For women, detoxification plays a critical role in reproductive health and is often a contributing factor in infertility, oestrogen-dominant cancers, endometriosis, menstrual cycle issues and more. Hormones are chemical messengers that our bodies make to direct cell function throughout our bodies. When our hormones are in balance, we feel energised, we sleep well, digest our food optimally, have clear skin and a balanced mood. When our hormones get out of balance, the opposite happens.
Women with hormonal imbalance often complain of:
- Depressed & anxious mood, and a tendency toward irritability
- Persistent weight gain
- Worsening skin texture, including breakouts & rapid ageing
- Gas, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhoea along with increased cravings
- Increases in body pains
- Daytime fatigue, sometimes accompanied by trouble sleeping
- Dependence on morning coffee to get through the day, & evening alcohol to wind down and get to bed
- Changes in menstrual cycles, including worsening PMS symptoms that can be incapacitating
- Changes in fertility or having trouble getting or staying pregnant
- Low libido
If our sugar levels are out of control and we suffer from things like pre-diabetes or hypoglycaemia we might need to consider detoxifying, as our pancreas might need it. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar and the pancreas produces it, therefore if we are toxic, its functionality will be impaired too.
Other hormonal issues
PMS (premenstrual tension), heavy menstruation, early menopause for women, hair loss or man boobs or ‘moobs’ for men, are the most common hormonal imbalances linked to toxicity. Our endocrine system is heavily affected if our major organs are malfunctioning and unable to keep our body clean. There are other signs of toxicity that can be found in laboratory tests, including CRP (C-Reactive Protein Test) high inflammation markers, insulin resistance, an imbalance of thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone levels (sex hormones are the oestrogen family of hormones, progesterone, and androgens like testosterone). Oestrogen dominance in particular cause silent chronic inflammation which can have serious long-term health consequences.
A clean liver regulates hormones
Our liver is a major player in natural hormone regulation. Our liver processes hormones so that they do not build up in our bodies and cause hormone imbalance and inflammation. A happy, healthy liver will break down hormones appropriately, which resets our body’s natural hormone signals. An overburdened liver cannot break down hormones optimally, which results in a build-up of inflammatory hormones like oestrogen. This causes more inflammation to build up over time, which further burdens the liver and the cells that respond to oestrogen, and the cycle continues.
Cleaning out the body will focus on minimizing offending substances and is a great way to press the reset button. Women suffering from hormone imbalance may benefit from doing a detox for at least 28 days (one full menstrual cycle), and to adopt some of the habits developed from the detox as part of a new lifestyle routine. A detox program helps rebalance hormones by getting rid of the toxins that get in the way of what our body naturally does, producing and processing hormones according to the body’s natural rhythms. When we reduce the toxic burden on our body, it can then focus its vital energy on naturally rebalancing hormones.
Things to avoid to balance your hormones
In your diet cut out:
Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and all grains are a "no go “area.
All processed foods are important to avoid. Avoid products that have wrappers, a long shelf life, additives, colourings or words you can’t pronounce in the ingredient list. Major food allergens such as wheat/gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, soy in addition to the foods listed above.
Beware of beauty, body care & home products
Too many home, health and beauty products out there are known hormone disruptors, meaning that they get absorbed by our bodies through our skin and this overstimulate our body’s hormone receptors. Any hormone-balancing detox requires the use of only natural, beauty, personal care and household cleaning products. As an example, look for products that are non-toxic and that do not contain any added fragrance, colours, aluminium or toxic ingrediants. Natural, pure and simple is the best option, with no unpronounceable list of ingredients that you have no idea of what it is.
Things to do:
Water: Consume half 1.5 -2 litres of water daily. Herbal and green teas are good during a cleanse but don’t count towards your daily water intake (teas are often dehydrating, making you urinate more).
Superfoods: Eat organic vegetables and fruits, and nutrient-dense superfoods that provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, this also helping our liver to cleanse and detox.
Protein: Our bodies need a natural source of protein for optimal liver function, energy, and healthy brain function. Protein can also be a good form of energy, which is really important (especially when detoxing off of sugar and caffeine).
Fats: Fats are the building blocks of cells and hormones. Healthy fats from avocado, coconut, olive oil and other plant and seed oils, nuts and nut butters, seeds, fish, healthy grass-fed meats will all give our bodies the building blocks it needs to repair cell damage, decrease inflammation, feed our brains and make optimal amounts of hormones. Avoid fried foods, trans- fats, peanut, soy or canola oils, or non-organic factory-farmed meat and fish.
Sweat more: Sweating is a great form of detox and supports optimal liver function. Exercise like cardio, strenuous yoga, running, aerobics, weight training is a good way to get sweating. I recommend that if you are not currently exercising, work with a personal trainer to determine the best form of exercise for you. Saunas, steams rooms is also a good way to sweat out toxins.
Sleep well: Get at least 8 hours a night. Our bodies often need more rest during a hormonal cleanse or detox, prioritise an extra 1- 2 hours of sleep at night or at least during the weekends and days off work.
Stress Less: Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it's real or imagined, and hormones are so intimately tied to stress levels that people never find lasting peace and health until they address this. It often helps to find time to take a little break from daily life, when we become so absorbed and enmeshed in our daily routine we see it as normal, stop registering stress as stress and it becomes part of our lives. Try to find time to get a way for a break, even overnight or for a weekend, and find space for “me time" a few times a week. This can add up to real positive changes and help break the stress cycle.
Journal: Journaling and writing out down our emotions helps us get more aware of our thoughts, patterns, feelings and habits. we can discover more of what doesn't serve us and what we need to let go of. Cleansing our body is a great opportunity to also cleanse the unconscious parts of our mind and nervous system that can help us to achieve a better state.