Here are 10 signs of hormonal imbalance to watch out for and what you can do about it:
Here are signs of hormonal imbalance:
- Mood swings: The female sex hormone estrogen has an effect on neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin (a mood-enhancing chemical). Fluctuations in estrogen can cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or depressed mood during perimenopause (the phase before periods stop completely) and menopause.
What to do: If feeling depressed or anxious significantly interferes with your daily life, then diet and lifestyle changes, such as exercising, drinking less alcohol, and quitting smoking, herbal remedies (such as St. Juan) and hormones Replacement therapy (HRT), if you are perimenopausal or menopausal, can improve your mood. Keeping a symptom diary will also help you and your doctor identify whether hormonal changes may be to blame.
- Heavy or painful periods: If accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, frequent urination, low back pain, constipation, and painful intercourse, you may have fibroids. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus. The exact cause is unknown, although they are believed to be stimulated by estrogen while having a family history can also increase your risk.
What to do: If you are experiencing symptoms, consult a qualified healthcare professional who can prescribe medication to shrink fibroids. In severe cases or if the medication does not solve the problem, surgery may be considered to remove them.
- Low libido: Low libido is particularly common in women going through perimenopause or menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen and testosterone (although known as the male hormone, women also have testosterone). Other symptoms of menopause such as night sweats, fatigue, low mood, and anxiety can also have an impact on your sex life.
What to do: If you are going through menopause, you may want to consult a women’s health expert about trying testosterone as part of your HRT. This can improve your libido and improve your mood and energy levels. It is administered in very low doses as a gel applied to the skin.
- Insomnia and poor quality sleep: During perimenopause and menopause, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone, which promotes sleep. Dropping estrogen levels can also contribute to night sweats that disrupt sleep and contribute to fatigue and lack of energy.
What to do: The first step is to get an accurate diagnosis. If you are going through perimenopause or menopause, talk to your doctor about the benefits of HRT, which will restore your estrogen and progestin levels. You can also do practical things to improve your sleep like wearing cotton pajamas, sleeping between cotton sheets, keeping your bedroom cool and as dark as possible, exercising, and cutting down on alcohol and caffeine.
- Unexplained weight gain: A number of hormone-related conditions can cause weight gain, including an underactive thyroid (when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (a hormone-related problem that causes small cysts on the ovaries) and menopause (which leads to hormonal changes that can cause weight gain around the abdomen).
What to do: If you are experiencing unexplained weight gain, with no changes in diet or exercise levels, you may want to consult a women’s health expert to check for conditions such as thyroid problems or ovarian cysts. If you are going through menopause, you may want to discuss the benefits of HRT with your doctor. Some women believe that HRT causes weight gain, but there is no evidence to support it.
- Skin problems: Chronic acne in adults can be a sign of low estrogen and progesterone levels and high levels of androgen hormones and can also indicate polycystic ovarian syndrome. Similarly, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or menopause can lead to itchy skin, while dry skin is a symptom of menopause or thyroid problems.
What to do: If you think a persistent skin problem is caused by hormonal balance, you can consult a women’s health expert to diagnose and treat the underlying problem.
- Fertility problems: Hormonal imbalance is one of the main causes of female infertility and with changing hormone levels, a woman’s fertility naturally declines after the age of 35. High levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can reduce a woman’s chances of contracting. If you are pregnant with low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the ovaries to release an egg and start producing progesterone, you can also cause fertility problems. Early menopause and other hormone-related conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, will affect her fertility.
What to do: Your GP may arrange a blood test to check FSH and LH levels and if you have been trying to conceive for a year, or less time if you are over 35, then you may consider consulting an expert on women’s health to diagnose any underlying causes of your difficulty conceiving.
- Headaches: Many women suffer from headaches due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or menopause.
What to do: Keeping a symptom diary will help you and your doctor identify the triggers for your headaches. Eating small, frequent snacks and maintaining a regular sleep pattern can help. If you have regular attacks, your doctor may prescribe migraine medications or taking the birth control pill or HRT may help.
- Weak bones: decreased levels of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause can cause bone loss.
What to do: Women often don’t realize they have brittle bones until they have a fracture, so it is important to adopt lifestyle changes to improve bone health as they reach middle age and beyond. Exercising with weights, such as running, playing tennis, or dancing, a healthy diet that includes sources of calcium and vitamin D, and taking HRT to treat menopausal symptoms may be beneficial.
- Vaginal dryness: Vaginal dryness is most often caused by a drop in estrogen levels, especially during perimenopause and menopause. Taking the birth control pill or antidepressants can also change hormone levels and cause the problem.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance
Generalized symptoms include fatigue, irritability, mood swings, fluctuating blood sugar levels, trouble concentrating, insomnia, and weight gain.
