Navigating Women’s Endocrine Health

Navigating Women's Endocrine Health

Having balanced hormone levels is referred to as hormonal harmony or endocrine health. Hormones are chemical messengers that circulate throughout the body and control a wide range of vital processes, such as mood, sleep patterns, metabolism, growth and development, and stress response.

Numerous health issues, such as weight gain or weight loss, exhaustion, mood swings, infertility, skin issues, and bone related issues, can be caused by hormonal imbalances.

The balance of hormones affects every aspect of health, including mood, metabolism, health and function of the reproductive system. We feel energised, content, and happy when our hormones are in balance.

It is critical to comprehend the function of each hormone so that we can spot imbalances, take control of our health, and implement changes. A comprehensive strategy that includes stress reduction, a healthy diet, and enough sleep is the most effective way to support our endocrine system and encourage hormonal balance. Acquiring the highest level of hormonal well-being starts with awareness and education. 

What makes up the Endocrine system? 

Hormone production and regulation are accomplished via the intricate network of glands and organs that make up the endocrine system. 

Think of your body as a large, cohesive team of microscopic messengers that make sure everything goes as planned. The primary goal of these messengers, which go by the name “hormones,” is to regulate vital bodily processes including growth, sleep, happiness, motivation, stress, and even your menstrual cycle.  

The goal of the endocrine system’s cooperation with the nervous system is to preserve homeostasis or the steady, balanced state of the body’s internal environment. 

Key Hormones and Their Roles 

  • Women’s reproductive health and menstrual cycles are influenced by Oestrogen and Progesterone. In addition, Oestrogen is involved in the functioning of your cardiovascular, adipose (fat cells), and skeletal systems. 

  • The male sex hormone, Testosterone, is found in both men and women. It affects libido, bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass, and sperm generation in men.

  • Stress causes cortisol to react, which alters immunological function and metabolism. 

  • Thyroid hormones, such as T3 and T4, regulate energy expenditure and metabolism. 

  • Blood glucose levels are controlled by insulin, and melatonin controls sleep-wake cycles.  

Common Signs and Symptoms

The body attempts to alert us in a variety of subtle ways when something is out of balance; these are some of the more typical ones you might be able to recognise. 

  • Menstrual cycle irregularities – If your cycles are irregular or fall outside of the 21–35 day range (or 45 days for teenagers).

  • Fatigue – Even after getting good quality sleep, you still feel exhausted and lack energy. 

  • Variations in weight – Inexplicable weight gain or trouble dropping the extra kilos.

  • Hair loss – Excessive shedding or thinning of the hair

  • Libido changes – A lower desire for sex.

  • Hot Flashes – Abrupt, strong sensations of warmth, frequently accompanied by perspiration.
     
  • Digestive problems – Gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhoea

  • Depression and anxiety – Intense emotions of melancholy, worry, or mood disorders

  • Brain fog is the inability to focus or recall details.

  • Breast tenderness is characterised by an increase in breast sensitivity or discomfort.

  • Swelling in the hands, feet, or ankles due to water retention

  • Skin tags

  • Moodiness

  • Having trouble falling asleep or getting out of bed in the morning

  • Having more frequent breakouts or skin conditions, especially in the chin and jaw area

  • Difficulties getting to sleep or remaining asleep all night 

How can you fix this? (The Gut-Hormone Connection)

The first thing you should know is how your gut affects the balance of hormones in your body. Your “gut microbiota” is certainly something you have heard about, but if not, get ready to learn about the amazing world of microscopic superheroes that reside inside you! 

These helpful bacteria and other microbes aid in food digestion, synthesise essential nutrients, and affect hormone function.  

Hormone production and control, including Cortisol, Progesterone, and Oestrogen, are supported when your gut is healthy and in balance. This means that hormonal imbalances caused by an unhealthy gut can result in irregular periods, emotional disorders (such as anxiety and despair), fluctuations in mood, and even skin difficulties

Fueling Your Endocrine System 

To give your body the vital nutrients it requires to flourish, it is critical to keep a balanced diet. Including foods high in hormones such as those listed below in your diet can help maintain both your intestinal health and hormonal balance!  

  • Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are examples of cruciferous vegetables. 

  • Vibrant fruits and vegetables consider consuming the rainbow. Rich in antioxidants, berries, oranges, capsicums, and spinach help against oxidative stress and also slow down the ageing process.

