Are you feeling out of whack? Perhaps your moods are all over the place, you feel tired all the time and you're STILL stuck in that cycle of dreading your periods?
Perhaps you're frustrated with the endless trips to the doctor, only to hear that everything appears "normal" or to be handed another prescription for hormonal birth control?
If so - you're not alone, and I get it. But hey, guess what? You've landed in the perfect spot.
When conventional treatments like hormonal birth control and painkillers seem like dead ends, it's time to dig deeper. Understanding the root causes of hormonal imbalances is your ticket to a lasting solution.
Understanding the underlying causes of hormonal imbalances is the key to finding a lasting solution
- Nikki Gonda
No matter where you are on your health journey, I'm here to arm you with knowledge you need to know to reclaim your health. Let's shed light on those sneaky issues beneath the surface that are wreaking havoc on your hormones and causing symptoms like painful periods, PCOS, irregular or missing periods, heavy periods, fatigue, and hormonal acne.
These aren't just hormonal problems; they have deeper roots.
So, buckle up as we explore the top 6 underlying causes of hormonal problems, because it's time to say goodbye to your symptoms for good.
Ready to reclaim your health and feel amazing all month long? Let's jump right into the exploration – no particular order, just the essentials you need to know.
1. Nutrient & Mineral Deficiencies
Our body needs adequate levels of nutrients to make and metabolize hormones. And where do we get nutrients from? The food we eat daily! Nutrient deficiencies are at the core of all period problems from PMS to cramps to irregular or heavy periods, fatigue, PCOS, you name it.
Why are period problems so common? Because nutrient deficiencies are so common! Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies driving hormonal imbalances and causing period & fertility problems are insufficient levels of vitamin D, B12, iron, folate, calcium, magnesium & iodine to name a few.
So, what’s causing these nutrient deficiencies?
Some examples include..
Today’s western diet, which is high in processed, sugary. packaged, fatty foods severely lacking in nutrients.
Poor quality or incorrect supplementation can also contribute to nutrient deficiencies - I think this is a huge one - way too many people are just self-prescribing buying any old supplement they get off the shelf that they heard about on a podcast but not having an understanding firstly about the importance of quality but also how nutrients impacts other nutrients in the body. Many people are also relying on supplements instead of making simple changes in their diet, and it needs to be said: you cannot out supplement a poor diet or lifestyle.
Agricultural farming practices depleting the nutrients in which our food grows.
Hormonal birth control depletes nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc and magnesium, Poor gut function, High stress levels deplete nutrients. High caffeine, sugar and alcohol consumption.
- Diets that eliminate whole food groups & over time can lead to nutrient deficiency. For example, plant-based diets can make you more susceptible to deficiencies in nutrients such as B12 & iron if not supplemented correctly. Or, for example people following the carnivore diet may be more likely to experience deficiency in fibre, vitamin C, K1, E, folate and magnesium which are micronutrients found in highest abundance in plants. Not eating enough fibre is detrimental for our gut health & hormone balance.
- Being "too healthy" - this one may sound strange, but you could be eating the healthiest diet on the planet but you're still not getting ENOUGH of the right nutrients your body needs for balance. Intermittent fasting with green smoothies & salads all the time, just doesn't cut it.
When it comes to getting your nutrient status in check - not only do you need to start paying attention to replenishing nutrients with food (and potential supplementation) but there are lifestyle and environmental factors that impact the absorption & utilisation of nutrients too that must be considered.
2. Dysregulated metabolism
A dysregulated metabolism can be a significant contributor to hormonal imbalances as it’s your metabolism that runs the hormone show. Imagine your metabolism as the engine that keeps your body running smoothly. When this engine isn't functioning optimally, it can throw various bodily systems, including your hormones, out of whack.
A dysregulated metabolism can impact hormones in several ways:
Insulin Sensitivity: Insulin Sensitivity: One crucial aspect of metabolism is how your body handles insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. When your metabolism is dysregulated, your cells may become resistant to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This, in turn, triggers an increase in insulin production. The imbalance in insulin levels can disrupt other hormones, particularly those involved in reproductive health, such as estrogen and progesterone.
Cortisol Production: Dysregulated metabolism and chronic stress go hand in hand, elevating cortisol levels. Prolonged high cortisol can interfere with the balance of other hormones crucial for reproductive health.
Thyroid Function: Your metabolism is intricately tied to thyroid function. A dysregulated metabolism can affect the production and conversion of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating metabolism, and any imbalance can have cascading effects on sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
Inflammation: Dysregulated metabolism contributes to chronic inflammation, disrupting hormonal function. This can lead to conditions like PCOS, characterized by imbalances in hormones like elevated androgens.
Addressing a dysregulated metabolism involves lifestyle changes, such as adopting a balanced and nutrient-dense diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques all of which are covered in Master Your Cycle. By supporting your metabolism, you're not just enhancing your energy levels and maintaining a healthy weight; you're also promoting hormonal harmony.
You must improve your metabolic function before hormone balance and sustainable health can become reality
3. Liver Dysfunction
One of the most important roles of the liver is to package up and metabolise toxins & used up estrogen.
In simple terms - if the liver is burdened, your hormones are going to be hearing about it and estrogen will become dominant!
Signs of a sluggish liver & that it needs support:
Fatigue: fatigue, especially after meals or premenstrually can be a sign of a sluggish liver as it struggles to efficiently process toxins and metabolize nutrients.
Digestive Issues: Sluggish liver function may manifest in digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea due to compromised bile production, which aids in digestion.
Skin Issues: Skin conditions like hormonal acne, eczema, or unexplained rashes can indicate liver dysfunction, as the liver plays a crucial role in filtering and detoxifying the blood.
