How to Balance Hormones: Gut Health and Lifestyle Changes

How to Balance Hormones: Gut Health and Lifestyle Changes

Foundational Principles for Regulating Hormones Naturally 

Key Points

  • Common signs and symptoms of female hormone imbalance include appetite changes, weight gain (or difficulty with weight loss), pain, low energy, altered digestive function, mood changes, abnormal periods, low sex drive, body temperature fluctuations, fertility issues, and skin/hair changes.
  • Lifestyle treatments, including diet, restful sleep, herbal supplements, probiotics, exercise, and stress management, are effective ways of balancing female hormones in menstruating and menopausal women.
  • Combination herbal supplement preparations seem to be more effective when compared to single herbal supplements for balancing hormones.
  • Good gut health may stabilize your hormone levels and in turn help to reduce symptoms related to hormonal fluctuations.

If you’re struggling with your appetite and energy, unexplained weight gain, mood changes, digestive distress, and low sex drive, you’re not alone. Many women (and men) experience the symptoms of hormonal imbalance at some point in their lives. 

There are many different tests, programs, and products promising to teach you how to balance hormones. Since the main contributors to hormone harmony are diet, gut health, and lifestyle, our simple, comprehensive approach is not only effective, but also a cost-efficient way to address hormone imbalances. 

We’ll start with the foundation, which is a whole-foods, anti-inflammatory meal plan, followed by probiotics to target gut health. Sleep, stress, and exercise are additional priorities, so we’ll use yoga, meditation, and walking in nature to help target the root causes of your symptoms.

In this article, we’ll break down the signs and symptoms of common female hormonal imbalances along with their causes. We’ll also dive into the best natural remedies and approaches for balancing hormones, and touch on hormone testing. 

Female Hormone Imbalance: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes

It’s completely normal to experience some of the following signs and symptoms occasionally. But if you struggle with these frequently and they’re affecting your quality of life, it may indicate a hormonal imbalance that needs to be addressed [1 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 2 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 3 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

  • Appetite changes
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Pain
  • Low energy
  • Altered or irregular bowel movements
  • Mood changes
  • Irregular periods
  • Poor digestion
  • Low sex drive
  • Body temperature fluctuations
  • Fertility issues
  • Skin and/or hair changes

Female hormonal imbalances likely develop from a combination of factors. Many of these are modifiable, such as diet, metabolic health, smoking, alcohol use, chronic inflammation, hormone replacement (like birth control pills), and stress. Often, hormone imbalances occur as a result of gut health imbalances that you may not be aware of. Other causes can include a past history of trauma or growths that are benign or cancerous. 

How to Balance Hormones Naturally

While it may be tempting to jump to the latest fad to regulate your hormones, targeting the gut and getting back to the basic pillars of health can provide much relief for both menstruating and menopausal women. In the clinic, we approach female hormonal imbalance with diet, sleep, exercise, stress reduction, probiotics, and targeted supplementation. Let’s take a look at each of these natural ways to balance hormones.

1. How to Balance Hormones With Diet

A whole-foods, anti-inflammatory diet that includes healthy fat can support healthy hormone production by optimizing digestive health, ensuring sufficient micronutrient levels and regulating blood sugar levels. Of course, the diet needs to be personalized and you should avoid any foods you’re sensitive to, even if they’re considered healthy.

An anti-inflammatory diet significantly limits refined grains, sugar, processed foods, and inflammatory fats and generally includes:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Dairy products (as long as you’re not dairy sensitive)
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

High quality research has found that women who consume higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, and milk and dairy products may have less pain associated with menstruation [4 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. And a study of 100 nurses with PMS found a significant drop in PMS symptoms when at least four daily servings of refined grains were replaced with whole grains, compared to controls [5 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Dietary Fat

While we’ve been told for years that dietary fat is bad for us, it’s actually a critically important nutrient.

  • One study found a diet high in saturated fats was associated with menstrual pain, while a low-fat diet was associated with significantly less menstrual pain. But this doesn’t equate to avoiding all fats; choosing healthy fats can promote healthy hormone production and alleviate the symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance [4 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
  • Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish oils, can help to reduce PMS symptoms and moderately improve period pain [6 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 7 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 8 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. If you don’t eat fish, a high-quality fish oil supplement can be a great alternative.

