You or Deepika Padukone, depression is a thing of hormones! 

If you are struggling with mood changes, anxiety, depression or trouble sleeping, you’re not crazy, It’s Just Your Hormones! Today I am sharing 3 tips to balance your hormones and improve your mood.

Dr Disha Sridhar

I am a Gynaecologist Obstetrician ( MD, DNB OBGYN )with an emphasis on INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE.

We are all aware about Deepika’s story, of how depression hit her, amidst all the stardom, and ironically during the peak of her career. This story serves as a reminder for all of us that, hormones neither know of the riches, nor of the physical comforts that one may have acquired. Deep down hormonal imbalance breed the most fertile ground for depression and anxiety!

Are you getting irritated over things that usually don’t bother you? Bloated, gaining weight, and can’t seem to shake it off? And then you feel guilty and sad for being this “crazy” or moody? Don’t worry dear, you’re not going insane, it’s just a hormonal imbalance. Your body is going through some changes and it feels as if you are going crazy, but I assure you, you’re not

PHYSIOLOGY DRIVES PSYCHOLOGY

I know because I went through the same thing when I was going through my share of hormone imbalances, PCOS, thyroid disease to be diagnosed with early menopause in my mid-thirties. It took all my willpower to get my hormones and life in order. I had hit an all-time low when I didn’t want to get out of bed… I was dragging myself through the day 

I told myself, “You can do this Disha.” And as the tips I share below started to work its magic in my system, I started to feel better and better every day. And this is what I want for you. To see progressive change for the better until one day you wake up feeling like your old self again. A few years later and now I help hundreds of woman balance out their hormones too!

Are You Ready To Feel Balanced Again?

What is happening in your body, that is making you feel this way?

Unfortunately for us ladies, the 21st-century lifestyle is pushing us into premature ageing as the environment is not very friendly with women’s hormones these days. Our monthly cycle or lifetime hormonal transition causes our hormones to become imbalanced.

This epidemic of hormone imbalance is happening to more and more of us women and affects all of us differently — but it is not ok to accept feeling miserable or to medicate the symptoms without getting to the real ROOT cause. It’s not only affecting our moods, but it also manifests as different issues in our body. It can manifest as aches and pains, headache, menstrual irregularities, weight gain and bloating, as well as tiredness, fatigue and low energy.

So What Is Happening?

Yes, it also causes mood imbalances, like lowered self-esteem, depression, mood swings, irritability and more. But the good news is that with a little care and addressing the underlying root cause as to why we are feeling this way, we can continue to live our best lives.

Our body relies on a delicate balance of reproductive hormones to function healthily. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA work together to keep the body functioning smoothly. When we start feeling the symptoms of PCOS, period problems or perimenopause, it is usually because our hormones are out of balance. As a gynaecologist, the most common imbalance that I see is estrogen dominance.

This term can be confusing because it implies too much estrogen — but this condition is actually when estrogen levels are far out of proportion compared to your progesterone. This is usually due to the rapid decline of progesterone and not the other way around. Estrogen dominance can still be experienced even when estrogen levels are low because progesterone is lower.  

Hormone disruptors and xenoestrogens( estrogen mimickers ) can also cause this. Estrogen dominance causes all kinds of symptoms like mood swings, irritability, anxiety, bloating, irregular or heavy periods, skin conditions, feeling “crazy” but not knowing why, and more.

Most OB/GYNs and other doctors typically recommend anti-anxiety, antidepression meds and sleeping pills. They might also recommend birth control pills if still menstruating and if not, hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) — but it’s important to know what the risks involved are in this treatment as well as what else is out there.

More and more women and doctors are reluctant to use HRT with synthetic hormones because of the risks involved. Some have been found to cause breast cancer, blood clots, heart disease, and strokes! Your body is going through all these changes, you don’t want to burden it with more, and especially with something that could potentially harm your wellbeing at the same time.

So how can we deal with our hormonal imbalance naturally and safely? Without side effects and other prescription medications if possible?

Let’s start with an easy but often overlooked tip.

1. Get Enough rest

I have been through a phase when I didn’t sleep for 6 months… during the peak of my hormone imbalance. Before that, as an obstetrician doing all those night shifts, I never understood the value of night sleep until I lost it.

