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Think back: Have you ever received a message that ruined your day? Maybe someone sent you a text or left a message that caused everything to spin out of control? Of course you have: Everyone has the occasional conflict of miscommunication, especially nowadays when so much of our communication is through a screen. Now think back to how you resolved this miscommunication: Have you ever later found out later that it was just a misunderstanding, bad signal, or an error in the message that ruined your day? Have you thought about the timing of this miscommunication and how you may have reacted differently at another time? What does this has to do with hormones and hormone imbalance?

The Answer is Simple: Everything!

If we don’t listen to the messages our hormones are sending us, it can lead to a bad day, a bad month, a bad year, or even worse – a life of poor health. At the moment, thousands of messages are being communicated throughout your body. These messages play an important role in your health and maintaining balance within the body: Especially for your hormones.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers that coordinate your body’s internal homeostasis – a state of balance. [1][2] Most people think of sex hormones, but in reality, hormones are working all over the body. Fatty acids and protein-based signals tell your tissues what to do, so they play an important role in a number of physiological processes including:

  • Growth and development
  • Reproduction
  • Metabolism and energy
  • Mood
  • Sexual function

The Whole-Body Impact of Hormone Imbalance

Your body is always working towards homeostasis: Remember, it doesn’t make mistakes. If a message gets disrupted, it can disrupt every other message throughout the body. Don’t shoot the messenger if you’re having symptoms that suggest a hormone imbalance. Remember the old game telephone, where you whisper something in someone’s ear and it goes around a circle? Without fail, by the time it gets around the circle the message is completely different than the original message. Somewhere along the line the message changed or was disrupted. If you think of hormones as a messenger, you can start finding answers to these hormone imbalances.

Hormonal imbalance is the body trying to return to homeostasis.

In the mainstream medical field, they believe that hormones causing problems need to be fixed. However, hormones are chemical messengers: Your body creates them for certain reasons or doesn’t create them for certain reasons. It’s our job to have a different perspective and ask why.

We need to find out what’s happening to change or disrupt the hormone message. After narrowing down those contributing factors, we need to support the body as it stabilizes and ultimately returns to homeostasis.

Contributing factors of hormone imbalance may include the following:

  • Unhealthy gut
  • Mental stress
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Toxins
  • Medications
  • Hormone therapy
  • Inflammation
  • Poor sleep
  • Sugar
  • Injury
  • Tumors

Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance for Both Women and Men

What hormone is the most active and dominant for men? That’s an easy one, right? Most people respond with testosterone. With women, however, it’s a bit more complicated. There’s a bit more that a woman’s body has to do throughout the month for her reproductive cycle. When most people are asked to identify the most dominant hormone for women, a common response is estrogen. It surprises many people when they come to a Wellness Way clinic and discover a mind-blowing fact:

Estrogen is NOT a Hormone!

Estrogen is actually an umbrella term for a group of chemically similar hormones, but they all have different properties. Hormones are much more complicated than most people realize. If anyone claims your estrogen is too high- especially if that comes from a mainstream healthcare doctor –  you have to ask “Which one?”. Unfortunately, most doctors don’t fully test all the hormones to get the full story behind what those messengers are communicating to one another and what they are responding to. It’s a different way of thinking about hormones, but it can make sense once you start listening to their story.

Women and Men Experience Some of the Same Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

These symptoms can manifest in a number of ways, including:

  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Muscle weakness or aches
  • Digestive issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety/nervousness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Frequent urination
  • Sleep problems and disruptions
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Hair loss
  • Infertility

We most often hear about hormone concerns for women, but men also experience these concerns: The biggest concern for men is declining levels of testosterone. Just because men commonly experience lower testosterone levels as they age doesn’t mean it’s normal.

Signs of Hormone Imbalances in Men

Although men typically avoid seeking treatment because of the societal pressure to push through symptoms, a man’s body tends to communicate imbalances quite clearly. [3] While nothing in the body is obvious without proper testing, the symptoms of hormone imbalances in men typically include the following:

  • Development of breast tissue: Also known as gynecomastia
  • Breast tenderness
  • Lack of motivation: If you think he’s lazy, it might be a sign he’s sick, – not that he’s turned into a couch-potato
  • Decrease in body hair
  • Trouble focusing
  • Erectile Dysfunction

Hormone Imbalances in Women: The Tragic Tale of Dismissive Doctors

Doctor's prescription for a woman to stop being dramatic because he thinks her symptoms are in her head.There are also many signs of hormone imbalances that women ignore because they think these symptoms are normal. However, women are also much more likely to be dismissed by mainstream healthcare doctors, and their symptoms invalidated as being “just in their head” or even a bad case of PMS: In fact, PMS is also a sign of a hormone imbalance, but very frequently ignored as a “normal” part of a woman’s cycle. Like many symptoms that women bring to a mainstream doctor’s attention, PMS is just another neglected and untested female symptom of a larger problem.

Up until recently, medical research only used male participants

How did the medical community determine findings for women? They didn’t. The findings of male participants in medical studies were assumed to be true for women as well: Many medical practitioners still rely on these studies during the diagnostic process, despite the absence of data from any female participants. [4]

For women, symptoms of sicknesses and imbalances have been dismissed for decades – causing a mudslide effect of legitimately sick women too embarrassed to go to the doctor. The average woman experiences way too much invalidation and prolonged sickness because of these inaccurate assumptions of women’s health.

