3 Aspects of Hormonal Imbalance You Need to Know

By Hui Xie-Zukauskas

Hormonal imbalance is defined when chemical messengers regulating our body’s systems are no longer functioning properly. The imbalance can be an overproduction or an underproduction of specific hormones. Estrogen is the primary hormone in these changes.

Today, I’d like to help you understand the danger when hormone imbalance is left unaddressed or untreated.

What can cause hormonal imbalance? 

Hormone balance is closely connected to the food we eat, the exercise we get, the weight we carry, the stress we bear, and the toxins we absorb. Therefore, many factors can impact the overall hormonal balance, including:

1. Aging
Advanced age itself is a common cause of hormonal imbalance in both men and women.

2. Poor diet 
Excess carbohydrates (especially from refined foods and sugars) that are not needed for energy are stored as fat in the body. Increased body fat elevates estrogen levels and increased estrogen levels bring about estrogen dominance, which leads to increased risks for breast cancer. Hormonal balance can also be interrupted by the consumption of beef and dairy products that are pumped up with synthetic growth hormones.

3. Lack of exercise
Physical inactivity, living a sedentary lifestyle contributes to obesity and hormonal imbalance.

4. Obesity
Fatty tissue converts testosterone into estrogens using an enzyme called aromatase; thereby raising estrogen levels. As research shows, obese postmenopausal women tend to have higher estrogen levels than those lean women.

5. Stress
The misconception is that mid-life women and teens have hormonal imbalance along with their emotional or life crisis. The truth is that both men and women experience stress, at least to various degrees, due to the demand of modern society and challenging economy. Although most hormone production is taken over by the adrenal glands during one’s mid-life, constant or chronic stress can reduce progesterone levels or result in adrenal exhaustion, subsequently hormonal imbalance.

6. Environmental toxins
Xenoestrogens are a group of chemicals present in the environment and our everyday products. They mimic the effects of estrogen in your body. Excessive estrogen accumulated as a result of the combination of these foreign, man-made toxins with those naturally produced by the body, leading to compromised hormone functions.
Xenoestrogens are found in
-          household cleaners. Chlorine and its by-products are a major source, which points to why it’s critically important to drink filtered water and use chemical-free cleaning products!
-          household plastics products (e.g. plastic containers and bottles)
-          personal care products (e.g., nail polish and nail removers)
-          pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides
-          industrial pollutants.

7. Birth control pills
Synthetic hormones are used in birth control pills. Research showed that the earlier a girl begins to use contraceptives, the greater her risk of breast cancer is.

8. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Women (under 60 years old and within ten years of menopause) can benefit from HRT with much less risk. However, clinical studies also reveal that HRT poses higher risks for breast cancer, cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Moreover, women who have used estrogen for seven years or longer are 14 times more likely to develop cancer.

What can hormonal imbalance lead to?

Hormonal imbalance causes a woman’s infertility. However, other serious medical consequences include:
-          approximately 6,000 endocrine disorders
-          osteoporosis
-          heart Disease
-          Because excess estrogens may act as initiators or promoters of cancer cell growth, hormonal imbalance can lead to cancer.

What can you do to prevent or control hormonal imbalance?

1.      Consult with your doctor on issues such as testing your hormone levels, hormone replacement therapy and using birth control pills, to ensure a proper treatment.
2.      Choose hormone-free meat and dairy products over farmed or estrogen-pumped varieties.
3.      Drink filtered water, which is more important than ever.
4.      Go for chemical-free cleaning. Avoid using household products containing chlorine or chlorine by-product such as dioxin.
5.      Wash  produce thoroughly; be aware of those possibly sprayed with pesticides.
6.      Limit the use of solvents like nail polish, nail polish-remover, and petrochemical-containing cosmetics (i.e. petro-based stuff is what you put in your car).
7.      Recycle hazardous wastes from electronic, plastic and paper products to protect environment.
8.      Reduce stress by positive outlook, relaxing techniques, and enough sleep with a consistent sleeping pattern.

The bottom line: your body has been attacked by harmful chemicals and stressors in everyday life. It is vital to maintain a delicate hormonal balance and strengthen the immune system, for both saving your life and long-term health.

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