Nurturing your hormones is an essential, we repeat, essential component to self-care. Hormones are basically the chemical messengers of your body. They’re made in your glands and then secreted into the cell receptors throughout the body, thus affecting everything that has to do with health. From your metabolism to immunity to the reproductive organs, it all comes down to hormones.
Which leads us to this: If something feels “off” in your body, it could very well be a hormone imbalance. These imbalances are often triggered by both internal and external factors, including (but not limited to) an underactive or overactive thyroid, diabetes, eating disorders, stress, injuries, trauma, adrenal issues and certain medications. Symptoms include everything from weight gain to acne to mood swings—though that’s certainly not the end of the list.
If you’re starting to get nervous, take a deep breath! Harvesting control over hormone health is totally doable. Below we’ve found the most important (and commonly ignored) hormones that might be messin’ up your flow. Read on!
Casually called the “stress hormone,” cortisol is one of the steroid hormones made in the adrenal glands, which are under the control of the hypothalamus via the pituitary gland. Cortisol helps to control blood sugar, reduces inflammation, assists with memory, regulates the metabolism, and aids in the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
Symptoms of high cortisol: Mood disorders, change in sleep patterns and sleep disturbances, change in libido, menstrual irregularities, depression and anxiety.
Symptoms of low cortisol: Fatigue, muscle loss, weight loss, and mood swings.
How to balance cortisol: Getting enough sleep is one hundred percent necessary, as is eating a diet that’s made up of healthy carbs (think sweet potatoes and quinoa). Diets low in complex carbohydrates have actually shown to cause more problems with your cortisol levels. It’s also important to refrain from eating late at night or drinking alcohol or caffeine later in the day, as both of these activities can mess with a sound night’s sleep and directly affect your body’s production of cortisol. Check your cortisol levels with Everlywell’s metabolism and sleep and stress tests. Everlywell is an at-home lab testing company that delivers essential tests right to your doorstep. With simple sample collection, processed through CLIA certified labs and physician reviewed—you’ll get your results sent to your inbox within just days.
It doesn’t matter what gender you identify with—testosterone is a hormone that plays a role in every human’s health. Testosterone is either made in the testicles (hence the name) or the ovaries. While it’s mostly associated with one’s sex drive, testosterone is also a key component in fertility, muscle mass, fat distribution, and red blood cell production in both men and women.
Symptoms of low testosterone: In men, symptoms include low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, loss of body hair, and increased body fat. In women, symptoms are low sex drive, painful intercourse, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, dry skin, and increased abdominal fat.
Symptoms of high testosterone: In men, having high testosterone levels doesn’t typically cause any issues—but it might make a dude more randy and reckless. In women, symptoms include irregular periods, balding, excess body hair, acne, and oily skin.
How to balance testosterone: Natural ways to balance your testosterone levels include lifting weights, exercising, and eating meals that primarily consist of good-for-you-carbs, protein, and healthy fats (think avocados and omegas!). It’s also advised not to skip meals, restrict calories, or overeat, as wacky eating habits lead to even wackier testosterone levels. A healthy sex life, refraining from alcohol and drugs, and getting enough Zinc and Vitamin B have also illustrated an ability to regulate testosterone levels. Check your testosterone levels with Everlywell’s metabolism and thyroid tests.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
Did you know that the thyroid has its own hormone? TSH, or the thyroid stimulating hormone, is produced by the pituitary gland in your brain. This gland tells your thyroid to make and release the thyroid hormones into your blood.
High Levels of TSH: High levels of TSH are signs of an under-active thyroid. Symptoms include lethargy, hair loss, brittle nails, dry skin, irritability, low libido, and weight gain.
Low Levels of TSH: Low levels of TSH are signs of an overactive thyroid. Symptoms include irritability, restlessness, menstrual irregularities, mood swings, insomnia, irregular and light menstruation, excessive hunger, fatigue, and weight loss.
How to balance TSH: Vitamins and supplements, including evening primrose oil, Vitamin C and Vitamin B can help with high levels of TSH, while Vitamins E, A, C, and zinc can help with low levels. BPA, a chemical found in many household plastics, also affects TSH. Get rid of any plastic containers or water bottles that don’t say “BPA-Free.” If you’re still having problems, consider omitting gluten from your diet, as this has also been illustrated to cause some folks’ thyroid issues Check your TSH levels with Everlywell’s metabolism and thyroid tests.
At the end of the day, tuning into your body is the best thing you can do for your hormone health. Give yourself regular physical check-ins and witness what your body has to say.
In partnership with EverlyWell
Knowledge is Power. EverlyWell offers our community a better way to discover their health- as people, not patients. We make at-home lab testing easy and insightful with simple sample collection, pre-paid shipping to certified labs, and physician-reviewed results to your inbox. How will you elevate your wellness journey with EverlyWell?