Mainstream Medical Assumptions can be Harmful and Dangerous

Among other factors, the medical field’s reliance on lazy medical research contributed to a much higher waiting time for women to be diagnosed with cancer (about 4 years) than men. Women also have to deal with being misdiagnosed more often compared to men: This dangerous trend has been measured in patients with uterine, ovarian, colorectal, brain, bladder, lung, and lymphoma cancer. [5]

Proper Testing Validates a Patient’s Human Life (even if nothing is proven to be a serious concern)

If you’re a mainstream medical doctor or healthcare professional, remember the Hippocratic Oath – also referred to as a Physician’s Oath – as you consider the symptoms of female patients: Ignoring them without comprehensive testing is negligent and potentially harmful to public health. Each time you dismiss a woman’s symptoms  – thus forcing her through a longer, more painful, more erroneous process to a diagnosis compared to your male patients – you knowingly allow sick women to become even sicker.

This negligence violates at least two vital components of the Hippocratic Oath: [6]

“I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures (that) are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.”

“I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.”

If healthcare providers are consistently aware of their patients’ ongoing symptoms but choose to rely on assumptions rather than taking “all measures” to make sure, they’re choosing convenience over human life. By doing this, doctors practicing in the mainstream field of medicine communicate to sick women that their time and effort is more valuable than a woman’s symptoms and human life. For many sick women dismissed by the medical community, the white coat might just as well be the Grim Reaper’s cloak.

How do Women Experience Hormonal Imbalances?

To the women reading this article: enough is enough. You deserve to be heard and have your symptoms taken seriously through comprehensive testing, a solid diagnosis, and a treatment plan catered to her specific hormone levels and imbalances. You also deserve to advocate for your health, demanding legitimate answers that go beyond the explanation of “it’s all in your head“.

However, you need to first listen closely to the messages in your body. Some of these messages could be your body’s way of alerting you to an imbalance that should be addressed sooner rather than later:

  • PMS: Bloating, irritability, etc.
  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • Excessive body hair or facial hair
  • Acne: Usually around the chin and jawline
  • Night sweats and hot flashes
  • Hair loss and hair thinning
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Headaches
  • Breast discharge
  • Pain during sex

When demanding answers to your symptoms, keep in mind that you owe it to your life – and your health – to demand solid answers and evidence to support any diagnosis (or even no diagnosis).

Listen to the Messengers

Hormone imbalance symptoms might be commonly overlooked – both by patients and doctors – but we need to pay attention to them. These symptoms are a sign of bigger concerns that could lead to severe illness if not addressed. The body is like a Swiss watch and everything in the body is connected, just like the gears of a Swiss watch. If one of those gears is not working properly it will disrupt all of the other gears.

Signs of hormonal imbalance more often point to a bigger health concern. Your body doesn’t make mistakes: If you’re experiencing these symptoms, something is causing it. Ignoring them could mean ignoring an underlying health issue and/or chronic illness.

Think of all those hormones relaying messages to each other like that game of telephone.

Would it be easier to correct that false, miscommunicated message if you find it sooner or later? Imagine a game of telephone with thousands of people connected to each other through different circles. How confusing could that message get? There are thousands of messages being communicated in your body right now: Correcting them sooner will be much easier than trying to fix them later, when the message has already disrupted the communication in several circles.

The danger of not listening to the signs of hormone imbalance means you’re leaving your health unaddressed. Hormones are often a secondary problem. While hormone imbalance can have a significant impact on our mental health, they also can tell us about contributing factors to the hormonal imbalance. Hormones can also provide clarity of a person’s risk for future potential health concerns. Ignoring these messages – especially the messages for women – increases the risk for chronic health problems such as depression, cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, and adrenal concerns. Women have the added risk of PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian failure, and many other dangerous health concerns.

Supporting Your Hormones

We all need to change the harmful habits that destroy our health because often the body tells us that these bad habits aren’t working. It’s time to review those habits and separate helpful habits from harmful ones. Some habits that support hormonal health as well as overall health include the following:

  • Solid sleep habits – Sleep is when our bodies heal, and allows hormones to be replenished.
  • Heal your gut and avoid inflammatory foods, including all allergies – Inflammation can tax our hormones, while gut inflammation can deter hormone production.
  • Exercise correctly – Movement is important for all of us. Women especially need to make sure they’re consistently exercising for their hormones and not overdoing it.
  • Reduce mental stress – Mental stress can seem difficult to control but it can be a significantly harmful on hormonal health. Reducing your stress can work wonders to support your hormones.
  • Reduce toxins – The more toxins you are exposed to, the more stress on your liver – where many hormones are converted.
  • Avoid white sugar – Sugar is an especially harmful toxin for both men and women. Avoid sugar and processed foods to support your hormones. Swap unhealthy foods for organic whole foods.
  • Enjoy healthy fats – Not all fats are bad! Enjoy healthy fats to stay full and support your body’s development of healthy hormones.
  • Build healthy relationships – Connections with people support the building blocks for healthy hormones.
  • Get tested! – You won’t have a complete picture of your hormones unless you get them fully tested. If you’re trying to do everything right but it’s not working, the next step should be to seek objective answers for what’s happening in your body.

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Your hormones have an important role as messengers. If you’re experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance, don’t shoot the messenger and try to manipulate your hormones with medications. You can manipulate your hormones for your whole life, but it’s not going to restore your health and the underlying problems. To really address the imbalances, we first need to step back and understand what these messengers are telling us.

We need to find out what is going on to support a healthy hormonal balance. Contact a Wellness Way Clinic near you to start your journey to health restoration.

Originally Published March 31, 2022
Updated and Republished February 27, 2024

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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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