological stress. From heart rate to appetite to sexual function, every hormone plays an important role.
Of course, if your hormones are balanced and working in sync, you wouldn't notice, but that's a good thing.
A hormonal imbalance occurs when the body produces too little or too much of one hormone or set of hormones. There are many hormones that everyone shares, such as insulin and adrenaline, but certain hormones can affect men and women in different ways. For example, women may experience an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels, while men may experience an imbalance in testosterone.
You may have a hormonal imbalance at some point in your life, especially if you have an endocrine disorder, age and lifestyle also play a role. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance vary greatly, as each hormone is uniquely involved in its role.
- Sudden or inexplicable weight gain or weight loss
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling very hot or very cold changes or extreme sensitivity to heat or cold
- Excessive sweating
- Heart rate changes
- Dry skin or sudden acne
- Anxiety or other mood changes
- Sexual function or sexual appetite shifts
- Blurred vision
- Brittle hair and nails
- Excessive hair growth
- Breast tenderness
PCOs is one of the most common hormonal disorders that several females get diagnosed with. In PCOS most commonly females produce more androgen hormones. Along with high androgen hormones, females have sometimes their estrogen levels deranged. The most common symptoms of PCOS are:
- Irregular menstrual periods, missed periods.
- Weight issues, especially weight gain or difficulty to lose weight
- Excess body hair, including excess hair on the chest, chin, abdomen
- Acne, oily skin
- Hair thinning
- Skin tags
- Dark patches on skin, armpits, back of the neck
Several females are diagnosed with PCOs, but unfortunately, conventional treatment through medications doesn’t work for them. But a functional approach has great results for PCOs. Because PCOs need a deeper look at the underlying root cause if your problem and then make a comprehensive plan to fix it. This will include lifestyle changes, like special diets, stress management techniques, special supplements, and also detailed testing to find this root cause.
Sometimes females go into early menopause, and they are looking for help. These females need careful help with rebalancing their hormones in a gentle way that doesn’t harm their bodies. Conventional doctors prescribe synthetic female hormones which can have side effects and in long run can be harmful, but in functional medicine, we use bioidentical hormones which are natural and don’t have long-term side effects. So if you are interested in knowing more, please reach out to our practice.
Infertility problems are on a rise these days, and several females suffer from them. All their testing is normal and most of the time they are told their only option is doing IVF. At Dr. Gupta’s functional center we use advanced functional medicine protocols to help females to have successful pregnancies naturally. We work on the underlying hormonal issues, autoimmunity, and also chronic inflammation which are causing infertility issues.
Adrenal dysfunction is where you feel “wired and tired”. This means you are tired all the time, but also you have an underlying sense of anxiety all the time. The adrenal gland is really important gland and they produce cortisol hormone.
Several people have deranged levels of cortisol in their bodies which doesn’t help them function properly. And most of these people don’t even know that they have adrenal problems. They most commonly have not been tested properly.
A complete cortisol test includes testing cortisol levels four times a day, while most doctors will only check it once and thus will miss the diagnosis. At Dr.Gupta functional center we do complete adrenal testing and then make a natural functional medicine plan to fix it.
Male hormonal issues
Several males suffer from low testosterone or from erectile dysfunction and for those males, not much is available out there to help them. In functional medicine again looking at all the hormones and working on them including testosterone we get good results.
Causes for Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances have several main causes, and they are not uncommon. First, medical conditions, and the drugs and treatments for those conditions, can all affect hormones.
For example, some breast cancer treatments can lower estrogen levels, but Cushing's syndrome or Addison's disease are characterized by too high or too low levels of the hormone cortisol, respectively. Causes include type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, and thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In women, conditions such as menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause hormonal imbalances. In men, hypogonadism can lead to decreased hormone levels.
Other causes include injury, trauma, or eating disorders. However, one of the most common causes of hormonal imbalance is stress. Unfortunately, we all know this.
In fact, stress can lead to gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and brain function problems—we've all experienced it. Do you run to the bathroom before an important deadline? Does your heart stop when you make a big life decision? I blame stress.
No single test can diagnose or identify a specific hormonal imbalance. Therefore, it is important to work with an endocrinologist to get to the bottom of certain symptoms. Some of the things you want them to know are when you experience:
- Skin problems
- Mood problems
- High levels of stress and anxiety
- Sexual libido and function issues
- Weight gain or loss
Your endocrinologist may do blood tests, biopsies, ultrasounds, or other tests, depending on your symptoms. There is no one way to determine which hormones are out of balance, so the doctor may do a little research and multiple tests to determine the cause of your symptoms and the best treatment for your particular imbalance that you may need to do.
Prescription treatments, which often involve hormone therapy (HT) should be discussed with an expert in functional medicine
According to Dr. Anshul Gupta, sleep is key. “Hormones play a massive role in how you sleep, and your sleep plays a massive role in how your hormones are balanced. You need all five stages of sleep, about seven to nine hours, to help maintain and balance your hormones.”
For optimum hormonal balance, Dr. Gupta says that you should be:
- Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day as often as you can
- Decreasing blue light at night
- Getting sunlight in the morning, and throughout the day as often as possible
- Drinking water first thing in the morning
- Creating a bedtime ritual
According to Dr. Anshul Gupta “Diet is the most potent agent you have to balance your hormones. This is because it allows you to directly change the levels of hormones (insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids) depending on the balance of macronutrients consumed at every meal.”
Make sure you're eating regularly, and within a healthy calorie range for your body. Aim for lots of fatty fish, omega-3 fatty acids, eggs, healthy proteins, vegetables, and greens. According to Dr. Gupta, you should also eat alkaline or higher-pH foods. what does that mean exactly?
“Alkaline and plant-based foods, such as green leafy vegetables and low-calorie vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower sprouts, provide the body with natural detoxification benefits,” says Dr. Gupta. Choose clean protein sources that are free-range and wild-caught, as well as more alkaline fats.
Additionally, you can take magnesium supplements and drink high-quality green tea daily. Green tea helps lower blood sugar levels. This is especially important for those who have insulin problems. Magnesium also helps in dealing with stress.
Regular exercise is important in dealing with hormonal imbalances. It's not just weight. Exercise helps regulate our metabolism and affects the amount of cortisol released in the body. However, hormonal problems cause unwanted weight gain. In fact, while weight loss has been shown to improve hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome and erectile dysfunction, studies have found that regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity issues. Walking has also been shown to be effective.
So, improving your lifestyle, consuming a healthy diet, and treating the root cause can help you treat hormonal imbalances. Get in touch with Dr. Anshul Gupta, a Functional Medicine Doctor to regain your hormonal health with a holistic approach.
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