Weight Gain: A sluggish liver may lead to weight gain or difficulty losing weight, as it can impact the body's ability to metabolize fats efficiently.
Premenstrual syndrome: Irritability, moodiness & anxiety can be signs your liver isnt functioning optimally
Tips to support your liver are to:
- Decrease your alcohol & sugar consumption
- Reduce exposure to toxins in skincare & household products
- Consume herbal tea such as dandelion root (found in Half Moon Tea) to promote liver detoxification; or turmeric to protect the liver in Luna's Gold Superfood Latte.
- Eat more dark leafy greens. These are liver SUPERFOODS as they stimulate the secretion of digestive juices. Think: Kale, dandelion greens, swis chard & broccoli or broccoli sprouts. The more bitter the veggie, the better for your liver.
Hormonal imbalances ALWAYS need liver support.
4. Blood Sugar Imbalance
Blood sugar imbalance is also an underlying cause of hormonal imbalance. If you’re eating in a way that has your blood sugar and insulin spiking and crashing continuously it’s going to mess with ALL of your hormones.
The food culprits are all kinds of sugary treats, bread, pasta, cakes etc - you know them. Diet and lifestyle changes to balance blood sugar and correct insulin levels is key to keeping inflammation in the body low and helping restore hormone imbalance.
If you want step by step guidance on balancing your blood sugar levels for optimal hormonal health check out my Ebook The Better Period Method where I give you everything you need to know
5. Tired Adrenals
Stress is the mother of all hormonal imbalances because it impacts your adrenal health. Running on cortisol down-regulates EVERYTHING in the body, it can lead to a cascade of effects on various hormonal systems:
Disrupted Cortisol Levels: Chronic stress or poor adrenal function can result in abnormal cortisol levels. Elevated cortisol, especially over extended periods, can interfere with the production and balance of other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. This disruption can contribute to irregular menstrual cycles and hormonal imbalances.
Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) Axis Dysfunction: The HPA axis, which involves the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands, is a key player in hormonal regulation. Poor adrenal function can disrupt this axis, affecting the release of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. This disruption may lead to conditions like amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) or irregular periods.
Progesterone Imbalance: Adrenal glands also contribute to the production of a small amount of progesterone. In cases of chronic stress or adrenal fatigue, the body may prioritize cortisol production over progesterone. This imbalance can lead to conditions such as estrogen dominance, contributing to symptoms like heavy or irregular periods, PMS, and fertility issues.
Impact on Reproductive Hormones: Adrenal dysfunction can affect the delicate balance between reproductive hormones. For example, high stress levels can lead to an overproduction of androgens (male hormones), contributing to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and hormonal acne.
Energy Depletion: Poor adrenal function often results in fatigue and low energy levels. The body may divert resources away from reproductive functions to cope with stress, affecting the regularity and balance of menstrual cycles.
Daily meditation, breath work, mindfulness, getting enough sleep, moving my body, consuming adaptogenic herbs - these are a few of my favourite ways to support my nervous system and strengthen adrenal function.
6. Poor gut health
If you experience gut or poop problems, pay attention!
Gut health isn't talked about enough when it comes to hormone balancing. But it’s critical we support it as the connection between gut health and hormonal/menstrual health is profound. Here's an overview of how your gut health influences your hormones and menstrual cycle:
Estrogen Metabolism: The gut plays a crucial role in metabolizing and eliminating estrogen from the body. An imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to inefficient estrogen metabolism, potentially resulting in estrogen dominance. This hormonal imbalance is associated with various menstrual issues such as heavy periods, PMS, and fibroids.
Inflammation: A healthy gut helps maintain a balanced immune response and minimizes inflammation. Chronic inflammation, often stemming from gut issues like leaky gut syndrome, can disrupt hormonal balance. Inflammatory signals can interfere with the production and regulation of hormones, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and exacerbating conditions like endometriosis.
Insulin Sensitivity: The gut microbiota plays a role in insulin sensitivity. Poor gut health, characterized by dysbiosis, can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance has connections to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is often marked by hormonal imbalances and irregular menstrual cycles.
Nutrient Absorption: The absorption of essential nutrients for hormone production occurs in the gut. Imbalances or disruptions in the gut can compromise the absorption of nutrients critical for maintaining hormonal balance. Deficiencies in nutrients like vitamin D, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids can impact menstrual health.
Neurotransmitter Production: The gut is often referred to as the "second brain" due to its role in producing neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters influence mood and can indirectly impact the regulation of hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.
You can learn more about GUT health and your hormones here.
If you experience IBS, constipation, diahorrea, candida, leaky gut - you must heal your gut to heal your hormones & periods.
Balancing your hormones doesn’t have to be complex balance is possible your body wants to heal.
- Nikki Gonda
As you can see, when your sex hormones are out of balance, they are rarely alone...
If you think you are experiencing a hormone imbalance, I encourage you to consider addressing these underlying areas of nutrient deficiencies, blood sugar balance, adrenal function and improving your liver and gut health.
Physically, emotionally & spiritually mastering your hormone cycle brings its rewards such as improved clarity, abundant energy, and more vitality to show up as your most joyful self throughout the entire month.
If you'd like more guidance come on over and my online course Master Your Cycle to implement the core foundations of hormonal health in order to reach emotional balance & physical wellbeing. With support, guidance & self-care resources along with focused modules on all topics within the menstrual cycle this course will equip & empower you with tools to help balance your hormones for greater freedom & fulfilment in all areas of life.
Balancing your hormones doesn’t have to be complex.
Balance is possible. And your body WANTS to heal.
You just require the right guidance and your body requires the right support to do so. You've got this!