- Written by Dawn Cutillo Dawn Cutillo
Balancing your hormones is important at any age. As chemical messengers that tell our cells what to do, hormones are critical to women’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
From PMS to postpartum depression to menopause, hormone imbalances can disrupt your mood, sleep, energy, weight, and even disease processes at any stage of life — but especially in later years.
After menopause, many women often fall into the trap of thinking they no longer need to worry about hormonal issues.
They may think the hot flashes, night sweats, and that extra stomach roll are finally distant memories, but they fail to realize that hormonal imbalances can continue to plague them in later years in relation to thinning hair, weight gain, thinning bones, insomnia, low libido, insulin resistance/diabetes, high blood pressure, continued hot flashes, and more.
These hormone imbalances typically result from high amounts of stress and sugar — both of which lead to elevated levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, which, in turn, lowers a woman’s progesterone hormone count.
Because progesterone is produced when a woman ovulates, progesterone levels fall even farther during menopause.
When a woman has less progesterone than estrogen, estrogen tends to overact and cause weight gain, fluid retention, insomnia, irritability, and issues with certain diseases, such as ER+ breast cancer.
This flux of hormones is only exacerbated as estrogen and progesterone both decline at a faster rate post-menopause, enhancing symptoms like vaginal dryness, fatigue, digestive issues, and more.
With all this in mind, your hormones are a key to your long-term health — but how you manage them is also an important factor.
Finding ways to naturally increase your hormones allows you to reap the health benefits without creating new symptoms attached to clinical methods.
Through healthy behavioral and dietary changes and safe supplementation, you can naturally increase your progesterone levels — enabling your body to produce estrogen and balance hormones across the board on its own.
Here are a few habits you can start today to achieve balance in your own life and body:
1. Decrease your stress daily for 20 minutes. We tend to live habitually in a stressful “fight or flight” mode, stimulating our sympathetic nervous system, raising cortisol levels, and decreasing liver and digestive function.
Practicing a relaxed state of mind each day for 20 minutes helps encourage a stress-free lifestyle. From deep breathing to yoga to “sound-wave” therapy, these exercises gently and naturally relax brainwave patterns to leave you feeling refreshed.
2. Change your diet. Simple sugars cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar and insulin, leaving you feeling tired, irritable, and hungry.
By limiting white-flour foods (candy, pretzels, crackers, bread, etc.), sodas, caffeine, and alcohol to special occasions or just once a day, you can more easily and naturally manage your energy and mood.
If you consume these foods, pair them with a meal that includes protein and fat to stabilize blood sugar and insulin.
3. Use natural supplements. By using a transdermal progesterone cream from a healthcare professional, you can also naturally supplement progesterone to then increase depleted estrogen.
Because progesterone converts to cortisol when under stress, most — if not all — women need a progesterone supplement.
But why exactly is progesterone so important?
• As a fat-burning agent and diuretic, progesterone supports weight management while decreasing cravings, hunger, and blood pressure.
• Stabilizing blood sugar, progesterone increases insulin resistance, diabetes prevention, and other disease management.
• Increasing osteoblasts in bone, progesterone supports bone growth and bone density.
• Balancing testosterone — a hormone frequently attributed to thinning hair in women — progesterone improves hair growth across ages.
• Triggering natural increases in estrogen, progesterone improves libido and vaginal dryness.
Regardless of whether you are pre- or post-menopause, hormones are extensively interlinked with your health. From your hair to heart, hormones play a significant role in daily and long-term wellness — making their management a top priority.
By making simple adjustments in your diet, stress levels, and supplements, you can look, feel, and be your best at any age … because a balanced life is key to a thriving life.
Dawn Cutillo, author of The Hormone Shift, has been in the health field for over 30 years and is the founder of BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers in York. She is degreed and certified in health and nutrition. www.bebalancedcenters.com