It’s a good idea to include healthy fat with every meal and snack to promote healthy hormone production, balance blood sugar levels, and maintain an optimal omega-3 index (the proportion of EPA and DHA in red blood cells) above 8% [9]. Some great options include:

  • Olives or extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado or avocado oil
  • Flaxseed or flaxseed oil
  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Eggs
  • Full-fat yogurt

Alcohol

A large systematic review found that alcohol intake, especially heavy alcohol intake, increases the risk for PMS [10 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. And too much alcohol may make PMS symptoms worse — as does smoking [3 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source] — so it’s important to balance the risks versus benefits. While the occasional drink isn’t associated with adverse issues, those consuming more than 25 grams per day (about 1.5 glasses of wine) have increased health risks [11 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Micronutrients

Appropriate intake of several micronutrients (preferably from whole foods) can help significantly with menstrual symptoms. Fat soluble vitamins (D, E, and K), calcium, and B vitamins (B1, B2, and B6) may reduce period pain and PMS symptoms. Magnesium is also helpful for pain and can improve PMS-related anxiety [12 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 13 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 14 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 15 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 16 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 17 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. See the table below for good food sources of these nutrients:

NutrientFood Source
Vitamin DCod liver oil, trout, salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk
Vitamin EAlmonds, sunflower seeds, spinach, and broccoli 
Vitamin KNatto, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and fermented foods
MagnesiumPumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, cashews, black beans, and dark chocolate
CalciumYogurt, fortified orange juice, milk, kale, spinach, and sardines and canned salmon with bones
B VitaminsWhole grains, black beans, trout, eggs, liver, meat, spinach, chickpeas, chicken breast, salmon

Since women can lose iron with each menstrual cycle and those with heavy cycles are at risk of significant iron loss, consuming iron-rich foods is a good idea to restore iron levels and to prevent anemia. Iron from animal sources is much more easily absorbed, so adding in red meat (especially liver and organ meats) is a great option. Other iron sources include:

  • Leafy greens
  • Fish and seafood
  • Legumes (lentils and chickpeas)
  • Quinoa
  • Molasses
  • Dark chocolate

Women with PCOS may benefit from zinc supplementation:

  • Since they tend to have lower circulating zinc levels when compared to healthy controls, zinc supplements may help with hair loss and excessive facial and body hair [18 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
  • Zinc may help to lower fasting blood sugar, insulin resistance, and triglycerides [19 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
  • One randomized controlled trial found PCOS patients who took supplemental zinc and magnesium oxide for 12 weeks had significant reductions in markers of inflammation and oxidative stress when compared to placebo [20 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

In most cases, a well-balanced diet will provide adequate levels of micronutrients. If you’re eating a healthy diet, yet struggle with micronutrient deficiency, it may indicate a problem with absorption, which is often caused by poor gut health. Restoring gut health to improve absorption should be prioritized above supplementation.

2. How to Balance Hormones With Sleep

Restful sleep is foundational for overall health, but is also important when you’re experiencing the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Menopausal symptoms can include restless leg syndrome, hot flashes, night sweats, and breathing disorders, which can significantly impact sleep and quality of life. 

A healthy sleep routine is the first place to start, so consider going to bed and waking at the same time each day, and sleeping in a dark, cold, and quiet environment. In addition, limit screen time before bed. 

Additional tips for supporting healthy sleep for women with hormone imbalances include:

  • Yoga: One 2019 randomized controlled trial found yoga three times per week over the course of 10 weeks reduced sleep disturbances and improved overall sleep quality in women with PMS [21 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
  • Acupuncture: One 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis found acupuncture to decrease sleep disturbances in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women [22 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
  • Hormone replacement therapy: A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis found hormone replacement therapy to improve sleep quality in menopausal women with hot flashes and night sweats [23 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I): was found in one 2019 systematic review to be effective for menopausal insomnia. This type of therapy involves working with a trained therapist to identify thoughts, feelings, and behaviors leading to insomnia [24 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

3. How to Regulate Hormones With Exercise

As I discuss in my book Healthy Gut, Healthy You, exercise is another pillar of health. Getting outside in nature, preferably with a friend, can improve your internal environment, which will allow for healthy bacteria (i.e. your gut microbiota) to flourish.

It’s important to exercise enough, but not too much. If you’re new to exercise or recovering from burnout try light activities like walking for 30 minutes a few days per week (especially in a forest-like environment). As you get stronger, add more time and experiment with different exercise strategies like weight training, swimming, or biking. 

When it comes to hormonal symptoms:

4. How to Balance Hormones With Stress Management

Whether you’re experiencing constant physical stress (like excessive exercise, gut dysbiosis, or a physical trauma) or constant emotional stress (you hate your job or are in a stressful relationship), your body can switch to producing stress hormones instead of creating sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone [31 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 32 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 33 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 34 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Research has shown that chronic stress can increase uterine contractions, causing pain, and also destabilize your sex hormones, especially if you have poor sleep and a poor diet during the second half of your menstrual cycle [2 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 3 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Balancing stress is an important lifestyle strategy to improve hormonal balance. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and coping skills training have been shown to improve PMS symptoms [35 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 36 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. But, simple, free interventions such as deep breathing, mindful movement, and meditation are also very effective ways to manage stress levels.

