What is Hormonal Imbalance?
The chemical messengers that affect the functioning of your organs and cells are referred to as hormones. It is produced in the endocrine glands and travels around the bloodstream informing organs and tissue, what to perform. The hormones even control several major processes of the body like reproduction and metabolism.
When you have too little or too much of a particular hormone, then you may be a candidate for hormonal imbalance. The hormonal fluctuation mainly occurs because of ageing or when endocrine glands fail to function to its level. The causes or types of hormonal imbalance vary according to which glands or hormones are affected.
Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms
Hormones play an important part in overall health. An individual can notice one or several hormonal imbalance symptoms at any time in their life. The symptoms mostly depend upon the glands or hormones that are not functioning. Some of the common symptoms of hormonal imbalance that affect both women and men are as follows:
- Pink or purple stretch marks
- Rounded face
- Blurred vision
- Increased hunger
- Fine brittle hair or thinning of hair
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Decreased or increased heart rate
- Sudden weight loss
- Frequent bowel movements or constipation
- Weight gain
- Skin tags
- Darkening of skin
One of the common hormonal imbalance conditions that affect women is PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
Who is at Risk?
Almost all individuals experience hormonal imbalances at least once to twice in their lifetime. It is a very common condition during pregnancy, menstruation, and puberty. However, some people notice an irregular or continuous hormonal imbalances. Most hormonal imbalances are caused due to external factors like hormone medications or stress. Remember, hormonal imbalance can also be experienced because of any medical disorder that involves or affects the endocrine glands or system. If you are experiencing any long term unknown or unexplained symptoms, you need to consult an endocrinologist. If the symptoms cause discomfort, pain, or affect your everyday activities, you have to take immediate treatment.
Hormonal Imbalance Causes
Hormonal imbalances are caused due to several factors. The hormone is similar to the cake recipe. It is natural to experience fluctuation in hormonal levels. Some of the well-known causes of hormonal imbalance are as follows:
- Cancer treatments
- Trauma or injury
- Pituitary tumour
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Eating disorders
- Cushing syndrome
- Overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism
- Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism
- Hyper functioning thyroid nodules
In women, most causes are associated with reproductive hormones. Some common reasons for hormonal imbalance in women include premature menopause, PCOS, breastfeeding, pregnancy, primary ovarian insufficiency, and birth control pills.
How is Hormonal Imbalance diagnosed?
A single test cannot diagnose Hormonal imbalance. You have to consult your hormonal imbalance doctor for a complete physical exam. You have to explain the symptoms along with the timeframe of occurrence. Also, share the supplements, medications, and vitamins you are presently consuming. The doctor would recommend one or several tests according to the symptoms.
- Blood test: Blood test is conducted to check cortisol, testosterone, estrogen, and thyroid levels.
- Pelvic exam: For females, a pap smear test is performed to identify cysts, tumours, or lumps. For males, the physician may check the scrotum for abnormalities or lumps.
Certain advanced tests performed as part of hormonal imbalance diagnosis include ultrasound, sperm count, thyroid scan, X-ray, MRI, and biopsy.
How is Hormonal Imbalance treated?
Hormonal imbalance treatment depends on the cause. Some treatment options recommended by physicians are as follows:
- Vaginal estrogen: Estrogen cream, ring, or tablet is suggested when the individual is experiencing vaginal pain or dryness during sex.
- Hormonal birth control: It mainly helps in regulating menstrual cycles and effective for women who are planning for pregnancy.
- Medicine: Popular medicine for hormonal imbalance helps in encouraging ovulation and reduce androgen levels. It also helps women with PCOS signs.
Other treatment options for hormonal imbalance include testosterone therapy, thyroid hormone therapy, anti-androgen medications, and natural supplements and remedies. Also, by doing certain lifestyle changes like doing yoga regularly, losing weight, avoiding hot flashes, and following healthy food habits, hormonal imbalance can be easily treated.
How can Hormonal Imbalance be prevented?
At times, for hormonal imbalance, you need to consult your endocrinologist for treatment. Prevention of hormonal imbalance is possible only to a certain extent. But it is possible to balance and control the hormones naturally.
- Eliminate or reduce sugar: Sugar keeps insulin levels high, keeping other hormones away from control. Also, food sensitivities such as gluten intolerance enhance inflammation and result in hormonal imbalances. By consuming a healthy diet, you can reduce insulin resistance and inflammation.
- Exercise regularly: Right kind and amount of exercise impact every hormone, positively prompting insulin levels.
- Get great sleep: Circadian rhythm influences several hormones including ghrelin and cortisol. An excellent hormonal imbalance cure is getting optimal sleep every day.
- Reduce inflammation: High fibre plant foods and wild-caught fish are the best suggestions to lower inflammation.