Hormone levels inside our bodies change as we age. Most of the time, hormones occur within a healthy range, but if we develop a hormonal imbalance, it can be detrimental to our well-being.
Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that tell our bodies how it should react to a certain situation. For example, are we happy? Are we stressed? Do we need to react urgently to a situation? Is our health under threat? Is it time to wind down and go to sleep? Are we trying to reproduce? Do we suddenly need a lot of energy to complete a task? This system is known as our endocrine system, which operates from a series of glands that release these chemicals into our bloodstreams.
It’s astoundingly complex and incredibly interesting. Every person is unique and lifestyle factors play an enormous part in regulating the level of the hormones that are coursing around your body at any given time. If you’d like to learn more, we have an on-demand webinar that discusses this in detail.
What are the Key Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances?
More than 50 different hormones are circulating through your body at any given time. Most people are aware of the fact that hormones control reproductive factors, such as fertility and libido, but hormones are multi-faceted. They also control things such as appetite, temperature, energy, and mood. If you feel tired, you feel your heart rate speed up, you feel stiff, or you can’t warm up despite adding layers and sitting in a warm room, your hormone levels hold the answers.
Some common symptoms of hormonal imbalance can include:
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Aches, pains, tenderness, or stiffness
- Increased or decreased heart rate
- Depression, anxiety, irritability
- Increased sensitivity to heat or cold
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Increased thirst or hunger
- Decreased sex drive
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive fatigue
Hormone imbalances cover issues such as Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, overactive and underactive thyroid conditions, women’s and men’s health issues such as menopause and low T, as well as generalized issues such as sleep disorders, mood disorders, and many others.
As you can see, many of these symptoms might at first glance seem isolated. However, hormones are the central theme that tie them all together and create a logical explanation. This is one of the reasons it’s so important to see a functional medicine doctor if any of these issues sound familiar. They will take a holistic view of what’s going on, including relevant lifestyle factors, to ensure they can find and treat the root cause instead of just masking the symptoms.
Prefer to watch a video? Check out our free online webinar.
Natural Ways to Treat Hormonal Imbalances
Bodies are amazing things. There’s no doubt about it. Life is too short to live with a complex and chronic illness, such as a hormonal imbalance, that prevents you from living fully. The good news is that in many cases, it’s possible to balance your hormones naturally. A functional medicine doctor will be able to provide you with a natural treatment plan that means you can take action and make big changes towards restoring your health and well-being without taking medications forever.
Here are some tips that can help balance your hormones naturally:
- Exercise regularly: This is possibly the most underrated medical treatment available today. Exercise has many benefits for both physical and mental health. It encourages your body to produce the hormones that make you feel great. Seriously, we can’t emphasize this enough.
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates: It’s easy to fall into a trap of comfort eating, especially when you’re feeling a bit down about yourself. However, sugar and refined carbohydrates lack the nutrients your body needs to operate at its best. In fact, they have inflammatory qualities that can make you feel worse. Give your body the fuel it needs by cutting back on things like alcohol and processed foods and focus on consuming a balanced diet filled with plenty of protein, healthy fats, whole foods, and water.
- Learn to manage stress: Where do we begin? Chronic stress can be very harmful, increasing levels of hormones such as cortisol to a point where they become harmful. Cortisol is often one of the first hormones that becomes imbalanced and it can trigger issues with other hormones, affecting functions such as metabolism, fertility, and sleep.
What About Hormonal Imbalances and Women’s Health?
Men’s hormones tend to be more consistent than women’s hormones. Puberty, menstruation, and menopause can be incredibly disruptive. Along with affecting fertility and libido, hormones have a significant impact on things like mood, muscle tone, sleep, appetite, temperature, and more. If you are having issues with any of these things, it doesn’t mean your body is broken! What it does indicate is that you should talk to your functional medicine doctor about your lifestyle.
We see this very often in our clinic. Bad habits such as drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, smoking cigarettes, relying on a high-carbohydrate diet of take-out food instead of cooking balanced meals at home, chasing after kids and forgoing your own exercise routine, and being chronically stressed can all contribute hormonal imbalances, which affect your well-being and vitality.
Struggling is not normal. You don’t have to suffer. If any of this resonates with you, we strongly encourage you to give us a call. For many years, women’s health issues were largely unspoken, but times are changing and our team is here to help. We won’t prescribe pills with scary-sounding lists of side-effects that make you feel uneasy or unwell. Instead, we’ll help you uncover the root cause of your symptoms and work towards making the lifestyle changes necessary to encourage your body to generate and regulate healthy levels of hormones.
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How Functional Medicine Doctors Treat Hormonal Imbalances
Hormone imbalances are, by nature, highly treatable. It’s simply a matter of tipping the balance back towards a healthy and sustainable level that will allow your body to function at its best. Our team is here to help you restore your health so you remember what it is to feel great.
Remember, hormonal imbalances can explain a lot of seemingly unrelated symptoms. If you’re feeling fatigue and muscle weakness, for example, or stiffness and a racing heart, your endocrine system may have answers. Typically, when we approach issues such as hormonal imbalances in a clinical setting, your functional medicine doctor will order bloodwork and specialized testing to obtain your levels, as well as taking a thorough medical history and conducting a physical exam.
Once they figure out exactly what’s going on and why, they will develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to help your body heal, treat the exact imbalances you’re experiencing, and return to normal. It’s time to take control of your health and start living the life you want.
Do you want to find a completely different approach to medicine and try something new?
We can help. Watch the webinar to learn about the next steps.Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout Tennessee and into Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia and Kentucky. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, Abingdon, VA, Grundy, VA, Asheville, NC, Boone, NC.