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 Hormonal Imbalance and Infertility 1024x683

The endocrine system is rather complex and is made up of glands and organs including the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pineal, reproductive (ovaries and testes) and the pancreas (a pretty long list!).

Right after the nervous system, your endocrine system plays a major role in communicating certain functions to the cells in your body, including these:

When any of the hormones that the endocrine system produces gets out of balance, many body functions that are needed to keep you at your best won’t work the way they should and leave you struggling with a number of symptoms.

Surprising signs that your hormones are out of balance:

1. Weight That Won’t Budge

One of the most frustrating experiences is when you try to lose weight, but the scale doesn’t budge. Feeling like you have a broken metabolism or are accumulating belly fat are usually good signs that two important hormones responsible for regulating stress and sugar are out of balance. These hormones are known as cortisol and insulin

Chronic stressful situations, lack of sleep, or even too much high-intensity exercise without an opportunity for rejuvenation will cause cortisol to remain in a flight or fight readiness mode and stall your metabolism. Then, elevated cortisol levels can also lead to irregularities in insulin, disrupting how the body processes sugars and how it is stored.

2. Constant Fatigue

Persistent fatigue is a sure sign that your hormones are out of whack. When you don’t sleep well or wake up feeling tired after a full night of sleep, then you most likely have an imbalance of the stress hormone cortisol (that little fella again).

Imbalances in cortisol not only lead to metabolism and weight challenges described in #1, but could also lead to adrenal fatigue, a compromised immune system and other ailments, including increased risks of cardiovascular disease.

3. Interrupted Sleep Patterns

Similar to fatigue, poor sleep routines are not just about being tired. While cortisol may contribute, many problems with quality sleep are brought on by imbalances in melatonin and the reproductive hormones, estrogen or testosterone.

4. Cravings, Hunger And Snacking All Day

Insatiable hunger can be a sign of so many issues from malnutrition to emotional disorder, but hormones are also another likely reason.

Typically, when you are sleep deprived, the hormones ghrelinand leptin teeter out of balance in ways that disrupt both hunger and appetite suppression. With chronic sleep deprivation, ghrelin increases,stimulating appetite and hunger, while at the same time, leptin plummets, causing you to lose your natural appetite suppression mechanism.

In addition, cravings (specifically for sugar) can be traced to thyroid hormones as well as cortisol being out of balance.

5. Moodiness That Is Out Of The Ordinary

Everyone has a bad day here and there, but when moodiness, anxiety and even depression become a regular occurrence, then it is time to consider that your body may not be producing the right levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

Ask your doctor to check your thyroid function levels at each annual exam and if these symptoms are especially problematic for you. And don’t settle for the standard TSH and T4 tests. Ask to include TgAb, TPOAb, T3 and RT3 too! Your doctor may think these don’t matter but I promise you, they do… big time!

6. A Diminished Sex Drive And All That Comes With It

Throughout life, your reproductive hormones – estrogen, progesterone, androgen and/or testosterone – have directed your body to develop, change its composition and enable your reproductive system to thrive and work well. When your sex hormones start to taper off in peri-menopause on the way to menopause, adiminishing libido along with vaginal dryness result.

7. Sweating When It’s Not Expected

Driven by many of the same hormones described in #6, excessive sweating, hot flashes and night sweatsare signs of hormonal imbalances. Yet, these can happen for both women and men and can involve many parts of the endocrine system as well as the intestinal tract.

Solutions To Reset Your Hormones

According to Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of The Hormone Reset Diet, many of your hormones can be reset by following a variation of an elimination diet used by many functional medicine doctors and health coaches.

In her version, Dr. Gottfried steps through a series of 3 day eliminations targeting specific hormones to be reset. A brief overview of the steps she maps out in detail in her book are here:

Although this is one specific approach, a more customized diet combined with lifestyle changes is worth considering in order to have your specific needs addressed and for you to get the support that you need.

Being able to recognize when your hormones are out of balance is the first step that will allow you to move beyond the frustrations and mysteries you feel when you try to lead a healthy lifestyle.