- Written by Dr. Stephanie Shelburne Dr. Stephanie Shelburne
Hot flashes, mood swings, disrupted sleep, uncontrolled weight gain, uncontrolled weight loss... you name it, when your hormones are out of whack, you can suffer any number of issues from severe to simply annoying.
Hormones are the least understood chemistry in conventional health care and women are left with very few options for relief. Pharmaceutical intervention with all of the inevitable side effects or psychotherapy because, well, it's all in your head isn't it??? Not hardly. Believe it or not there are some simple, natural, and practical interventions that can change your life.
Love your liver!
When it comes to hormones, keeping your liver happy will be one of the best things you can do.
Your liver helps flush estrogen out of your body.
If it’s already bogged down with other things, the estrogen hangs around longer and even begins to build up. When that happens, you can say hello to hot flashes, digestive issues, aches and pains, mood swings, and irregular bleeding.
How to help? I rely on herbal interventions. Herbs that help my liver function smoothly. Things like burdock, artichoke, milk thistle, red clover… and more. The best thing you can do is find a good quality liver health tea or herbal blend in supplements and let them help you stay in balance.
It may also be worth finding a good Integrative Health practitioner to help fine tune a blend for your specific body.
Bliss Out Your Belly
You are only as healthy as the food that you can digest. The major role of the digestive system is to break down food and to provide the body with nutrients. If the gut is damaged or imbalanced it doesn’t matter how good your food is or how many supplements you take, you will not be able to assimilate those nutrients.
Turns out, it may be no accident that hormonal imbalance like PCOS, Estrogen Dominance, PMS, and even early onset perimenopause have a high prevalence of comorbid gastrointestinal disorders. Comorbid means, ‘existing together’.
In other words, it’s no accident that women who suffer hormonal imbalance also suffer from issues like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease. If you are a woman, it is even more critical to find ways to balance your gut bacteria.
In fact, research indicates that Gastrointestinal Disorders are more common among women than men by roughly 78%.
For years, it has been suggested this was simply because women were more likely to go to the doctor for issues and diagnosis. While this may have some truth, current studies are revealing that it may be more likely due to the interaction between hormones and the microbiome.
One critical component of a healthy gut and balanced hormones is a healthy microbiome. Your microbiome, the trillions of bacteria and yeast that live in your gut and on your skin, controls your body without you even realizing it.
Interesting little factoid to keep in mind the next time you are tempted to think this whole “gut bacteria” conversation is overrated: your gut contains 100 trillion bacteria yet there are only 10 trillion human cells in your body. That means technically you are 10 times more bacteria than human! Even the genes of the microbiome bacteria outnumber your own genes by 100 to 1.
Sadly, most mainstream medicine interventions for hormone “health” appear to be a major part of the problem. Research is demonstrating a very strong correlation between birth control pills, the morning after pill, and Hormone Replacement Therapy and development of gastrointestinal disorders.
There has, interestingly, been a high incidence of young women presenting with Crohn’s Disease within weeks of having taken some form of ‘morning after’ pill.
Recent studies also indicate that an imbalance in your microbiome may be a main contributor to things like estrogen dominance and other hormonal imbalances, including breast and ovarian cancers.
As a woman, you produce a community of genetic biomarkers designed to help you metabolize estrogen. The community of biomarkers is known as your estrobolome. Dysbiosis (imbalance in the microbiome) generates a combination of enzymes that interrupts your estrobolome’s capacity to help your body metabolize estrogen.
So, basically, ignoring the bacterial balance in your gut, not only contributes to weight gain, mood swings, and hot flashes, it also increases your potential for breast and ovarian cancer.
Bliss out your belly with quality fermented foods, healthy fats, and the perfect for you blend of macronutrients.
Just FYI; most conventional yogurts are not quality fermented food. Make sure you are choosing products that are naturally fermented, devoid of additives and preservatives, (including carrageenan) and if possible in their raw state. Better yet, learn how to make your own yogurts and sauerkrauts. You won’t be sorry.
Quality sleep is the best medicine. It always has been. It still is. However, if you cannot get the amount of quality sleep you require, then it is worth your effort to find time to at least rest in short breaks throughout the day. Even just 15 minutes of quality quiet time can reset your nervous system and help guide your body back into balance.
Want more information or help with balancing your belly and your hormone health? Register for our "Hormone Health and Belly Bliss" Workshop.