Do you remember in 5th or 6th grade in school when they would separate the boys and girls to talk about puberty? If your parents signed the waiver para darte permiso to participate, then you know what I’m talking about. It was daunting and exciting all at the same time. I remember watching a (low quality) video (with terrible acting) talking about the Pituitary Gland and how it would excrete hormones that would cause changes in my body.  This would be the reason for those teenage years full of mood swings. As I approached those teen years, I realized the video was right. Adolecencia was emotionally hard. I was confused about my body.  I looked forward to and yearned for the time when I would be an adult with stable hormones and stable emotions. Now I am in my 20s and I constantly ask myself why do I still feel like a hormonal mess? How am I more confused about my body now than when I was an adolescent? The thing is, even as adults, women can and often do deal with hormone imbalances. These hormonal imbalances are caused by different triggers and affect our lives in different ways.

 

How do I know if I have a Hormonal Imbalance?

There are internal and external factors that trigger these imbalances

Internal Factors include things that we cannot control like our genetics.

External Factors are triggers outside of our bodies, that happen to us, or things that we do to ourselves. This could be like diet, lifestyle, stress levels, etc.

When it comes to diet, consider the hormones pumped into the animal products we eat. Have you stopped to think about the BPA in some plastics?  If you are anything like me, you experimented with different types of birth control in your early 20s before finding the right one. All of these are external factors that can skew our normal hormone levels.

Another external factor I mentioned is lifestyle, and let’s be honest the lifestyle of the modern woman is unfortunately saturated with stress. Can you relate? In today’s world, mujeres deal with a lot during our prime reproductive years. Whether you are single, a newlywed, have kids, or are a single mom, there are stressors that only we mujeres can understand. Perhaps you are establishing your career. Maybe you are a working student. Maybe you have the career of your dreams and the hours are longer than expected. Whatever is stressing you out, chances are the societal pressure of being a brown woman do not make it any easier. We face the pressure of being as hard as iron and soft as silk. On top of all this, we are often both providers and nurturers to our families.

 

What Do the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances Look Like?

Different women experience hormonal imbalances in different ways. Let’s look deeper into some of the physical manifestations of hormones that may be out of whack.

One common symptom that I will bundle together here is skin issues. We are talking about melasma, acne or both. Melasma is manchas on the skin. It is hyperpigmentation that was triggered by UV rays and exacerbated by hormones. SPF can prevent it, but you will have better luck getting to the root of the cause of the melasma—the hormones. Another symptom is acne. Hormonal acne typically manifests itself on the chin and jaw area. It is characterized by painful, sometimes cystic breakouts that are tender to the touch and stubborn to go away. This type of breakout can often lead to post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which is a dark mark left behind from acne.  If you have tried different acne products with no luck, it could be because topical products treat topical issues. No topical acne product will change the hormones inside your body.

Another physical symptom is weight gain. Do you workout regularly? Are you watching what you eat? If you have stubborn pounds that will just not melt off, it can feel so demoralizing. It’s like, I am trying everything! Why aren’t I seeing progress? It could be a lot of things. Perhaps you are not working out as hard as you think. Maybe you are not in as big a calorie deficit as you thought. It could be your genetics. However, hormones may very well be a contributing factor to this! If you are working out and eating right and have not seen significant progress in a certain amount of time, then it is worth exploring if your hormones are a contributing factor.

Other times, a characteristic of a hormonal imbalance is low libido, or low sex drive. This can be difficult to deal with. It is human nature to like sex. Get out of here, Latin guilt! So why are you suddenly disinterested in it? It could be a combination of factors, but a hormonal imbalance could be the culprit here. I understand that this can be a very vulnerable thing to realize. Some people may even be in denial about their low sex drive because they are afraid to admit it. I am here to tell you that it is common, and it happens to more women than you think. There is nothing wrong with you as a person. It could be a simple imbalance and once you find a way to balance it out, you can go back to feeling like yo’ sexy self.  

Finally, another, often more difficult symptom of hormonal imbalance would be difficulty conceiving. Unexplained infertility seems to be affecting some of my friends, colleagues and even family members. If you are going through this, please know that I am sending you a lot of love and support. As difficult as it may seem now, I promise you that you have my sympathy. I wish you all the best on this journey and I send you comfort.