5. How to Regulate Hormones With Natural Supplements

If you’re wondering how to balance hormones with natural supplements, there are several options. Of course, nutrition and lifestyle strategies are the foundation, but natural supplements can also be very effective for some people. 

Many herbal supplements are safe and effective, and while some research suggests a benefit with individual preparations, in our experience in the clinic, combination supplements seem to be the most effective.

Let’s take a look at some of the research on a few popular supplements:

How to Balance Hormones: Gut Health and Lifestyle Changes - Action%20Plan%20for%20Female%20Hormone%20Balance Landscape L

Probiotics Can Help With Hormone Balance

When it comes to hormone balance, probiotics have been shown to:

Female Hormone Balance: The Gut Connection

Although preliminary, research indicates gut health and hormone health are connected. It’s not yet fully understood, but gut imbalances like bacterial dysbiosis and inflammation can alter your hormones [58 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. Similarly, women often experience IBS-like symptoms (bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and pain) during menstruation, suggesting that IBS could be related to female hormone fluctuations [60 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Here are some ways gut health imbalances and inflammation can influence hormonal balance:

An imbalanced gut microbiome can affect the estrobolome, or the gut bacteria that metabolize estrogens. The waste products of estrogen are then reabsorbed into the bloodstream leading to symptoms of hormonal imbalance [70 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

While it’s a complex process and the research continues to evolve, the available data indicates that poor gut health may be a root cause of hormonal imbalance. Targeting gut health may stabilize your hormone levels and in turn help to reduce symptoms related to hormonal fluctuations.

Female Hormone Testing

Both conventional and specialized methods are available for testing female hormones. However, these tests don’t have standardized collection methods or reference ranges [71 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 72 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 73 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source, 74 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. In addition, female sex hormone levels change throughout the course of a menstrual cycle, so test interpretation can be difficult [75 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. Nevertheless, monitoring hormonal fluctuations throughout the full menstrual cycle can help pinpoint hormonal imbalances and be an important diagnostic tool for determining infertility.

Ways to Measure Female Steroid Hormones

  • Serum (blood testing)
  • 24-hour urine collection
  • Saliva
  • Dried blood spot
  • Dried urine (on filter paper)

The most common methods are serum (considered the gold standard) and 24-hour urine collection, which are good options for measuring hormones in most people. Some evidence suggests they’re not accurate in people undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) [76].

Saliva is an easy method of testing and may be a better option for those undergoing HRT, but can result in different outcomes than serum testing [77, 78 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. A 2020 literature review found saliva testing to be good for testing fertility, measuring levels of estrogen, and for tracking perimenopausal hormonal changes [79 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Dried blood spot sampling appears to align with serum levels, but may be better for measuring incoming hormones from HRT [77, 80 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Dried urine sampling (such as the DUTCH test) may be effective at finding steroid hormones and their metabolites in cycling and menopausal women, whether on or off HRT. In addition, dried urine sampling may allow for taking multiple hormone measurements, which can be useful for analyzing fertility [81 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

When Are Female Hormone Tests Not Useful?

While female hormone testing can provide some insight into your symptoms, there are some instances when testing is not indicated.

  • Diagnosing menopause: The ovaries change during the transition to menopause, so hormone testing shouldn’t be used to diagnose menopause [79 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source]. As the authors of one 2007 review explain, “The current standard of care is to individualize hormone therapy based on symptom relief and side effect profile, not on laboratory results [75 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].”
  • Adrenal fatigue: Adrenal fatigue and the corresponding correlation between fatigue and cortisol levels isn’t supported. Cortisol testing is not indicative of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction [82 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source], nor is it a proven measurement of immune dysregulation or other conditions [83 Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source].

Better Gut Health Improves Hormone Balance

Hormonal imbalances can lead to a variety of negative symptoms. Overall, we’ve found targeting the gut along with foundational nutrition and lifestyle changes to have the most powerful impact when it comes to balancing hormones. Try the above strategies and monitor your symptoms. If you’re feeling great, then you’re probably on the right track.

If you continue to struggle with some symptoms of hormone imbalance though, Healthy Gut, Healthy You details our simple step-by-step plan for improving your gut health, which will translate into better hormone balance. If, after working through the foundational steps, you feel you need a more personalized plan, contact us at the Ruscio Institute for Functional Medicine

The Ruscio Institute has developed a range of high-quality formulations, including Progest-Harmony and Estro-Harmony, to help our patients and audience. If you’re interested in learning more about these products, please click here. Note that there are many other options available, and we encourage you to research which products may be right for you.

