We often hear terms like hormonal imbalance as an explanation of a lot of our health issues, from minor symptoms like poor sleep patterns, to serious illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Whilst we are not attempting to write a medical journal here, we want to highlight some basic facts that you should be aware of as part of your effort to lead a healthier lifestyle.
By definition, hormones are our body’s messaging system. The endocrine glands make hormones which are transported through our bloodstream into our tissues and organs, and they control our body’s major systems. These vital systems govern areas like growth and development, metabolism (which is how we turn our food into energy that fuels our body), mood, sleep quality, reproduction, sexual function and so on. When our hormonal system goes out of balance, all sorts of problems arise over time, including commonly seen issues like diabetes, weight gain/loss, infertility, weak bones etc. In order to give you a better idea how important hormones are to your bodily functions, I have highlighted below a few more common hormones you may have heard of:
These examples emphasise that hormones control vital functions for good health. Increasingly, I hear growing cases of autoimmune diseases like Graves and Hashimoto, to other issues like hypertension, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, infertility, heart diseases and cancer. Hormones is not the sole cause, but certainly plays a big role. From a skincare perspective, I have clients who “suddenly” exhibit a reaction to some of our products which was absent before. There can be a number of reasons for such reaction, but one possibility is hormonal imbalance which causes the body / skin to produce a larger than usual reaction to certain ingredients. This sometimes happens to pregnant ladies who develop certain reactions to products during pregnancy, but will resume back to normal after they give birth. For most, the common causes of hormonal imbalances are stress, diet and environmental causes (allergens etc).
Unless you are tackling a serious hormonal illness, hormonal medication is not recommended. (I can say that as I am taking one, and the side effects are tremendous and often with long term implications). For everyday maintenance, the measures below can easily be incorporated and controlled, and will contribute to a long -term healthy lifestyle and healthy hormones.
Maintain steady weight
Eat good and nutritious foods
Reduce stress; incorporate practices like yoga, meditation or whatever you think helps
Reduce / restrict exposure to toxic chemicals (cleaning agents, plastic etc)
Avoid food with pesticides and antibiotics (endocrine disruptors)
Reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates intake
Sounds familiar? You hear about these steps all the time, but now you know an additional reason to do them!