THE TOP 5 SIGNS YOUR HORMONES ARE OUT OF WHACK:
1) Continual weight gain despite exercise and diet
Your metabolism is controlled by your hormones, it’s not the exercise that causes the weight loss it’s the exercise that triggers the hormones that cause you to lose weight. This is why some people can eat whatever they want, don’t exercise and have the body you have always wanted. While others can eat very little, exercise an hour a day and gain weight. Research has shown us that certain hormones, like insulin and cortisol, lead to fat storage. While other hormones help us lose fat, like growth hormone and thyroxine (a thyroid hormone). Therefore if you are having troubles losing weight or gaining weight despite an honest effort, then it may very well be a sign your hormones are out of balance.
2) Suffer from fatigue
Hormonal imbalances, specifically adrenal and thyroid imbalances are a major cause of fatigue. The adrenal and thyroid gland work hand-in-hand to support your energy levels, so it’s important to understand exactly how they are functioning. In our clinic we see many patients who suffer from fatigue. I believe the number one cause of fatigue is stress (emotional, biological, chemical, and physical). The fact is we all have stress but each of us has a different breaking point. Therefore it’s important to understand how unknown stresses such as infections, food sensitivities, and toxins can add to your total stress levels causing you to surpass your breaking point leading to fatigue.
3) Abnormal menstrual cycle
Cramping, irritability, PMS, and heavy prolonged menses are often believed to be a normal part of a women’s menstrual cycle. On the contrary, a normal women’s cycle should have very little cramping, with only a minor change in mood. The menses (bleeding) portion should be 4-5 days long, light red, and with no clots. Many of the patients we see in our clinic report they have never had a normal menstrual period. Upon further investigation we discover an imbalance in the progesterone and estrogen levels which can be easily remedied with a few lifestyle, dietary and supplement recommendations.
4) Problems with digestion and loss of sex drive
If you are wondering what digestion and sex drive have to do with one another, think about this scenario. While our ancestors were being chased by a predator their body would switch from the ‘feed and breed’ mode to the ‘fight-or-flight’ mode. During this stress response, cortisol and adrenalin would be released from their adrenal glands (little glands that sit on top of the kidneys), increasing blood pressure and blood sugar improving our ancestors ability to get more sugar and blood to the major muscles to help improve muscle strength and stamina. Their bodies would also shift the blood from the digestive and reproductive system to the arms and legs to further enhance performance and shut down systems of the body (reproductive and digestive) that are not necessary. When things calm down, cortisol secretion decreases, along with blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and blood flow is redirected back to the stomach and reproductive system. This is the body shifting gears between the two opposing systems, the ‘fight or flight’ or the ‘feed and breed’ system. Your body cannot do both at the same time.
In today’s modern life, and its many chronic stressors, the ‘fight or flight’ system can be activated and not turn off. If the chronic stress response doesn’t leave, those cortisol triggers never stop. Eventually, this leads to problems with digestion and loss of sex drive because the body isn’t in the ‘feed and breed’ system long enough to perform the functions it supposed to. Regaining this balance is essential to long term health.
5) Brain fog, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness
Hormones affect our moods and memory. Almost anyone who has suffered from a thyroid problem before being treated will complain of mood swings, brain fog, depression and anxiety. Why is this? Certain hormones are essential for brain function. For example, estrogen is a stimulating hormone and when high it can result in anxiety. Progesterone is more of a calming hormone and when low can lead to sleeplessness. Cortisol can help with short term memory but cause long term memory loss. Testosterone at high levels can lead to competitiveness or rage but a lack of testosterone can lead to apathy and lethargy. The key with these hormones isn’t to figure out which ones are low and then be prescribed a prescription hormone or natural hormone replacement. It’s more important to discover why these particular hormones are low or high. For example, if someone was under chronic stress like we mentioned earlier, maybe their digestive system isn’t working properly which leads to a deficiency. All your hormones are made from amino acids and fats that are available from the food you eat. Therefore a nutritional deficiency can negatively impact your hormone levels.
With Functional Medicine, we seek to identify the root cause of your imbalance and loss of normal system function.
In other words, we discover the “why” of your suffering. We help end the out of control spiral of your health condition. When we address your unique reason of “why” your glands or organs are not working properly, your hormones become balanced and your body starts to heal itself! We find there are four organs and glands that are the most common culprits leading to out-of-control hormones. Let’s look at these four in more detail.