Hormones | Naturopathic Functional Medicine | DrBrighten.com

Are These 3 Things Hating on Your Hormones?

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Sex Hormones Leave a Comment

Hormone troubles can begin as early as adolescence and follow us throughout our lives. Yup, hormone balance doesn’t end when your period does!

Hormone health is not just for women who want to get pregnant or have nasty PMS symptoms! If you suffer from skin issues like acne or dry skin, digestive dysfunction, mood imbalance, or fatigue, it’s likely you need to work on regulating your hormones.

The first thing to recognize are the factors that may be working against hormone balance. Then, we can begin to explore how to get things back on track.

The Top 3 Things Wreaking Havoc on Your Hormones


Even low levels of chronic stress can wreak havoc on your hormones, preferentially making the stress hormone cortisol instead of important sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone or steroid hormones like DHEA. This can lead to estrogen dominance, PMS symptoms, dramatic fluctuations in mood, and weight gain.

Too much cortisol for too long is detrimental to your system, causing the breakdown of muscle and other tissue, brain fog, and can lead to HPA-axis dysfunction, which can take a while to get back on track.

Stress can also affect fertility. In one study, women with the highest stress levels had a 12% decrease in their ability to conceive. When you are under a high amount of stress, your body gets the signal that the environment is not safe for a baby.

It makes sense. Why would your body allow you to become pregnant when it perceives your environment barely livable for you?


Blood sugar regulation has a direct effect on your hormones. And blood sugar is regulated by what you eat.

If you rely on processed carbs and sugar for a boost in energy throughout the day, chances are you have blood sugar dysregulation. This is a disruption of one of the most important hormones in the body: insulin.

When insulin spikes after a meal high in sugar or processed carbohydrates, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) can decrease. SHBG is what binds excess estrogen and testosterone in the blood. As you can imagine, with SHGB down, there’s more circulating estrogen and testosterone, resulting in an increase in these powerful sex hormones that your body doesn’t necessarily need. This can result in estrogen dominance, which means less progesterone in relation to estrogen resulting in irritability, anxiety, insomnia, breast tenderness, and more.

One study clearly demonstrates the link between sugar consumption and hormone regulation by stating that women with PMS consume 275% more refined sugar than those who don’t!

Blood sugar imbalance can also lead to unwanted and excess weight gain, which can make hormone regulation even more difficult.


Your makeup, personal care products and other products that touch our food and skin are bombarded with chemicals known as endocrine (hormone) disruptors.

Parabens (moisturizers, personal products), BPA (cans, plastic bottles, receipt paper), phthalates (personal products) and triclosan (antibacterial soaps) are among the culprits that can have a dramatic impact on your hormones and your ability to reproduce.

The real impact of long-term exposure to these chemicals are not fully understood, however, it would serve you to read your labels and avoid exposure to these ingredients. Avoiding exposure to cigarettes, including second hand smoke and installing HEPA filters in your home can also lower your body’s chemical burden and create a better environment for happy hormones.

I love teaching my patients about hormone regulation and easy, natural ways they can optimize hormone function for fertility and long-term health.

If you’re looking for even more ways to …

  • Improve your energy while restoring the health of your adrenals and thyroid.
  • Create a blissful mood with stress lowering, hormone balancing tools.
  • Learn the best techniques to immediately improve the health and appearance of your skin.
… then check out Hormones 101: PMS Help, Perimenopause Tips & Fixing Adrenals.


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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.