How to Balance Hormones for Women…Fast!

As a woman, hormone balance is an essential part of living a healthy and happy life, but most women still experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance at some point in their life. Yet despite how common these symptoms are, you likely don’t recognize them for what they are, or are quick to dismiss important signs of hormone related conditions. Let’s not waste any more time letting hormones take control–learn how to spot the signs of hormonal imbalances, then the fastest ways to get your hormones back in line, so you can live a healthy life free from discomfort or pain.

The world of hormone balance is complex–there’s a lot of moving parts, and so many different hormones that it quickly gets overwhelming. But here’s what to remember: At every stage, your hormones are the chemical messengers that regulate:

  • metabolism
  • mood
  • reproduction
  • sleep
  • digestion

When factors like high stress, an unhealthy diet, illness, over-exercising, or environmental toxins interfere, your endocrine (hormone) system produces too much or too little of a certain hormone. This is the basis of all hormonal imbalances.

Hormonal imbalances manifest in your overall health as mood swings, unexplained weight gain, poor digestive health, acne, irregular periods, trouble sleeping, breast tenderness, and even infertility.

At the mercy of out-of-control hormones? As an integrative doctor, I usually recommend resetting your gut.

In Eastern medicine, these powerful hormones are called “Qi” and you can think of them like your body’s energy or life force. Qi is the battery that provides us the basic energy to power all our life functions. When Qi is abundant, our ability to adapt to disease, illness and stress is optimal. Stress, aging, or an unhealthy lifestyle can slowly drain our supply of Qi, and when this happens our body becomes unbalanced.

If you’re feeling like your hormone levels, energy, or Qi is unbalanced, then these next paragraphs will help you figure out the next step on your journey.

You’ll know exactly how to spot balanced hormones, plus my 7 most effective holistic tips to get your hormones balanced fast.

Related: Which Hormones Should You Track? Here’s a simple list>>

Spotting Imbalanced Hormones

How will you know if you’re dealing with a hormonal imbalance? If you identify with one or more of these statements, it’s time to look deeper into your hormonal health.

You’re tired all the time

Relying on caffeine to get you through your morning? And often during the afternoon, too? Of course, things like stress, and a demanding lifestyle influence energy levels, but fatigue that never lifts can be a big sign of hormonal imbalance. Ongoing fatigue may be a sign that you’re not making enough thyroid hormone, or that your thyroid gland isn’t responding to signals to produce sufficient amounts. Other symptoms of a low thyroid include weight gain, hair loss, and cold hands & feet.

Nearly 12% of people will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime, but up to 60% of people are totally unaware they have a problem. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) Women are also 5 to 8 times more likely to develop a thyroid condition than men (1).

Read more: The Holistic Approach to Hypothyroidism

It’s really, really hard to lose weight (and it seems to stick around your belly)

Weight gain or trouble losing weight is maybe the most frustrating symptom of hormone imbalance. No matter how much you exercise, or how long you stick with a healthy diet–the belly bloat won’t budge.

Often, weight gain around the middle is linked to either stressed out adrenal glands or insulin resistance with PCOS. Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects nearly 1 in every 10 women, and is also the culprit behind excess body hair (but hair loss on your head), an irregular menstrual cycle, and fertility struggles.

Related: PCOS Diet for Weight Loss

You’re waking up at night

Not sleeping well at night should be a major heads up to re-examine your overall health as well as lifestyle choices. Consistent, and adequate sleep is literally one of the best tools for health, anti-aging, and balancing hormones–I formulated Sleep Savior with this in mind (2). So, not only is it a sign that hormones may be imbalanced, but it can also help you balance hormones. Shop sleep savior.

If you’re in your 30s or older, one hormone you’ll want to keep an eye on is cortisol. This hormone is produced by stress, but as long as it stays balanced–you’re in the clear. Because it regulates energy levels, it should be highest in the morning and lowest at night. 

If cortisol is high all day long or spikes at night, it’s a sign that your adrenals are taxed and your hormonal imbalance is likely caused by stress.

Dive deeper: Is it Adrenal Fatigue? 7 Signs you’re on the road to burnout.

You’ve lost that *spark*

If you’ve ever felt like you’ve lost that special something, your zest for life–and your partner–then you know what I’m talking about. Maybe it’s a shift in energy–a change in your Qi–or perhaps situational factors like high stress, or the life of a busy mom. Either way, the last thing you’re interested in is your hubby winking at you from across the dinner table.

