Balanced Advice – Q&A with Dr Schroeder

Dear Dr Schroeder

I am a 26 year old woman who suffers from acne from time to time, foggy thinking, night sweats, depression, low libido, mood swings, and terrible PMS. Do you think seeing if I have a hormonal imbalance is something I should look into? I’m desperate for answers. Thank you.

~ too young for menopause

mediterrean-dietWhile hormone imbalance seems like a condition for women in their 40’s and beyond, it actually can affect women at any time post puberty (and even pre puberty in some cases). Premenstrual changes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fertility problems, excess hair growth, irregular periods are among some of the common hormone imbalance conditions common in women in their 20’s.

Younger women who are experiencing hormone imbalance symptoms are often put on the birth control pill. Sometimes this does resolve symptoms. It works by shutting off the monthly hormone cycle, reducing the amount of hormone produced by the ovary, and replacing it with a potent synthetic form of progesterone and estrogen. For some women this effectively resolves their symptoms, and for other more hormone sensitive individuals, it makes things worse.

There are other options for balancing hormones in young women.

  • Reduce or eliminate dairy, which naturally has hormones in it (even organic dairy does)
  • Eat more fiber, aim for over 20 grams of fiber each day, this helps the body metabolize hormones efficiently
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night (even if you don’t think you need it, you do!) Sleep is time for repair, and a time that certain hormones are at their highest.
  • Work with a naturopathic doctor to find an appropriate herbal formula. Some common herbs that help balance hormones in younger women are chaste tree berry, red raspberry leaf, dandelion and many more
  • Testing hormones is also a good idea. You can test your hormones in blood, saliva, or urine. Contact your health care provider to get this test.