The word hormonal imbalance might sound broad and women are overwhelmed by the prospect of even trying to understand what it is all about.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands and tissues they form a part of the endocrine system (a system made up of many glands including the pituitary gland and master gland that is responsible for sending messages from your brain to other glands in your body). These chemicals travel around your bloodstream and inform the tissues and glands on what to do. They help control different major processes in the body including metabolism and reproduction.
Hormonal imbalance occurs when these chemicals are too much or too little in the body. Once there is a change in these hormones in the body, it could lead to serious effects and this should be an utmost concern to both men and women.
Hormonal imbalance can be associated with many problems such as period irregularities, unwanted hair growth, fertility struggles, polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS), weight gain, and even difficulty sleeping. In this articles, our focus point will be on PCOS as many women do not know if they have it or not. We will also be talking about the right nutrients or medicinal product to tackle it and manage these problems.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, one major health problem that affects 1-10 women of childbearing age (15-44) is PCOS (POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME).
PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgen, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts. The name polycystic ovarian syndrome describes numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries.
Ovulation occurs when mature eggs are released from the ovary. If the eggs are not fertilized, it is sent out of the body during your period. In some cases, a woman doesn’t make enough of the hormones needed to ovulate. When ovulation doesn’t happen, the ovaries can develop many small cysts. These cysts make hormones called ANDROGENS, although this process is normal in all women it becomes a problem when the androgen levels become high in a woman’s body, it causes more problems with the woman’s menstrual cycle.
Causes of PCOS
The cause of PCOS is not fully known but studies suggest that the disorder may be linked to a genetic abnormality. The hormonal imbalance in patients with PCOS is thought to be the result of either the overproduction of male hormones by the ovaries or an inability to regulate insulin levels. This is known as ”INSULIN RESISTANCE”.
Due to the increase in the number of male hormones and irregular female reproductive functions that are associated with the disorder, PCOS can create undesirable symptoms beyond infertility. Women who are diagnosed with this disorder may present symptoms that include:
- Rapid weight gain and obesity
- Irregular or absent ovulation (anovulation)
- An increase in irregular hair growth especially on the face, arms, back, and legs
- Ovarian cysts
- Pelvic pain
- Male pattern baldness
Nutrients / medicinal products to tackle hormonal imbalance
- Diet change: Eating a nourishing diet like fruits, vegetables, whole grains such as barley, brown rice, bulgur, millet, wheat, etc. can help regulate your hormone and your menstrual cycle.
Eating proteins also help to stimulate insulin production while eating processed, heavily preserved food can contribute to inflammation and insulin resistance.
- Weight loss: many women with PCOS have difficulty managing their weight. Increased weight gain can lead to higher levels of androgen and insulin resulting in worse physical symptoms. Losing weight can have a significant impact on PCOS symptoms such as reduced insulin and testosterone level, improved irregular periods, etc.
- Exercise: this is an important component of weight loss. Regular exercise can help reduce insulin levels and keep blood sugar levels low. Exercise is also beneficial to heart health and it can improve mood and help regulate sleep patterns.
- Supplements: nutritional supplements such as omega 3 fish oil, chromium, selenium, vitamin D, calcium, B complex, and inositol are said to help control PCOS symptoms but it is important to speak with your pharmacist or health care experts as these supplements may interfere with other medications or medical conditions.
- Herbal products: studies have made us know that some herbal supplements such as Vitex agnus-castus (chaste tree) and Cimicifuga racemosa ( Black cohosh) are most effective in managing irregular ovulation. While Cinnamomum cassia may help treat metabolic complications like insulin resistance in women with PCOS.
- Probiotics: millions of bacteria live in the intestine which causes alteration in the gut environment. Studies have found that these alterations may affect sex hormones including androgen and oestrogen, suggesting that the bacteria may have a role in developing PCOS. So probiotic supplements help to reverse symptoms associated with PCOS.
PCOS is a complicated syndrome. While there is no cure, many conventional treatments can help manage the symptoms and any complications, it is always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider to help get the best management regimen for you.