If you've suffered with hypothyroidism, PCOS, uterine fibroids, infertility, hormonal adult acne, estrogen dominance, brutal PMS symptoms, terrible menopause, or any other hormone imbalance...then you already know the crucial role that proper hormone balance plays our overall health and well-being.
But did you know that any of those hormone imbalances are actually a symptom of something else going on, and not the actual root cause?
This is where things get interesting.
We don't just wake up one day and our hormones are broken and out of balance for no reason, right? (Well, I guess you'll have to just trust me on this one.)
There are a variety of root causes that contribute to hormone imbalances, but these are the three I see most commonly:
- Poor digestive function
- Blood sugar disregulation
- Adrenal Fatigue caused by chronic stress and chronic cortisol output
Usually, though, it's a combination of two or all three.
So what can we do about it?
Well, we work on our digestion, eat a nutritious diet, work on blood sugar regulation and chronic stress, and then we do some DETOXIFICATION!
Today I'm going to pull back the curtain on one of my absolute favorite topics, which is: Detoxification for Hormone Balance
To get those hormone levels balanced and blissful, we have to address the factors that broke them in the first place, so I'm going to detail the 3 steps I teach in my full Adrenal Fatigue Detox online course to do just that.
If you want to just skip the reading and watch the Facebook Live video I did for my AFD course students alllllll about the importance of detoxification for hormone balance, just scroll down to the bottom of this post.
STEP 1: YOU HAVE TO WORK ON YOUR DIGESTION
Digestion plays a critical role in our hormone balance on a number of levels, and any improvement to digestive function is bound to have a positive effect on hormone balance. You can learn more about fixing digestion in previous blog posts HERE and HERE.
First and foremost, if you're not breaking down your food into the smallest possible nutrients that your body needs for making healthy hormones in the first place, you're already at a disadvantage. We have to give ourselves the raw materials that make healthy hormones, and you're not going to find those raw materials in Doritos or Taco Bell (unfortunately).
I said this list wasn't about food, but I lied because it is a little bit about food.
Eat some actual nutrients, because that's what your body is hungry for...not just empty calories!
Foods to include:
- Beets + Dandelion Root Tea
- Raw apple cider vinegar 20 min prior to meals
- Lots of raw / lightly cooked colorful veggies (highest in B vitamins)
- Healthy fats full of vitamins A, D, E & K (hormones are made from fat)
FIBER FIXES EVERYTHING
Here's a little anatomy lesson: In the colon, aka the large intestine, fiber from fruits and vegetables does a magic trick and binds to estrogen that has already done its job in the body and needs to be taken out of circulation.
Do you know what happens if you're not eating enough fiber (which is only found in food that comes from plants)?
That estrogen is re-absorbed into the bloodstream in addition to the new estrogen that has been produced, which contributes to estrogen dominance and a whole slew of resulting hormone issues such as:
- Uterine Fibroids
- Low progesterone
- Hormonal acne
- Infertility (due to low progesterone)
One more note on estrogen dominance: There is a lot of emerging evidence to support the theory that estrogen dominance encourages the growth of reproductive cancers...scary stuff! This is absolutely something we want to keep our eyes on.
Are you feeling a little overwhelmed, already? Don't worry...I'm going to teach you exactly what to do to get back on track.
SHOW YOUR LIVER SOME LOVE
Did you know that your liver has the crucial job of taking hormones out of the bloodstream, after they've done their work, and packaging them up to be removed from our bodies through the digestive tract?
Well, in addition to at least 499 other functions (not an exaggeration), that's what your liver does.
That's why it's so important to give it a little help! That liver is b.u.s.y. getting all the toxic garbage and used up hormones out of your bloodstream and cleaning house, and it needs all the help it can get.
Support your liver with:
- The nutrients listed above (beets, dandelion root and raw apple cider vinegar)
- Lots of water!
- Be mindful of the chemicals you're putting in and on your body and the toxic load it will present to your congested liver
That leads us to the next step in hormone regulation....
STEP 2: REMOVE ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
Now that we've talked food and poop (as usual) and how our digestion is crucial for getting rid of toxins and used up hormones in our bodies, we should discuss removing some of those damn toxins from our environments in the first place!