These are the most common forms of hormonal imbalance resulting in:
- Abnormal weight gains Increased facial hair: This also increases hair on the man’s dependent areas such as the upper lips, chin, and chest.
- Irregular Periods: Sometimes these also result in a 60-90 day cycle with very low flow.
- Anovulation that leads to infertility: There is impaired ovulation because a woman may have difficulty conceiving.
- Acne: Increased androgen levels in women with PCO leads to acne and abnormal weight gain.
- Fatigue is a common symptom that can occur due to a hormonal imbalance. If progesterone levels are low, they can cause poor sleep and, if they are too high, they can increase fatigue.
- Thyroid imbalance: Hypothyroidism in which TSH is high and T3 and T4 are low can cause fatigue, weight gain, back pain, hair loss, a hoarse voice, constipation, poor concentration, and increased drowsiness. weight loss of appetite, heartburn, eye flushing and lack of heat.
The decrease in estrogen levels during the monthly cycle causes mood swings. Women can seek comfort foods that are high in fat, calories, sugar, and salt to help them feel better. Unfortunately, all this food is counterproductive and makes the woman feel even worse. Sodium increases fluid retention and bloating, sugar increases fat and calories, causing her to put on weight again. Headache can also be precipitated by decreased estrogen levels. Vaginal dryness that occurs in the perimenopausal age group also occurs due to a low level of estropeis.
Testosterone through typically male hormones also plays a vital role in women. Low levels of testosterone can cause a decrease in libido and sexual desire.
Changes in the breasts:
High levels of estrogen can cause heavy, lumpy breasts and increased cysts.
Insulin and glucagon imbalance can lead to abnormal blood sugar like diabetes.
This is the most common byproduct of hormonal imbalance, especially PCOD.
Aging of the skin and loss of bone mass:
The decrease in estrogen levels leads to perimenopause, which leads to aging of the skin, makes the skin thinner, drier, and less elastic.
Mental health problem:
Estrogen has a positive impact on the brain by regulating neurotransmitters, cognition, and the ability to cope with stress. The decrease in estrogen leads to the risk of psychosis.
Osteoporosis or thin bones:
Loss of estrogen leads to thin and weak bones, increasing the risk of fracture in the perimenopausal age group.
Cancer of the breast, ovary, and uterus:
The dominance of estrogens can lead to cancers of the ovaries, breast, and uterus.
It is very important to regulate hormone levels. Therefore, hormone replacement therapy for the desired hormonal imbalance can really help. Apart from that, leading a healthy lifestyle also helps to overcome the effects of hormonal imbalance.
Causes of a hormonal imbalance
There are many possible causes of hormonal imbalance. The causes differ depending on the hormones or glands affected. Common causes of hormonal imbalance include:
- Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid
- Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Over-functioning thyroid nodules
- Hormone therapy
- Tumors (benign or cancerous)
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Eating disorders
- Suprarrenal insufficiency
- Pituitary tumor
- Injury or trauma
- Cancer treatments
Unique causes of women
Many causes of hormonal imbalance in women are connected to reproductive hormones. Common causes include:
- The pregnancy
- Premature menopause
- Hormonal medications such as birth control pills
- Primary ovarian failure
Treatment for hormonal imbalance
Treatment for hormonal imbalances can vary depending on the cause. Each person may require different types of treatment for hormonal imbalances.
Treatment options for women with hormonal imbalances include:
- Hormonal or contraceptive control: For those who are not trying to get pregnant, medications that contain forms of estrogen and progesterone can help regulate unequal menstrual cycles and symptoms. People can take birth control medications in the form of a pill, ring, patch, shot, or an intrauterine device (IUD).
- Vaginal estrogen: People experiencing vaginal dryness related to changes in estrogen levels can apply creams that contain estrogen directly to vaginal tissues to decrease symptoms. They can also use estrogen tablets and rings to decrease vaginal dryness.
- Hormone replacement drugs: Medications are obtainable to temporarily reduce severe symptoms related to menopause, such as hot flashes or night sweats.
- Eflornithine (Vaniqa): This prescription cream can slow the excessive growth of facial hair in women.
- Anti-androgen drugs: Medications that block androgen, the predominantly male hormone, can help limit severe acne and excessive hair growth or loss.
- Clomiphene (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara): These medications help stimulate ovulation in people with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant. People with PCOS and infertility can also receive gonadotropin injections to help increase the chances of pregnancy.
- Assisted reproductive technology: In vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used to help people with complications of PCOS become pregnant.
Treatment options for anyone with hormonal imbalances include:
- Metformin: A medicine for type 2 diabetes, metformin can help control or lower blood sugar levels.
- Levothyroxine: Medications that contain levothyroxine, such as Synthroid and Levothroid, can help improve the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Treatment options for men with hormonal imbalances include:
- Testosterone drugs: Gels and patches that contain testosterone can help reduce symptoms of hypogonadism and other conditions that cause low testosterone, such as delayed or atrophied puberty.
