Parenthood: A Constant State Of Stress
Today, our bodies still have this response mechanism, but although we are not literally being chased by lions or tigers, our perceived threats are all stressors.
The problem is, these stressors are constant and not temporary and our bodies do not have enough time to recover. This is when our HPA- axis system becomes compromised and we experience a rise and overproduction of cortisolour main stress hormonewhich stays at a constant. The brain keeps sending signals to produce more, but the body has been exhausted of its supply and simply cannot keep up with the demand.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
1. Swap Carbs for Healthy Fats
Foods that balance hormones include a variety of fat-containing foods that provide short, medium and long-chain fatty acids. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol.
Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.
My four favorite sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats include:
- coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon.
- Coconut oil uses are plentiful for example, coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and fat-burning effects.
- Avocado benefits include improving heart health, lowering inflammation, controlling your appetite and contributing to your daily intake of fiber and nutrients such as potassium.
- Salmon nutrition is also impressive: its one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help protect against hippocampal neuronal loss and reduce pro-inflammatory responses.
2. Supplement to Fill Nutritional Voids
3. Address Emotional Imbalances
6. Get More Sleep
What Causes Hormonal Imbalance After Pregnancy
Hormonal imbalance can happen during any time after childbirth, and you are not alone to go through this, though you feel you are. If you did not experience it in your first pregnancy, it does not mean that you will not experience it in the succeeding pregnancies and vice versa. The main cause of hormonal imbalance after pregnancy is Estrogen dominance.
Read Also: Can You Get Lasik Eye Surgery While Pregnant
Natural Ways To Balance Your Hormones
Hormones have profound effects on your mental, physical and emotional health.
These chemical messengers play a major role in controlling your appetite, weight and mood, among other things.
Normally, your endocrine glands produce the precise amount of each hormone needed for various processes in your body.
However, hormonal imbalances have become increasingly common with todays fast-paced modern lifestyle. In addition, certain hormones decline with age, and some people experience a more dramatic decrease than others.
Fortunately, a nutritious diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviors may help improve your hormonal health and allow you to feel and perform your best.
This article will show you 12 natural ways to balance your hormones.
Adaptogen Herbs For Protecting & Nourishing The Endocrine System
Adaptogen is one of the many definitions for the therapeutic action a plant has. Adaptogen herbs are nourishing to the entire endocrine system. Adaptogens increase resistance to mind-body stress and can enhance overall vitality and health. David Winston, RH is an herbalist and ethnobotanist teaches in his book Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief that plants recognized as adaptogens help to normalize the bodys functions even during diseased states, are non-toxic, nutritive, and have been deemed safe for long term use.
The goal in using adaptogens to promote hormonal balance is to support the endocrine system overall, the system in which hormones are made from and communicate with.
Ashwagandha root : Supports overall endocrine system function. Supports proper immune response, aids in possible autoimmune fertility issues. Aids in supporting the body with proper stress response.
Eleuthero root and stem bark : Supports overall endocrine function, which supports hormonal balance. Strengthens the immune system. Great for people under severe stress. This herb helps people to feel better, perform better and recover from immune suppression more quickly.
Licorice root: Supports the endocrine system for overall hormonal support. Licorice Rt. is an immunomodulator, stimulating immune system function in people with autoimmune disease. It is protective of liver health and supports a proper inflammatory response.
Also Check: Is Vagisil Safe During Pregnancy
What Are The Signs Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Sometimes, pregnancy and childbirth can cause our hormones to become a bit out of whack. In these cases, we might need some help getting back on track. According to Dr. Loeb-Zeitlin, below are some symptoms you might experience if you’re dealing with a postpartum hormone imbalance:
- Anxiety and depression
Postpartum Hormones At 3 To 6 Weeks
After those first few weeks pass, you may start to feel those rollercoaster-like emotions start to regulate a bit as you begin to get into the groove of caring for baby and get used to the lack of sleep. Ashley Margeson, a naturopathic doctor says, “the first three months are a bit of a whirlwind of sleep loss and emotions as your system runs mostly on adrenaline to move you through the day.”
Around the six-week mark, she says, symptoms of postpartum depression may begin to show as those positive post-birth hormones continue to fade. “The changes you should look for closely are not wanting to shower or focus on hygiene, being afraid of leaving your baby with someone else, not being able to sleep fully due to continually checking on baby, and lack of desire for common tasks like eating, drinking, being around people, and leaving the house.”
Don’t Miss: Can You Do Lasik While Pregnant
Support Your Body With Supplements
Based on the symptoms you experience after miscarriage, or dietary changes may be required to compensate for the changes in your body. For example, if youre experiencing heavy bleeding, talk to your doctor about taking an iron supplement. This will help replace the iron stores that have been depleted from the miscarriage bleeding and prevent a deficiency from forming. After just a few weeks of consistent use, your iron levels should be back to normal.