The truth is this: What you put on your skin and the air you breathe is a major contributor to the toxic load in your body.
Removing some of the most common offenders will go a long way for overall health and hormone balance, so let's look at the big 4:
Regardless of how you feel about artificial preservatives, flavorings and colorings in processed foods, I think we can agree on one thing: It's unnatural and therefore your body can't use it for fuel or anything positive.
That Red #5 food coloring does not get used in your body for building healthy skin and nails or making your eyesight sharper.
No, in fact, artificial food additives can do quite a bit of harm to various systems in our bodies (I should do an entire post on that, alone!) and they create quite a toxic load that our detoxification pathways have to deal with.
Our liver, kidneys and skin work really hard to detox the environmental toxins we take in everyday, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
Do you know what happens when the detoxification pathways aren't working optimally and get overrun?
Well, for one thing, our body balls those toxins up into adipose (fat) tissue and stores it around our internal organs or right on our asses and thighs for all the world to see.
No bueno, am I right? Don't worry....I'll be giving my best strategies for opening up those detox pathways in step 3.
Seems like a fancy term, but xenoestrogens means substances that mimic the effect of estrogen in our bodies.
Exposing our bodies to xenoestrogens contributes to estrogen dominance, and like I explained earlier in this post, estrogen dominance contributes to an entire hormone cascade that is also highly linked to increased risk of reproductive cancers like breast and ovarian.
Did you know that soy is a major xenoestrogen? (Put down the tofu!)
In fact, babies fed soy formula are at a much higher risk for Type 1 diabetes, autism, and ADHD and estrogen dominance (which is a really, REALLY bad thing for a little boy and his teeny weeny testes)...Read more about that HERE.
Think you don't eat any soy products? Well, if you eat any processed or fast foods, you eat a ton of it. Soy is a super cheap filler to use for almost any processed food function, so start reading your labels.
Where else do these xenoestrogens / phytoestrogens come from?
- Our food! (Soy products, low quality dairy, meat from animals treated with hormones to grow faster)
- Birth control pills (or other hormonal contraceptive)
- Unfiltered water (from pharmaceuticals contaminating the water supply)
- Chemicals called BPA's leached from plastic water bottles and linings of canned food and beverages (these mimic the effects of estrogen in the body)
- Phthalates in personal care products, supplements, prescription pills and detergents
TOXIC PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS
Does it surprise you that some of those xenoestrogens like phthalates and other known carcinogens and hormone disruptors are allowed into our skincare and makeup products, not to mention the cleaning products we use and air fresheners that pollute the air we breathe?
It is completely bananas, and I feel really strongly about this particular issue because of the false sense of security we have, in a highly regulated country like the United States, where it seems logical that something proven to make people sick wouldn't be allowed on the mass market.
That's where we're wrong.
The last time the United States passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products was in 1938. 1938!!!!
Obviously, most of the 80,000+ chemicals on the market today weren't even invented in 1938, and of the 1400+ that the European Union has regulated or banned from use in their products, the United States has only partially banned 30.
From the toxic baby lotion we smear all over our newborns to the bright blue detergents we "wash" our clothes in, these chemicals are entering our bodies through our skin day in and day out...and they are wrecking our hormones.
AIR FRESHENERS AND FUMES
Our skin isn't the only place we absorb environmental toxins...the air we breathe brings them right into our lungs.
Those plug-in air fresheners in every house, car and office building?
Full of hormone-wreckers.
Most scented candles, perfumes and fragranced body sprays?
Hormone wreckers that might also give you cancer.
Stop the madness, right? How is this even possible?
Well, fragrances are a marketing loophole that isn't doing us any favors. The ingredients in a fragrance's formulation are considered a "Trade Secret" and don't need to be disclosed by the manufacturer, which means it's anybody's guess what's in that Bath and Body Works stuff.
I know, it's depressing and kind of overwhelming, which is why I put together an entire Ultimate Product Guide post where I linked up all the wonderful (safer) products that I use everyday! Check that out HERE.
What about fumes from products in our jobs? Commuters stuck in traffic and cosmetologists...I'm talking to you!
