by Gavin Guard, PA-C, MPAS, CISSN, Pn1
Medical Director, Roots Integrated Care
In part 1 we discussed how your gut health may be impacting your energy levels and part 2 was all about sleep disordered breathing. Let’s pick up with reason #3: hormone imbalances.
The most common hormone imbalances include female hormone imbalances and low thyroid.
Female hormone imbalances
Do you experience anxiety, fatigue around your period, irritability, mood imbalances, irregular periods? If so, you might be part of the 50% of women that experience PMS symptoms.
And if you are over 50 years old, then you are likely to experience irregular periods, brain fog, hot flashes, and skin changes associated with menopause.
One possibility is that your female hormone imbalances are actually being driven by problems in your gut. Quite a few studies have supported the gut-female hormone connection. And most importantly, improving your gut can help these imbalances.
For example, probiotics can improve conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) as supported by a review of 13 studies including 855 participants. Probiotics also lead to improved diarrhea and abdominal pain associated with periods. You can check out a from our clinic in which a patient improved her years of awful periods with a gut-specific approach (listen to ).
Another option outside prescription medications include herbal female hormone support such as vitex which is supported in a few studies to improve PMS symptoms.
And if you are in the menopausal category, then I encourage you to check out on hormone replacement therapy and discuss the risks and benefits with a knowledgeable provider.
Many other people are affected by low thyroid levels, which is called hypothyroidism. Symptoms include tiredness, dry skin, shortness of breath, hair loss, and constipation. Despite these hallmark symptoms, getting labs are key to accurately assess your thyroid status.
So what should you do about your thyroid?
Just like how we can address your gut health to resolve female hormone imbalances, you can also do the same to help your thyroid.
Why? Well, one reason is that symptoms associated with low thyroid can actually be stemming from the gut. Another reason is that improving your gut can help reduce inflammation and dampen the immune system that might be driving thyroid issues.
For example, one study showed that eradicating a parasite led to the resolution of hypothyroidism. Another study showed that a patient’s thyroid levels improved by treating her gut with antimicrobials and switching to a different form of thyroid medication that is better absorbed in the digestive tract.
To get a more in-depth review of the gut-thyroid connection, check out my other article .
If you are suffering from thyroid issues (or have symptoms of such), then I encourage you to get a comprehensive assessment of your thyroid status and work through improving your gut health. You may also inquire about different thyroid doses or forms from your doctor to reach optimal thyroid levels.