I spend a lot of my days deep diving on cases of patients who come to me with hormone imbalance. For every person I work with, there’s a whole new and different picture. No one is the same, even if they have the same problem: painful periods, amenorrhea, PCOS, fibroids, hormonal acne, to name a few.
It’s hormonal detective work: I’m always looking for clues, causes and conditions . finding the very particular way back to restored function.
But there are some basic tenets that go for everyone.
Here are my current top 5 that I work on with each and every hormone patient:
1. Sleep. It’s one of the first things we talk about in a patient visit. If you’re chronically under-sleeping, it’s impossible to maintain hormone balance. Aim for at least 8 hours/night.
2. Eat protein. Low protein diets are linked to decreased estrogen, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone. Not eating enough protein also leads to carb cravings which sets you up for overeating and insulin resistance: two of the enemies of happy hormones.
3. Exercise (but not too much). Excessive exercise means high cortisol which throws off hormone balance in a big way. It can also deplete your progesterone (the all-important fertility hormone) which can lead to estrogen dominance—think weight gain, sluggishness, bad skin, and PMS.
4. Learn ways to manage stress and use them every day. This might be the most important one on the list. Chronic stress (cortisol) will lower your important sex hormone progesterone and estrogen. I see it over and over again. If this is you, check in with your relationship with stress and start to build some intentional stress relief into your day, every day: meditate, breathwork, more time with loved ones & animals, more time in nature.
5. Don’t eat sugar. Hormone imbalance patients always ask me what’s the most important food to cut out and this is it. High sugar = high insulin = excess estrogen and testosterone = acne, fibroids, missed periods, pronounced PMS, infertility. Yikes. If you’re craving sugar, replace it with protein and fats and make sure you’re taking a good multi, some fish oil and the mineral chromium which will help with sugar balance.