What Conditions Are Caused By Hormonal Imbalances
Dozens of medical conditions are caused by hormone issues. For most hormones, having too much or too little of them causes symptoms and issues with your health. While many of these imbalances require treatment, some can be temporary and may go away on their own. Some of the most common hormone-related conditions include:
Tests For Hormonal Imbalance
A variety of tests are often used to help diagnose a hormonal imbalance. There are even some at-home tests that you can take in the privacy of your home to see if you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance. In this section, you can learn more about the different tests that you can take to see if you have an imbalance of hormones in the body.
Healthconfirm Hormone Vitality Complete+
HealthConfirm Hormone Vitality Complete+ measures your DHEA-S, cortisol, progesterone, testosterone, and estradiol levels. Checking these hormones can give you valuable information about your fertility status, whether youre getting close to menopause, or whether you might have a medical condition that needs treatment.
HealthConfirm uses saliva samples to check your hormone levels, so your kit will come with collection tubes and other supplies to ensure its easy to collect the right amount of saliva. The company also offers free shipping both ways, so theres no need to pay extra to send your samples to the laboratory.
When youre ready to check out on the HealthConfirm website, you can use a credit or debit card to pay for your order. To ensure test accuracy, HealthConfirm uses only CLIA-certified labs to process its hormone tests. The test kits have also been cleared by the FDA to ensure a high level of quality. You can access your results via a private online dashboard within a few days of mailing your sample. HealthConfirm includes physician support in the price of its hormone testing kits, ensuring that you have an opportunity to learn more about what the results mean for your health. HealthConfirm doesnt accept insurance.
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What Causes A Hormonal Imbalance
The causes of hormonal imbalances vary according to the specific hormone involved. However, in general, they are due to changes or dysfunctions of a hormone-producing gland. For instance, a thyroid gland that isn’t functioning correctly may produce too much thyroid hormone, accelerating your bodys metabolism or could produce too little. Thyroid dysfunction can be caused by autoimmune diseases, thyroid nodules, medications or, rarely, thyroid cancer, among other potential causes. Imbalances in male or female sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, can be caused by age-related changes, such as menopause and andropause, as well as genetic disorders, stress, nutritional issues, or medications. Excessive stress, poor diet, aging and certain medications can contribute to imbalances in cortisol and other adrenal hormones.
There are many different underlying causes that can result in a hormonal imbalance. Each cause relates to different glands and hormones and, does impact your body differently. Many diseases and other conditions can result in a hormonal imbalance.
Diabetes is characterized by an inability to properly use the insulin hormone. An insulin imbalance can lead to other related hormonal imbalances as well such as disrupting estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, progesterone, and cortisol.
Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
What Kind Of Doctors Treat Hormonal Imbalances
Primary healthcare providers can diagnose and help you manage many hormonal imbalances, but you may benefit from seeing an endocrinologist.
An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in endocrinology, a field of medicine that studies conditions related to your hormones. They can diagnose endocrine conditions, develop treatment and management plans and prescribe medication.
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How To Check Hormone Levels With Medical Imaging
The organs that produce hormones cannot be observed from the outside of your body. In some cases, ultrasound images or CT scan images can reveal the health of your uterus, ovaries, testicles, pituitary gland, or thyroid gland.
Medical imaging tests are usually the last step in a diagnosis. Your doctor will only request them if your blood tests indicate that there may be cause for concern, or if any abnormal lumps are detected during a medical examination.
Natural Remedies And Supplements
Many nutritional supplements on the market claim to treat menopause and hormonal imbalance. However, few of them are backed up by scientific evidence.
Many of these supplements contain plant-derived hormones. These are sometimes called bioidentical hormones, because they chemically resemble the bodys natural hormones. Theres no evidence to suggest that they work better than regular hormone therapy, however.
Some people find that yoga helps ease symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Yoga is excellent for your strength, flexibility, and balance. It may also aid in weight loss, which can help regulate your hormones.
You can also make the following lifestyle changes:
- Lose weight. If your doctor has recommended it, a reduction in body weight may help regulate menstrual cycles and increase the chances of getting pregnant. Weight loss may also help improve erectile function.
- Eat well. A balanced diet is an important part of overall health.
- Use lubes or moisturizers free of parabens, glycerin, and petroleum.
- Avoid hot flash triggers when possible. Try to identify things that commonly trigger your hot flashes, such as warm temperatures, spicy foods, or hot beverages.
- Remove unwanted hair. If you have excess facial or body hair, you can use hair removal cream, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.
The primary cause of acne is excess oil production, which leads to clogged pores. Acne is most common in areas with many oil glands, including the:
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How Can I Balance Back My Hormones
If you have been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, your doctor can advise you on ways of bringing your body back into proper balance. Typical treatments for improved hormonal balance include hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, stress management and exercise. In the case of thyroid dysfunction, medications and/or surgical intervention may be necessary to restore health levels of thyroid hormones.
How Do You Fix Hormonal Imbalance
Many health conditions that involve hormonal imbalances, such as diabetes and thyroid disease, require medical treatment.
Many nutritional supplements in stores claim to treat different hormonal imbalances, but few of them have been scientifically proven to have a beneficial effect. Its important to always talk to your healthcare provider first about taking supplements.
Aside from medical treatment, your provider may recommend certain lifestyle changes to help manage a hormonal imbalance, such as managing your stress levels and getting routine exercise.
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Why Is Weight Loss Recommended For Women With Certain Hormonal Imbalances
In women with hormonal imbalances, excess weight can make the symptoms worse. Medical professionals recommend weight loss to help women control their symptoms and reduce their discomfort. For women with fertility problems, excess weight can also make it more difficult to conceive. Losing weight is recommended to give a woman the best possible chance of having a baby.
Symptoms Of Low Hormones
As mentioned before you may not always know that you have low hormone levels, but sometimes you do.
Some common symptoms to have when you have low hormone levels are feeling very tired or fatigued, having a difficult time sleeping, losing muscle mass, gaining body fat, and having a slow recovery from injuries or illness. Other symptoms of low hormones may be reduced libido, erectile dysfunction, foggy thinking, decreased motivation for life, joint and muscle pain, and depression or anxiety.
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms you should schedule a doctors appointment. Even if it could be something else, these symptoms are not normal and should be addressed.
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Hormonal Imbalance And Women
Female hormones are powerful chemical messengers that regulate the reproductive system and influence many other vital systems. When they are present in the body in the proper amounts and ratios, they work in concert with one another to promote optimal health and well-being. However, when female hormonal imbalance becomes an issue, the consequences can manifest themselves throughout the body, taking a toll on a woman’s health and quality-of-life. When the condition is accurately identified and treated, the balance of female hormones can be corrected, reducing the symptoms and health risks associated with hormonal imbalance.
Why Is Checking Hormone Levels Important
Checking hormone levels should be part of an annual check-up. Hormone Therapy can restore the youthful levels of hormones within the body. The gonadal hormones, thyroid hormones, and adrenal hormones are the most important. If these hormone levels are sub-optimal, then hormone therapy can easily be the solution. It is broadly believed that high levels of hormones increase the chances of getting cancer. But, this is not true for everyone. A discussion with a doctor will help decide if it is right for you.
People with advanced age will never have the hormone levels that they had in their teens, but a more youthful energy and libido are possible with hormone replacement therapy.
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Men And Estrogen: What You Need To Know
Estrogen is known primarily as a female hormone that helps regulate menstrual cycles, yet the hormone plays a bigger role in mens health than most people realize. Men produce small amounts of estrogen as part of their normal functioning male reproductive system, along with the male hormone testosterone. As they age, less testosterone is produced.
Yet questions are beginning to emerge as to what specific part estrogen plays in male development, especially as a man ages. Once largely ignored, estrogen levels in men are now under the microscope as researchers are trying to determine this hormone’s role in men and how it affects the body’s different hormone levels.
A decrease in estrogen, for example, may be a factor in fat accumulation in men as well as women. One endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School reported in a 2013 study that some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency in males, including a decline in libido, were at least partially caused by lower estrogen production.
At What Age Should You Test Your Hormones
I recommend a hormone test to measure your baseline labs around age 35-40. If you need help balancing your hormones but you never did a baseline hormone panel in your 40s, a knowledgeable doctor can make an educated guess. Some women find that their doctor is unwilling to order a full hormone panel for them. If this is the case for you, negotiate for a partial list. Alternatively, you can seek a functional medicine doctor here. Id suggest reading my book THE HORMONE CURE and consider running your first test on your own, such as from one of the direct-to-consumer testing organizations mentioned in my book.
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Ask A Laboratory Scientist
This form enables patients to ask specific questions about lab tests. Your questions will be answered by a laboratory scientist as part of a voluntary service provided by one of our partners, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. Please allow 2-3 business days for an email response from one of the volunteers on the Consumer Information Response Team.
Understanding The Hormonal Cycle For Testing
If we want to talk about when to test hormones, we must understand how the menstrual cycle works and how doctors talk about it in terms of timing.
Overview of Menstrual Cycle for Hormone TestingDay 1 this is the first day you see bright red blood.Day 14 this is when women are typically told they ovulate, but thats not true for everyone or every cycle. But we use this as a baseline when discussing lab tests and timing. You should monitor your cycle and symptoms to find out when you *actually* ovulate for sure.Day 28 not everyone has a 28-day cycle. However, youll often hear the menstrual cycle talked about in terms of 28 days. This is where your hormones drop if you dont get pregnant. If youre tracking your period and you know that you have a shorter or longer cycle.Back to Day 1 this is when youll once again see blood.