➕ References
  1. Gudipally PR, Sharma GK. Premenstrual Syndrome. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022. PMID: 32809533. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  2. Vaghela N, Mishra D, Sheth M, Dani VB. To compare the effects of aerobic exercise and yoga on Premenstrual syndrome. J Educ Health Promot. 2019 Oct 24;8:199. DOI: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_50_19. PMID: 31867375. PMCID: PMC6852652. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  3. Chiaramonte D, Ring M, Locke AB. Integrative Women’s Health. Med Clin North Am. 2017 Sep;101(5):955–75. DOI: 10.1016/j.mcna.2017.04.010. PMID: 28802473. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  4. Bajalan Z, Alimoradi Z, Moafi F. Nutrition as a potential factor of primary dysmenorrhea: A systematic review of observational studies. Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2019 Jan 10;84(3):209–24. DOI: 10.1159/000495408. PMID: 30630172. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  5. Esmaeilpour M, Ghasemian S, Alizadeh M. Diets enriched with whole grains reduce premenstrual syndrome scores in nurses: an open-label parallel randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2019 May;121(9):992–1001. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114519000333. PMID: 30761961. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  6. Behboudi-Gandevani S, Hariri F-Z, Moghaddam-Banaem L. The effect of omega 3 fatty acid supplementation on premenstrual syndrome and health-related quality of life: a randomized clinical trial. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2018 Dec;39(4):266–72. DOI: 10.1080/0167482X.2017.1348496. PMID: 28707491. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  7. Prego-Dominguez J, Hadrya F, Takkouche B. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Chronic Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pain Physician. 2016 Dec;19(8):521–35. PMID: 27906932. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  8. Hosseinlou A, Alinejad V, Alinejad M, Aghakhani N. The effects of fish oil capsules and vitamin B1 tablets on duration and severity of dysmenorrhea in students of high school in Urmia-Iran. Glob J Health Sci. 2014 Sep 18;6(7 Spec No):124–9. DOI: 10.5539/gjhs.v6n7p124. PMID: 25363189. PMCID: PMC4796395. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  9. Tribulova N, Szeiffova Bacova B, Egan Benova T, Knezl V, Barancik M, Slezak J. Omega-3 Index and Anti-Arrhythmic Potential of Omega-3 PUFAs. Nutrients. 2017 Oct 30;9(11):1191. doi: 10.3390/nu9111191. PMID: 29084142; PMCID: PMC5707663. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  10. Fernández MDM, Saulyte J, Inskip HM, Takkouche B. Premenstrual syndrome and alcohol consumption: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2018 Apr 16;8(3):e019490. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019490. PMID: 29661913. PMCID: PMC5905748. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  11. Stockwell T, Zhao J, Panwar S, Roemer A, Naimi T, Chikritzhs T. Do “Moderate” Drinkers Have Reduced Mortality Risk? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Alcohol Consumption and All-Cause Mortality. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2016 Mar;77(2):185–98. DOI: 10.15288/jsad.2016.77.185. PMID: 26997174. PMCID: PMC4803651. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  12. Saei Ghare Naz M, Kiani Z, Rashidi Fakari F, Ghasemi V, Abed M, Ozgoli G. The Effect of Micronutrients on Pain Management of Primary Dysmenorrhea: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Caring Sci. 2020 Mar 1;9(1):47–56. DOI: 10.34172/jcs.2020.008. PMID: 32296659. PMCID: PMC7146731. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  13. Wyatt KM, Dimmock PW, Jones PW, Shaughn O’Brien PM. Efficacy of vitamin B-6 in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome: systematic review. BMJ. 1999 May 22;318(7195):1375–81. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.318.7195.1375. PMID: 10334745. PMCID: PMC27878. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  14. Retallick-Brown H, Blampied N, Rucklidge JJ. A Pilot Randomized Treatment-Controlled Trial Comparing Vitamin B6 with Broad-Spectrum Micronutrients for Premenstrual Syndrome. J Altern Complement Med. 2020 Feb;26(2):88–97. DOI: 10.1089/acm.2019.0305. PMID: 31928364. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  15. Arab A, Golpour-Hamedani S, Rafie N. The Association Between Vitamin D and Premenstrual Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Current Literature. J Am Coll Nutr. 2019 Oct;38(7):648–56. DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2019.1566036. PMID: 31074708. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  16. Boyle NB, Lawton C, Dye L. The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017 Apr 26;9(5). DOI: 10.3390/nu9050429. PMID: 28445426. PMCID: PMC5452159. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  17. Abdul-Razzak KK, Ayoub NM, Abu-Taleb AA, Obeidat BA. Influence of dietary intake of dairy products on dysmenorrhea. J Obstet Gynaecol Res. 2010 Apr;36(2):377–83. DOI: 10.1111/j.1447-0756.2009.01159.x. PMID: 20492391. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  18. Jamilian M, Foroozanfard F, Bahmani F, Talaee R, Monavari M, Asemi Z. Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Endocrine Outcomes in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Apr;170(2):271–8. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-015-0480-7. PMID: 26315303. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  19. Foroozanfard F, Jamilian M, Jafari Z, Khassaf A, Hosseini A, Khorammian H, et al. Effects of zinc supplementation on markers of insulin resistance and lipid profiles in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Exp Clin Endocrinol Diabetes. 2015 Apr 13;123(4):215–20. DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1548790. PMID: 25868059. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  20. Afshar Ebrahimi F, Foroozanfard F, Aghadavod E, Bahmani F, Asemi Z. The Effects of Magnesium and Zinc Co-Supplementation on Biomarkers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress, and Gene Expression Related to Inflammation in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: a Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018 Aug;184(2):300–7. DOI: 10.1007/s12011-017-1198-5. PMID: 29127547. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  21. Ghaffarilaleh G, Ghaffarilaleh V, Sanamno Z, Kamalifard M, Alibaf L. Effects of yoga on quality of sleep of women with premenstrual syndrome. Altern Ther Health Med. 2019 Sep;25(5):40–7. PMID: 31221931. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  22. Chiu H-Y, Hsieh Y-J, Tsai P-S. Acupuncture to Reduce Sleep Disturbances in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Mar;127(3):507–15. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000001268. PMID: 26855097. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  23. Cintron D, Lipford M, Larrea-Mantilla L, Spencer-Bonilla G, Lloyd R, Gionfriddo MR, et al. Efficacy of menopausal hormone therapy on sleep quality: systematic review and meta-analysis. Endocrine. 2017 Mar;55(3):702–11. DOI: 10.1007/s12020-016-1072-9. PMID: 27515805. PMCID: PMC5509066. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  24. Silvestri R, Aricò I, Bonanni E, Bonsignore M, Caretto M, Caruso D, et al. Italian Association of Sleep Medicine (AIMS) position statement and guideline on the treatment of menopausal sleep disorders. Maturitas. 2019 Nov;129:30–9. DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2019.08.006. PMID: 31547910. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  25. Yesildere Saglam H, Orsal O. Effect of exercise on premenstrual symptoms: A systematic review. Complement Ther Med. 2020 Jan;48:102272. DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102272. PMID: 31987230. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  26. Matthewman G, Lee A, Kaur JG, Daley AJ. Physical activity for primary dysmenorrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Sep;219(3):255.e1-255.e20. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2018.04.001. PMID: 29630882. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  27. Maged AM, Abbassy AH, Sakr HRS, Elsawah H, Wagih H, Ogila AI, et al. Effect of swimming exercise on premenstrual syndrome. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2018 Apr;297(4):951–9. DOI: 10.1007/s00404-018-4664-1. PMID: 29350276. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  28. Kirwan JP, Sacks J, Nieuwoudt S. The essential role of exercise in the management of type 2 diabetes. Cleve Clin J Med. 2017 Jul;84(7 Suppl 1):S15–21. DOI: 10.3949/ccjm.84.s1.03. PMID: 28708479. PMCID: PMC5846677. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  29. Ruegsegger GN, Booth FW. Health benefits of exercise. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2018 Jul 2;8(7). DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a029694. PMID: 28507196. PMCID: PMC6027933. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  30. Kelley GA, Kelley KS. Exercise and sleep: a systematic review of previous meta-analyses. J Evid Based Med. 2017 Feb;10(1):26–36. DOI: 10.1111/jebm.12236. PMID: 28276627. PMCID: PMC5527334. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  31. Nassar GN, Leslie SW. Physiology, Testosterone. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021. PMID: 30252384. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  32. Cable JK, Grider MH. Physiology, Progesterone. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021. PMID: 32644386. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  33. Hariri L, Rehman A. Estradiol. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021. PMID: 31747204. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  34. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017 Jul 21;16:1057–72. DOI: 10.17179/excli2017-480. PMID: 28900385. PMCID: PMC5579396. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  35. Kancheva Landolt N, Ivanov K. Short report: cognitive behavioral therapy – a primary mode for premenstrual syndrome management: systematic literature review. Psychol Health Med. 2021 Dec;26(10):1282–93. DOI: 10.1080/13548506.2020.1810718. PMID: 32845159. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  36. Han J, Cha Y, Kim S. Effect of psychosocial interventions on the severity of premenstrual syndrome: a meta-analysis. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2019 Sep;40(3):176–84. DOI: 10.1080/0167482X.2018.1480606. PMID: 29962276. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  37. Dietz BM, Hajirahimkhan A, Dunlap TL, Bolton JL. Botanicals and their bioactive phytochemicals for women’s health. Pharmacol Rev. 2016 Oct;68(4):1026–73. DOI: 10.1124/pr.115.010843. PMID: 27677719. PMCID: PMC5050441. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  38. Kupfersztain C, Rotem C, Fagot R, Kaplan B. The immediate effect of natural plant extract, Angelica sinensis and Matricaria chamomilla (Climex) for the treatment of hot flushes during menopause. A preliminary report. Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2003;30(4):203–6. PMID: 14664413. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  39. Haines CJ, Lam PM, Chung TKH, Cheng KF, Leung PC. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the effect of a Chinese herbal medicine preparation (Dang Gui Buxue Tang) on menopausal symptoms in Hong Kong Chinese women. Climacteric. 2008 Jun;11(3):244–51. DOI: 10.1080/13697130802073029. PMID: 18568789. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  40. Hirata JD, Swiersz LM, Zell B, Small R, Ettinger B. Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril. 1997 Dec;68(6):981–6. DOI: 10.1016/s0015-0282(97)00397-x. PMID: 9418683. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  41. Ghazanfarpour M, Sadeghi R, Abdolahian S, Latifnejad Roudsari R. The efficacy of Iranian herbal medicines in alleviating hot flashes: A systematic review. Int J Reprod Biomed. 2016 Mar;14(3):155–66. PMID: 27294213. PMCID: PMC4899762. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  42. Jiang K, Jin Y, Huang L, Feng S, Hou X, Du B, et al. Black cohosh improves objective sleep in postmenopausal women with sleep disturbance. Climacteric. 2015 May 22;18(4):559–67. DOI: 10.3109/13697137.2015.1042450. PMID: 26000551. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  43. Leach MJ, Moore V. Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Sep 12;(9):CD007244. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007244.pub2. PMID: 22972105. PMCID: PMC6599854. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  44. Geller SE, Shulman LP, van Breemen RB, Banuvar S, Zhou Y, Epstein G, et al. Safety and efficacy of black cohosh and red clover for the management of vasomotor symptoms: a randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2009 Dec;16(6):1156–66. DOI: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181ace49b. PMID: 19609225. PMCID: PMC2783540. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  45. Wong VCK, Lim CED, Luo X, Wong WSF. Current alternative and complementary therapies used in menopause. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2009 Mar;25(3):166–74. DOI: 10.1080/09513590802549866. PMID: 19347706. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  46. Frei-Kleiner S, Schaffner W, Rahlfs VW, Bodmer C, Birkhäuser M. Cimicifuga racemosa dried ethanolic extract in menopausal disorders: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Maturitas. 2005 Aug 16;51(4):397–404. DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2004.10.003. PMID: 16039414. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  47. Hernández Muñoz G, Pluchino S. Cimicifuga racemosa for the treatment of hot flushes in women surviving breast cancer. Maturitas. 2003 Mar 14;44 Suppl 1:S59-65. DOI: 10.1016/s0378-5122(02)00349-3. PMID: 12609560. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  48. Zern TL, Wood RJ, Greene C, West KL, Liu Y, Aggarwal D, et al. Grape polyphenols exert a cardioprotective effect in pre- and postmenopausal women by lowering plasma lipids and reducing oxidative stress. J Nutr. 2005 Aug;135(8):1911–7. DOI: 10.1093/jn/135.8.1911. PMID: 16046716. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  49. Evans HM, Howe PRC, Wong RHX. Effects of Resveratrol on Cognitive Performance, Mood and Cerebrovascular Function in Post-Menopausal Women; A 14-Week Randomised Placebo-Controlled Intervention Trial. Nutrients. 2017 Jan 3;9(1). DOI: 10.3390/nu9010027. PMID: 28054939. PMCID: PMC5295071. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  50. Rafieian-Kopaei M, Movahedi M. Systematic review of premenstrual, postmenstrual and infertility disorders of vitex agnus castus. Electron Physician. 2017 Jan 25;9(1):3685–9. DOI: 10.19082/3685. PMID: 28243425. PMCID: PMC5308513. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  51. Freeman EW, Rickels K, Sondheimer SJ, Polansky M, Xiao S. Continuous or intermittent dosing with sertraline for patients with severe premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Am J Psychiatry. 2004 Feb;161(2):343–51. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.161.2.343. PMID: 14754784. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  52. Rao A, Steels E, Beccaria G, Inder WJ, Vitetta L. Influence of a Specialized Trigonella foenum-graecum Seed Extract (Libifem), on Testosterone, Estradiol and Sexual Function in Healthy Menstruating Women, a Randomised Placebo Controlled Study. Phytother Res. 2015 Aug;29(8):1123–30. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5355. PMID: 25914334. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  53. Schmidt K, Weber N, Steiner M, Meyer N, Dubberke A, Rutenberg D, et al. A lecithin phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid complex (PAS) reduces symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome (PMS): Results of a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2018 Apr;24:22–30. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnesp.2018.01.067. PMID: 29576358. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  54. Rotem C, Kaplan B. Phyto-Female Complex for the relief of hot flushes, night sweats and quality of sleep: randomized, controlled, double-blind pilot study. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2007 Feb;23(2):117–22. DOI: 10.1080/09513590701200900. PMID: 17454163. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  55. Rogha M, Esfahani MZ, Zargarzadeh AH. The efficacy of a synbiotic containing Bacillus Coagulans in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench. 2014;7(3):156–63. PMID: 25120896. PMCID: PMC4129566. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  56. McFarland LV, Dublin S. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 7;14(17):2650–61. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.14.2650. PMID: 18461650. PMCID: PMC2709042. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  57. Ibarra A, Latreille-Barbier M, Donazzolo Y, Pelletier X, Ouwehand AC. Effects of 28-day Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis HN019 supplementation on colonic transit time and gastrointestinal symptoms in adults with functional constipation: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, and dose-ranging trial. Gut Microbes. 2018 Feb 8;9(3):236–51. DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1412908. PMID: 29227175. PMCID: PMC6219592. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  58. Baker JM, Al-Nakkash L, Herbst-Kralovetz MM. Estrogen-gut microbiome axis: Physiological and clinical implications. Maturitas. 2017 Sep;103:45–53. DOI: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2017.06.025. PMID: 28778332. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  59. Shamasbi SG, Ghanbari-Homayi S, Mirghafourvand M. The effect of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics on hormonal and inflammatory indices in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Nutr. 2020 Mar;59(2):433–50. DOI: 10.1007/s00394-019-02033-1. PMID: 31256251. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  60. Meleine M, Matricon J. Gender-related differences in irritable bowel syndrome: potential mechanisms of sex hormones. World J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jun 14;20(22):6725–43. DOI: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i22.6725. PMID: 24944465. PMCID: PMC4051914. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  61. Zhou Z, Zhang L, Ding M, Luo Z, Yuan S, Bansal MB, et al. Estrogen decreases tight junction protein ZO-1 expression in human primary gut tissues. Clin Immunol. 2017 Oct;183:174–80. DOI: 10.1016/j.clim.2017.08.019. PMID: 28867253. PMCID: PMC5673541. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  62. Vanuytsel T, van Wanrooy S, Vanheel H, Vanormelingen C, Verschueren S, Houben E, et al. Psychological stress and corticotropin-releasing hormone increase intestinal permeability in humans by a mast cell-dependent mechanism. Gut. 2014 Aug;63(8):1293–9. DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2013-305690. PMID: 24153250. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  63. Karl JP, Margolis LM, Madslien EH, Murphy NE, Castellani JW, Gundersen Y, et al. Changes in intestinal microbiota composition and metabolism coincide with increased intestinal permeability in young adults under prolonged physiological stress. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2017 Jun 1;312(6):G559–71. DOI: 10.1152/ajpgi.00066.2017. PMID: 28336545. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  64. Goedert JJ, Jones G, Hua X, Xu X, Yu G, Flores R, et al. Investigation of the association between the fecal microbiota and breast cancer in postmenopausal women: a population-based case-control pilot study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015 Aug;107(8). DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djv147. PMID: 26032724. PMCID: PMC4554191. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  65. Torres PJ, Siakowska M, Banaszewska B, Pawelczyk L, Duleba AJ, Kelley ST, et al. Gut microbial diversity in women with polycystic ovary syndrome correlates with hyperandrogenism. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Apr 1;103(4):1502–11. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2017-02153. PMID: 29370410. PMCID: PMC6276580. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  66. Qi X, Yun C, Sun L, Xia J, Wu Q, Wang Y, et al. Gut microbiota-bile acid-interleukin-22 axis orchestrates polycystic ovary syndrome. Nat Med. 2019 Aug;25(8):1225–33. DOI: 10.1038/s41591-019-0509-0. PMID: 31332392. PMCID: PMC7376369. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  67. Lindheim L, Bashir M, Münzker J, Trummer C, Zachhuber V, Leber B, et al. Alterations in Gut Microbiome Composition and Barrier Function Are Associated with Reproductive and Metabolic Defects in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A Pilot Study. PLoS ONE. 2017 Jan 3;12(1):e0168390. