Acupuncture: A Simple Remedy for Tricky Hormone Imbalances

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Hello Friends!

As a Chinese medicine practitioner, my life revolves around balance. I love it when things fall into place and I can help my patients’ bodies work like the well-oiled machines they were meant to be.
One of the main issues we work with to get to that point is hormone imbalance. Hormones are complex, tricky, changeable, and downright frustrating at times. They can be sneaky culprits in our unexplained health issues or sabotage all our good efforts.
But, there is good news! Acupuncture excels at putting hormones in their place. I want to share with you the basics of hormone health and highlight just how amazing acupuncture can be to strike a healthy balance.

First of all, what are hormones?!

The hormonal/endocrine system is an intricate, complex messaging system the body uses to carry out necessary functions, transitions, and growth.
Hormones themselves are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system. These hormones travel through our blood to tissues and organs, where they relay a message that causes the body to react in a particular way. For instance, hormones are responsible for regulating our reproductive cycles, our metabolism, when we go to sleep, our moods, and even how fast we grow.

How do I know if my hormones are out of balance?

With so many different hormones and systems in place, the endocrine system easily falls out of balance. Not to mention, our modern lifestyles are packed with “endocrine disruptors” – foods, chemicals, toxins, and habits that throw our delicate balance off.
Here are a few common signs that your hormones may be imbalanced:
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Changes in sweating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sensitivity to cold and heat
  • New skin conditions, very dry skin, rashes
  • Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, or blood sugar
  • Changes in appetite, thirst, and bathroom habits
  • Gut health changes, bloating, puffiness,
  • Reduced sex drive, infertility issues, or menstrual issues
  • Unexplained mood changes, anxiety, depression, irritability
  • Fatigue, headaches, blurred vision
  • Unusual hair growth or voice changes in females
While these are the main issues doctors look for when diagnosing hormone imbalances, there could be other signs that are less obvious. Many people may simply feel like they are not themselves, or they experience health problems that don’t shift with healthy changes. Some may struggle with weight loss, albeit doing everything “right.” Mood swings and emotional struggles can be linked to hormone imbalances, especially in women.

The takeaway message here is that hormones are tricky! They can be at the root of many health issues – mild or severe. If you feel off, can’t get on top of your health, or your health issues are unexplained, it’s time to look at your hormones.

Hormones and Women’s Health Issues

Women have a special relationship with hormones, as they go through natural fluctuations and shifts each month – even week, by week. Women also transition through a major hormone shift during menopause which can lead to some pesky problems like hot flashes and night sweats. While these shifts open the door for imbalances to occur more easily, it also gives us a clear vision into our overall health and opportunities to correct our imbalances.
Hormone imbalances in women usually pertain to estrogen and progesterone levels, but these two hormones also affect other hormones in the body (as well as neurotransmitters like serotonin). As estrogen and progesterone fluctuate, women can experience a range of issues.
For women, key signs that your hormone balance is off may include overwhelming fatigue, stubborn weight gain, mood swings, changes in skin, fluctuations in sex drive, and menstrual issues like painful periods, infertility, PCOS, or endometriosis.

Hormones and Men’s Health Issues

Men’s health also relies on maintaining a healthy hormone balance. Like women, men’s hormones are intricately linked and require balance throughout the body for true health.
For men, the key hormone is testosterone, which is considered a yang-type hormone. A key problem for men as they age is the decline in testosterone. As testosterone diminishes, the sex drive weakens, and issues like erectile dysfunction can develop. Men may also experience issues in regulating cortisol, insulin, and thyroid hormones when managing their weight, sleep, and mood.

How can acupuncture help balance my hormones?

Despite all the trouble that hormones can cause, we do have some helpful tools for setting them right.
As a Chinese medicine practitioner, my tool of choice is, of course, acupuncture! Acupuncture is a gentle, yet profound way to ease your hormones back into their normal balance naturally.
Acupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body that correspond to hormone regulation. In Chinese medicine, these points are geared towards affecting the natural balance of yin and yang. We can think of hormones in terms of yin and yang, too. Estrogen, for instance, is a yin hormone. It encourages moisture, fullness, and the female processes of egg production and uterine lining. Testosterone, on the other hand, is yang. It encourages action, toughness, and other male-type characteristics.
Acupuncture also affects other important hormones, like cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone and is released by the adrenals during fight-or-flight. Unfortunately, we tend to live our lives in a perpetual stress response! This means we have consistently high levels of cortisol which later lead to sleep issues, mood swings, weight gain, and more. Acupuncture helps to reduce cortisol levels and improve our response to stress to keep cortisol levels managed.

The best thing about using acupuncture to regulate hormones is that it doesn’t just force your body into the “correct” balance like hormone replacement therapy or medications. Instead, acupuncture helps your body make the natural changes needed to restore the balance itself. Because we are actually fixing the problem rather than covering it up, other related issues tend to disappear along the way and we are left healthier and happier for it!

The Most Common Hormonal Issues that Acupuncture Solves

Weight gain and slow metabolism: Issues with weight management are often related to insulin, thyroid hormones, cortisol, and estrogen. The key to balance these issues is to look at the whole picture. In my experience, people who are struggling with their weight often have a variety of underlying issues going on, so we do some detective work to find the best path. This may involve acupuncture to regulate hormones, supplements to establish a healthy gut, and mindfulness exercises to beat stress and cravings.
Fertility, menstruation, and menopause: Thankfully, infertility and painful periods are often improved by taking a closer look at the hormone picture. From here, we can strategically use acupuncture and herbal treatments to right the imbalances and encourage healthy menstruation.
Issues like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and hair loss are common in menopause and tend to relate to drops in estrogen. Chinese medicine views this as a decrease in the body’s yin and works to nourish and restore the yin through special points and herbal formulas.

Mental health and stress: Believe it or not, our mental health is closely tied to our hormone balance. Unregulated hormones can cause turbulent moods, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and general emotional distress. Acupuncture not only soothes and calms the mind but works to keep hormones in balance to prevent these issues down the line.

Acupuncture + a Balanced Lifestyle = Hormone Health

While acupuncture is my go-to for hormone imbalances, coming in for regular treatment is only half the battle. The best results happen when we also shift our lifestyle to encourage and maintain a healthy balance.
In addition to our hormone-balancing acupuncture visits, I help you find a moderate exercise routine that works for you, a gut-healthy diet plan, individualized supplements, and daily mindfulness practices that give you the total hormone reset.
It’s time to take back control of your hormones, for good! Book your consultation here and let’s start living life in balance!

Hi! I'm Angela

Acupuncturist, Herbalist, Integrative Wellness Consultant and Mood-Gut expert.

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