Considering the emotional effect that these symptoms of hormonal imbalances can cause, it is so important to take the time to care for ourselves.  With so many responsibilities on our shoulders, however, it can seem selfish to care for ourselves, as individuals. But, I promise you—the more you take care of yourself, the more you will be able to care for others.  If no one is depending on you at this moment, then girl, you have every reason to nurture yourself! You only have one body. Let’s be good to it. Let’s start by nurturing ourselves.

I understand that finding balance in life can be difficult enough, let alone with our hormones. It can be overwhelming to find reliable info out there in the sea of info that is Google.  Wherever you are on your health journey, it is important to make decisions (especially ones that will affect your body) with discernment. Here are some quick tips on what you can do today to balance out your hormone levels.

Tips on Balancing your Hormones

Reduce Stress

Reducing stress can benefit so many aspects of your health. This is why it is at the top of the list. People reduce stress in different ways. Here are some easy ways to reduce stress:

  •         Take a bath with some salts and sip on chamomile tea while you soak.
  •         Go on a 20 minute walk outside to clear your mind.
  •         Call your homegirl to chismear for a bit. Don’t lie. You know this helps you to relax and release tension.
  •         Light some candles and let the soothing scents help to calm you down.
  •         Practice gratitude. This can help perspective and remind you of your “why.”

 

Check Your Meat, Eggs and Dairy:

Do you eat meat? I personally love a good carne asada on a Sunday. However, I make sure to source my meat responsibly. Try your best to look for meat that is hormone and antibiotic free. The same goes for your diary and eggs. Look for free range and organic as often as possible. It is worth it for you to invest in your health now. You will thank yourself in the long run.

Reduce Plastics:

Have you seen a BPA warning on plastics lately? Do you best to look for BPA free labels. You can also invest in glass bottles and stainless steel straws so that you can consume out of plastic less. It’s good for your environment and your body.

Use Plant Medicine:

No, I am not talking about THC right now. Different types of herbs can be quite helpful.   You can definitely pick and choose which herb will benefit you the best. There are plenty of ways to include these herbs in your everyday life. There may be some trial and error as you try them out, depending on what is causing your hormonal imbalance.

Here is where you want to consult with someone you trust, who knows what they are doing. Here is where Compton Health Bar can be your ally in your health journey.  You can book a consultation and have an expert guide you through it. We will hand pick the herbs to include in your formula for the absolute best results. You can always slide into our DMs to book a consultation. We also accept walk-ins. 

If you’re anything like I was at the beginning of a health journey, then I can guess what you are thinking… But don’t herbs taste nasty? And girl, let me tell you—if you can down shots without a chaser (like I am sure some of you out there can), then I know damn well you will be able to handle a daily herbal drink that will benefit your hormone health!

Also, we Latinas are the descendants of warriors such as the Aztecs, Teoteucanos, or the Pipiles, etc. So, if it helps you get into the right headspace, picture yourself as a warrior queen who is chugging down the elixir of the Diosas so you can balance out your hormones and become centered with your divine feminine power.

You down? Ok pues. Here is an example of a standard hormone formula from CHB:

  • Dong Quai – (sounds like ya guey) helps with menstrual cramps, symptoms of PMS and symptoms of menopause 
  • Wild Yam – considered a natural alternative to estrogen therapy
  • Maca Root – increases mood, libido and fertility 
  • Black Cohosh – helps treat PMS and painful menstruation 
  • Chamomile – to help you relax and lower stress!
  • Damiana – an aphrodisiac (excuse me while I go chug some and then call up bae)
  • Sarsparilla – helps with the absorption of the other herbs 
  • Eleuthero – helps with recovery from stress burnout
  • Passionflower – helps with anxiety and symptoms of menopause
  •  Licorice Root – reduces stress
  •  Collagen Peptides ­– as a woman’s estrogen decreases, so too does her collagen. It’s never too early to start drinking collagen to prevent the signs of aging· IDK about you, but I’m trying to age like a fine wine, you feel me?
  • Stevia Leaf – for flavor, of course

Remember, this is just an example of one hormone formula. The goal would be to customize the formula based on your unique needs and what symptoms you are experiencing.

Tying it all Together

As you read this article, did you relate to some of the symptoms? Did you recognize some of the triggers? Did some of the internal or external factors seem to call out to you? It’s ok.  A lot of women experience hormonal imbalance. But the good news is, you don’t have to keep putting up with it. There are natural ways to improve your hormone health! Let’s handle our health together. We got dis, home girl. Hit us up for more tips, advice, consultations or custom formulas.

Submitted by Bernadette Molina