Gut Health & Hormone Imbalance
Many women suffer from hormonal imbalances. Your gut flora delves deeper than just digestion. It has a direct link to every aspect of your body’s health. There are trillions of different flora living in your gut and serve many different functions. Due to medications, antibiotics, environmental toxins, chronic stress, a highly processed diet, our gut flora gets damaged and pathogens are able to grow. Different pathogens including yeasts extend their tentacles into the gut wall creating holes resulting in “leaky gut”. Things slip through these holes that should not resulting in an immune response and inflammation in different areas of the body and also leading to hormonal imbalances along with insulin resistance.
Hormones are a group of cells made by the endocrine glands and are the body’s chemical messengers. They travel throughout your bloodstream to different tissues and organs. They play a key role in different function such as metabolism, growth and development, sexual function, reproduction and mood. There are endocrine glands producing hormones located in different glands such as the pituitary, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. It is all interconnected. Having too much or not enough hormone can result in many issues such as diabetes, hypo- or hyper thyroid, PCOS, menstrual issues, and premenstrual syndrome. Lets take a quick look at some of the major hormone producing glands:
Hypothalamus: this helps to regulate body temperature, hunger, mood, and libido
Thyroid: regulates heart beat and how your body uses calories
Adrenal Glands: produce stress hormones
Pancreas: produces insulin to utilize food as energy
Ovaries: release sex hormones in direct relation to the menstrual cycle
Testes: produces testosterone and sperm
There are many other factors that can play a role in gut health and hormones such as our emotions, diet, medications and antibiotics, and chronic stress. Chronic periods of stress and anxiety can lead to changes in cortisol levels in the body also impeding hormone production. From the GAPS diet blog, it states, “As a result, your body must steal from its own stores of progesterone to make more cortisol, which depletes this necessary balancing hormone, leading to estrogen dominance.”
Estrogen is primarily made by the ovaries and adrenal glands. Estrogen has a role in both men and women. In women, it helps to regulate body fat, the female reproductive system, heart health, bones, brain and memory. For men, estrogen play a role in the maturation of sperm and libido.
When we have gut dysbiosis, the liver is unable to properly metabolize estrogen. From there it goes to the bile to get excreted by the digestive system. When the microbiome is not functioning optimally, there is an accumulation in estrogen in some due to this not being excreted properly. This can result in many issues that impact many women today such as PMS, weight gain, estrogen linked cancers, endometriosis, infertility, and mood issues.
In Becky Plotner’s blog she reports, “Schwartz says hormones are usually the root cause of why women suffer from a less than substantial life. The hormones are linked to the thyroid and once they are working correctly, you feel like you’re in your prime. She says, “When we are young, it is the abundance and perfectly tuned balance of hormones that makes us vital, wrinkle-free, sexually turned on and quick to recover from colds and flu.””
Dr. Natasha explains how oral contraceptives can seriously damage healthy gut flora. Synthetic oral contraceptives can deplete vitamins and nutrients leading to deficiencies. They can also severely disrupt the body’s natural hormone balance.
The GAPS diet protocol can repair and heal your microbial gut flora which in turn can rebalance hormones connected to all of these other areas of the body. It provides the essential nutrients the body needs to properly make these hormones. When we heal and seal the gut, we see healing in every aspect of health.
If you think you have a hormone imbalance and would like to learn more about rebalancing your hormones please contact me!