How To Balance Hormones During Menopause
During menopause, many changes take place within a woman’s body. Many of these changes are due to the body adjusting to varying levels of hormones brought on by the aging process.
However, there are various healthy and natural methods that women can use to balance out their hormone levels and thus see a reduction in unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, reduced sex drive, headaches, moodiness, and more.
Why Do Hormonal Imbalances Occur During Menopause?
Before, during, and after menopause, the hormones that are responsible for controlling a woman’s menstrual cycle and reproductive health–estrogen and progesterone–are produced less and less.4
This change is what leads to the telltale symptoms of menopause: the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, physical changes to the body like hair loss, etc.
It’s important to remember that the changes that lead to menopause are natural.
Chronic conditions that attack the parts of the body that produce and regulate hormones can lead to long-term concerns related to hormonal imbalance, but the steady reduction in female sex hormones that occurs during menopause is not necessarily indicative of a problem.1
In other words, the hormonal changes and symptoms that happen during menopause aren’t the result of an “imbalance” that must be remedied, but instead are the result of the body naturally changing over time and reaching a new status quo.
- Though it may not be cause for alarm, this shift in the amount of hormones in a woman’s body can still produce unwanted symptoms. Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance During Menopause
During menopause, the most common types of hormone imbalances occur with estrogen and progesterone and any hormones that become imbalanced as a result. This is the reason why many symptoms of menopause are associated with the reproductive system.
The most common symptoms of hormone imbalance during menopause are:
- Hot flashes
- Irregular or abnormal menstrual cycles
- Weight gain
- Mood fluctuations
- Abnormal hair growth: coarser hair and growth around the chin are both common
- Lack of sex drive
- Increased risk of gum health problems
- Aching muscles and joints
Natural Strategies To Balance Hormones
When deciding how to balance hormones during menopause, it’s important to consider natural solutions for managing the symptoms that come with the changes in your body. Although menopause is an entirely natural occurrence, there are ways to mitigate the effects of the symptoms to make them more manageable and less intrusive in your everyday life.
Beginning or Continuing to Utilize a Healthy Diet
Although it may grow tiring to hear as a solution to most health issues, there is merit in the pressure to maintain a healthy diet throughout one’s life as it can help with managing the symptoms of menopause and other effects of natural processes such as aging.
By maintaining a healthy diet, you ensure that your body is receiving the nutrients it needs to upkeep other systems of your body during tumultuous times such as menopause.
Additionally, limiting foods and drinks that tend to trigger or exacerbate your symptoms can help alleviate some discomfort.
Caffeine, for example, tends to bring on hot flashes due to the spike in heart rate and body temperature it causes. Alcoholic beverages may have the same effect. Manage Your Stress
Stress can take an incredible toll on the body at any stage of life, but during an already challenging time like menopause, unchecked stress can pile on top of the symptoms you’re already experiencing.
High levels of stress are known to cause things like nausea, irritability, and restlessness, all of which can make managing menopause symptoms much more difficult.3
Keeping your stress levels at a manageable level, then, helps set you up for success.
It’s no secret that menopause is, for many women, a very stress-inducing chapter of life. It’s important to seek out others (friends, family, other women going through menopause, etc.) during this time both to limit stress and to receive the compassion and support you deserve.
Even if your hormones changing is natural, it’s still something that can dramatically impact your life – being kind to yourself and validating your experiences can make a huge difference in terms of how you experience these challenges. Getting Your Hormone Levels Checked
If you are over 35 and you are experiencing menopause symptoms, then you may not need to get your hormones checked with a blood test as doctors can typically infer that perimenopause is the cause of your symptoms. However, sometimes health practitioners choose to test your hormone levels to get a clearer picture of what is causing your symptoms. Most hormone tests are conducted through blood tests, but some require urine samples or use saliva to test hormone levels.2
By having an honest conversation with your healthcare provider about why you would like to get your hormones tested, they’re better able to help you with your specific concerns. Many women opt to have their hormone levels checked in order to see if their symptoms are only caused by menopause or something else like PCOS or some sort of problem with their thyroid.
Hormone imbalances are common for all women who experience the symptoms of menopause. Although not wildly common, there are also hormone imbalances that can occur earlier in life that may compound with the hormone imbalances brought on by menopause.
Symptoms of hormone imbalances mainly concern reproductive systems such as the menstrual cycle, but they can also have an effect on your metabolism, your mental health, your physical appearance, and more.
Healthcare providers are well-equipped to assist with mitigating the symptoms of menopause so long as you’re willing to start the conversation.
1 “Hormonal Imbalance: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic. Accessed October 26, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22673-hormonal-imbalance.
2 “Hormone Testing.” Cedars. Accessed October 26, 2022. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/programs/endocrinology/diagnosis-treatment/hormone-testing.html.
3 “How Stress Affects Your Body and Behavior.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, March 24, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987.
4 “Menopause: Age, Stages, Signs, Symptoms & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic. Accessed October 25, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21841-menopause