  • Lean proteins – Turkey, tofu, chicken (particularly the thighs), and lentils are good sources of necessary amino acids.

  • Omega-3 Fatty acids rich food like salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, freshly ground chia seeds, and hemp seeds can be included in the diet.

  • Avocado, almonds, and seeds – especially hemp and pumpkin (pepita) are good sources of fat

  • Foods high in probiotics include kefir and fermented veggies (like kimchi, sauerkraut, or homemade pickles), greek yoghurt.

  • Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and legumes, as well as cooked white rice and potatoes (which become resistant starch and are fantastic for your stomach) are examples of complex carbs. 

  • Vitamin D – Mostly obtained from sunlight, but also obtained via fortified foods and eggs.

  • Magnesium rich foods like nuts, seeds, and leafy greens help in synthesis of hormones. 

  • Lentils, pumpkin seeds, lentils, and chickpeas are good sources of zinc. The immune system and hormone production require zinc.

  • Vitamin B6 – This nutrient is present in potatoes, salmon, bananas, and other foods. It aids in the metabolism of excess hormones like progesterone and oestrogen, which can lead to problems like breast soreness.

  • Iron – Iron is necessary for hormone production, energy production, brain function, and oxygen transfer, among other things. Sources of iron include spinach, lentils, and red meat. 

We can easily meet all of the above criteria if we eat a balanced diet, which includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, and meats.  

Get Your Body Moving – Exercise for Happy Hormones 

Engaging in regular exercise, such as dancing, jogging, yoga, or any other activity you enjoy, increases endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood enhancers. These endorphins promote the balance of hormones (such as insulin, melatonin, and cortisol) and aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety. So embrace the amazing benefits of movement for your body and hormones by putting on your sneakers, grabbing your yoga mat, or hitting the dance floor! 

Endocrine disruptors

These are deceptive compounds present in common things like plastics, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies that can have a disastrous effect on our hormones. It is critical to recognise and get rid of them since they can interfere with the functions of our hormones, causing imbalances and exacerbating disorders including Diabetes, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), Parkinson’s disease, ADHD & ASD, and thyroid issues. The largest organ in our body, our skin is extremely sensitive to anything it comes into contact with.  Even while getting rid of all these agents could be challenging, there are actions we can take to replace them with healthier options.    

Methods for maintaining hormonal balance

  • Maintain a balanced diet by emphasising the consumption of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. 

  • Minimise sugar-rich beverages, processed foods, and harmful fats.

  • Engage in regular exercise – On most days of the week, try to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.

  • Get enough rest – The average adult requires seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

  • Control your stress – Look for stress-reduction techniques that are beneficial, including yoga, meditation, or outdoor activities.

See your doctor if you have any concerns regarding your hormone levels. Your hormone levels can be tested, and if necessary, they might suggest medication.

Additional instructions

  • Maintain a hormone journal –  Monitor your symptoms, including mood, energy, and sleep habits, to see whether they are related to your menstrual cycle or other reasons.

  • Consult a medical professional – They can provide tailored guidance on how to use vitamins, nutrition, and exercise to support hormonal balance.

  • Have patience – Changes in lifestyle may not show results right away.

Conclusion

Hormonal harmony is crucial for maintaining health and controlling vital processes like mood, sleep, metabolism, growth, and stress response. Imbalances can lead to health issues like weight gain, exhaustion, mood swings, infertility, skin issues, and bone issues. Exercise on a regular basis and a balanced diet are crucial.

Nesha Felciya,
Clinical Dietitian, Simplyweight

The London Obesity & Endocrine Clinic specialises in Weight Loss and Endocrine disorders at the Specialist Weight Loss Centre in Chennai, India. We offer face to face and virtual consultations with our specialist clinical lead, Dr Rajeswaran, who has 25+ years experience in this field. We support people with Obesity related medical conditions including Type 2 Diabetes, Fatty Liver, Infertility, Erectile Dysfunction, and Endocrine disorders like Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, PCOS, Hirsutism, Adrenal Dysfunction, Menopause, Pituitary problems and Sexual Dysfunction. Our services predominantly cover major cities in India including New Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and PuneWe also offer aesthetic treatments, metabolic master health checkups, bespoke weight management plans and an unique online weight loss plan for wellness and weight management. Get in touch to transform your life!

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