Natural Solutions for Hormonal Imbalance

What is your most important message to women suffering hormonal imbalance?

A vast majority of hormonal imbalance cases can be resolved through diet, nutrition and lifestyle changes.

What are typical signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance?

In both sexes, the typical symptoms are fatigue, headaches, digestive complaints, poor sleeping, easy weight gain and decreased sexual desire.

In pre-menopausal women, common symptoms are: menstrual cramping, pain and irritability, emotional fragility, salt and sugar cravings, breast cysts, endometriosis and uterine fibroids.

In post-menopausal women: weight gain around the waist/torso with loss of fat and muscle in the legs, salt and sugar cravings, intolerance to cold or hot environments, drying and thinning of head hair, vaginal dryness and pain with sexual intercourse, increased irritability and emotional instability, “brain fog” and poor concentration.

There are multiple signs on laboratory tests indicating hormonal imbalances in pre- and post-menopausal women, but some of the most common are alterations in adrenal and thyroid hormone function, an increased amount of harmful 16-alpha-hydroxyestrones, a decreased amount of protective 2-hydroxyestrones, increased propensity of blood clotting, increased markers of inflammation, imbalances in fats required to make hormones, and imbalances in immune system indicators.

What are the typical causes of hormonal imbalance?

Poor dietary habits with insufficient dark green leafy and brightly colored vegetables,  too little lean proteins, too much  starchy carbohydrates and sugar, too little omega-3 fatty acids, and persistent mild dehydration.  On top of that, a large toxic load on the woman’s body system from multiple unresolved environmental toxic exposures such as pesticides, volatile chemicals in beauty salons, bad chemicals in cosmetics, and estrogen-like compounds in plastics. Inadequate amount of exercise is a prevailing cause.  Also, over commitment to caring for others’ needs with insufficient care for self is a very common factor in mothers with young children.

What are the other things that contribute to the development of hormonal imbalance?

In today’s society, adequate dietary supplementation is absolutely necessary to realistically prevent hormonal imbalances in pre- and post-menopausal women in particular.  Some of the most important basic supplemental factors necessary are extra B-vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, essential fatty acids and indole-3-carbinol.  Indole-3-carbinol  and its metabolite DIM, is a particular nutrient that lowers production of harmful estrogens and increases production of protective estrogens.   Another factor that is not often discussed is intake of synthetic hormones in birth control pills and   hormone replacement therapy (HRT), anti-depressant drugs, overuse of antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s).  Cigarette smoking is a very powerful contributor to hormonal imbalances.

Besides prolonged suffering from symptoms of hormonal imbalance, what could occur if it is left untreated?

In pre-menopausal women:  Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroid cysts, cystic breasts disorders, infertility, dysmenorrhea (aka, painful menstrual cycles), early menopause, onset of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia.

In post-menopausal women:  Extreme difficulty going through menopause and extreme loss of bone density, increased propensity of autoimmune disorders, increased likelihood of  Alzheimer’s dementia, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, increased risk of breast, uterine ovarian cancers, and increased risk of certain head and neck cancers.

What are the natural modulators for balancing hormones?

Indole-3-Carbinol is a naturally occurring substance found in cruciferous vegetables that prevents the build-up of harmful estrogens and balances the production of protective estrogens. Its derivative, diindolylmethane (DIM) also does this.  This is a very effective substance that acts in a similar, but much safer way, as the anti-breast cancer aromatase inhibitor drug Tamoxifen (Nolvadex ®).  Taking indole-3-carbinol or DIM can have measurable improvements on lab tests confirming that it effectively helps balance estrogens in as little as one month. This is one of the most effective natural substances to balance hormones in women and men.

Other substances that are very effective for balancing hormones are the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish oil.  I recommend getting supplemental fish oil from sources that follow high standards to avoid taking ones with toxins.  I say supplemental because it will be quite difficult to eat enough fish to get the therapeutic dose to affect hormonal imbalance.  In addition, you will likely consume higher amounts of mercury along with having to consume a lot of fish.

There are other naturally-occurring hormone balancing modulators, but these two are the most important.

Consult a Clinical Nutritionist and/or a Functional Medicine doctor regarding which ones are appropriate for you, including therapeutic doses of these hormone balance modulators.

How long does it usually take to correct hormone imbalance through natural alternative means?

This varies due to multiple factors.  In my clinic, the typical time frame of patients who are not dealing with additional health issues is 2 to 6 months.  In hormonal imbalances associated with adrenal gland problems, it often takes anywhere from 6 to 18 months.