Updated: Aug 27
As women, we are constantly aware of what time of month it is, how our moods can shift, and that our bodies are in a near constant state of change. What do all of these things have in common?? Hormones. Our hormones are a HUGE part of our overall health and happiness. So what does this have to do with gut health?
Your gut is home to hundreds of trillions of different bacterias. It’s a microscopic jungle in there! Complete with a delicately balanced ecosystem that needs to be carefully tended to. When this ecosystem is disrupted, the balance between good and bad bacteria shifts… As bad bacteria takes over in a process called “dysbiosis,” your gut is at risk for a condition known as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is a thinning and loosening of your intestinal lining. This can lead to a lot of problems like inflammation, insulin resistance, immune issues, arthritis, skin problems, and you guessed it—hormonal imbalances!
Estrogen takes a huge hit because several types of good gut bacteria are in charge of actually processing and activating estrogen in the body. Estrogen is the hormone we need for our breast development, body hair, reproductive function, healthy bones, clear skin, and balancing cholesterol.
Imbalanced estrogen contributes to a lot of issues women need to worry about. These include breast, cervical, and endometrial cancers; polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); endometriosis; varied and persistent weight fluctuations; irregular periods; hair loss; breast discharge; and extended PMS symptoms.
Another important hormone that is thrown out of whack with an unhealthy gut is serotonin. Most of us know that serotonin is the “happy hormone.” It’s what our body has to help us feel content, safe, and in a generally good mood. A few other things that this hormone contributes to are: bone density, digestion, libido, and blood clotting. 90%-95% of the serotonin in your body is made in the gut… So, without your gut functioning at peak capacity, you will not be able to properly make all that serotonin.
When your serotonin is imbalanced, it may cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heart disease, osteoporosis (brittle bones), irritability, low impulse control, memory loss, and several psychological conditions like PTSD, OCD, and social anxiety.
So what can we do to make sure our guts are balanced to keep our hormones in check??
The top three contributors to an imbalanced gut are stress, overuse of antibiotics, and poor diet. These are all good gut bacteria killers, and can open the door to all the issues we saw above.
Here’s how you can combat these problems, and set your body up for success:
Diet. Your diet is absolutely connected to everything in your body. What you eat is the fuel your body has to use. So if you are eating inflammatory food, you’re actually hurting yourself in the long run. One of the best ways to really develop a healthy diet plan is to speak with a Holistic Nutritionist (like me!) that can teach you all the best practices for your specific body type and problems. This takes all the guess work away from doing your own research, and allows you to have direct access to a someone that will help you implement the perfect strategy to a healthier gut! If you would like to know more about this, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation. I would love to help you your figure out the best diet for you that supports both your hormones and your gut.
Stress. Stress is hard on the entire body, not just the gut… This makes is a very important thing to address in your life. One of the best ways to reduce stress is to make time for some self care or meditation. Take a bubble bath, make yourself your favorite meal (or order it), have some alone time for a walk outside, etc. Anything that makes you feel happy and calm. Women are usually always running around and never thinking about taking time out for themselves… That self care time is VITAL, though. So do what you have to do to add that to your life. For more information on how to combat stress in your life, read this blog.
Overuse of antibiotics. This can be tricky if you have health problems that require you to take a lot of antibiotics… However, you can talk to your doctor about dose reductions, symptoms of an imbalanced gut, and possibly speaking to a Holistic Nutritionist to help you combat the not so great effects of antibiotics. Antibiotics can be great, but if you don’t absolutely need them, it’s important not to depend too heavily on them. A great example I have of this comes from a friend of mine. She was suffering from chronic UTIs for about eight months. She was doing everything the doctor said to do such as: peeing after sex, wearing cotton underwear, making sure to always stay clean, etc. Nothing worked, and the constant antibiotics made her develop yeast infections. So instead of continuing to take them, she researched natural ways to combat UTIs. After developing her own regimen with the help of a holistic health professional, she got rid go the next UTI on her own and hasn’t had the problem since (6 years later.)
I hope this information has shown you just how important it is to take your gut health seriously! Feel free to reach out with any questions you have or book a free 30 minute consultation to discuss how we can work together and make sure you join my FREE Facebook Group "Love Your Gut With Nicole Ritter" for tons of gut health recipes, tips and videos!
To your health and happiness,
Certified Health and Life Coach