As the name suggests, Hormonal Imbalance is a condition where a body cannot produce the right hormones. The hormone level is either too low or too high in the body.
Having hormonal imbalance, most of the time, is not a serious condition, as it can occur when going through different phases of life. When puberty hits, both men and women suffer from hormonal imbalance, but it can create various diseases if the condition persists for a longer time.
Before starting with the reasons because hormonal imbalance can occur, let’s find out more about how the hormones work in our body.
Hormones secreted by endocrine glands are chemical messengers of our body. They are released into our bloodstream, which further takes them to the tissues and body organs. Hormones are responsible for many body functions and processes which includes:
- Sexual attributes.
- Metabolism of food.
The major endocrine glands which secrete the hormones in the bloodstream are as follows:
Everyone has heard the saying, ‘Small changes can make a big difference,’ hormones are the best example. They are mighty, and even a small imbalance can cause a serious problem in the body.
How to deduce you are suffering Hormonal Imbalance? Below are some of the signs which your body produces indicating a hormonal imbalance.
Signs of Hormonal Imbalance
Some people take hormonal imbalance as a condition that occurs only in females, which is wrong. The majority of hormonal imbalance cases are indeed recorded in females, but males also suffer from this condition and should get tested and treated accordingly, without hesitation.
Hormonal imbalance in both men and women can create the following symptoms:
- A sudden weight gain and weight loss
- Anxiety (imbalance of estrogen and progesterone in women while testosterone in men can cause anxiety.)
- Difficulty in losing weight.
- Fatigue (feeling tired and weak always is a major sign of hormonal imbalance.)
- Trouble in sleeping.
- Hair loss.
- Excess body hair.
- Vaginal dryness.
- Low sex drive.
- Issues related to digestion.
- Pain in joints.
- Weakness in muscles.
Everyone suffers from different symptoms as no one has the same level of hormones.
Hormonal imbalance can lead to various diseases, some of which are included below.
Conditions caused by Hormonal Imbalance
The thyroid gland produces thyroxine, a hormone that, when released a little too less can cause hypothyroidism. It is also known as underactive thyroid and can cause severe weight gain, obesity, depression, fatigue, and constipation.
When thyroxine is secreted in a large amount by the thyroid gland, hyperthyroidism occurs. The symptoms are mostly the same as in hypothyroidism, but weight loss occurs in hyperthyroidism instead of gaining weight.
3. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS has become the most common reproductive disease among women. It is also believed that half of the women do not get tested and hence are unaware that they are suffering from PCOS.
Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs when a hormone named androgen, secreted by ovaries, fat cells, and adrenal glands, hinders the development of eggs in the ovaries because of its excess level. Symptoms of PCOS are as follows:
- Irregular periods.
- Growth of excessive body hair.
- Weight gain, which is difficult to lose.
- Hair loss or hair thinning.
PCOS does not have a definite or specific test; the doctor examines the patient at various levels, assessing different symptoms, and then proceeds with further testing.
4. Gigantism and Dwarfism
Growth hormone, which is released by the pituitary gland, is responsible for gigantism and dwarfism. As the name suggests, gigantism is caused by an excess in hormone levels of growth hormone, while dwarfism occurs when growth hormone is deficient.
A person will have diabetes when the pancreas cannot produce or use the hormone insulin effectively. Diabetes has two different types; Type-1 and Type-2.
Type-1 diabetes occurs when less or no insulin is produced, and injections carrying this hormone are inserted daily. Type-2 diabetes occurs when the insulin produced by the pancreas is not used efficiently by the body.
The above-mentioned diseases are the most common and major diseases caused due to hormonal imbalance.
Now comes the question, why does hormonal imbalance occur? What are the reasons behind it? The answer lies below!
Reasons for Hormonal Imbalance.
Stress is the major and the biggest reason contributing to hormonal imbalance. Feeling stressed is common for everyone but being stressed for a long time is not healthy.
When you are stressed, the body releases two hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol, also known as ‘fight or flight hormone.’
As everything should be in perfect balance, these hormones’ excess levels can cause various conditions like high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, depression, and digestion problems.
Many women experience irregular menstrual cycles, delay in periods, overall stoppage of periods, or infertility when they are stressed. Stress also causes low sex drive in both women and men.
Coping with stress is easier said than done, but if you take one step at a time, you could learn to manage your stress.
How to manage stress:
- Sleep management: A proper and good sleep will always make you feel relaxed and less irritable.
- Meditation or Yoga.
- Emotional support: Asking for emotional support from friends and family is normal and helps reduce stress levels.
- Less consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
2. An Unhealthy Diet
As quoting an old saying, you are what you eat, and an unhealthy diet is also one of the top reasons for hormonal imbalance. If the diet does not contain proper nutrition, many hormone levels get imbalanced.
An increase in insulin and cortisol secretion occurs because fat cells have to store increased estrogen.
An increase in insulin occurs when sugary drinks, processed foods that are low in carbohydrates are consumed. A body needs to produce more insulin to break down this food and keep the sugar level controlled.
Consuming a diet which is enriched with nutrients is the key to avoid high insulin level.
Cortisol is responsible for the body’s functioning, and hence imbalance of this hormone can create a great deal of harm to the body. A person can manage cortisol by avoiding eating too much sugar.
High estrogen results in excess storage in fat cells and can be deemed a serious threat to the body.
Prostate cancer in men while females can have breast cancer due to increased levels of cortisol.
Hormonal imbalance due to an unhealthy diet can lead to fatigue, irritability, foul mood, wrinkles, difficulty sleeping, and opening a path for many more diseases.
3. No or Less Frequent Exercising Routine
Regular physical activity is important to keep your body healthy. Either you are suffering from hormonal imbalance or starting to show signs of hormonal imbalance, the doctor will recommend starting with a regular exercise routine.
Exercising or any physical activity regulates the body’s insulin hormone secretion, which is the root cause of many underlying diseases.
The females suffering from Polycystic ovary syndrome are also advised to exercise regularly to regulate the estrogen hormone level.
You can perform yoga, aerobics, strength training, walking, jogging, cycling, any physical activity according to your convenience.
The end of a woman’s menstrual cycle is termed menopause. This period in females’ lives can be very challenging as many hormone levels in the body change.
Changes are seen in the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These changes affect the female’s body in many ways. Hot flashes with low sex drive are the most common among women going through menopause.
Periods become irregular, longer, heavier, fatigue, insomnia, and vaginal dryness are also observed.
Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and staying hydrated are some steps that can overcome this challenge of hormonal imbalance.
There are some drastic changes in hormone levels during pregnancy. But these changes are necessary for the baby to develop fully healthy in the female’s body. The main hormones estrogen and progesterone change during pregnancy and create an impact on the body.
This hormonal imbalance during pregnancy creates swelling in different parts of the body, changes in senses, like taste and smell, and vision changes are observed.
Exercises, as advised by the doctor, a balanced diet, and adequate rest can soften the body’s hormonal imbalance.
While testing for hormonal imbalance, various tests are performed; blood tests, ultrasound, X-rays, and physical examination of the body.
Once the hormone that is not being produced efficiently is identified, the doctor lays out the roadmap to control the hormonal imbalance. The sooner it is detected, the easier it becomes to overcome the hormonal imbalance.
Lifestyle changes, regular exercises, balanced diet with proper sleep are some steps that can ensure that hormonal imbalance is kept at bay.
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