Triple Hormone Hell: Fatigue, Insomnia, and Depression
Too many women suffer like I did from what we can call “triple hormone hell”. It’s a nightmare combination of symptoms that includes chronic fatigue, insomnia and moodiness (particularly depression). I was trying to get through my day with 1-2 hours of sleep at a time and overwhelming fatigue and feelings of despair. I had gained a significant amount of weight and my limbs felt heavy and my breathing constricted.
I was in survival mode just trying to manage my workload. I was too tired and frustrated to even think about lifestyle changes. Just to get through the day, I was taking a medicine cabinet full of pills (with few results).
In addition to fatigue, insomnia, and depression many women also experience anxiety, weight gain/difficulty losing weight, low sex drive, hot flashes, PMS, and sugar cravings.
Functional Medicine helped me regain my health after so many failed attempts with lifestyle changes and western medication. I’ll share with you a few insights on how hormonal imbalances can influence your health.
The Root of the Problem
Chronic disease is related to breakdowns in the body’s integrated systems. Often, multiple issues have created these breakdowns. This is why addressing symptoms without understanding the underlying causes is mostly ineffective for chronic disease.
Underlying causes might include emotional stress, dietary stress (blood sugar imbalance, food sensitivity/allergy, lacking nutrients), inflammatory stress (infection and toxins), genetic issues, and pain (injuries, surgery, chronic stress from sedentary lifestyle and bad posture). These lead to physiological damage which is seen as functional problems in the body’s systems (brain, hormones, GI, detoxification). This is where we get the symptoms we face every day.
The “chronic disease connection” is the interplay of issues with stress, hormones, the gastrointestinal (GI) system, inflammation, toxins, immunity, and pain. Specifically, for women suffering from what we might call “hormotional overload”, there are issues in the proper functioning of the reproductive and adrenal systems, brain and thyroid all affecting each other.
The Unbalanced Nervous System: Adrenal Stimulation and Burnout
Our nervous system is naturally balanced. We have a sympathetic nervous system which is like our “accelerator” that gets us through stress and dangerous situations. It stems from the fight or flight survival mechanism. Our parasympathetic nervous system is regenerative, or our natural “brakes” to rest and repair. Unfortunately, for many of us this system becomes unbalanced. We are both wired and tired. Chronic stress means our adrenal system is overstimulated (fight or flight mode) which leads to adrenal burnout.
Our hormones play an important role in this system. When they are on overload as related to chronic stress or on burnout mode, our list of symptoms piles up.
A Gut Feeling
TCM and other ancient medical traditions have always understood the importance of the gut (digestion). Modern medicine is continuing to develop an understanding of exactly how the gut works in coordination with the entire body. In studying Celiac disease and leaky gut syndrome, doctors have gained a better picture of a healthy digestive system’s role in keeping out toxins and maintaining good health. Many chronic health problems stem from, or are related to, deficiencies in this digestive system. Our malfunctioning (or leaky) gut can affect all the body’s systems.
It All Works Together: Breaking the Stress Cycle
To break the stress cycle and get the body functioning optimally we may need:
• Stress management
• Lifestyle changes
• Specific solutions based on functional testing (nutritional, hormonal, toxins, digestion)
• Nutritional support
• Bio-identical hormones
Functional testing analyzes deficiencies in the body’s systems, rather than relying strictly on symptoms. Since our systems are so interrelated, results clarify what is really going on in the body. From simple at-home tests (collecting saliva, urine and feces to be analyzed), we identify targeted solutions. Without this information, treatment is just a guessing game, which is why it usually fails people with chronic issues.
I know from experience that the necessary lifestyle changes can feel impossible to implement when you’re suffering from “triple hormone hell”. Getting the body’s systems back in balance gets you feeling better so you can benefit from lifestyle changes. In addition to my personal transformation, I have worked with thousands of patients who have risen from the depths of hormone hell to happiness and health.
Dr. Andrea Brisson, Chiropractor and Naturopathic Physician specializes in Functional Medicine. She has vast experience in working with women's health issues and has great success in resolving fatigue, depression, insomnia, digestive issues, and allergies, naturally. If you’ve been struggling with the above mentioned symptoms and had little results with lifestyle changes and/or western medication , schedule a functional medicine consultation to find out how it can help you get your health back.