Hormonal imbalance problems have become commonplace among women – young and old alike. When it comes to women, progesterone and estrogen are two of the most important hormones for the reproductive system, sexual health and fertility. When women inch towards menopause, or the end of their menstrual cycles, it is normal to experience fluctuations in hormones. But an imbalance in estrogen levels can even happy among women who may be fighting with low body weight and nutritional deficiencies, irrespective of age. Let us find out more about the importance of hormonal health and how to balance estrogen levels.
What is estrogen?
Estrogen is one of the sex hormones important in the development and maintenance of sexual and reproductive health. From puberty to periods, and pregnancy to perimenopause and post-menopause, estrogen plays an important role. Naturally then, in women, it is common for estrogen levels to fluctuate during the menstrual cycle. Low estrogen levels are especially common when women hit menopause.
Whether you experience high or low estrogen levels, your body can show signs of hormonal imbalance in multiple ways. Awareness is important so that you can recognise symptoms when you are past normal estrogen levels. Knowing how to balance estrogen levels is about making the right changes in your diet and regular activities.
Also read: Estrogen dominance can be cancerous too!
To understand some ways to maintain healthy estrogen levels, Health Shots spoke to Dr. Anjali Kumar, a senior consultant gynecologist and obstetrician, and founder of Maatri Woman.
What are common signs of estrogen imbalance
- Irregular and missed periods
- Increased pain during sex
- Drop in sexual desire
- Mood swings and Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms
- Hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Tender breasts
- Night sweats
How to balance estrogen levels naturally?
1. Ensure protein intake in your diet for healthy estrogen levels
Protein is an important nutrient for the body. Not only does it boost strength and metabolism, but also supports essential body hormones. Sufficient protein intake boosts peptide hormones, which regulate hunger and prevent overeating, helping you maintain a balanced weight. If you have consistent problems with your estrogen levels, it is best to consult a nutritionist for proper diet management.
2. Manage your weight
A weight imbalance – being overweight or underweight – can cause hormonal imbalance. Obesity, notes the National Library of Medicine, leads to decreased levels of reproductive hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. This may hamper the ovulation process in women and may lead to infertility.
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To avoid this, ensure that you exercise regularly and consume a balanced diet. That’s because eating junk and physical inactivity will directly affect your sexual and reproductive health.
3. Gut health is important for hormonal balance
We are already aware that the gut microbiome comprises bacteria, fungi and other microbes that control digestion and immunity. This also impacts hormonal health. Any imbalances in the gut health can cause weight gain, insulin resistance and inflammation, which can affect estrogen levels. In general too, gut health can affect sex life. To keep your gut health in check, consume fiber-rich foods, drink adequate water to eliminate toxins, and avoid unhealthy foods by all means.
4. Watch your sugar intake
Excess sugar intake can be an enemy for your health in general. If you consume sugar moderately, it reduces your risk of conditions such as diabetes and obesity, which can hamper hormonal health. Reduce temptations of sugar-laden drinks and foods.
5. Keep stress levels under control
For all you know, your stress levels and lack of sleep may be impacting your estrogen levels. Therefore, in your quest to balance estrogen levels in your body, ensure that you are getting sleep quality and quantity. Stress and sleep are directly linked to each other, and these can affect estrogen, further leading to a reduced sex drive or vaginal dryness. Stress less and sleep well!
As you may have gathered, maintaining balanced estrogen levels after 40 requires attention to diet, exercise, stress management, and sleep. These factors play a significant role in overall hormonal health. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance based on your specific needs.