Supporting You In Balancing Hormones
Hormones are our body’s messengers; they are transported through the body delivering messages from our organs to our brains and vice versa, to perform many body functions. They tell you when to eat, sleep, and even when to grow. They give us our appetite and sex drive and help us conceive and deliver babies. They help to make us happy, sad and crazy in love! While male hormones are pretty stable, female hormones are less so as they ebb and flow through the menstrual cycle. It may feel like we want to fight our hormones for about half the month and then feel at more ease in our bodies.
Our hormones help guide us through the transitions of life including puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
Possible signs and symptoms
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances can include mood swings and low mood, breast tenderness, bloating, constipation, irritability, water retention, headaches and more.
Menopausal symptoms may include hot flushes, insomnia, osteoporosis, depression or vaginal dryness to name just a few.
Opportunities to address these imbalances
Diet and lifestyle can have a huge impact on hormone balance.
Managing your stress response is crucial as our stress hormones and sex hormones are inextricably linked on the same pathways.
Increasing the consumption of plant foods, particularly those that are high in phytoestrogens can have a beneficial effect. These are plant-derived substances that are able to weakly bind to to oestrogen receptors in mammals. They have been shown to have a balancing effect on hormones.
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbages contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C), a naturally occurring compound which actively promotes the breakdown of oestrogen to beneficial metabolites. Other antioxidants and phytonutrients than can influence healthy oestrogen metabolism include curcumin, vitamins E and C and selenium.
Addressing imbalances through tailoring your nutrition can help you reduce your symptoms and improve your health and wellbeing, including pregnancy health, adrenal fatigue and stress.
Functional Testing options
There are a comprehensive range of functional testing profiles on the market to assess hormone function, and to make it somewhat complex, we can also use different sample types.
Using Functional Medicine, we can measure hormones in blood, which is considered standard, and gives us information of hormone levels tied to their carrier proteins.
We can also use saliva to provide slightly different information about the unbound, free, bioavailable fraction of the hormone. This is useful for multiple samples through the day, for example when we are measuring the daily, circadian rhythm of cortisol.
And lastly measuring urinary metabolites allows us to assess how the body is metabolising hormones and what are the end products of that process. This can be useful for conditions of possible oestrogen dominance, such as fibroids, endometriosis and some hormonal cancers.
The question we are asking determines the sample type and the test we choose.