So let’s talk sleep — I’m talking a whole 7-9 hours of sleep, ladies! This sounds simple, but the truth is so many of us are not getting enough sleep. As hard as it is, you do need to try and get rest because all the healing, repair and regeneration takes place in the body only when you are completely relaxed.

So, create a night-time ritual.

This does help. Sleep in a completely dark and cool room, especially if you suffer from night sweats and hot flashes — 

Schedule timed naps if need be. A 15- or 30-minute nap can be so restorative. Let’s get that rest!

I, myself, have a night-time ritual:  

I meditate before sleeping

I find that deep breathing and stretching before bed helps to relax my body and prepare it for sleep. You can also try magnesium, herbal remedies, flower extracts, essential oils. 

2. Plan for fun and play


Granted, you might not feel like it at times (or most of the time), but listen up, resentment is lack of self-care. Fill your tank first. You have to wear your oxygen mask before you can help others.

Best way to do this is to have fun and have playtime, enjoying activities, and people you love who make you laugh. Make room in your busy life for human connection ( or Seva, Satsang, Simran as they call in our culture). This helps your body release oxytocin, which is the hormone that creates feelings of bonding, love, connection, intimacy and helps banish feelings of isolation and loneliness.

So plan fun activities with your loved ones and just relax and enjoy yourself. You deserve it. It’s so important to take this time for yourself.

3. Nourish Your Body


By this I mean the following:

Eat the Truhealing way and focus on more greens. These are foods that help to eliminate excess estrogen from your body and keep the crazy feelings at bay (super important!).

So you’re going to want to eat more organic foods, vegetables, and whole foods that are also probiotic-rich, like fermented food as it can help with the process of detoxification. Cruciferous vegetables are great for alkalizing the body! Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, and other dark, leafy greens.

Next focus on healthy fats, like nuts and seeds oils like olive oil and coconut oil. Add good proteins while avoiding simple carbs. Choose healthy proteins from leans sources that are also free-range or organic, and hormone-free.

And finally, avoid endocrine or estrogen disruptors. This is important in healing estrogen dominance. Endocrine or estrogen disruptors are synthetic compound s like parabens, that can be found in everything from moisturizers to makeup.

Try not to purchase products that contain: Parabens, Phthalates, Petrochemicals, Triclosan (antibacterial soaps!), hexane, formaldehyde and other solvents, synthetic fragrances, and colours, sulfates… even gluten.

Considering that your skin is your body’s largest organ and acts like a sponge, imagine how much toxin it is absorbing daily. And these chemicals don’t break down, but simply accumulates in your system.

I know we can’t shut out all these toxins from our lives — and it would be impractical to ask someone to do so — but we can try and limit our exposure to them. So choose skincare products that are non-toxic, organic and that don’t contain chemicals that disrupt the hormone function in your body.

What to avoid:

Sugars

If there is one thing that I recommend my clients do, it is — stay away from processed sugars! I can’t stress this enough. Sugar has been found over and over again to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

It is also responsible for causing a host of imbalanced hormonal symptoms such as anxiety, mood swings, polycystic ovaries, infertility, acne and more.

You’re going to want to keep your body free of any processed sugars, in general, the sugar load low, So that means no sugary desserts, simple carbs, sugary drinks or excessive alcohol.

It might sound harsh because sometimes we want to “reward” ourselves with a tasty dessert, and we can still do that, but we should also be aware of how much sugar we digest daily. Every little bit slowly adds up.

A teaspoon in our tea or coffee, bread for breakfast, a plate of pasta for lunch, a slice of cake for tea time, and on and on. By the end of the day, we might ingest way more than we need. Once you start eliminating sugars from your diet and notice your energy levels increase and your moods calm down you will be eliminating sugar from your diet like a pro, because of how good it makes you feel.

Stress


There’s a reason I want you to find time for fun in your life because it means you’re keeping your cortisol (the stress hormone) in check. An excess of cortisol can cause adrenal fatigue, and I’ve written an entire blog about how stress affects your hormones. Research has also shown that excess cortisol also affects cardiovascular health and your mental health.

So please take the time to keep your stress levels low, and increase the volume of fun in your life!

Eating the Truhealing way and getting enough sleep and focusing on fun will change the quality of your life and your mood. So do try it out and let me know how it goes for you.

Originally published November 18, 2019 by Dr Disha Sridhar