Are you having a lot of mood swings, or weight gains, or fatigue? You may have fallen prey to Hormonal Imbalances. Hormones are chemicals that are secreted by the endocrine glands. These hormones function as the messengers of the body. These endocrine systems are scattered throughout the body.
Hormones help the body to control physiological activities and health. Malfunction in the secretion of hormones causes hormonal imbalances. Hormonal issues are shared between the pituitary, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands.
Both increment and decrement in the hormonal secretion affect metabolism, mood, growth, sleep cycles, reproduction, and development.
Hormone secretion can be too much or little, which can have severe effects on the body. The hormone levels fluctuate throughout the lifetime, including the natural aging process and other changes in the endocrine system.
Hormonal imbalance can have various causes depending upon the type of hormone or the gland with which the imbalance is associated. There are some prime causes that may lead to hormonal imbalance.
The causes which are typical for hormonal imbalances are stated below.
- Chemotherapy or other cancer treatments.
- Tumors, benign or malignant.
- Injury or Trauma.
- Pituitary tumors.
- Eating disorders.
Hormonal imbalances cause the conditions given below:
- Diabetes, both type 1 and 2.
- Hypothyroidism, not an active thyroid.
- Hyperthyroidism, very active thyroid.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- Addison’s disease.
Causes related to hormonal imbalances in women are majorly reproductive. Few of the causes include:
- Premature menopause.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Drugs, such as birth control pills.
Diagnosing Hormonal Imbalance
Through one single test, it is sort of impossible to diagnose hormonal imbalances. Visit a doctor to get a reference for the tests.
Prepare yourself to describe the symptoms you are facing, and from the timeline, they are occurring. Don’t forget to inform the doctor about the pills and supplements you are consuming.
Be prepared for a few questions that can be asked by the doctors. The questions can include :
- Weight loss or gain.
- Mental health.
- Periods, if irregular.
- Erectile malfunction.
- Vaginal dryness or pain while having sex.
- Plans for pregnancy.
This questionnaire is important for it can clear the things out to doctors so that they can suggest you proceed to the next set of diagnoses. You can request your doctor to perform tests from below.
1. Blood Test
As most of the hormones are detected in the blood, a blood test can be referred by your doctor. The blood sample will be sent to a lab for tests.
The doctor can check the levels of estrogen, cortisol, testosterone, and thyroid through the blood test.
2. Pelvic Area Examination.
In females, the tests are done by performing a pap smear, which means cells are extracted from the cervix area to feel any kind of cysts, lumps, or tumors.
In males, the doctor can check the scrotum for any kind of lumps.
The ultrasound helps in looking inside of your body. It uses sound waves to get images of the testicles, uterus, ovaries, thyroid, or pituitary gland.
4. Other Tests
If the above tests are not enough, your doctor may ask you for additional tests like:
- Thyroid scan.
- Sperm count test.
There are other tests you can perform at your home. You have to purchase various test kits that are available in the market.
Some tests require blood from your fingertip to check levels of thyroid, cortisol, and sex hormones. Other tests require urine samples or saliva to check progesterone levels or any indication of menopause.
Secretion of hormones plays a vital role in the overall health of your body. There is a broad range of symptoms that indicates hormonal imbalance. The signs will clearly indicate whether your hormones are working properly or not.
These symptoms include both men and women, and keep in mind that these conditions alone do not confirm you have hormonal imbalances.
- Weight loss and gain.
- Weak muscles, stiffness.
- Increased thirst and hunger.
- Decreased sex drive.
- Anxiety, nervousness.
- Dry skin.
Symptoms In Females
There are wide ranges of symptoms in females. Few major symptoms are stated below.
1. Painful And Heavy Periods
If you experience heavy periods, which is also painful in areas like the lower back or lower abdomen, you might have developed fibroids.
Fibroids are not cancerous growths, and they develop in and around the uterus and are stimulated by estrogen. An individual having a family history of painful and heavy pains are at increased risks.