Theres also a chance you may be deficient in Vitamin D, which has been linked to first trimester miscarriages. Make sure youre getting tested for Vitamin D on your next bloodwork visit after miscarriage. If you find that your Vitamin D levels are lower than usual it may be worth considering a Vitamin D supplement.
Herbs To Balance Hormones After A Miscarriage
A miscarriage, also known medically as a spontaneous abortion, is the natural loss of a fetus before the 20th week of pregnancy. Miscarriages occur for a range of reasons, including illness, infection, and hormonal or genetic abnormalities. After a miscarriage you may experience infertility, or irregular or delayed menstruation due to an imbalance between the reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen. Herbs may help you correct the imbalance between these hormones naturally. Consult your health care provider before starting herbal treatment to balance your hormones after a miscarriage.
You May Like: Can I Use Vagisil Wash While Pregnant
How To Balance Hormones Naturally With Dr Christiane Northrup Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hi everyone, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I am your host Ari Whitten and today I am honored to be joined by Dr. Christiane Northrup, who is a board-certified OB/GYN physician and New York Times bestselling author, a visionary, pioneer and leading authority in the field of womens health and wellness. Shes internationally known for her empowering approach to womens health and wellness, and she teaches women how to thrive at every stage of life. So, Im very honored to have you on the show today. Dr. Northrup, welcome to the show.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Thank you. Its my pleasure to be here.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So, Im, as we just were chatting about, Im excited to be able to do two podcasts with you, but were going to split this up because you have so much great content to share. One of the topics that I want to delve into this with you is on womens hormonal health.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Right.
Hormones After Pregnancy Imbalance
What causes hormonal imbalance after pregnancy? Hormone imbalance can occur during at any time after giving birth, and you are not alone to go through this, though you feel you are.
If you did not experience it in your first pregnancy, it does not mean that you will not experience it in the being successful pregnancies and vice versa. The primary cause of hormone imbalance after pregnancy is Estrogen supremacy.
After childbirth, if you experience severe state of mind swings and tiredness, you need to not be shocked as it is rather typical.
You ought to be aware of that giving birth disturbs your hormonal balance. A few of the perturbing symptoms might include extreme tiredness, menstrual problems, inability to reduce weight, and persistent infections. Here we talk about the changes in hormones after birth.
Recommended Reading: Can I Use Vagisil Wipes While Pregnant
Pregnancy Hormones: How To Know If They’re Out Of Whack
I cannot believe it has been 21 years since I brought my first baby blue bundle of joy home! Not so long after, 17 months to be exact, I brought home two more bundles of baby pink joy. What a joy ride it was and still is today. Twin baby girls and a 17-month-old toddler. Oh, how I wish I knew then what I know now about taking care of myself by eating well.
This wonderful joyride definitely took my hormones on a volatile rollercoaster ride. Not only did my body not have adequate time to recover from the birth of my first child, but having twins definitely required more than my body was able to give hormonally.
Why Hormone Panels Largely Are A Waste Of Money
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Fascinating. And thats a great example. Even just something as simple as breathing is going to affect very important hormones in profound ways, you know. And also, you were mentioning cortisol earlier, cortisol is in very dynamic interplay with things like, for example, circadian rhythm and sleep as well as your stress level and whether youre doing things like yoga or meditation. And all of those things are having a huge impact even from one day to the next on cortisol levels. So, its not just, I think people have this disconnect where they dont understand that connection of the nutrition and lifestyle habits and then they think, Oh my cortisol level is this, therefore I need to be on cortisone therapy, or I need to take a supplement to fix my poor adrenals. And its no, you need to fix the nutrition and lifestyle factors that are impacting the amount of secretion of that particular hormone.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Not at all. And what happens is then people think you can take it to the bank. So, Well, I have low this or I have low that. Its like not really. And its interesting. I mean Ive been in this for, you know, 30 years. And if the testing were useful, I would know it by now, I think.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, thats funny.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Very good. Okay.
Don’t Miss: Risks Of Donating Plasma While Pregnant
Postpartum Hormonal Imbalances Are More Common Than You May Think
A lot of mothers experience postpartum hormonal imbalance which can lead to mood disturbances ranging from baby blues to full-on depression.
Turns out a whopping 80 % of postpartum moms experience baby blues characterized by mood swings a few days after delivery. For the most part normally just chuck it all to new mom exhaustion, the pain from the cuts and stitches, and round the clock baby care.
Baby blues are very common in the early days after giving birth and symptoms can range from sadness, mood swings, irritability, sleep changes, anhedonia, and excessive worry to lack of interest in the baby.
These symptoms can resolve in a few days, maybe a week or two but if they drag on for weeks then it is likely more serious than baby blues and maybe postpartum depression.
In this case, the help of mental health professionals is vital as well as an evaluation by your own doctor.
