Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling excessively tired?
Like you’re literally trying to rip yourself out of bed? Maybe you hit the snooze button so many times you’ve lost count? Although you slept all through the night, you feel absolutely depleted. Or maybe it took you ages to fall asleep the night before because your mind was running in circles. Whatever the reason for your restless night, you just know that you feel tired and flat worn out. Your body feels sore, your mind is foggy, your memory is shot, and your skin is dry. Also, you can’t remember the last time you enjoyed or even wanted to have sex! That’s right, I mentioned sex! Because whether you care or not right now, at some point in time sex was important and enjoyable to you. All these symptoms and more may be related to a hormone imbalance.
Well, let me tell you right now sister: you are NOT alone! Nearly every woman in her late thirties or forties feels exactly this way. And if they don’t, they are either a unicorn or have figured out the secret that we’d love to know. The reality is that this is yet another time in our lives where our hormones change. They changed when we were preteens, pregnant, and again as our bodies prepare for this hormonal phase of our lives. As women, our hormone imbalance is not something to take lightly. Our hormones are one of the key components that keep our bodies functioning and balanced. The reason being that as we enter the ages of late thirties to forties, our hormone levels change.
Hormonal imbalances in women result in fatigue, so many women will head to their primary care doctor. Majority of the time, these physicians will prescribe some type of sleeping aid which will only become a temporary Band-Aid. I couldn’t take feeling completely drained any longer, so I made an appointment with my physician. After reviewing all my symptoms with her, I waited for her to order many tests that would give me an actual diagnosis and treatment plan. Instead, all I got were the words “That’s life. You’re getting older and this is how it is.”
I’m sure some of you have heard a similar response from your doctor and that is depressing. Don’t get me wrong. I love doctors! Also, it is very important to follow up with your physician or gynecologist to rule out any other underlying health issues. However, if you are frustrated with taking sleep aids or drinking energy drinks to get you by, here are some alternatives to help you balance your hormones naturally.
I know! People are always telling you that you should get plenty of sleep. This is one of the basic life needs for everyone in order to function. It’s a tremendous benefit for hormone imbalance or any other health issue. According to the American Sleep Association, adults ages 25-90 years old are recommended to sleep 7-9 hours per night. Women with high demanding jobs and home life usually sleep around 5-6 hours. By losing those extra hours, our brains are not given sufficient time to form new pathways that help us to remember, focus, and learn.
If you have trouble falling asleep, try doing something that relaxes you a couple of hours before you go to bed. Try reading, stretching, a hot bath, or meditation. Do anything that will help your thoughts and mind to calm down, reduce your stress, and balance your mind. If you are still having trouble falling or staying asleep, consider seeing a sleep professional to help you figure out what techniques will help you.
Again, I know. I am not the first to jump up and get excited about working out. However, low to moderate exercise at least three times a week will help circulate blood flow to the brain and decrease joint stiffness and soreness. Just like sleep, exercise has so many wonderful benefits, not just on a woman’s hormonal imbalance. Try just 30 minutes of yoga, stretching, Tai Chi, walking, or cycling a few times a week and see if you are feeling a little more energetic. Not only will this help with brain fog, muscle soreness, memory, and functioning, but it will also improve your desire to become more intimate with your partner! If you do not feel like you have the time to exercise or don’t know where to start, consider seeing a personal trainer or fitness coach to help you find the right fit for you.
Yes, that plate of pasta from your favorite Italian restaurant looks amazing! Especially after a long day of work when you didn’t even get a lunch break. Occasionally that is fine, but your body will just feel tired and bloated. You may regret every decision you’ve ever made in life after eating it. Try looking at food as fuel for your body, not as a reward for working hard. Try thinking of your body and food as your car and fuel. If we fuel our cars with poor quality gas, they will not function well. So why would we ingest bad fuel and cause our bodies to not function properly?
Try decreasing the carbs and late-night snacking and increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, and protein. Greens are an excellent source of all the vitamins we need that help our brain and memory. If you are having difficulty finding the right dietary choices for you, try hiring a dietary coach.
4. Vitamins, Supplements, and Water!
There are many vitamins and supplements on the market that can help you balance your hormones naturally. One that is not widely known is diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM is a supplement used to help break down estrogen in the liver and decrease the breakdown of testosterone. Our bodies start to slow down on the production of testosterone as we age which decreases our energy and strength.
Vitamin C is not just used during flu season. It is an excellent supplement that not only helps build up your immune system, but it also helps decrease inflammation, blood pressure, mental fog, and memory loss. Vitamin C can also decrease cortisol levels which are caused by stress.
Speaking of stress, some other excellent vitamins that are beneficial in reducing the harmful effects of stress include Vitamin B12, Magnesium, and Zinc. As we age, our bodies begin to experience bone loss. It is also important to supplement Calcium and Vitamin D in order to help decrease bone loss and prevent osteoporosis.
Finally, probiotics are amazing supplements that improve your gut health by delivering “good” bacteria to your digestive system. They are greatly beneficial in increasing your metabolism, decreasing inflammation, and removing harmful bacteria and toxins from your body.
5. Hormone Replacement
Hormone replacement is somewhat controversial among healthcare providers and women. There are many benefits to this treatment for women’s hormonal imbalance. However, it does not work the same for everyone and there are different types of treatments. Some range from pills, cream applications, or the current popular hormone pellet insertion or hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A physician must closely monitor you and perform routine lab work to monitor your hormone levels. Some physicians and women swear by it while others are not big fans of the idea. Either way, it is important for you to at least keep monitoring your hormone levels so that you are aware of what hormone imbalances you may have.
As a registered nurse, working in the healthcare field for many years, I was a true believer of modern medicine. However, as a woman with hormonal imbalance, myself, and seeing the side effects of many medications, I started researching how to balance my hormones naturally. Making lifestyle modifications in my routine such as performing moderate exercise, increasing sleep hours, and decreasing stress have worked well for me. I completely removed alcohol from my diet and started taking more supplements to balance my hormones. I also started a natural hormone replacement therapy which is closely monitored by my new healthcare provider. It has been very successful and I am more energetic and focused than I have been in ten years!
If you are a woman suffering from hormonal imbalance and its symptoms, check with your physician and at least request to have your hormone levels checked. Try making some small lifestyle changes or modifications in order to improve your overall health and help you balance your hormones naturally. There are many options and solutions to help with hormone imbalance. Do NOT get discouraged and feel as if you will be like this forever. Just remember that you are not the only woman feeling this way. You are not alone!
Melissa Sikes is a registered nurse with 17 years of healthcare experience. She also works part time as a freelance writer. She hopes to inspire others to live life to the fullest and challenge themselves to achieve their goals.