Having a healthy sex drive is a really important marker for hormone health (3). This is because the hormones that regulate libido, like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, also regulate your mood, sleep, mental health, and metabolism. If your libido has gone missing for an extended period of time–it’s time to find out why.

You might like: 6 Ways to Liven Up Libido (in a day!)

You have anxiety, depression, or experience mood swings

As a woman, you experience a lot of complex emotional thoughts and feelings throughout the month, but if your emotional health is negatively impacting your wellbeing, that of your relationships, or your day-to-activities, it’s definitely not normal and is a sign that estrogen and progesterone may be out of sync.

PMS is a sign or hormonal imbalance known for causing changes in mood that can start up to 2 weeks prior to your period. Because of this, you might not connect depressed or anxious feelings with a hormonal imbalance. And despite what you may have heard, PMS that interferes with your life is not normal for women.

Your period is irregular

This one may seem obvious, but I’ve spoken to women who were told it was normal to go months without having a period, despite not being on any kind of birth control. 

The fact is, a healthy menstrual cycle is a product of a symphony or hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, that are also the same hormones involved in regulating your mood, metabolism, mental health, libido, digestion, and so much more! If you’re not cycling, we need to find out why!

Is PCOS to blame for your missing period? Read 9 Unexpected Signs of PCOS

You have poor digestion

We already know that digestive health affects the health of the whole body, but it can also provide clues about what’s up with your hormones. If you’re constipated, it might be a sign of excess estrogen levels (4). Many women who feel bloated or sluggish after eating meals may be experiencing reduced insulin sensitivity associated with PCOS.

No matter what, when you’re experiencing any digestive symptoms, it’s important to find out what the trigger is before it starts a domino effect with your health.

Read more: What’s the Gut-Hormone Connection?

Now that you have a better idea of how to spot a hormone imbalance, let’s take a look at the quickest ways to fix a hormonal imbalance.

Can you balance hormones naturally?

The truth: Hormone shifts are natural. But suffering is not. Period problems, endometriosis, PCOS, fertility struggles, miserable menopause symptoms…

None of these should be an expected and accepted part of being a woman as we’re often told they are. We also shouldn’t accept that being a woman is a medical condition. Being a woman is not a disease to be treated.

Many of the reasons your hormones are struggling are due to things you can control. And you can gently adjust those factors without feeling overwhelmed or unsure if what you’re doing is helping.

My 30-Day Hormone Reset Method inside our upcoming Bootcamp gives you the tools to personalize your hormone balancing journey so you have the right tools for YOUR body. For YOUR hormones.

Inside, you’ll learn how to:
– Find Your Dominant Hormone Pattern
– Build a personalized diet, supplement and fitness plan for you
– Learn how to tell if your body is experiencing a hormone shift
– Understand your wiring, and how your personality, emotions, & community influence your hormones
– Identify 5 changes you can make to balance hormones naturally

>>>Learn more about the 30-day hormone reset here!

How long does it take to balance hormones?

Hormone imbalances aren’t created overnight, and similarly, it can take some time to fix them. For many women, it can take up to 3 cycles, or sometimes even longer to see consistent changes in how you’re feeling. You may notice more energy, weight loss, and less bloating soon after starting a hormone healthy diet. But it could take a few months before things like regular menstrual cycles or improved fertility.

Want a shortcut straight to better hormone health? In practice, I always begin by resetting the gut.

The Quickest (Natural) Ways to Balance Your Hormones Fast

To regain balanced hormone levels, you’ll want to start with the two most important pillars: nutrition and lifestyle.

First, you’ll want to begin by tracking your cycle, and evaluating the feedback your body provides. Then, you can begin eating and making lifestyle changes in a way that better aligns with your hormones.

Biohack for better sleep

Remember that low libido? The anxious feelings and sometimes-erratic mood swings? How about weight gain or sugar cravings? If you want to put these troublesome hormone imbalance symptoms to bed, your first step on your journey should be dialing in a great night’s sleep. To get a better night’s sleep, here are my non-negotiables:

  • Keep your bedroom clean, calm, and cool
  • Put down devices at least an hour before bed
  • Spend time in natural light in the morning
  • Prioritize movement, even if just a 20 minute walk or stretching (bonus points if it’s also outside!)

