Anupama writes a letter to her 18-years old daughter. Read what she has to say.
Suffering from disorders of hormonal imbalance? Go to your doctor, and follow these 5 tips that really work, to make it easy for you to manage it.
We often associate the role of hormones with changes occurring in a body during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. However, hormones have a wider role to play towards body growth and development, metabolism, reproduction and mental health.
The effects of the changing socio-economic scenario in India are widely seen in the form of changes in routine and lifestyle. And, hence, there is a significant rate of increase in lifestyle related health issues for women, especially those who are in their late 30s or early 40s, irrespective of their work status.
Hormones are quite innocent and humble players until they show up their wacky side in the form of a ‘hormonal imbalance’ – a clinical and/or subclinical condition which might become chronic and life-threatening if it remains untreated.
Simply put, hormones are chemical molecules moving in our bodies. They are produced by endocrine glands which are specific groups of cells in our body. Hormones travel through the blood and reach out to various tissues and organs to help them function properly. They can often be slow in their effect, but can destroy a body system, unless produced in balanced quantities.
Contrary to what we believe, these chemicals can show up even with a normal routine, food or supplemental medicines. Many times, hormone related problems are more difficult to diagnose at an early stage. Therefore, it mostly becomes a call for the patients to decide if their health observations need any medical attention.
The day-to-day stress, lack of attending body needs (rest and exercises), multiple responsibilities and confusing lifestyles – all these together could easily lead you to experience hormonal imbalance, and this is not exaggerated anymore!
There are some symptoms which might mean a hormonal imbalance. If you have these, you might need to check with your doctor.
If you experience one or more such signs constantly, it is a time for you to check the roots of the problem.
Most hormonal issues in the 30s are easier to manage as compared to those in older ages. Fortunately, it is very likely to cure such issues with a few small switches in lifestyle and routine. There is certainly no need to fret if you can ensure consistency in terms of an improved routine of food and exercises.
Here is how you can keep these mighty chemicals under control:
1) More fresh food, More water; less processed food, less caffeine! – The importance of healthy food habits is self-explanatory. However, we will admit that as we grow up, we tend to compromise on food habits. The reasons could be a hectic life schedule, liking for new and less-healthy tastes, lack of time for cooking, the tendency of laziness or an over liking for processed, easy-to-cook, on-the-go food items.
Processed food can be a probable reason behind a disturbed natural digestion system. It can also restrict production of some key hormones. In the case of busier schedules, one can opt for fresh farm produces and raw eatables which can satisfy the belly, support natural body processes and bring no side effects. Extra refined flour, refined sugar, sugared juices and fatty dairy products like cheese and butter should be avoided to a great extent to keep the digestion system efficient and at ease.
Caffeine is a vital part of almost everyone’s routine but it is necessary to keep a check on the amount of tea and coffee taken during the day. Excessive caffeine suppresses certain hormones from performing, disturbs metabolism and appetite, and also negatively impacts the sleep cycles.
Keep yourself hydrated with 7 to 8 glasses of water daily, to help metabolism and for skin tissues to function properly. Water also improves fat burning and throws toxins away from the body.
2) Exercise (But with caution)! – I remember a famous endocrine specialist in India quoting that a regular 30-minutes fitness routine with mid-to-high-impact exercises like running, pace walking, swimming, skipping etc. is beneficial to an extent that one can keep hereditary diseases like diabetes at bay for at least their mid-50s and 60s.
Today, most of us are serving at corporate positions, work with little physical movements, embrace workload and time management stress. Even worse, we compromise on our diets and meal timings.
This makes it imperative and non-negotiable to create and follow a fitness routine to keep the endocrine network active. For example, it may be greatly beneficial to perform specific impactful exercises that raise heart beats so that thyroxin (hormones from thyroid gland) is produced in required amounts, which in turn, improve metabolism and help in controlling body weight.
A fitness routine is therefore person-specific and needs careful judgment as to what part or function of the body might be at peril in the absence of exercise. Also, exercise may also cause pain or fatigue. Therefore, it is always needed to check first on what your body requires and perform accordingly, rather than blindly following any routine. Seeking professional help could work best.
3) Sleep: Daily 6 to 8 hours of sleep is required to lead a healthy life. Period! No need to explain more. But, do you know that behavioral habits are increasingly causing sleep deprivation in modern society? While sleep deprivation causes hormonal problems (such as adrenal gland disorder), the unregulated hormones call for insomnia or sleepiness (such as those during menopause or hypothyroidism). This is a vicious cycle and must be avoided.
For those who are unable to set up a healthy sleep routine, there is a quick routine to ensure a good sleep: Have dinner earlier so the stomach is on its way to digestion, stay away from digital gadgets and television at least an hour before hitting the bed, have a quick bath, wrap yourself in the most comfortable clothing and try reading something that is light and a little boring, but not mind-consuming, like newspaper or a voluminous magazine. This will slow down the minds and your eyelids will start dropping down easily!
4) Yoga: While making body flexible, Yoga greatly helps in terms of regulating hormone production. Unlike gym exercises, practicing Yoga will have slow and lasting effects on the system. If you are not pregnant and have not recently undergone any restrictive surgery, you can trust yoga as a natural treatment to avoid hormonal imbalance.
Yoga has the power to create a synergy between all the major hormone glands in the body. Certain poses (Asanas) such as Bhujangasana, Naukasana, Dhanurasana, Sukhasana, Shirshasana, Surya Namaskar, Halasana Mastyasana, Paschimottanasana – do affect the hormonal system directly.
5) Meditation: Stress in today’s world is inevitable, be it from a job, people or society. Stress causes negative effects on sleep cycles, nervous system, memory, and physical and/or mental efficiency. When the mind is pre-occupied with the visible material world, it also needs a connection with spirituality for a healthy overall well-being.
To keep stress away, start practicing meditation. Meditation can be the best thing to neutralize the minds, introspect, find the reasons behind disturbances, understand a larger goal of the life and realize what to take and what to give up. This way, meditation strengthens our mental strength, focus, agility, and responsiveness.
Ever wondered why we tend to lean towards spirituality and meaning of life in the times of crisis? It is because realizing the goal of life brings the biggest content to us as human beings. It makes us perpetually fearless against that uncontrollable universe and keeps us free of unneeded stress.
All these things can largely help prevent many hormonal issues from arising. After all, we all believe that prevention is certainly better than cure!
Image source: woman doing yoga by Shutterstock.
Writing just emerged in my life when I looked away from the job routine. When
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