By: Dawn Cutillo
While reflecting on a topic for my October blog, I am reminded that this is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This cancer has probably affected people that you love or maybe yourself. Over the past 28 years, I have been working in the hormone balancing and holistic field, working with thousands of women to help them lose weight and reduce their hormone imbalance symptoms. Through my learnings, I have published research on preventing breast cancer by taking a holistic approach.
I began researching holistic treatment or preventative options because many breast cancer survivors were reaching out to me for alternative approaches to balancing their hormones. Some women are told any hormone, even progesterone, shouldn’t be used if they have a history of breast cancer or are a breast cancer survivor. What I found to be true is that by lowering stress, body fat, and toxic overload from preservatives and chemicals in our foods, balance in the body can be achieved, and this balance can help keep hormones in check. In the sections below, I am going to share some of the simple things you can do to balance the body and your hormones. This may help reduce female-related cancers.
By: Dawn Cutillo
We now know that any type of mental emotional and physical stress takes a toll on your hormones and can cause imbalances. These imbalances make you less able to deal with stress, exacerbating the situation. Often midlife women have a hard time dealing with many symptoms related to perimenopause and the full menopausal change. Ironically, this can also be a time of heavy stress on relationships and marriages: empty nest syndrome, self-esteem issues due to stubborn weight gain, changes in sex drive, changes in careers or retirement, and thoughts of being not needed, can all arise. All of these can really affect a woman’s outlook and her relationships. Sadly, during this stage in life, divorce is also prevalent.
Stress from the death of a spouse or a divorce is often the most stressful time in a woman’s life, especially since it is rare for a divorce to end amicably for a magnitude of reasons: one person wanting to separate and the other doesn’t, an affair involved, disagreement over splitting of the assets, or the “taking sides” that occurs among friends and family. Divorce is one of the hardest things that people can go through because it cuts to the very heart and soul of who they are. Divorce can often make women feel like a failure that, coupled with other people’s opinions and their church’s judgment or society as a whole, can leave women feeling broken and fearing they may never love again due to the vulnerability it exposes.
By: Dawn Cutillo
When people think about anxiety, they often think about the underlying mental and emotional reason for it, such as stress from a new job, a problem in their relationship, financial issues, or other stressors connected to something in their life. Many people will seek out the help of a psychologist who will counsel them on ways to deal with the psychological component or thought pattern that brings on anxiety, but not the physiological component.
Insulin and Stress
Your diet is the largest physiological change you can make. The hormone insulin is often ignored, but it plays a big part in our blood sugar. Balancing blood sugar daily is something that needs to be monitored in order to keep a calm state and not bring on anxiety or exacerbate our reaction to situations that would normally cause us anxiety or worry. When a woman has not eaten for several hours, her blood sugar can begin to crash. Symptoms of this can be anxiety, irritability, or even in severe cases, panic attacks. Other things that can cause blood sugar to rise quickly and then fall sharply are abuse of caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugars.
How your Hormones Affect Stress
In addition to balancing your diet, another physiological component of stress is actually hormonal. Women in our society have an overwhelming amount of stress, and unfortunately, this has become the norm. Even girls as young as high school are expected to achieve high grades, participate in extracurricular activities, and have both a social life and a part-time job. Not to mention the added stress of getting into college, paying off their student loans, the pressure of starting their career in a saturated work force, and then, of course, becoming a multitasking mother while also focusing on their career! This constant stress raises the stress hormone called cortisol. When the need for cortisol is high, because our stress is high, the body needs to convert a secondary sex hormone, progesterone, and convert it to make cortisol. This leaves the woman in the state of “estrogen dominance.”
By: Dawn Cutillo
Do you experience acne, oily skin, weak nails, or other cosmetic issues? Have you tried cosmetic products or asked your doctor for a remedy and nothing works? These cosmetic symptoms may be caused by a hormone imbalance!
