What is Really Interfering with Women’s Hormones?

Daniel Kalish, D.C., explains why hormone imbalances are usually not an isolated problem. Most of the time, they are related to stress response. But a combination of lifestyle changes and balancing hormones can get your system working right.

Dr. Kalish has been successfully treating patients with hormone imbalances, food cravings, fatigue, depression, digestive distress and many other health complaints for over 14 years.

He is the founder of The Natural Path Clinic in Del Mar, California, where he led a staff of medical doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors and acupuncturists. He now maintains an active international phone consultation practice with patients throughout the United States, England, France, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and Canada.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I first met Dr. Dan Kalish in California around the mid ‘90s while we were both attending a Functional Medicine seminar. There were some extraordinary people there but I instantly developed a rapport with Dan as he was very bright and had a gentle, kind, caring and patient personality that impressed me.

It was very clear to me at that time that he was one of the brightest guys at the meeting, and I was very impressed by his logical and sound approach to health.

As you can hear from the video snippet above, his recommendations in many ways echo my own.

Female Hormonal Imbalances are Often Tied to Lifestyle

Your lifestyle is a major player in many aspects of your health, and that includes keeping your hormones balanced.

Hormones are proteins or steroids that are secreted directly into your bloodstream, playing a role in many body functions such as:

  • Your body's metabolism of minerals

  • Regulation of fluids

  • Reproduction

  • Sexual function

  • Responses to stress

The endocrine system, which includes glands such as the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal cortex and medulla, and ovaries, produce hormones in women.

If your hormones are in balance, you likely sleep well, have lots of energy and a strong sex drive, and your immune system and digestive system should be functioning smoothly.

However, it’s relatively easy to push your hormones off kilter, leading to an array of varied symptoms and hormone disorders including:

You can also experience symptoms of imbalanced hormones without having a specific “disorder.” It’s important to understand, however, that hormone problems typically do not pop up overnight.

In a small number of cases, women’s hormone problems may be the result of a direct malfunction with your ovaries or other aspect of your endocrine system. But most commonly the problems are the result of a combination of lifestyle factors.

As I. Michael Borkin N.M.D. wrote:

“People tend to think of women's "hormone problems" as starting in midlife with the onset of menopause. In fact, a dysfunctional pattern can begin during adolescent years or even before birth. The severity of hormonal problems may increase with age, but it is not aging per se that is the root of declining health.

It is most often the cumulative physiological effects of stress that cause disruption of the natural rhythms and balancing mechanisms of women's hormones, thereby eventually compromising overall health as well as sexual and reproductive health.”

Dr. Kalish also echoed this statement in our interview, and it is one I completely agree with.

Is Your Lifestyle Interfering With Your Hormonal Balance?

Female hormonal imbalances are often related to stress response. The more stress you’re under, the more it unbalances your cortisol levels. Not only is cortisol your primary stress hormone, it is a primary hormone in general, helping your body convert food into energy, normalize blood sugar, respond to stress and maintain your immune system’s inflammatory response.

When your cortisol levels become unbalanced due to chronic stress, this in turn deregulates your female hormones as well.

So what types of “stress responses” will interfere with your hormonal balance?

  • Emotional stress

  • Dietary stress

  • Pain and/or inflammatory stress

Really, any type of stress on your lifestyle can negatively impact the way your body’s hormones function, and that includes:

  • Too much work

  • Job loss

  • Financial trouble

  • Relationship or family problems

  • Eating a highly processed diet, too much junk food or fast food

  • Hidden inflammation from exposure to chemicals and toxins in your environment

  • Depletion of antioxidants or not consuming enough from your diet

Addressing Hormone Problems Begins With Changing Your Lifestyle

Treating hormone problems requires a whole-body approach, one that addresses the excess stress and unhealthy lifestyle habits that created the hormonal imbalance in the first place.

For example if you were to only measure female hormones and then replace them with bioidentical hormone therapy, you will virtually be guaranteed to fail because you have not addressed the underlying issues.

In this case it will likely only offer a short-term benefit and your symptoms will probably return.

So first start to address your hormone problems by making lifestyle changes, including:

  • Have powerful tools and strategies to address the current and past emotional traumas in your life. Prayer, meditation and meridian tapping techniques (MTT) can be very helpful here.

  • Listen to your body and rest when you feel tired (this includes during the day by taking short naps or just laying down, or sleeping in if you feel like it)

Once your lifestyle is healthy, then evaluate and balance your adrenal hormones, which I have discussed in detail in this past article.

It’s very important to take this step because weakened adrenals will not allow your hormones to equilibrate properly.

Then, only after changing your lifestyle and addressing your adrenal function, should you evaluate and balance your female hormones.

At this point you may want to see a physician well versed in bioidentical hormone replacement, and get tested to see if you could benefit from the use of DHEA. DHEA is a natural steroid and precursor hormone produced by the adrenals, and levels are often very low in people with adrenal fatigue and other hormone problems.

Keep in mind, of course, that DHEA is not a quick cure, and should not be used as a sole treatment.

Because your hormonal health is so important to your overall health and well-being, I highly recommend you work with a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner to help you rebalance your system.