How to Balance Hormones

Three Parts:Balancing Female HormonesBalancing Male HormonesBalancing Systemic Hormones

Hormonal imbalance has been linked to numerous health conditions, from infertility and depression to loss of focus and loss muscle strength. Reproductive hormonal imbalance and systemic hormonal imbalance can both be sources of major concern. Here are a few ways, both natural and medical, to treat and balance your hormones. This can also help if you suffer from Hirsutism and/or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (which do go hand in hand).

Part 1
Balancing Female Hormones

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    Understand how your hormones function. Each hormone is responsible for the completion of certain tasks in the female body. Knowing what each hormone does will help you determine which hormone is lacking based on which bodily functions are not working properly.
    • Estrogen: This is the primary female sex hormone. In women, it accelerates metabolism, increases fat stores, reduces muscle mass, helps form secondary sex characteristics, increases the sex drive, and promotes the increased growth and formation of the uterus.
      • Estrogen deficiency can cause irregular menstruation, lack of menstruation, mood swings, lack of sexual desire, an inability to become pregnant, and early menopause.
    • Progesterone: Commonly considered to be the "pregnancy hormone," it is responsible for preparing the uterus for implantation and decreasing the immune response so that the body can accept a pregnancy. A decrease in progesterone after pregnancy is thought to help trigger labor and milk production.
      • Progesterone deficiency is primarily identified by heavy, irregular periods and difficulty maintaining a pregnancy. Weight gain in the mid-section, severe premenstrual symptoms, and severe fatigue may also occur.
    • Testosterone: Known as the primary male sex hormone, it is also present in the female body. In women, it contributes to the libido and is responsible for many of the changes women go through during puberty, including acne, subtle changes to the vocal range, and the completion of the growth cycle.
      • Testosterone deficiency in women is most commonly identified by a lack of libido, physical inability to become aroused, abnormally dry skin, and increasingly brittle hair.
    • Prolactin: Though it has a wide range of effects, but it is the primary hormone responsible for stimulating the mammary glands in order to trigger lactation. The hormone also aids the development of the fetus when a woman is pregnant and counteracts and concludes arousal.
      • Prolactin deficiency is characterized by inadequate lactation, menstrual disorders, delayed puberty, hair loss, and fatigue. It is most commonly diagnosed after a woman gives birth, especially if excessive bleeding is noticed during delivery.
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    Supplement the hormones you lack. Some of the female reproductive hormones can be balanced simply by taking over-the-counter supplements.
    • Estrogen and progesterone supplements are available without a prescription in both cream and pill form.
    • There are no prolactin supplements, but women who suffer from prolactin excess often take estrogen supplements or prolactin inhibitors to remedy the problem.
    • There are no over-the-counter testosterone supplements that are safe for women to use. Testosterone pills made for men are too strong for women.
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    Change your diet. In general, maintaining a balanced diet will also help you maintain balanced hormone levels, but there are a few specific dietary changes that can improve your hormone levels even more.
    • Zinc is known to aid in the production of testosterone. Foods high in zinc include dark chocolate, peanuts, and many meats, including beef, veal, lamb, crab, and oysters.
    • Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats create healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to reach their destinations within the body. Good foods to include are walnuts, eggs, and many types of fish, including sardines, trout, salmon, tuna, and oysters.
    • Get more fiber into your diet. High-fiber foods include whole grains, raw fruit, and raw vegetables. Fiber binds itself to old estrogen, clearing it out of the system and leading to better overall balance.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Studies suggest that excessive use of either product can contribute to premenstrual hormonal imbalance.
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    Exercise more often. Aerobic exercise has been known to release chemicals that improve mood, which can help balance out mood swings caused by a lack or excess of female reproductive hormones.
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    Reduce stress. Stress causes excess cortisol to be produced, which blocks out estrogen. In women, a loss of estrogen also causes lower amounts of serotonin, which is often linked to mood disorders.
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    Seek medical help. If natural remedies do not prove effective, you may need to regulate your hormone levels through the use of prescription medications or hormone replacement therapy.
    • Start on an oral contraceptive.[1] Birth control does more than simply halt reproduction. The pills contain synthetic hormones that are capable of balancing out high levels of estrogen and low levels of progesterone.
    • Ask your doctor about anti-depressants. Most antidepressants work by balancing out serotonin levels, which drop in response to low estrogen levels. Some have also proved moderately effective in reducing hot flashes in hormonally-imbalanced, menopausal women.[2]
    • Go on menopausal hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy is the prescription equivalent of over-the-counter hormone supplements. Menopausal women are occasionally treated with doses of estrogen, progesterone, or a progestin-estrogen combination.[3]

