Hormone imbalance is an issue many women struggle with without adequate information, which often leads to many other challenges if proper care is not taken. In this article, we will be exploring all you need to know about hormone imbalance and what should be done to manage or overcome it.
To understand hormonal imbalance, we need to begin by understanding hormones.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that act as messengers in your body. They are secreted by glands and released into the bloodstream. They are then transported by the bloodstream to specific organs where they act to regulate various bodily processes.
For example, the follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH for short is a hormone that is secreted in the pituitary gland in the brain. It travels in the bloodstream to the ovaries where it stimulates egg release. This forms a critical part of the monthly female reproductive cycle.
Hormones and some of their functions;
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) - Acts on the ovaries to release eggs.
- Growth hormone (GH) - stimulates growth
- Prolactin - Stimulates milk secretion
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) - Stimulates thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones; T3 and T4
- Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) - Regulates energy levels, metabolism, sleep appetite, and moods
- Cortisol - Regulates energy levels and alertness
- Insulin - regulates blood sugar levels
- Estrogen - Promotes development of the female reproductive system.
- Progesterone - Helps to prepare the body for pregnancy
- Testosterone - Stimulates the development of male sexual characteristics
Generally, hormones help to regulate:
- blood sugar
- blood pressure
- reproductive cycles and sexual function
- general growth and development
- mood and stress levels
For your body to function properly, all your hormones need to be balanced or maintained at regular levels i.e. they are not too high or too low so as to not be too active or underactive.
What is hormone imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance occurs when hormones are too much or too little in the body. They may also be due to oversensitivity or under-sensitivity to the hormones.
A hormonal imbalance can affect many bodily functions. Imbalances in insulin, steroids, growth hormones, and adrenaline can affect males and females alike.
Females may also experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, while males are more likely to experience imbalances in testosterone levels.
Symptoms of hormone imbalance in females
When women have imbalances of key hormones, the symptoms more frequently include:
- Night sweats
- Reduced interest in sexual activity
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Deepened voice
- Altered heart rate •
- Soreness in breasts
- Swollen face
- Difficulty concentrating
- Bloating (body)
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- More or less frequent urination or bowel movements
- Dry skin
- Skin rashes
- Bulge in the neck
- Weak bones
- Thin hair
- Hair loss
- Changes in blood sugar
- Changes in sensitivity to heat or cold
- Vision problems
- Enlarged clitoris
- Long-lasting fatigue
Symptoms of hormone imbalance in males
When a man has low testosterone levels, their symptoms will typically include:
- decrease in sex drive
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
- loss of muscle mass
- thinning hair and reduced hair growth
What causes hormonal imbalances?
Throughout your life — and even throughout the day — your hormone levels naturally rise and fall.
Certain periods of life cause more dramatic changes and fluctuations in hormones, including:
However, there are several other reasons why your hormone levels may be irregular at unexpected times. Some of the most common causes of fluctuating or imbalanced hormone levels include:
- Certain medications
- Steroid use
How To Test For Hormone Imbalance
The best way to know if you have a hormonal imbalance is to test your hormone levels.
There are so many hormones, so it can be difficult to know which ones need to be tested. This is best addressed by talking to your doctor about your symptoms. Your doctor can help recommend specific hormones to be tested based on your symptoms. Click here to book a test right away.
You can also talk to a doctor today about your symptoms.
How to treat hormone imbalance
The treatment for hormone imbalance depends on a number of factors;
- The hormones that are affected
- The kind of hormone derangement
- The cause of the hormone imbalance
Generally, the treatment may include lifestyle modification, use of medications, or surgical procedures.