Unexpected Signs Of Hormonal Imbalance
On top of all the pressures and stressors of everyday life, women in their teens, 20s and 30s are often faced with the physical, mental and emotional effects of hormonal imbalance. These imbalances manifest primarily in the levels of two hormones in particular: estrogen and progesterone. Irregular menstrual cycles, pelvic pain and uterine fibroids are just a few of the symptoms that can occur when the balance of these two hormones is off. Statistics show that 80 percent of women suffer from hormonal imbalance. Some women live with these imbalances without even realizing it in fact, 70 percent are unaware of conditions like PCOS that may have manifested due to hormonal irregularities. Christine Mullin is here to help you recognize the 11 unexpected signs of hormonal imbalance.
Begin your fertility journey by making an appointment with one of our specialists.
1. Irregular menstrual cycles
For women who are not trying to conceive, the typical treatment for PCOS is birth control. Birth control contains progestin, which can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with PCOS. For women who are trying to conceive, things get a little more complex. Your OB/GYN might recommend medications like clomiphene, or metformin, which deliver a similar dose of hormones, helping to regulate ovulation and menstrual cycles.
3. Hot flashes and night sweats
4. Persistent weight gain
5. Hair loss
6. Pelvic pain
8. Cold hands and feet
Important Monthly Cycle Hormones
The reproductive system is influenced by hormones that are regulated by the hypothalamus and the gonadotropin-releasing hormone . GnRH causes the cells in the frontal part of the pituitary gland to produce two types of hormones.
The first hormone is follicle-stimulating hormone , and the other is luteinizing hormone . These hormones travel all the way to the ovaries, where they influence estrogen and progesterone levels and help the follicles inside the ovaries mature.
Some of the matured follicles will eventually release eggs, which travel down the uterine tubes, where they can be fertilized before moving to the uterus. The complex hormone interaction that makes this possible is called the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis.
At the end of a cycle right before menstruation, estrogen and progesterone levels drop, causing an increase of FSH and GnRH levels.
All the hormones involved in the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis rise in one phase of the menstrual cycle and drop in the other. All of these fluctuations affect ovulation and can cause symptoms like acne, negative mood, headache, weight gain, bloating, and appetite changes.
Now lets take a look at how hormone levels change during the cycle stages.
Mood Swings Anxiety And Depression
A hormonal imbalance can cause you to experience mood swings and heightened anxiety just before your period or during the menopause.
Estrogen levels constantly fluctuate during the reproductive cycle. Researchers from Harvard found that women with low estrogen levels are more prone to feeling the effects of emotional stress. They found that in clinical trials, higher levels of estrogen helped to calm the fear response helping you to be less fearful.8
Other studies have found that fluctuations in the hormone cortisol and hormones produced by the pituitary, hypothalamic, and gonadal glands can cause depressive symptoms. Researchers found that low levels of the cortisol hormone were found in women who have fibromyalgia and symptoms of depression.9
If you suffer from mood swings and anxiety during the menopause, you can find some helpful advice in my article on 10 herbs and supplements for menopause. If depression and anxiety is a result of hormonal imbalances, then you can help relieve these symptoms naturally by trying some natural treatments for depression after consulting with your doctor.
Recommended Reading: What Type Of Doctor Treats Female Hormone Imbalance
What Are The Types Of Hormonal Imbalance In Men
Testosterone is considered the primary male hormone, along with other hormones like cortisol, insulin, and thyroid hormones. Imbalance in any of these hormones may result in any of the 4 main types of hormonal imbalance in men.
Hormone Balance And Tummy Trouble
Cells lining the gastrointestinal tract have receptors for both estrogen and progesterone. Levels of these hormones change throughout the course of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. When they do, they impact the function of the gastrointestinal system. Women often experience abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and nausea before or during their periods. These symptoms can also occur with many other conditions. If a woman experiences them along with mood changes and fatigue before or during her period, it may be more likely that the GI disturbances are occurring due to monthly hormonal fluctuations.
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How Ovulation Might Feel
Ovulation is generally regular without any extra symptoms aside from changes in vaginal secretion. Cervical mucus increases in quantity and becomes clear and stretchy, like egg whites, during this phase.
Different types of vaginal discharge occur throughout the cycle, so discharge that slightly changes color and consistency may be normal. During ovulation, there may be mild soreness on the side of the body where the ovary is releasing an egg. This is called mittelschmerz and can last from a few minutes to one to two days. Mittelschmerz is completely normal, and its also normal not to experience it.
However, if theres a sharp pain in the belly during ovulation or an excessive amount of discharge, its possible that there are underlying health issues that need medical treatment.
After ovulation, LH and estrogen levels drop. The dominant follicle transforms into the corpus luteum, which is a sort of temporary organ that predominantly secretes progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg.
