Our menstrual cycle is greatly influenced by hormone levels. Their imbalance may hinder your functionality and cause a variety of health issues. Women in their teens, 20s, and 30s frequently face the physical, mental, and emotional effects of hormonal imbalance, on top of all the pressures and stressors of daily life. The levels of two hormones in particular are the primary manifestation of these imbalances: progesterone and estrogen. Hormonal imbalance affects eighty percent of women, according to statistics. It is a common condition that can affect many aspects of a woman’s life. It is essential to discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor so that they can devise a treatment strategy that is most appropriate for your situation.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that send messages to your organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues through your blood to coordinate various body functions. Your body is told by these signals when and what to do. Your life and health depend on hormones. Over fifty hormones are present in the human body, according to scientists. Numerous bodily processes are regulated by hormones, including:
- Homeostasis, or constant internal equilibrium
- Development & growth
- Sexual activity
- Cycle of sleep-wake
What is a hormonal imbalance?
A hormonal imbalance occurs when you have excess or too little hormonal production in your body. It’s a broad term that can refer to a wide range of hormone-related issues. Hormones are potent indicators. In the case of many hormones, even a slight overdose or underdose can result in significant changes to the body and treatable conditions. Some hormonal imbalances are short-term (acute), while others are long-term (chronic). Additionally, while some hormonal imbalances necessitate treatment to maintain physical health, others may have a negative impact on your quality of life as well as your health.
What causes hormonal imbalances?
Hormone levels naturally fluctuate throughout your life and even throughout the day. Hormones change and fluctuate more dramatically during certain times of life, such as:
However, there are a number of additional reasons why your hormone levels may fluctuate unexpectedly. The following are some of the most typical causes of hormone imbalance or fluctuation:
- Sedentary lifestyle
A change in medication or proper stress management is more likely to resolve these hormonal imbalances, which are more likely to be temporary. There are numerous potential causes of chronic hormone-related conditions. In general, the most common conditions or circumstances that result in significant hormonal imbalances for medical reasons are:
- Adenomas, tumors, or other growths
- An injury or damage to an endocrine gland
- Autoimmune diseases
Common symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
1. Menstrual irregularities
A woman’s menstrual cycle typically lasts between 21 and 35 days. You should see your OB/GYN if this doesn’t quite match your normal monthly cycle. This could be a sign of hormonal imbalance. They will collaborate with you to create a treatment strategy to address this difference. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that typically manifests in early adulthood and can result in enlarged ovaries and cyst-like follicles surrounding the eggs, can also be a sign of irregular periods. Women with PCOS frequently ovulate irregularly or never at all. Additionally, they may experience prolonged periods of menstruation.
Some women in their 20s and 30s may begin to consider growing their family. A hormonal imbalance can complicate a significant life event. If you’ve been trying to conceive for six months but haven’t been successful, you should probably talk to your doctor and get checked out.
3. Night sweats and hot flashes
Are you waking up covered in sweat or having sporadic hot flashes throughout the day? The most likely cause of these symptoms is a decrease in estrogen levels, which is a major indicator of hormone imbalance. These symptoms may also be a sign of ovarian failure, although they are uncommon. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t put it off going to the doctor.
4. Hair loss
There are many different conditions that can cause hair loss, but pregnancy and PCOS are two of the most common ones. Hair loss can also be caused by skin conditions like psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.
5. Cold hands and feet
Don’t be alarmed if you occasionally experience cold hands and feet. However, if it persists and is accompanied by changes in skin color, you may have nerve or circulation issues. Additionally, hormonal conditions like diabetes and lupus may be connected to this. It is always wise to consider a specialist in case you observe any of these symptoms.
6. Pelvic pain
It is absolutely necessary to see a doctor if you are experiencing pelvic pain during your period or during a sexual encounter. Endometriosis (implants of tissue outside the uterus), fibroids (which are driven by estrogen), or ovarian cysts could be the cause of these symptoms. All can be removed surgically or medically. After analysis, your doctor will find the treatment plan that works best for your condition.
Are you getting through the day by drinking an excessive amount of coffee? Changes in the hormones that control your thyroid in the brain can also cause persistent fatigue, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including changes in sleep, diet, or exercise. Depression can also be linked to fatigue. In fact, people who are depressed are more than four times more likely to experience fatigue.
8. Breast discharge
It’s possible that your brain is overproducing hormones if you’re not breastfeeding and are experiencing milky-colored discharge from your breasts. Changes in the appearance of the breast area may result from this, as well as issues with ovulation and the length of your menstrual cycle. Most of the time, medical treatment works.
4. Weight gain
One of the many unsettling and frustrating signs of hormonal imbalance is weight gain or difficulty losing weight. Even if women exercise four to five times per week and limit their calorie intake, many still experience this problem. This could be because the adrenals are overworked or because of an imbalance caused by PCOS.
10. Heavy periods
Unusually heavy periods are common and frequently become the norm for most women, but they still need to be looked at. Fibroids, benign masses in the uterus fueled by estrogen, can cause heavy periods. Treatments by medicine and surgery can control these.
How are imbalances in hormones diagnosed?
Due to the fact that your endocrine glands directly release hormones into your bloodstream, healthcare providers typically prescribe blood tests to check hormone levels. Because certain hormone levels change a lot throughout the day, doctors may order other tests, like a glucose tolerance test or an insulin tolerance test, to check your levels. A physical exam and questions about your symptoms and medical history will also be asked of you by your provider.
How are imbalances in hormones treated?
The cause of a hormonal imbalance will determine the course of treatment. Hormone replacement therapy is the primary treatment option if your hormone levels are lower than normal. You may take medication by injection or by ingestion, depending on which hormone is lacking. There are numerous treatment options depending on the cause of elevated hormone levels. Medication, surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments are options.
How can I avoid an imbalance in my hormones?
Although in a lot of instances, hormonal imbalances cannot be avoided. There are a few things you can do to improve your overall health that may help keep your hormones in balance, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating a healthy & balanced diet
- Regular exercise
- Coping with stress
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Taking good care of your chronic conditions (if applicable)
- If you smoke, stopping using tobacco products or smoking