Below are some examples of skin, hair, and body conditions that can be related to hormone imbalances:
- Melasma (dark areas on face)
- Oily skin
- Thinning skin
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Excess face/body hair
- Weak, brittle nails
- Stubborn belly fat and weight
These conditions are all connected to one simple hormone imbalance –high cortisol (stress hormone), which then causes lower progesterone, eventually lowering our estrogen over time. This scenario can cause issues with your mood and sleep can cause more PMS or menopausal symptoms.
- High cortisol can cause thinning, saggy, lackluster skin, weak and brittle nails, and contribute to thinning hair.
- Low progesterone in relation to your estrogen can cause stubborn weight gain (in particular in the stomach area) bloating, and melasma.
- Low estrogen in relation to your testosterone can cause thinning hair, excess body and facial hair, and acne.
By: Dawn Cutillo
In honor of National Yoga Month, I’m sharing the benefits of yoga and other types of exercise as part of a holistic health plan. It likely comes as no surprise that everyone would benefit from daily exercise. Most of us sit at a desk or are inactive most of the day. This means we need to compensate for that inactivity outside of work, and with busy schedules, it can be difficult. But I am hoping that the benefits of a healthy diet, balanced hormones, and exercise will outweigh the challenges that the day throws our way.
Exercise and Health:
Did you know that exercise helps improve circulation and detoxification while increasing strength and flexibility? Not to mention, exercise can increase your mood and self-esteem! Setting a goal to look “fit” physically can be overwhelming. I suggest focusing on your overall health and wellness rather than just focusing on fitness. While keeping our weight under control can be aided with exercise, the key to overall weight management is really by balancing your hormones, diet, and supplementation. BeBalanced helps to balance hormones that affect a myriad of things, and regular exercise in tandem can help you feel healthy, flexible, and refreshed.
By: Dawn Cutillo
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition related to hormone imbalance. Symptoms can have an effect on periods, fertility, weight loss, facial hair, and can cause cysts to form in ovaries, and if untreated, can lead to serious health problems over time. With a steady rise in PCOS among young girls and women in the last decade, it’s become more important than ever to understand more about it. Unfortunately, no single treatment or solution for this condition has been established by the medical community for women to help manage their symptoms. We do know that weight loss can diminish symptoms. Hormones function as chemical messengers in the body that help to trigger the processes of growth and energy production. When hormones are balanced, they work in synergy, and one hormone will signal the release of another hormone. Hormone imbalance disrupts this communication, causing a domino effect of hormones triggering differently than intended. To help treat symptoms manifested by PCOS, medical prescriptions include the birth control pill to aid sex hormone imbalances and blood sugar medications, such as Metformin, to control insulin levels. When pregnancy is desired, stronger drugs like Clomid are used to induce ovulation. It remains unclear whether insulin resistance is the origin of the hormone imbalance that leads to PCOS, or if stress causes the hormone imbalance coupled with the insulin resistance. While we still have a lot to learn about PCOS, it’s important to identify symptoms, which tend to be mild at first.
By: Dawn Cutillo
Losing weight can often feel like a battle. Yo-yo dieting, strict resolutions, and over realistic exercise goals can lead to feeling defeated. I started BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers because I understand this frustration and figured out the solution to help women get to the root cause of losing stubborn weight and keeping it off. Besides your diet and activity level, there may be some other things keeping you from losing weight. While it’s important to move daily for circulation and lymph movement, and to eat a clean healthy diet (that means no processed foods), there are other issues that contribute to making it difficult to achieve your healthy weight loss goals. If you have been struggling with your weight, take our free hormone assessment and consider the following.
During digestion, incomplete breakdown of foods can cause your cells to miss absorbing key nutrients from the food you are eating. This can cause you to feel hungry even after you’ve just eaten, and your body reaches into food stores, starving for nutrients. Though the food doesn’t break down, it is stored as fat in reaction to perceived starvation. This manifests in feeling bloated and uncomfortable.