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168390. PMID: 28045919. PMCID: PMC5207627. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  68. Tremellen K, Pearce K. Dysbiosis of Gut Microbiota (DOGMA)–a novel theory for the development of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Med Hypotheses. 2012 Jul;79(1):104–12. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2012.04.016. PMID: 22543078. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  69. Delgado BJ, Lopez-Ojeda W. Estrogen. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021. PMID: 30855848. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  70. Plottel CS, Blaser MJ. Microbiome and malignancy. Cell Host Microbe. 2011 Oct 20;10(4):324–35. DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2011.10.003. PMID: 22018233. PMCID: PMC3264051. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  71. Demers LM, Hankinson SE, Haymond S, Key T, Rosner W, Santen RJ, et al. Measuring estrogen exposure and metabolism: workshop recommendations on clinical issues. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun;100(6):2165–70. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2015-1040. PMID: 25850026. PMCID: PMC5393513. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  72. Rosner W, Hankinson SE, Sluss PM, Vesper HW, Wierman ME. Challenges to the measurement of estradiol: an endocrine society position statement. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Apr;98(4):1376–87. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2012-3780. PMID: 23463657. PMCID: PMC3615207. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  73. Vesper HW, Botelho JC, Wang Y. Challenges and improvements in testosterone and estradiol testing. Asian J Androl. 2014 Apr;16(2):178–84. DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.122338. PMID: 24407184. PMCID: PMC3955326. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  74. Stanczyk FZ, Lee JS, Santen RJ. Standardization of steroid hormone assays: why, how, and when? Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007 Sep;16(9):1713–9. DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-06-0765. PMID: 17855686. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  75. Smellie WSA. Cases in primary care laboratory medicine: testing pitfalls and summary of guidance on sex hormone testing. BMJ. 2007 Jan 13;334(7584):91–4. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.39038.614317.AE. PMID: 17218715. PMCID: PMC1767292. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  76. Topical Therapy with Estradiol, Progesterone, and Testosterone and Their Distribution in Saliva, Capillary Blood, Serum, and Urine – Page 2 of 2 – Townsend Letter [Internet]. Available from: https://www.townsendletter.com/article/450-topical-therapy-estradiol-zava/2/
  77. Steroid Hormone Testing in Different Body Fluids (Jan 2015) Townsend Letter, Alternative Medicine Magazine [Internet]. Available from: https://www.townsendletter.com/Jan2015/steroid0115.html
  78. Sood R, Shuster L, Smith R, Vincent A, Jatoi A. Counseling postmenopausal women about bioidentical hormones: ten discussion points for practicing physicians. J Am Board Fam Med. 2011 Apr;24(2):202–10. DOI: 10.3122/jabfm.2011.02.100194. PMID: 21383221. PMCID: PMC6014967. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  79. Academic Committee of the Korean Society of Menopause, Lee SR, Cho MK, Cho YJ, Chun S, Hong SH, et al. The 2020 menopausal hormone therapy guidelines. J Menopausal Med. 2020 Aug;26(2):69–98. DOI: 10.6118/jmm.20000. PMID: 32893509. PMCID: PMC7475284. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  80. Edelman A, Stouffer R, Zava DT, Jensen JT. A comparison of blood spot vs. plasma analysis of gonadotropin and ovarian steroid hormone levels in reproductive-age women. Fertil Steril. 2007 Nov;88(5):1404–7. DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.12.016. PMID: 17368453. PMCID: PMC2175208. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  81. Newman M, Curran DA. Reliability of a dried urine test for comprehensive assessment of urine hormones and metabolites. BMC Chemistry. 2021 Mar 15;15(1):18. DOI: 10.1186/s13065-021-00744-3. PMID: 33722278. PMCID: PMC7962249. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  82. Cadegiani FA, Kater CE. Adrenal fatigue does not exist: a systematic review. BMC Endocr Disord. 2016 Aug 24;16(1):48. DOI: 10.1186/s12902-016-0128-4. PMID: 27557747. PMCID: PMC4997656. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source
  83. Adam EK, Quinn ME, Tavernier R, McQuillan MT, Dahlke KA, Gilbert KE. Diurnal cortisol slopes and mental and physical health outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Sep;83:25–41. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.05.018. PMID: 28578301. PMCID: PMC5568897. Trusted SourcePubMedGo to source

Need help or would like to learn more?
View Dr. Ruscio’s additional resources

Get Help

Discussion

I care about answering your questions and sharing my knowledge with you. Leave a comment or connect with me on social media asking any health question you may have and I just might incorporate it into our next listener questions podcast episode just for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *