Hormones play a vital role in our overall health and well-being. They are responsible for many of our body’s functions, including energy levels, mood, sex drive, fertility, and metabolism. When our hormones are out of balance, it can lead to various problems and symptoms.
Together, we’ll explore what hormones are, how they affect our bodies, and the signs that indicate when they may be out of balance.
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body to regulate various bodily functions. They are produced by the endocrine glands — pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenals, and pancreas — and released into the bloodstream. They then bind to specific receptors and cause a particular reaction.
There are three main types of hormones, each responsible for different functions:
A hormonal imbalance occurs when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the body. Although hormones are essential for regulating many body processes, even a small change in hormone levels can significantly impact our health. For example, an imbalance of the hormone insulin can lead to diabetes. In contrast, an imbalance of the hormone thyroxine can cause problems with metabolism and energy levels.
In some cases, hormonal imbalances are temporary and will resolve independently. For example, a woman’s hormone levels will fluctuate during and after pregnancy, but they will eventually return to normal. However, in other cases, a hormonal imbalance may be persistent and require treatment to manage symptoms and maintain quality of life.
There are a variety of things that can cause hormone imbalance in women. Many women experience hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Imbalances can also be caused by stress, certain health conditions, and certain medications. In addition, unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol can also contribute to hormone imbalance.
While some hormonal imbalances may resolve on their own, others may require treatment from a healthcare provider. If you think you may be experiencing a hormone imbalance, it is important to speak with a doctor to determine the cause and develop a treatment plan. But to do that, you need to know what to look for. Here are some of the most common signs of hormonal imbalance in women.
One of the most common signs of hormonal imbalance in women are changes in their menstrual cycle. This can manifest in many ways, such as irregular periods, skipped periods, or uncharacteristic changes to flow and bleeding. For some women, these changes can be very subtle, while for others, they can be quite dramatic.
Fatigue is more than just feeling tired. It’s a feeling of overwhelming exhaustion that doesn’t go away with rest. You may also have trouble focusing or carrying out everyday tasks, a condition known as brain fog. Fatigue can be physical, mental, or both. It can be short-term, or it can last for a long time. Hormonal imbalance is one possible cause of fatigue. Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can lead to fatigue, especially during perimenopause and menopause.
Trouble sleeping is a common sign of hormonal imbalance in women. Hormones play a vital role in helping us sleep, and when they are out of balance, they can lead to trouble falling asleep and staying asleep through the night.
Insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep, is often caused by an imbalance of the hormone estrogen. This is because estrogen helps magnesium to bind to GABA receptors in the brain, which promotes relaxation and sleep. It’s kind of like putting the brakes on your brain activity so you can drift off to sleep. Without this process, you may be left with racing thoughts and anxiety, making it difficult to fall asleep.
Trouble staying asleep, or waking up frequently throughout the night, can also be a sign of hormonal imbalance. This is often caused by an increase in the hormone norepinephrine, which acts as a stimulant and can make it difficult to stay asleep.
You’re doing everything right — eating well, exercising regularly — but the numbers on the scale just don’t make sense. Unexplained weight gain or loss can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with. You feel like you’re doing everything right, but your body isn’t cooperating. For women, this can often be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. When our hormones are out of balance, it can affect our appetites and how our bodies process food. This can lead to sudden weight gain or weight loss that is difficult to control.
Dramatic changes to your mood can be one of the most distressing signs of hormonal imbalance. They often impact personal relationships, only worsening the problem. Women who are experiencing a hormonal imbalance may find themselves feeling unusually anxious or depressed. They may also experience mood swings, feeling happy one minute and angry or frustrated the next. If you’re unsure what each of these feels like, here’s a quick rundown:
Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, sometimes accompanied by a flushed face and sweating. They can last from a few seconds to several minutes and occur at any time of day or night. Hot flashes are commonly associated with menopause but can also signify hormonal imbalance in younger women.
Night sweats are similar to hot flashes but occur at night and can often disrupt sleep. If you wake up drenched in sweat, it may be a sign that your hormones are out of balance.
There are a few reasons why digestive problems are common in women with hormonal imbalances. First, when your hormones are out of balance, it can affect the motility of your intestines, which is the movement of food and waste through your digestive system. Additionally, hormone imbalances can trigger inflammation in the gut, exacerbating existing digestive issues or leading to new ones. Finally, hormonal imbalances can also disrupt the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in your stomach, leading to dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut flora).