2. Mood Swings
The sex hormone in females, known as estrogen, has the ability to stimulate serotonin, a chemical that enhances mood. Improper estrogen secretions can develop mood swings in females, especially before periods. This is known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
3. Degradation Of Sleep Quality Or Insomnia
During menopause, estrogen and progesterone are produced less by the ovaries. They promote sleep. Lack of estrogen can lead to fatigue and less peaceful sleep.
3. Lower Libido
A decrease in sex drive is common among females who are experiencing hormonal imbalances. Especially females with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a major effect on sex.
4. Sudden Weight Gain
Weight gains are common in females with unbalanced hormone secretion. The thyroid does not adequate amount of hormones to regulate metabolism.
PCOS is responsible for weight gains too. Women who are in menopause can likely experience weight around the abdomen.
Irregular hormonal secretions are one of the major factors for female infertility. Fertility levels drop in a female on and after the age of 35 years.
Luteinizing hormone is responsible for the stimulation of releasing an egg from the ovary resulting in irregular periods. Inadequate secretion of this hormone leads to infertility. Menopause and PCOS can affect fertility in a female.
Symptoms In Males
Testosterone being the male primary hormone, there are insulin, cortisol, and thyroid hormones which plays an important role in their respective field. Note the symptoms in men who are suffering from hormonal imbalances.
1. Erectile Dysfunction
Men often develop this inability to get a firm erection for having sexual intercourse. Low testosterone secretions lead to this condition.
2. Anxiety Issues
Less amount of testosterone increases anxiety. In men, testosterone helps reduce fears, submissive behaviors, and avoidance. Anxiety disorders are very humiliating and can be fatal at times.
3. Decrease in Muscle Growth
The growth of muscles decreases in men with hormonal imbalance. Testosterone helps in maintaining strong and big muscles. Secretion, in an inadequate amount, can lead to less muscle density.
4. Feeling of Hot Flashes
Men who suffer from loss of libido and mood swings often feel hot flashes. Improper hormonal secretion leads to this feeling.
Treating hormonal imbalances depend on the cause it. Given below are a few common treatment options:
Vaginal dryness or irregular pain during sexual intercourse is an alarm that indicates that your body is not making enough estrogen. In this case, you can try estrogen gel or cream, tablet, and a ring.
Testosterone based supplements reduce the symptoms of testosterone level deficiency in men. If you have delayed puberty, it can really help you boost testosterone levels. It is available in the form of injections, gel, or patch.
Hormonal Birth Control
Hormone-based birth control can help you with proper and regular menstrual cycles. Few hormonal birth control includes:
- Pills for birth control.
- Patches for birth control.
- Birth control shot.
- Vaginal ring.
Medications for Blocking Androgens
Androgens are sex hormones mainly present in men but also women. Women with higher androgen levels lead to hair loss, hair growth on the face and other parts of the body, and acne. Medications are available to level the effects of androgen.
It is a diabetes medicine (type 2) that can be effective in some women with PCOS symptoms. However, it is not always approved by doctors, but it can help in the reduction of androgen levels and supports ovulation.
If you experience uncomfortable feelings about menopause or hot flashes, then you can request your doctor to recommend a few doses of estrogen.
Lifestyle change can really help maintain hormonal changes and getting better with time. You can try out yoga. It will help you build up confidence, flexibility, and strength. To check on PCOS symptoms, you should lose weight, which in turn will help you have frequent periods. Men with erectile dysfunction should put a check on weight to reduce the intensity.
Have a proper diet involving an adequate amount of vegetables, pulses, and meat. Learn to use lubes or moisturizers to decrease vaginal discomfort.
Hormones created in our bodies take the responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of bodily processes. Glands that are not functioning in making hormonal balance can be a big issue. They may include the risk of getting medical conditions like heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, or other mental and physical health issues.
Changes in diet and lifestyle can help boost the endocrine glands to secret hormones at adequate levels. Doing exercises, quitting smoking, less alcohol consumption can really help.
Hormonal imbalances can create a lot of serious complications. Talk to your doctor to seek treatment if the conditions worsen, as soon as possible.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.