Part 2
Balancing Male Hormones

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    Learn more about your hormones. Understanding the hormones involved in the male reproductive system will help you to gauge which hormones you might be deficient in.
    • Testosterone: Considered the primary male sex hormone, it is responsible for the growth of muscle mass, maturation of the male sex organs, maturation of male secondary sex characteristics, completion of growth, development of sperm, and strength of the libido.
      • Testosterone deficiency is most immediately recognized by a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and shrinking testes. Other signs can include hot flushes, decreased energy, depressed mood, lack of concentration, insomnia, and loss of strength.
    • DHT, or dihydrotestosterone: This is mostly involved in the formation and maturation of male genitalia.
      • DHT deficiency is often spotted in boys before and during puberty. Males who have underdeveloped external genitalia usually lack DHT. In adult males, a lack of DHT can cause infertility.
    • Estrogen and progesterone: Though both are considered female sex hormones, they are present in males, as well. Estrogen helps to regulate sperm maturation and libido. Progesterone balances out estrogen levels in men, preventing the male reproductive system from becoming flooded with estrogen.
      • Deficiencies in estrogen or progesterone can manifest themselves in similar ways. Depression and loss of libido can occur with either imbalance. Estrogen deficiency can cause a loss of bone density, excessive hair growth, or changes in skin pigmentation. Progesterone deficiency can cause hair loss, weight gain, and gynecomastia (an enlargement of the male breast).
    • Prolactin: Another hormone commonly attributed to women, it is also found in men. In men, it is thought to play a role in the body's immune response, but there is no indication that prolactin is vital to the male body.
      • Excess prolactin can prevent men from producing testosterone. Prolactin deficiency does not seem to have any definitive adverse effects, however.
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    Supplement your hormones. Over-the-counter hormone creams and pills can often remedy some of the most common hormone imbalances in men.
    • Testosterone is the male hormone most frequently supplemented without prescription. Men can find testosterone supplements in the form of pills, creams, and gels.
    • There are no over-the-counter treatments for DHT deficiency, but excess DHT can cause hair loss, and over-the-counter DHT blockers are available as pills and shampoos.
    • Over-the-counter progesterone cream for men can be used to treat progesterone deficiency and estrogen dominance. Men needing to supplement their estrogen may need a prescription treatment, however.
    • Prolactin inhibitors can be lowered with over-the-counter B-complex supplements.
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    Make better diet choices. A balanced diet is the best way to regulate hormones in most men, and most male hormone imbalances can be aided simply by obeying the traditional standards of a healthy diet.
    • Eat plenty of meat and carbohydrates, which provide energy and aid in hormone production. Seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low-fat meats are best, as are fiber-rich grains.
    • Avoid sugar, caffeine, and excessive dairy, which can cause the body to becomes sluggish and to struggle with hormone production.
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    Get more exercise. A regular routine including aerobic and resistance exercise is capable of increasing testosterone production.
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    Calm down. In men, elevated levels of stress create more cortisol, which can convert testosterone to estrogen. The result is an over-abundance of the female sex hormone and a severe lack of the male sex hormone.
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    Get a full night's sleep. Most testosterone is produced during the REM cycle of sleep. As such, sleeping less will cause a drop in testosterone while sleeping more can help stabilize testosterone levels.
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    Wear loose clothing. Loose bottoms, including both underwear and pants, are especially important. Tight bottoms can create unwanted heat, which can destroy existing sperm and ultimately reduce sperm count.
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    Consult your doctor. Severe male hormone imbalance may need to be treated with prescription hormone replacement therapy.
    • Testosterone injections are the most common medical treatment used to balance male hormones. Doctors prescribe the injections for however long they deem necessary. The treatment is eventually tapered off, and the patient is monitored to check if testosterone levels remain balanced afterward or continue to drop. If the levels continue to drop, long-term treatments might be necessary.[4]
    • Males who suffer from a lack of estrogen or progesterone can also inquire about prescription hormone replacements for these imbalances since over-the-counter supplements are usually hard to come by for men.

Part 3
Balancing Systemic Hormones

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    Get plenty of exercise. After working out, the body releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, all of which create a positive mood and help maintain the remainder of the endocrine system.
    • Working out also releases growth factors, including insulin.
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    Mind your diet. A well-balanced diet can impact more than simply female and male sex hormones. All of the body's hormones can benefit from a diet filled with lean meats, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
    • Know how soy can affect your thyroid. There has been some indication that a diet based in soy products can cause a decrease in production of the thyroid hormone.[5] Those suffering from hypothyroidism, a deficiency of the thyroid hormone, should limit their intake of soy.
    • Balance your iodine levels. Iodine is a mineral that aids in the synthesis of the thyroid hormone. Foods with notable levels of iodine include sea vegetables, potatoes, cranberries, yogurt, strawberries, and dairy. If you have hypothyroidism, eat more iodine-rich foods. If you have hyperthyroidism, limit your iodine-rich foods.
    • Include moderate amounts of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can provide the body with energy, but they also increase the amount of insulin hormone the body produces. Too many carbs can lead to a dramatic rise in blood sugar levels as well as insulin.
    • Improve melatonin synthesis with vitamin B5. Foods rich in B5 include milk, yogurt, eggs, and fish. These foods are also high in tryptophan, which converts serotonin into melatonin.
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    Regulate your sleep to regulate melatonin production. Melatonin is the "sleep" hormone, and it impacts the sleep cycle as much as the sleep cycle impacts it.
    • Avoid bright lights when sleeping. Light can inhibit melatonin production, which occurs in the dark, making it harder to sleep.
    • Give your body sleeping cues. A consistent bedtime and a bedtime ritual or routine can tell your brain that it is time for sleep. Your brain, in turn, can send signals indicating that melatonin production should be increased.
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    Find out about thyroid replacement therapy. Those suffering from hypothyroidism can consult their doctor about getting thyroid replacement therapy.
    • Hypothyroidism can cause muscle weakness, constipation, fatigue, elevated cholesterol, joint pain, and depression. In severe cases, it can cause decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, and coma.
    • Patients receiving thyroid therapy receive synthetic thyroid hormone in the form of oral medication.[6]


  • Consult your doctor before beginning any hormone balancing treatment. Even a mild imbalance can have serious long-term effects, and it is essential that you receive and accurate diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment for your current condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Prescription hormone replacement
  • Birth control pills
  • Anti-depressants
  • Healthy foods

Article Info

Categories: Puberty and Reproductive Health