Hormones are chemicals that control many bodily functions. They are involved in synthesis, storage, and utilization of biomolecules that keep our bodies running. From instructing the body on how to react in the face of danger to lowering blood pressure and aiding reproduction, hormones are vital to our existence.
The main female reproductive hormones are oestrogen and progesterone. They are both products of enzyme action on cholesterol. There are secondary hormones like prolactin that contribute in their distinct way to development of sexual organs.
Like every element that composes the body, any imbalance in sexual hormonal production or release could upset processes in the reproductive system. The body is designed such that all its secretions are within a certain volume range and any drastic fluctuation in quantity could elicit terrible symptoms.
Understanding how your hormones work normally is very important. It is the only way to quickly detect abnormal functioning. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding female hormonal imbalance.
How can I detect hormonal imbalance in myself?
In most cases, fluctuating hormonal levels are obvious and easy to spot. It does not hide its presence, it comes with a myriad of symptoms.
Some of the symptoms elicited in a person with hormonal imbalance are menstrual disorders, low sexual desires, vaginal dryness, night sweat, noncancerous tumors, acne, mood swings, anxiety, depression, weight gain, sleeplessness, hot flashes, and so on.
Why would my hormones fluctuate?
The cause of hormonal imbalance varies. Not every change in hormonal level is a source of concern. As a matter of fact, oestrogen and progesterone levels are always altering depending on the season and what process is going on in the body.
For example, during each menstrual cycle, oestrogen and progesterone are low. Right before ovulation, estrogen shoots up and falls back shortly before increasing again post-ovulation. After ovulation—when the ova is released into the fallopian tube, then progesterone level surges even more than oestrogen. It remains so until your period comes. But if you get pregnant, progesterone continues to rise so it can sustain the embryo.
Other normal conditions in which hormonal level may be imbalanced include puberty, menopause, old age, and breastfeeding.
On the other hand, there are also pathological conditions or disease states that could affect hormones. Some of them are anorexia nervosa, obesity, excessive exercising, use of certain medications like steroids and estrogen-containing drugs, high blood pressure, diabetes, Turner’s syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and
tumors of the ovaries or adrenal glands.
Is hormonal imbalance a cause of infertility?
Yes, it could be. Sexual hormone levels can lead to infertility if its balance is disrupted and it does this through some mechanism.
When oestrogen and progesterone levels are low, it affects multiple stages in the process of reproduction.
It could cause infertility by decreasing sexual urge and energy. Low sex drive is notably a result of depressed hormonal levels. This could make a person consistently unable to have intercourse during peak fertilization window.
Hormonal imbalance is a primary cause of anovulation. Anovulation is the inability of the ovaries to release an egg monthly. In this case, if no ova is released, no fertilization can take place.
Even when the woman manages to ovulate and the egg is fertilized, there might be problems with implantation and death of the embryo. The reason is, hormones usually thicken the uterus to sustain an embryo. So if these hormones are low or imbalanced, implantation cannot take place.
Can hormonal fluctuation affect my mood?
Yes! Hormones are capable of affecting your emotions. There are tons of research telling us that change in female hormone levels is capable of affecting their emotions.
Menstrual and premenstrual days are characterized by rise in some hormones and fall in others. This explains why some women may be moody before and during their periods.
Normal and minimal changes in hormonal levels, as seen in menstruation, can bring about mood changes. You could be irritated, unhappy, or having specific or too many cravings.
In conditions where the hormone levels are drastically lowered, the emotional effects can be as severe as depression and anxiety.
What test is used to determine hormonal imbalance?
Female hormonal screening tests
These tests measure the hormones themselves or hormones responsible for controlling their release. The hormone profile to be screened includes estradiol (oestrogen), progesterone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Luteinizing Hormone, and prolactin. This test is performed on a blood sample.
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)?
This is the use of synthetic hormones to return hormone balance to basal level. HRT is given as oestrogen, progesterone (progestin), or a combination of both.
It also exists in the form of pills, injection, gel, vaginal cream, vaginal ring, nasal spray or patch.
HRT is used to relieve perimenopausal symptoms and treat infertility, acne, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and breast and uterine cancer.
With their enormous advantages, they are not without side effects. Some of the common effects are headaches, muscle or bone pain, weight gain, changes in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, fluid retention, fatigue, mood swings, breast pain, and vaginal discharge
HRT also puts women at a higher risk of developing blood clots, breast cancer, stroke, and heart diseases.
Who do I consult for medical help?
You can visit a general practitioner with your symptoms and they may refer you to a gynaecologist or an endocrinologist.
Your doctor may recommend a laboratory hormone profile screening. Or you can order this test with Healthtracka and avoid the stress of looking for a diagnostic centre.
Book Healthtracka's hormonal screening now and get your results in the next 48 hours.