Understanding and managing hormone imbalance

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This is an artist’s representation of a molecule of insulin. This hormone helps the body use its food as energy. (Source: DR_MICROBE/ISTOCKPHOTO)

Diagnosis 

There’s no one solitary test that can diagnose or pinpoint a specific hormonal imbalance, so it’s important that you work with your endocrinologist to get to the bottom of your particular set of symptoms. Some of the things you’ll want to let them know include sudden weight gain or loss, fatigue, skin problems, mood problems, high levels of stress and anxiety, sexual libido and function issues. 

Your endocrinologist can perform a blood test, a biopsy, an ultrasound, or another form of test, depending on your symptoms. As there’s no one way of knowing which hormones are out of balance, your doctor may need to do a bit of investigation and more than one test to determine the root of your symptoms and the best course of treatment, tailored to your specific imbalance. Prescription treatments, which often involve hormone therapy (HT) should be discussed with a qualified endocrinologist. 

According to Sleep Coach Bailey Guilloud, sleep is key. “Hormones play a massive role in how you sleep, and your sleep plays a massive role in how your hormones are balanced. You need all five stages of sleep, about seven to nine hours, to help maintain and balance your hormones.” 

For optimum hormonal balance, Guilloud says that you should be: going to bed and waking up at the same time every day as often as you can; decreasing blue light at night; getting sunlight in the morning, and throughout the day as often as possible; drinking water first thing in the morning; creating a bedtime ritual. 

According to Barry Sears, MD, “Diet is the most potent agent you have to balance your hormones. This is because it allows you to directly change the levels of hormones (insulin, glucagon, and eicosanoids) depending on the balance of macronutrients consumed at every meal.” 

Make sure you’re eating regularly, and within a healthy calorie range for your body. Aim for lots of fatty fish, omega-3 fatty acids, eggs, healthy proteins, vegetables, and greens.