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How Stress Can Trigger Hormonal Imbalance
Beth Ley Knotts, Ph.D
A hormonal imbalance can have a big impact on your quality of life. Hormonal imbalances can cause a variety of complications, from mood swings to anxiety to leg cramps and more.
And according to a recent survey of 2,000 American women ages 30 to 60, nearly half of them have experienced the symptoms of a hormone imbalance.
However, 72% of the respondents said they weren’t aware that their symptoms were related to hormone imbalances until after they experienced them.
“Starting our periods and ending our periods is mandatory. That’s a life cycle — but suffering and symptomatic is optional, and that’s a function of hormonal imbalance, whether we’re in our teens or in perimenopause or menopause age range.
While mood swings, hot flashes, and weight gain are understood to be symptoms of hormonal imbalance, urinary incontinence, brain fog, and memory loss can also be symptoms.

Other symptoms of hormonal imbalances include:
  • night sweats
  • leg cramps
  • vaginal dryness
  • weight gain
  • fatigue
  • sleep disturbances
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • loss of interest in sex

Americans are living life at 100 miles per hour, every day. It’s no wonder we have hormonal imbalances! , the root cause of hormonal imbalance is usually too much cortisol or stress hormone. Then it’s a downstream — every other hormone in our bodies is affected, including sex hormones and the thyroid.

The most important step to treating hormonal imbalances is to look for the root cause.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s stress. In our modern times, it can also be called overstimulation.
Stress can come from various places including:
  • getting too much exercise (especially cardio)
  • having too much sugar and flour in your diet
  • lack of sleep
  • drinking too much caffeine or alcohol
  • too much electronic stimulation or time on devices
  • having toxic people/relationships in your life
  • Traumatic events causing an emotional downfall

Age 36 is the average age that symptoms first start to occur. In the mid-30s are the PMS symptoms, irregular cycles, and heavier cramping, so birth control pills, antidepressants, and sleeping pills are often prescribed at that age. But these only address the symptom and not the cause of those symptoms.

Does diet impact hormonal imbalance?
Stress hormones and sex hormones start from the same basic building block: cholesterol.
We have to eat natural sources of cholesterol to make these hormones - egg yolks, grass-fed butter or ghee, and fatty fish like wild salmon.
We also have to control the sources of stress in our lives like caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and flour, for instance. Then our bodies will naturally direct the production of hormones toward the sex hormone pathway instead of the stress hormone pathway.
However, ketogenic diets are problematic. It can exacerbate a hormonal imbalance because it really increases stress hormone. Crash diets and intermittent fasting may also do this. Keto dieting can definately disrupt hormones!.
The most effective way to address hormonal imbalances is to focus on stress balance. Once we balance our stress, our hormones will naturally balance.