Dr. Mark Hyman: How to Naturally Balance Female Sex Hormones


“My hormones feel so out of balance” a female patient will tell me. “I’m tired of feeling crappy and terrible all the time. Do I need to do hormone replacement to feel better, or is there a natural way to get my hormones in balance?”

Hormone imbalances are an epidemic these days. When talking about hormones, I want you to think of a symphony. All of them interact, so when one gets out of whack, others quickly follow. There are many key players in this orchestra—adrenalsthyroid, insulin—but today, we’re focusing on women’s sex hormones.

Balancing your hormones is a process and sometimes it has little twists and turns. But by sticking with it, you can become vital, happy, alert, brilliant and thriving. Photo credit: Shutterstock

While many things can cause an imbalance in our sex hormones, the good news is that many women can fix these imbalances without medications.

You might never know this from conventional medicine, which seems to subscribe to the idea that women are destined to suffer throughout their reproductive life. Women suffer from mood and behavior swings resulting from the three P’s: Puberty, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and peri-menopause (the years leading up to and just after their final period), or the three M’s: menstrual cramps, menopause and mental anxiety!

Are Women’s Bodies Defective?

Why do sex hormone levels drop up to 90 percent during the aging process? Are women destined to suffer from impaired mood, muscle loss, poor sleep, memory difficulties and sexual problems?

Of course not.

The suffering related to your reproductive life cycle is unnecessary. It is not a result of bad luck; it’s due to bad habits, such as drinking alcohol and smoking; eating a high-sugar and refined-carbohydrate diet; consuming dairy and often, gluten; not exercising enough; being exposed to environmental toxins and being chronically stressed.

To think that 75 percent of women have a design flaw that gives them PMS and requires medical treatment is just absurd. To think that women have to dwindle, shrivel and lose emotional, physical and sexual vitality is a burdensome, self-fulfilling prophecy.

We now have endless examples of balance and thriving at any age. An 81-year-old female patient once told me, with a twinkle in her eye, about her new boyfriend and their wonderful love life. Thriving is possible at any age and it doesn’t always have to result from a pill.

Simply put, PMS, menopausal symptoms and other problems are all signs of imbalances in your sex hormones. They are not the result of mutant genes that destroy our sexual vitality as we age. Instead, they are treatable symptoms of underlying imbalance in one of the core systems in your body. Get your sex hormones back in balance and these problems will usually disappear.

The truth is: Women do not need to suffer.

Instead of immediately resorting to a hormone replacement (which might be your conventional doctor’s first line of treatment), you need to figure out the “why”—what is causing the symptoms. If you find that you do need hormones, then you need to find the way to replace them that most aligns with your body—low dose, topical, bio-identical, short duration.

In other words, figure out what creates these imbalances—and treat the underlying problem. That’s where Functional Medicine comes in: You treat the underlying cause(s), create balance and symptoms get better.

Most of us are living life completely out of balance. Unfortunately, many symptoms we come to accept as “normal” are just signs of imbalance and the type of imbalance that affects almost everyone in our society is hormonal imbalance.

These and other imbalances are all fixable.

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