Hormones and Your Health

More bad days than good is a health warning sign that shouldn’t be ignored.

Everyone has good days and bad days–days when you feel so good you could conquer the world as well as days when it seems to take all the energy you have just to get dressed in the morning. Those ups and downs are tied to a number of lifestyle factors including what you eat, stress levels at your job, how much rest you get, and how frequently you exercise. On those days when something feels off, we tend to ignore it and keep plodding through the regularly scheduled agenda. That might get you through occasionally, but it’s essential to pay attention to your body and how it feels on a regular basis. When the bad days start outnumbering the good, it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.

Imbalances Can Happen to Anyone

Fatigue is just one symptom that could indicate a hormone imbalance regardless of age.

Hormonal imbalance is a condition that tends to be associated with older people, but the truth is that anyone of practically any age can experience an imbalance in their hormones. Whether it’s your individual health issues, genetics, or caused by medications or surgery, it’s an issue that should be addressed. Unfortunately, the reason most people don’t realize they have a problem with hormone levels is that the body produces several different hormones–nearly 50, according to ikonet!–that are necessary for optimal health. Additionally, the symptoms of a problem with any one of them are varied and can often be mistakenly linked to a non-hormonal health issue. And to top it off, men and women can experience problems with hormones in different ways, according to Dr. John Lee. Some common symptoms that you may have already experienced and written off can include:

  • skin problems–dry skin or acne
  • insomnia
  • trouble concentrating
  • depression and/or anxiety
  • excessive body hair
  • thinning or loss of hair on the head
  • lack of energy
  • moodiness
  • weight gain or loss
  • lowered libido
  • headaches

And those are just a few signs you might see.

What You Can do About Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones and health are kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. You need to be healthy to produce the hormones you need to stay healthy. Where do you start? Daily Burn recommends tweaks to your lifestyle that will optimize hormone levels such as getting more sleep, working out, and eating healthier. Fast food and pre-packaged might be convenient, but they’re hardly an acceptable trade-off for feeling good. You don’t have to ditch chips and dips, burgers and fries altogether, but eat less of them and more nutrient-rich foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits and berries, nuts, legumes, and lean protein.

Many people find strength training along with cardio exercise effective for helping balance hormones.

As for the exercising, an imbalance in your hormones might make you feel like you can barely lift your arm, let alone a 20-pound dumbbell but, counterintuitive as it may sound, working out can actually give you more energy. The professionals at Piedmont Healthcare recommend consistent cardio and strength training workouts rather than one instead of the other, and say that the exercise will help balance your hormones to reduce stress and depression, help you sleep better, and increase vitality. You don’t have to overdo it, either, and we actually recommend you don’t over-exercise. According to Dr. Josh Axe, overtraining can result in an increased hormonal imbalance, making you feel even worse. How much is enough without being too much? We like to fall back on the CDC’s recommendations because they’ve proven to be generally effective. They advise adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week in addition to at least two strength training sessions.

See Your Doctor

If lifestyle tweaks don’t get you feeling better, a visit to the doctor is in order. Image by Vic/Flickr

It would be nice if diet and exercise were the answer to everything, but there are times when no matter what you do, you still can’t get back to feeling good. That’s when it’s time to take the problem to your doctor. He can perform tests and make recommendations for supplements and even hormone therapy to bring your body back into alignment. Don’t like the idea of taking manufactured hormones? Or maybe you don’t look forward to getting frequent injections or dealing with creams, gels, or patches for the rest of your life. Don’t let issues like that prevent you from getting help. There are tons of alternatives these days including bioidentical hormones that are considered natural and are made with plants like yams or soy. Plus, you could opt for pellet therapy, which is a procedure that involves injecting a small, compounded pellet into the fatty tissue under the skin on your hip. The pellet time-releases hormones into your system and you won’t have to get another one injected for 3 to 6 months.

The bottom line is your health is everything. If your car starts having performance problems, you check the oil, change the sparkplugs, and start using better quality fuel. Then, if it’s still acting up, you take it to the mechanic. If you’re feeling off, make some lifestyle changes and don’t delay seeing your doctor if those adjustments don’t make a significant difference.

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