I developed Sleep Savior to promote mental relaxation and a restful night’s sleep. It helps keep cortisol in check and helps sustain sleep (especially if you’re perimenopausal).

Reduce stress

When you’re stressed, your body makes a hormone called cortisol. And even thought it plays a role in lots of necessary functions, when it’s too high–your body chooses to put sex hormone production on the back burner. Over time, this can lead to something known as HPA axis dysregulation (also sometimes referred to as adrenal fatigue).

To put a stop to your body pumping out excess stress hormones, it’s important to take an honest look at how you’re dealing with chronic stress. This is especially important if you’re dealing with perimenopause or menopause symptoms like hot flashes or night sweats.

Adaptogens like ashwagandha or reishi can help with stress reduction, as can activities like starting with guided meditation or journaling in the early morning. All these actions help your body deal with cortisol levels in a healthy way and pave the way for your body to make female hormones like estrogen and progesterone.

Read more: Extra Tired and Over 30? Pay Attention to Your Adrenals

Incorporate healthy fats into your diet

The kind of food you eat matters! And the right kinds of fats make a big difference in hormone health and help you regulate your menstrual cycle. You can add more hormone-friendly fats to your diet like:

  • fatty fish
  • eggs
  • avocado
  • coconut
  • olive oil
  • nuts and seeds

These all support healthy adrenal glands and provide the raw ingredients necessary to bolster hormone production in the adrenals. Fats are also great to balance blood sugar and promote insulin sensitivity, especially important for women with PCOS, or if you’re trying to lose weight.

Learn more about the holistic way to lose weight (and keep it off!)>>

Get off the sugar roller coaster

Eating significant amounts of sugars and refined carbohydrates like cakes, pasta, bread, cookies, and soda wrecks hormonal balance. Eating these foods often creates abrupt highs and lows in blood sugar that not only promote body fat storage, but they can increase inflammatory markers that interfere with hormone communication.

Instead, aim for balanced meals with proteins, healthy fats, and fiber-rich carbohydrates in the form of vegetables and minimally-processed whole grains like quinoa or oats.

WATCH: Which Diet Is Right for Me?

Eat your veggies! Especially broccoli

The amazing nutrients in plant foods deserve their own special mention for balancing hormones. Among the benefits of vegetables, they’re a good source of fiber to help balance estrogen levels. Fiber helps you have healthy bowel movements, which gives excess estrogen a healthy way to be eliminated from your body.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale also contain a beneficial phytonutrient called diindolylmethane (DIM) that helps break down and detox estrogen before it can recirculate and worsen issues like PMS, estrogen dominance, and certain estrogen-sensitive cancers (5).

My favorite types of fiber-rich plant foods are:

  • berries (all kinds)
  • avocado
  • leafy greens (like kale, chard, arugula)
  • avocado 
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • leeks

Try this week: The best green smoothie to get rid of bloating

More Ways to Fix Hormone Imbalance

Get the right nutrients

Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy hormones. A holistic practitioner can help you determine which supplements work well for your needs, but there are a few basics that work well for most women. These include vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and a bioavailable B complex vitamin.

For women: Get the fully-activated B vitamins you need.

Keep moving (but in the right way)

Which type of workout is the best for your body? Choose the right type of exercise based on your cycle, and body type. For example, in the middle of your cycle around ovulation, you might enjoy a high energy HIIT workout; while just before you start your period, or during the first few days of your cycle, something calmer like yoga or tai chi would better suit your needs.

Read more: Stop Overexercising! Find the best workout for your type.

All types of exercise are beneficial to balance hormones naturally, and to boost metabolic health. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of daily movement. I always recommend to my patients to find something they enjoy–whether that’s walking or hula-hooping–and focus on creating a daily habit before jumping into more intense exercise.

Stay well hydrated

Drinking water is essential for better health! You should drink at least half your body weight in ounces daily, and possibly more if you’re exercising. Keep a water bottle (preferably glass, ceramic, or stainless steel) with you at work, or around the house to remind yourself to drink regularly.

You might also consider a water filter, which removes potentially endocrine-disrupting compounds from tap or well water. These xenoestrogens (and other toxins) mimic hormones like estrogen in your body, but actually contribute to hormonal imbalance.