How Can Hormonal Imbalance Lead To Postpartum Depression Syndrome
Postpartum depression is a result of the hormonal fluctuations occurring post childbirth. It occurs in around 10-20% of new mothers. It can begin at any time post delivery and can last up to one year. The symptoms of PDS include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and change in appetite among others.
However, clinical diagnosis of PDS followed by the right antidepressant medication can help alleviate the disorder. Moreover, counseling and follow-ups with a therapist can be effective in helping you get out of depression. Apart from medication, good food, regular exercises, yoga, and meditation can also help in recovery .
Also Check: Braces While Pregnant
The Hpa Axisin Charge Of Fight Or Flight
HPA refers to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or loop. These three body parts work together in a looping cycle with the brain and the HPA hormones. It regulates many of the body’s processes, including:
- Stress response
Our bodies are made to respond to stress in either a fight or flight mode, which short term is a very good thing. In the early days of mankind, when we could have been chased by tigers or lions, our bodies reacted immediately into a stress response gear in order to stay alive. When this response system starts, our adrenaline kicks in and the body functions unimportant for immediate survival, such as digestion, sexuality and metabolism, take a back seat.
It Is All About The Hormones
Hormones are your bodys chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues and organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood and much more.
Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries.
Hormones are produced in a complex process, but depend on beneficial fats and cholesterol, so lack of these important dietary factors can cause hormone problems simply because the body doesnt have the building blocks to make them. Toxins containing chemicals that mimic these building blocks or that mimic the hormones themselves are also problematic because the body can attempt to create hormones using the wrong building blocks. Mutant estrogen anyone?
Ive heard so many cases lately of people who have improved diet, started exercising, etc. but are still not losing weight or improving their health markers. After talking to many of these people, it seems that the factor they all have in common is an underlying problem with hormone balance.
You May Like: Can You Have Lasik While Pregnant
Estrogen Dominance Can Cause Hypothyroidism
Post-partum, there can be two types of thyroid dysfunction: postpartum thyroiditis characterized by transient hyperthyroidism or transient hyperthyroidism followed by transient or rarely permanent hypothyroidism
Low thyroid function can cause a number of physical effects
- Cold intolerance
- Dyspnea on exertion
Remember, postpartum estrogen dominance doesnt necessarily mean a higher amount of estrogen is in your systemits that the level of estrogen is high relative to the drop in progesterone you experienced following.
Learn To Manage Stress
Stress can wreak havoc on your hormones. Two major hormones affected by stress are cortisol and adrenaline, which is also called epinephrine.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone because it helps your body cope with stress over the long term.
Adrenaline is the fight-or-flight hormone that provides your body with a surge of energy to respond to immediate danger.
However, unlike hundreds of years ago when these hormones were mainly triggered by threats from predators, today theyre usually triggered by peoples busy, often overwhelming lifestyles.
Unfortunately, chronic stress causes cortisol levels to remain elevated, which can lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity, including increased belly fat (
A 2005 review of studies found that massage therapy not only reduced cortisol levels by an average of 31%, but also increased levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin by 28% and dopamine by 31%, on average .
Try to devote at least 1015 minutes per day to stress-reducing activities, even if you dont feel you have the time.
Engaging in stress-reduction behaviors like meditation, yoga, massage and listening to soothing music can help normalize your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
You May Like: Vagisil When Pregnant
Rest As Much As Possible
While this can be difficult when youve got a newborn waking you at all hours of the night, its crucial during this phase to prioritize rest and sleep whenever possible.
Not only will this help regulate your hormones but staying horizontal will help to keep pressure off your pelvic floor, optimizing the healing process and minimizing postpartum bleeding.
Outsource and delegate whatever you can , especially during the first couple of weeks. Set limits and boundaries where you need and resist the urge to be productive or overdo it. Above all remember rest is a key part of your recovery, and can make all the difference in your hormone and postnatal health down the road.
What Happens To Pregnancy Hormones After You Deliver Your Baby
As soon your baby is born, your levels of estrogen, progesterone, and other placental pregnancy hormones decrease. This rapid drop in hormones after delivery is often associated with feelings of sadness and crying known as the baby blues. If your baby blues symptoms worsen and/or continue beyond about the second postpartum week its really important to get evaluated for postpartum depression . This is because hormonal imbalances after giving birth are a trigger for PPD in about 15% of new mothers. Although the peak timing for the development of PPD symptoms is around 4-6 weeks postpartum, it can pop up at any time during your babys first year of life. So if you feel unusually sad or down after having your baby, please discuss your mood changes with your obstetrician or midwife so that you can get assessed for PPD as soon as possible.
Postpartum oxytocin surges help your uterus continue to contract so that it can go back to its normal size. The post-birth contractions cause a sensation of cramping and are called after pains. Oxytocin-induced cramps are especially painful during the early postpartum days when breastfeeding is being established, and, anecdotally, mothers often experience increasingly severe after pains with each subsequent pregnancy.
Read Also: Using Vagisil During Pregnancy