If you suffer a hormonal imbalance, you likely have too much or too little of a given hormone. Even the smallest fluctuations can have serious effects on your well-being.
My personal journey began in my 40s, it started with mood swings and then stomach issues, sleep disruption, brain fog etc… What I learned through this journey was hormones act as chemical messengers in your body. You’ll often hear that hormones are bad. However, the truth is hormones occur naturally in your body and operate as your body’s communication system. Without them your body could not function. They’re powerful chemicals that are produced in your endocrine glands and travel around the bloodstream telling your organs what to do. In fact, hormones control the body’s major processes, including reproduction and metabolism.
While it’s normal for some hormones to fluctuate throughout your life, other changes occur when something isn’t right with your endocrine glands, and an imbalance can affect your overall health and wellness.
In this series you’ll learn the basics of hormones and the signs of an imbalance.
Let’s talk about the symptoms of hormone imbalance first to get a better understanding. Hormonal imbalances may be to blame for a range of unwanted symptoms from fatigue or weight gain to itchy skin or mood swings.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances
Mood swings-The female sex hormone estrogen influences neurotransmitters in the brain including serotonin (a chemical that boosts mood). Fluctuations in estrogen can cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or depressed mood during perimenopause (the phase before periods stop completely) and menopause.
Heavy or painful periods: If accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain, a frequent need to urinate, lower back pain, constipation, and painful intercourse then you may have fibroids. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. The exact cause is unknown although they are thought to be stimulated by estrogen and having a family history may also increase your risk.
Low libido: Low libido is particularly common in women going through perimenopause or menopause due to falling levels of estrogen and testosterone (although known as a male hormone, women also have testosterone). Other menopausal symptoms such as night sweats, fatigue, low mood, and anxiety can also have an impact on your sex life.
Insomnia and poor-quality sleep: During perimenopause and menopause, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone, which promotes sleep. Falling estrogen levels may also contribute to night sweats which disrupt your sleep, contributing to fatigue and lack of energy.
Skin problems: Chronic adult acne can be a sign of low levels of estrogen and progesterone and high levels of androgen hormones and may also indicate polycystic ovary syndrome. Similarly, hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or menopause can cause itchy skin, dry skin is a symptom of menopause or thyroid problems
Unexplained weight gain: Several hormone-related conditions can cause weight gain including an underactive thyroid (when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones which regulate metabolism) and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (a hormone-
Fertility problems: Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of female infertility, with changing hormone levels a woman’s fertility naturally drops after the age of 35. High levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant while low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the ovaries to release an egg and start producing progesterone, can also cause fertility problems. Early menopause and other hormone-related conditions such as PCOS will affect your fertility.
Vaginal dryness: Vaginal dryness is most often caused by a fall in estrogen levels, especially during perimenopause and menopause. Taking a contraceptive pill or antidepressants can also change hormone levels, resulting in the problem.
Levels of hormones naturally fluctuate at various life stages, most noticeably during puberty and in women during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. They can also be affected by lifestyle and certain medical conditions.
What is important is to notice any symptoms and get them checked out by a qualified health professional so that you receive appropriate treatment, whether that involves using medication or complementary therapies or making lifestyle changes to restore the balance and your good health.
Thank you, Connie
Stay tuned for next week’s pro tips. Series 2 hormonal imbalance