*Its important to note: While on hormonal birth control you should not ovulate and you dont have a period. Instead, you have a medication-induced withdrawal bleed that isnt actually a period. Some women will continue to ovulate with an IUD.
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Hormonal Imbalance Blood Test
A blood test can test a panel of hormones to see if the patient has a hormonal imbalance. These blood tests often look at the levels of these hormones:
- Thyroid Hormones
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone
When testing for estrogen, there are actually 3 hormones that are being tested for: estrone , estradiol , and estriol . Each of these hormones serves its own purposes in the body. Some medications can reduce estrogen levels in the body.
A blood test can be a thorough way to get the answers about what your hormone levels in the blood look like. Sometimes a simple blood test is all that you need. You can also get a blood test that tests for hormones like cortisol as well. Your doctor will look at your symptoms and determine which blood tests are the most appropriate for your specific case.
Scheduling your hormone blood panel test is easy and can be done through a qualified HRT telemedicine provider like EVOLVE. Get started online and schedule your Female Hormone Test or Male Hormone Test today.
Is There Anything The Patient Needs To Do To Prepare For Having Tests Taken
The doctor will advise the patient on how to prepare, because it depends on the particular test. Most preparation is obvious once it is understood that hormones keep the body working and levels change to meet various demands such as fasting, eating, thirst, smoking, exercise, posture, time of day, stage of the menstrual cycle and medicines.
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Become Your Own Health Advocate: Ask Your Ob/gyn For These 4 Tests
It took me a long time to realize that doctors wonât offer me services or testsunless I ask for them.
Iâve been dealing with a strange array of symptoms since moving to Berlin, so Iwent to my OB/GYN to ask for a hormone profile bloodtestto rule out low thyroid, polycystic ovary syndrome , endometriosis, etc.
At first, she said no.
Iâve gotten quite used to this in Germany. The healthcare system is readilyavailable to most citizens and residents , but, as aresult, the level of care seems slightly compromised compared to the U.S.âwhere if you have insurance, youâre gravy. If you donât, youâre screwed.
The healthcare systems in the U.S. and Germany are some of the best and mostprivileged in the world, but moving from one to the other has given me a newperspective on their many systemic flaws.
In Germany itâs difficult to book an appointment with any kind of specialist, and once you do get anappointment, it seems like the doctor is racing the clock to get you out inrecord time.
They do their best to avoid testing for preventive measures.
And this is frustrating. Itâs frustrating because healthcare is moving away fromsolely reactive care that treats symptoms and towards a more holistic,preventive care that empowers the patient to take control of underlyingproblems.
Weâre stuck in the middle of a technological growth spurt, and with that, comethe growing pains.
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What Day Is Best For Testing
It depends on your goals. For fertility, check estradiol and FSH on day 3 of your menstrual cycle. This is a measure of egg quality and drives progesterone levels. For peak estradiol, check on day 12 of your cycle. I use that for bone mass. For progesterone and to check ovulation, I check day 21-22. If you dont know what day, aim for estradiol and progesterone on day 21-22 as most lab data are standardized for those dates before menopause. If your cycles are very irregular, test day 21-22 after a period.
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Risks Of Not Treating Hormone Imbalances
Hormone imbalances, when left untreated, are more than just annoying mood swings and bad PMS. They can be indicators that something more serious rarely, even cancerous is happening in your body.
Not getting your hormones back in balance could lead to other problems, like elevated cholesterol, osteoporosis, obesity, lack of sleep, and more.
Although truly identified hormonal imbalances often need medical or even surgical intervention, a healthy lifestyle can improve low-level symptoms.
Do your best to get:
- 6-8 hours of sleep each day
- 30+ minutes of vigorous exercise daily
- And a high-quality diet with enough protein and healthy fats and less sugar.
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Weight Gain
Yes, certain hormone imbalances can cause weight gain, including:
- Hypothyroidism: This condition happens when you have low levels of thyroid hormone, which causes your metabolism to slow down. This can cause weight gain.
- Cushings syndrome: This is a rare condition that happens when your body has too much of a hormone called cortisol. It results in rapid weight gain in your face , belly, back of your neck and chest.
- Menopause: During menopause, many people assigned female at birth gain weight due to hormonal changes that cause their metabolism to slow down. Its important to remember that this type of hormonal imbalance is natural and an expected part of life.
Several other factors contribute to weight gain. If youre experiencing unexpected weight gain or are concerned about your weight, talk to your healthcare provider.
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