This phase lasts for 14 days for most people.
Male Hormone Imbalance: What You Should Know
Jag Desai, MD Blog
Men tend to accept changes in their bodies as just part of the aging process. However, most symptoms of aging are actually caused by a hormone imbalance, which affects not only testosterone, but also cortisol and thyroid levels. It is true that as men age, they are more likely to experience male hormone imbalance, but there are other contributing factors as well. Here is what you should know about this common but underreported condition.
How Does Menopause Affect My Bladder Control
Unfortunately, bladder control issues are common for women going through menopause. There are several reasons why this happens, including:
- Estrogen. This hormone plays several roles in your body. It not only controls your period and promotes changes in your body during pregnancy, estrogen also keeps the lining of your bladder and urethra healthy.
- Pelvic floor muscles. Supporting the organs in your pelvis your bladder and uterus are called the pelvic floor muscles. Throughout your life, these muscles can weaken. This can happen during pregnancy, childbirth and from weight gain. When the muscles weaken, you can experience urinary incontinence .
Specific bladder control problems that you might have can include:
- Stress incontinence .
- Urge incontinence .
- Painful urination .
- Nocturia .
Hormone Problems That Start In The Brain
The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain that lies near the pituitary gland. It helps regulate hormone secretion in various parts of the body, controlling functions like body temperature, mood, hunger, thirst, sleep, fatigue, sex drive, and circadian rhythms. Dysfunction of the hypothalamus may produce many symptoms depending on which hormone systems are affected. Supplementing hormone levels that are low may help relieve symptoms. If the hypothalamus is malfunctioning due to the presence of a tumor, treating the tumor may provide relief.
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Can Menopause Affect Sleep
Some women may experience trouble sleeping through the night and insomnia during menopause. Insomnia is an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This can be a normal side effect of menopause itself, or it could be due to another symptom of menopause. Hot flashes are a common culprit of sleepless nights during menopause.
If hot flashes keep you awake at night, try:
- Staying cool at night by wearing loose clothing.
- Keeping your bedroom well-ventilated.
Avoiding certain foods and behaviors that trigger your hot flashes. If spicy food typically sets off a hot flash, avoid eating anything spicy before bed.
Avoid Sugar And Refined Carbs
Sugar and refined carbs have been linked to a number of health problems.
Indeed, avoiding or minimizing these foods may be instrumental in optimizing hormone function and avoiding obesity, diabetes and other diseases.
Studies have consistently shown that fructose can increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese people with prediabetes or diabetes (
Diets high in sugar and refined carbs have been shown to drive insulin resistance. Avoiding these foods and reducing overall carb intake may decrease insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
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Your Body Has Over 50 Hormones And They Are Constantly Fluctuating Here How To Keep Them From Getting Too Out Of Whack
With Barry Sears MD
Our hormones are responsible for essentially every function in our bodies. Hormones are chemicals secreted by our glands in order to send messages through the bloodstream. Those messages then tell our organs what to do to keep us alive and healthy.
When we think hormone, we usually think about the sex hormones testosterone or estrogen, but there are actually more than 50 different hormones circulating inside your body right now.
For example, your thyroid hormones oversee your metabolism, energy levels, and temperature, while cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a role in fetal development and your response to physical and psychological stress. From heart rate to appetite to sexual function, each and every hormone plays an important role.
When your hormones are balanced and working in sync, you wont notice them, of course, and thats a good thing. Its when theyre imbalanced that you could start seeing cascading health issues take over.
Hormonal imbalance stems from your body making too little or too much of a hormone or a series of hormones. There are many hormones, such as insulin or adrenaline, that everyone shares, but specific hormones can affect men and women in different ways. For example, women may see an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels, while men may experience an imbalance in testosterone.
Signs Of Insulin Resistance
Most people think about diabetics when they see the word insulin, but problems with insulin can occur in a number of different conditions, in people with normal blood sugar. You have probably heard of insulin resistance it is a significant health problem because it’s associated with an increased risk of obesity, heart attacks, polycystic ovarian syndrome, cancer and other serious conditions. People with insulin resistance usually have excessively high levels of this hormone, because it doesn’t work properly. We are seeing an increasing number of patients who have been diagnosed with insulin resistance by their own doctor, yet they don’t fully understand what this term means.
How would you know if your insulin level is too high?
There is a blood test that can measure your fasting insulin, but it isn’t always reliable and many doctors are not willing to order this test. This is a shame because elevated insulin is bad for your health and shortens your lifespan.
Insulin has many important roles in your body. People with too much insulin in their bloodstream are said to have insulin resistance, syndrome X, metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes. They are all interchangeable terms.