Diagnosis of hormonal imbalance
There is no single test obtainable for doctors to diagnose a hormonal imbalance. Start by making an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and the timeline along which they occurred. Bring a list of all the medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking.
Your doctor may ask you questions like:
- How often do you have symptoms?
- Is there anything that helps relieve your symptoms?
- Have you recently lost or gained weight?
- Are you more stressed than usual?
- When was your last period?
- Are you planning to get pregnant?
- Do you have trouble accomplishment or keeping an erection?
- Do you have vaginal waterlessness or pain during sex?
Liable on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest one or more diagnostic tests. You can also ask your doctor to do these tests.
- Blood test: Your doctor will send a sample of your blood to a laboratory for testing. Most hormones can be detected in the blood. A doctor can use a blood test to checkered your thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol levels.
- Pelvic exam: If you are a woman, your doctor may perform a Pap test to feel for unusual lumps, cysts, or tumors. If you are male, your doctor may check your scrotum for lumps or abnormalities.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound machine uses sound surfs to look inside your body. Doctors may use an ultrasound to take pictures of the uterus, ovaries, testicles, thyroid, or pituitary gland.
Sometimes more advanced tests are required. These may include:
- magnetic resonance
- thyroid scan
- sperm count
Complications of hormonal imbalance
Hormonal imbalances are associated with many long-term or chronic health conditions. Without proper treatment, you could be at risk for several serious medical conditions, including:
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- Sleep apnea
- Kidney damage
- Depression and anxiety
- Endometrial cancer
- Osteoporosis or bone loss
- Loss of muscle mass
- Breast cancer
- Urinary incontinence
- Sexual dysfunction
Risk factors for hormonal imbalance
Risk factors for endocrine disorders include:
- Elevated cholesterol levels.
- Family history of endocrine disorder.
- Personal history of autoimmune illnesses, such as diabetes.
- Poor diet.
- Pregnancy (in cases like hyperthyroidism)
- Recent surgery, trauma, infection, or serious injury.
Supplements and natural remedies
There are many nutritional supplements on the market that claim to treat menopause and hormonal imbalance. However, few of them are supported by scientific evidence.
Many of these supplements contain hormones of plant origin. They are sometimes called “bioidentical” hormones because chemically they resemble the body’s natural hormones. However, there is no evidence to suggest that they work better than regular hormone therapy.
Some people find that yoga helps treat the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is great for your strength, flexibility, and balance. It can also help you lose weight, which can help regulate your hormones.
You can also make the following lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight: A 10 per cent reduction in women’s body weight can help make their periods more regular and increase their chances of getting pregnant. Losing weight in men can help improve erectile function.
- Eat well: A stable diet is an important part of overall health.
- Reduces vaginal discomfort: Use lubricants or moisturizers without parabens, glycerin and petroleum.
- Avoid hot flashes: Try to identify the things that commonly trigger your hot flashes, such as hot temperatures, spicy foods, or hot drinks.
- Remove unwanted hair: If you have excess facial or body hair, you can use a depilatory cream, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.
Hormones affected by exercise
- Dopamine: Studies have shown that exercise increases dopamine levels in the brain, reducing stress and even depression. This biochemical causes the famous “high” because it enhances those “feel good” transmitters. Increased dopamine also helps eliminate that “jittery” feeling that stress creates, Petty adds.
- Serotonin: Millions of Americans suffer from insomnia and sleep apnea and seek help to sleep. Instead, Petty recommends a healthy dose of exercise. Physical action releases serotonin, which promotes a good night’s rest. Increased serotonin levels can also have a positive impact on mood, social behaviour, appetite, digestion, memory, and sexual function.
- Testosterone: A man’s muscle mass, strength, sex drive, and sperm count are directly related to his testosterone levels. As man ages, testosterone naturally decreases. However, Petty says that getting regular physical activity can help boost testosterone, which can slow the natural effects of aging.
- Estrogen: The symptoms of menopause are due in part to an imbalance and decrease in estrogen. One way to combat this is to exercise. Increasing your heart rate for at least half an hour every day helps increase estrogen levels, which can help ease symptoms of menopause.
Exercises that help increase hormone levels
Petty recommends a combination of strength training and cardiovascular exercise to maximize health benefits and increase hormone levels. High-intensity exercises like squats, lunges, pull-ups, sit-ups, and push-ups are ideal, with minimal rest time in between. The more penetrating a workout, the more hormones are released. Consistency is also key to retaining a steady stream of healthy hormones throughout the body.
“Exercise is a journey. Results don’t happen overnight. The key is to stay focused on consistency. It’s not about how hard you work, it’s about sticking with it and making it a lifestyle instead of a binge, “says Petty.
Here are some foods to avoid
- Red meat
- Soy products
- Dairy products