Unfortunately, we'll never be able to completely escape toxic products, food additives, or polluted air from our jobs or offices....but luckily, we can help our bodies to detoxify that garbage much faster and efficiently, which is why step 3 is such a dandy.
STEP 3: DETOXIFICATION TIME
Our bodies are detoxifying all the time, so it's not necessary to do a "cleanse" or "detox" to supercharge that process.
In fact, quickly releasing stored toxins via a cleanse or detox can be really problematic if your detoxification pathways aren't working optimally, because those toxins have no where to go but recirculate in your body and cause more harm. No bueno.
To make sure your detox doesn't become a re-tox, you're going to get a bit creative.
What's that? Coffee enema? Alrightythen.
Since our bodies are already working overtime to get those toxins and used-up hormones out of circulation, we just need to support those systems and/or give them a little break.
By helping with digestion (which was Step 1) we're really doing our liver and colon a favor by making the whole process easier. Check.
By removing some of the unnecessary environmental toxins that are disrupting our hormone balance and clogging up our liver and kidneys (Step 2) we really stepped up our game.
And now? It's time to get our hands dirty (all puns obviously intended) and use some other means to get those stored toxins out of our bodies for good with Step 3.
Let me detail some of my favorite methods:
Let's just jump right in with this one, shall we? Many a hormonally-challenged lady has tried coffee enemas as a means to quickly detoxify a congested liver, and that's because it works like a charm.
Obviously, this method is not for the faint of heart, but if you are desperate for quick results, a coffee enema is your ticket. You can get a kit like this on Amazon and hit YouTube for a tutorial, because this is where my enema education ends.
CASTOR OIL PACKS
Have you ever heard of a castor oil pack? It can be a little messy, but the effectiveness can't be denied.
Essentially, you soak fabric in castor oil and then bind it, ideally with a little heat, to your abdomen. Over the course of a few hours, toxins from the liver are drawn out through your skin and into the castor oil-soaked fabric.
Again, you'll want to consult YouTube for the actual "how-to" on this technique, but I highly recommend it as a great DIY detox trick.
My personal favorite! Saunas induce sweating, which brings toxins to the surface of the skin with the sweat, where we can bypass the overworked liver and digestive tract entirely.
If you have the space and funds, you can get a far infrared sauna for your home, like I have! It may seem extravagant, but I use that thing all. the. time. If this is an investment you're considering, I recommend looking for used ones on Craigslist that someone bought and hardly ever used. Their loss...your gain.
The benefits of regular saunas (or any type of major sweating where you wash off that toxic sweat before it gets re-absorbed into the skin) is a really effective way to detox like crazy, which is a mega hormone-helper.
I know that saunas aren't going to work for everyone to work up a sweat, so I'll let you in on a little secret: You can get just as much sweating done in a hot detox bath.
By dissolving 1-2 cups of epsom salts and 1/2 cup of aluminum-free baking soda in a HOT bath, you've created a magnesium-rich detoxifying (and stress-relieving) oasis. Note: Don't use any soap in the bath as that counteracts some of the toxin-pulling properties of the soak.
You'll want to add essential oils for some ambiance, then soak for 30-40 minutes. Make sure the temperature is hot enough that your face gets sweaty! That's when you'll know you're detoxing like crazy.
BONUS: Take a detox bath after every flight in an airplane. The radiation we're exposed to at high altitudes causes an ionic reaction in our bodies that needs to be detoxified...and a detox bath is just the thing for it.
Again, we'll use our skin to do the heavy lifting of detoxification for us.
By using a dry brush to briskly brush our skin from extremities towards our heart, we activate our lymphatic system and help move fluid and toxins towards our organs, as well as removing the toxins from the surface of our skin.
I demonstrated the technique in the video below, which was originally a Facebook live training video in the private student community of my Adrenal Fatigue Detox course.
Watch the video below for more tips on detoxification for hormone balance.
Now you know that you are just one coffee enema away from perfect hormone balance! 😉 Ok, I kid.
Really, though, it's so important that we pay attention to the toxins in our environments and then give a little support to the systems of our bodies that are working so hard to get that junk back out....especially when we're already dealing with the symptoms of hormone imbalances.
And if that means multiple hot baths, alone, in peace and quiet, each week? All the better. It's for your health!