Here are some of the most common digestive problems associated with hormonal imbalance:
Acne occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. The sebaceous glands, which produce sebum (the oily substance that keeps your skin lubricated), are controlled by hormones. Androgen hormones, like testosterone, signal the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. When these hormones are out of balance, the glands can go into overdrive, producing excess oil and clogged pores.
There are a few different ways that hormonal imbalances can cause acne. For example, an increase in androgen levels can occur during puberty, menstrual cycles, and menopause. In addition, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another condition that can cause hormonal imbalances and lead to acne breakouts.
In addition to acne, another common sign of hormonal imbalance in women is dry skin. This can be caused by several hormones in the body, including estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. When these hormones are out of balance, they can cause the sebaceous glands to produce less sebum, leading to dry, flaky skin. In some cases, the dryness may be so severe that it leads to eczema or psoriasis.
Many women experience hair loss at some point in their lives. In fact, research shows that up to 40 percent of Americans who suffer from hair loss are women. While it’s often considered a normal part of aging, hair loss can also be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.
One cause of hormonal hair loss is an increase in the ratio of androgens (male hormones) to estrogens (female hormones). This can occur during menopause when estrogen levels drop. Another possibility is an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces hormones that play a role in metabolism, and an imbalance can lead to hair loss.
These are two less talked-about symptoms that can be just as — if not more — debilitating than the others we have covered so far.
Breast tenderness can manifest itself in many different ways. For some women, the pain is so severe that it interferes with their ability to perform daily tasks or even get a good night’s sleep. Others may only experience discomfort when their breasts are touched or when wearing certain types of clothing. And still others may find that their breast tenderness comes and goes depending on their hormone levels at any given time.
Vaginal dryness can be a very uncomfortable and even painful condition. It can also lead to other problems, such as yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and sexual dysfunction. Many women also report that sex becomes less enjoyable or painful when they suffer from vaginal dryness.
Low libido is defined as a decreased interest in sex. It’s not just about having less sex — it’s also about having less desire for sex. Two main hormones play a role in female libido: estrogen and testosterone.
In women, estrogen is produced primarily by the ovaries and plays a vital role in sexual function. This hormone boosts blood flow to the genitals and increases vaginal lubrication. Testosterone is produced primarily by the adrenal glands and ovaries in women and plays a crucial role in sexual desire. This hormone helps to increase blood flow to the genitals and promote nerve growth in the pelvic region.
When these hormones are out of balance, it can lead to low libido or other sexual problems, such as difficulty achieving orgasm or painful intercourse.
Thankfully, there are some treatments available that can help to alleviate the symptoms and restore balance. Here are three of the most effective:
If you are experiencing any of these common signs of hormone imbalance, don’t panic. Many women go through this at some point in their lives. The first step is to consult a qualified healthcare professional to get hormone imbalance testing done. This will give you a better idea of what’s going on and whether or not you have an actual hormonal imbalance. Once you know what’s happening with your body, you can work with your doctor to find the best treatment options. Don’t suffer in silence. There is help available.
“Dr. Schultz is extremely thorough with diagnosis and treatment while her testing is extensive. She has a wealth of knowledge about hormone replacement and areas relating to this. Her bedside manner is refreshing and she never rushes you out of her office. If you have ever considered looking into hormone replacement you would be well advised to start with Dr. Schultz first”
– Susan R.
“Within one week of starting HRT it felt like a thick, heavy fog was lifted from my life. I was able to get a full, restful night of sleep. With the addition of testosterone pellets my energy level, zest for life and libido went from good to fantastic!!! I feel balanced , grounded and very happy most days!”
“Since I became a patient of Dr. Schultz and FINALLY found someone who could balance my hormones, I HAVE FELT BETTER THAN I DID WHEN I WAS 20!!! I swear this is true!! Because of her diagnostic genius, the level of bioidentical hormones she has fine-tuned to my individual needs have changed my life and restored me to be the best “me” I can be! Dr. Schultz is not just a doctor, I call her my HEALER 🙂 She LISTENS to me, she educates me and encourages me to take good care of myself and to make good choices, and then she allows me to make my own decisions and choices, because she respects that I am an intelligent adult and the expert on my own 58-year-old body. She treats me as a peer and her PARTNER in maintaining my own wellness, and she respects and cares about me! Our appointments start and end with a hug, and I leave her office feeling uplifted, understood, inspired, strengthened and healed in body mind and spirit. She is very holistic, understanding that we are not just a cluster of symptoms, but that in order to have healthy bodies we must also address our issues, belief systems, and thoughts. Dr. Schultz is a wise and wonderful teacher and I am blessed to have her on my path:) And her staff is awesome too!”
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