Hormones are tricky. Levels increase and decrease over the course of a day, a week, a month—and your hormones all influence each other. Change one hormone level and they ALL change. It’s crazy town!
This is why achieving hormonal balance—whether you’re trying to manage your estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, or your cortisol (stress hormone) levels—is an uphill battle. And, unfortunately, those hormone pills, patches, and creams that promise to make symptoms more bearable in the short term don’t actually solve the problem.
So where do we start on the path to achieving true, sustainable hormone harmony? With the adrenals and the thyroid!
As women enter perimenopause—the time prior to menopause when the greatest hormonal fluctuations occur—the ovaries start to take a back seat, in terms of hormone-production. That’s exactly when our adrenals and thyroid should rally to sustain us. But, too often, our overly stressful lives have left our adrenals and thyroid gasping and in no shape to pull us out of the choppy seas of perimenopause.
Then, in menopause, when the ovaries take a permanent vacation, if our adrenals and thyroid aren’t working properly, instead of enjoying the hormonal balance they should provide us, we’re likely to experience many difficult mid-life symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, memory loss, insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
And, all too often, even much younger women experience hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms because the stress of our modern lives creates so much hormone imbalance.
Ideally, support of the adrenals and thyroid should begin in the 30s and 40s, so by the time a woman reaches menopause, these glands are ready to pick up the slack and create balance in the body. Never fear, however! Even if you are already in the throes of menopause, it is never too late to balance your hormones!
Yes, hormone balance is tricky business, but even simple dietary changes can be key. Cutting out refined foods, especially sugars and flours, can make a hugely positive impact on hormones. Incorporating leafy greens, lean proteins, and healthy fats (like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado), every day, can create hormone-harmony magic. Finally, cutting out—or reducing—caffeine and alcohol can offer extra support for hormone balance. (And, no, wine does NOT help you sleep better!)