As Hippocrates pointed out over 2,500 years ago: “All disease begins in the gut”. The gut is the gateway to health and there isn’t a condition where improving gut health doesn’t lead to an improvement in how you feel.
The key to balanced hormones is a healthy gut as they’re intimately connected
You’ve probably heard of the microbiome – the diverse community of bugs that inhabit our gut ecosystem. But have you heard of the ‘estrobolome’? It’s a complete set of bacterial genes that code for enzymes that metabolise estrogen within the gut. So your gut can either predispose you to having too much or too little estrogen (based on how certain species of gut bacteria metabolise estrogen). Your gut is part of the elimination system that is vital in removing hormones out of the body.
Let’s look at an example of where too much estrogen in the body can cause health issues
If you have estrogen dominance (as a result of a poorly functioning microbiome), it can lead to hormonal imbalance symptoms, including infertility, PMS, weight issues, sore breasts, headaches, mood swings, low libido, menstrual irregularities and heavy bleeding to name but a few. Gut dysbiosis can increase levels of certain estrogen metabolites that are inflammatory and proliferate, which can make you more susceptible to estrogen-led cancers like breast cancer. Dysbiosis can also promote intestinal permeability (aka leaky gut) which also leads to inflammation, further disrupting hormonal balance in many different ways.
How Do You Know If you Have Gut Dysbiosis?
These are often the first obvious symptoms and signs you will see:
- Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhoea or constipation
- Skin issues; acne, rashes, psoriasis
- Foggy brain and headaches
- Frequent illness
- Mood swings, depression or anxiety
You can read more about gut dysbiosis here.
So what does this mean for you?
It means that your gut health is just as important now as ever!
How Do You Maintain a Healthy Microbiome For Happier Hormones?
Food is your best friend when it comes to healing your gut and balancing your hormones. However that also means poor dietary choices can play a big role in compromising your gut/hormone health. Refined sugar, vegetable oils, gluten, processed and convenient foods are major culprits in exacerbating bacterial imbalances because they are difficult to digest and can really slow down the gut recovery process. Consistently consuming these kinds of inflammatory foods can set you up for a downward spiral.
It’s also important you remove any hidden stressors – environmental toxins, stress, underlying infections, chemicals in your food or water, over use of antibiotics, etc.
You can start by soothing the gut with healing, nourishing and nurturing foods that reduce inflammation. These include fresh, spray-free vegetables, homemade fermented foods, slow-cooked meals and soups using bone broth as the base, fresh seafood (if tolerated), quality fats, herbs and spices like turmeric.
The following blogs provide more in depth information on how you can support your gut health/healing:
- How Your Digestion Impacts Hormone Imbalance and Weight Gain by Hormones & Balance
- How to Choose a Probiotic (Bugs) and the Importance of Prebiotics (Food)
- Fibre & Its Benefits…Beyond Regularity
- 5 Health Tips for Healing Leaky Gut
- Why You Need to Eat Fermented Foods
- Beat the Bloat: How to Reduce Bloating and Improve Gut Health
- What is Biofilm & How Can it Affect the Health of My Gut?
Bottom line: The key to balanced hormones is a healthy gut with a wide range of bacterial microflora
So if you’re struggling with hormonal imbalances, I urge you to start by looking after your gut (if you aren’t already). Read the above blogs for more information so you’re armed with knowledge, or reach out for support and guidance if you need it by contacting your preferred healthcare professional.