Knowing whether or not you have too high insulin is important because it can allow you to make some changes and avoid some serious health problems in the future. Luckily there are several tell tale signs or clues that your body gives you, alerting you to this problem.
The role of insulin in your body
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Common Signs Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and coordinate some of our most complex functions. But what happens when they go awry? We ask an endocrinologist and a gynaecologist to explore the most common hormone imbalances.
Reviewed byDr Colin Tidy
18-Jul-19·6 mins read
Seven years ago Rachael, now 28, went to A& E coiling over in severe pain. The pain radiated from her abdomen to her lower back, and it was difficult to pinpoint its origin. An ultrasound identified a large ovarian cyst which she had removed via surgery.
“I also experienced unwanted hair growth on my face and chest, weight gain, and very unpredictable periods,” says Rachael.
She was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome , a condition related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, including high levels of insulin and excess androgens .
Now an adult, Alexandra remembers the difficulty she had concentrating as a 12 year old. “I was sleepless, big-eyed and had severe mind fog. I couldn’t sit still, follow a conversation or concentrate on anything. I had tremors and a resting heart rate of 119. A GP took both my hands and asked me to put my arms straight out with palms down and try to keep them steady. I couldn’t. I was referred to an endocrinologist who diagnosed an overactive thyroid.”
Both Alexandra and Rachael suffer from hormone imbalances.
How To Balance Hormones Naturally
1. Swap Carbs for Healthy Fats
Foods that balance hormones include a variety of fat-containing foods that provide short, medium and long-chain fatty acids. Your body needs various types of fats to create hormones, including saturated fat and cholesterol.
Not only are these essential fats fundamental building blocks for hormone production, but they keep inflammation levels low, boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
Healthy fats have the opposite effect of refined carbohydrates, which lead to inflammation and can mess with the balance of your hormones.
My four favorite sources of anti-inflammatory, healthy fats include:
- coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter and wild-caught salmon.
- Coconut oil uses are plentiful for example, coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial and fat-burning effects.
- Avocado benefits include improving heart health, lowering inflammation, controlling your appetite and contributing to your daily intake of fiber and nutrients such as potassium.
- Salmon nutrition is also impressive: its one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to lower inflammation and help with cognitive functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are a large component of brain-cell membranes and are important for cell-to-cell communication in the brain. Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help protect against hippocampal neuronal loss and reduce pro-inflammatory responses.
2. Supplement to Fill Nutritional Voids
3. Address Emotional Imbalances
6. Get More Sleep
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Eat Probiotics For A Good Mood
More than 90 percent of your serotonina hormone and neurotransmitter that governs your well-beingis produced in your gut, says Omry Koren, Ph.D., a microbiome researcher at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. If your microbiome is out of whack, serotonin levels may drop, which can affect your mood and anxiety levels.
Keep your gut bugs happy by eating a diverse high-fiber diet with plenty of vegetables and whole grains, plus probiotic foods like kimchi and yogurt, says Tetel. In fact, have some yogurt daily. Lactobacillusthe bacteria it containsmay get depleted by stress, causing depression-like symptoms, an animal study in Scientific Reports found. Restoring levels of these good bugs may reverse the effect.
What Can You Do About A Hormone Imbalance
After you have a diagnosis, treatments vary depending on the hormone imbalance. For people with type 1 diabetes, insulin injections are necessary to produce the insulin the pancreas can’t. While those with an underachieve thyroid gland usually take daily hormone replacement tablets to level out their hormones.
Alexandra managed her overactive thyroid gland by taking thyroid suppression drugs and beta-blockers. She also took radioactive iodine on two occasions, when she was 13 and again when she was 15.
Rachel looked into lifestyle changes to manage her PCOS. “Overweight and obesity lead to worsening of polycystic ovary syndrome, and the symptoms can be improved by weight loss and improved fitness,” reveals Aylwin. “But most other hormonal disorders are not affected by lifestyle.”
Another exception is type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to being overweight and inactive. The pancreas produces some insulin, but not enough. Eating well, staying physically active and watching your cholesterol can all help. Type 1 diabetes is not lifestyle-related and is classed as an autoimmune disease, not a hormone imbalance, where the pancreas, for whatever reason, is unable to produce insulin.
Rachael went on the combined pill for this reason: “It helped with the unwanted hair growth, but it gave me depression as a side effect so I had to come off it. When I came off the pill I experienced mood swings.”
Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain
People with Cushing syndrome have high levels of cortisol in their blood. This leads to an increase in appetite and fat storage.
Hypothyroidism, if the condition is severe, can also lead to weight gain.
During menopause, many women gain weight because the metabolism slows down. You may find that even though youre eating and exercising like normal, you still gain weight.
The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to treat the underlying condition.
During a normal, healthy pregnancy, your body goes through major hormonal changes. This is different than a hormonal imbalance.