The Emotional Causes Of Hormonal Imbalances
Your body is smart; it knows when something's wrong, which is why we need to change the mindset of hormonal health. We need to stop thinking like a diagnostician, picking apart our periods and taking different supplements for different imbalances. Instead, we need to start thinking like the intuitive women we are, addressing those needs that are going unmet.
If I handed you a checklist of how to eat and what to do, you’d do it, and you’d feel better, but you wouldn’t heal. But what’s really going on? For one of my clients, it was feeling trapped — she ovulated for the first time in a year the day she quit her job. For another woman, it was feeling unloved. Her cycle regulated the moment she realized she was pushing her boyfriend away.
The absolute best thing I can do is help you unlock your own inner wisdom. That part of you that knows where you’re hurting, that knows what needs nourished, but just might not know how exactly that relates to your endocrine health. It might not be measurable, or even completely explainable. But your body knows what it needs.
Thankfully, there are some clues as to which emotional hurdles may be causing your hormonal imbalances. Start the conversation with yourself to address what may be triggering your amenorrhea, polycystic ovaries, and hypothyroidism, which are three of the most common complaints I hear as a coach.
Anovulation or Amenorrhea
Control, perfectionism, self-pressure, harsh inner critic. These are words I hear every day from my healthy, beautiful, amenorrheic clients. The person who says these words has a vocabulary loaded with “I shoulds,” and not nearly enough “I’m allowed tos.” She blames her body for not responding to all her efforts, and forgets to thank it for keeping her alive. Lacking a compassionate language of self-love, many women try to earn their worth through exercise and eating healthy. Receiving constant criticism (either from herself or others), her endocrine system shuts down in an effort to protect her precious nervous system.
By taking a step back, most of these women might realize they're trying too hard. That by giving themselves permission to break their own rules they can stop putting so much pressure on themselves and heal their hormonal imbalances. That they don’t “have” to do all the things they are packing into their already busy schedules. Ask yourself if you feel comfortable in your own skin. Do you feel worthy? Loved?
Polycystic Ovaries or PCOS
There's a reason PCOS has become an epidemic in cultures where women are oppressed. On a subconscious level, feelings of inferiority or weakness associated with how a woman feels in her skin can trigger endocrine responses. Symptoms can include excess facial hair, acne, and half-cooked eggs that just can’t make it through the ovaries. These symptoms signal an imbalance between feminine and masculine energies. Tipped in a more masculine direction, the sufferer's endocrine system follows suit and takes on a more androgynous approach to reproduction.
Ask yourself if you’ve ever tried to stop tears because you felt that showing emotion would be a sign of weakness? Have you ever exercised with the intent of achieving peak physical fitness? Have you ever worked a 50 or 60-hour work week to make a name for yourself? What feels “not good enough” in your life? What are you trying to make up for?
Underactive Thyroid or Hypothyroidism
I absolutely love the thyroid gland because it's like the reigning goddess of all your reproductive hormones. Without this lady intact, the rest of the system suffers: Menstrual cycles go missing and pregnancies miscarry. But the fact that the thyroid is situated right up against your voice box is no accident. Imbalances of the thyroid often result when women aren’t speaking their truth.
Because we tend to bury our deepest desires, this one often takes several coaching sessions to get to, but when thyroid hormones are low this is always the first place I look. Ask yourself if you’re living your true calling? If not, what's holding you back? Learn what’s keeping you from living your truest life and you’ll begin to unravel the emotional causes of your thyroid distress so you can get back to baby making (if, when all is said and done, this is truly what you want).
Write Your Own Prescription
These are big questions with big answers and only you know if these are the right ones to ask. But by diving right into what’s causing your hormonal disturbances, you can heal your body in a beautiful way. Start each day with some tea and a journal, and let yourself write freely for three pages. Through journaling, or working with a coach, you can start unraveling the barriers that are stopping you from living your fertile life!
Ready to learn more about what anxiety, brain health, and your diet all have in common? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Dr. Mark Hyman.