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How Do I Know If My Hormones Are Imbalanced

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Signs Your Hormones Are Out Of Balance

HORMONAL IMBALANCE – HOW did I know I had it?

Learn the warning signals and how to re-harmonize.

Hormones are your body’s own chemical messengers. Produced by the endocrine system which includes the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands and ovaries hormones travel throughout your bloodstream and affect a range of physiological functions, such as metabolism, reproductivity and mood regulation, to name a few.

Even small changes in the ratios needed for optimal function brought about by stress, infections, hormonal birth control, sleep deficits and more can cause issues that reverberate throughout your body if you dont address them, says Aimee Raupp, Head of Traditional Chinese Medicine at THE WELL and author of Body Belief.

Even small changes in the ratios needed for optimal function can cause issues that reverberate throughout your body.

For instance, the delicate balance of the reproductive hormones estrogen, testosterone and progesterone plays a crucial role in many fertility and sexual health issues. When theyre off balance, it can lead to infertility or polycystic ovary syndrome . Two other common endocrine disorders hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism involving varying levels of the thyroid hormone, can lead to weight gain, fatigue, hair loss and anxiety.

While its not always easy to figure out exactly whats going on inside your body, it is worth paying attention to some of the signs that somethings off-kilter with your hormones, including the five below.

Signs You May Be Suffering From A Hormone Imbalance

February 5, 2021 1:26 pmPublished by Midcity OBGYN

Hormones are important, as they regulate many body functions and processes, including appetite and metabolism, sleep cycles, reproductive cycles and sexual function, body temperature and mood. Here are some common signs you may be suffering from a hormone imbalance.

Your Periods Are Very Light Short Or Totally Missing In Action

Some women would call this a blessing, but experiencing “barely there” bleeding or no bleeding at all isn’t healthy. A short period and only light bleeding can indicate low estrogen levels. If you’ve been crash dieting or restricting your food for a long time, you may have depleted your body of important micronutrients that are necessary for estrogen production.

Try: Adding in more protein. Hormones are made from amino acids, and you can’t get your estrogen up if you can’t make enough of it from your food.

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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.

Major Hormones + Functions

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There are many textbooks that just cover hormones and hormone imbalances, says Lynn Westphal, MD, FACOG, a reproductive endocrinologist at Kindbody. The vast literature indicates how complex hormones truly are.

For a quick guide, heres a brief overview of some of the main players in the human endocrine system and their primary functions.

  • adrenaline: a crucial part of the bodys fight-or-flight response
  • cortisol: helps control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation, and assist with memory formulation
  • estrogen: influences female physical features and reproduction
  • insulin: allows cells in muscles, fat, and liver to absorb glucose in the blood, which serves as energy for these cells
  • luteinizing hormone : controls the function of ovaries in females and testes in males
  • melatonin: signals relaxation and lowers body temperature to aid sleep
  • oxytocin: plays a crucial role in childbirth and assists male reproduction
  • progesterone: prepares the endometrium for pregnancy potential after ovulation
  • testosterone: controls male physical features
  • thyroid hormones: regulates weight, energy levels, internal temperature, skin health, and the growth of hair and nails

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When Is The Best Time To Test For Hormonal Imbalance

Estradiol needs to be tested on day 3 of the menstrual cycle to get the most clinically meaningful results. Doctors call day 3 the baseline because thats when E2 is most stable, before levels begin to rise. Aiming to test on day 3 puts you right at the beginning of the follicular phase and is the best time to get a clear read of these baseline levels.

Progesterone testing is most valuable in the luteal phase of the cycle.

Prolactin, testosterone, and TSH levels are more stable throughout the menstrual cycle and can be tested any day of the month.

Your Skin Is Breaking Out Like A Teenager’s

When I was in the throes of polycystic ovary syndrome , I battled severe cystic acne. It took me 30 minutes daily to camouflage the spots and bumps, and it significantly affected my confidence. Whether pimples crop up every time your period approaches or you’re coping with the kind of severe acne I had, your hormones are the source of the issue.

Try: Magnesium. Your body’s C-reactive proteins are responsible for causing inflammation. Taking a calcium-magnesium supplement can help lower the amount of C-reactive proteins in your body, and calcium is also part of our tissue matrixbones, cells, and skinand very important for skin cell renewal.

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Common Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalances can cause many different symptoms. Some common issues to look out for include:

  • Fatigue
  • A bulge in the neck
  • Puffy face

Many symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can be misleading. For example, both weight gain and weight loss can be symptomatic of a hormonal imbalance. So, it’s really difficult to just rely on symptoms to understand which specific hormone is the root of the problem. This is when getting tested becomes handy.

If you’re having trouble falling asleep, you may have low progesterone levels that are usually in charge of helping you fall asleep. On the other hand, high progesterone levels could be problematic as well, as these will make you feel sleepy even if you’re getting enough rest.

Low melatonin gives your body a signal that it’s time to rest. Low estrogen can give you night sweats that can be unbearable for many.

If you’re struggling with any symptom of a possible hormone imbalance, you need to get tested. Your hormone levels will depict the root cause of the symptoms you are experiencing and, you will be able to target them properly.

Signs You Have A Hormonal Imbalance

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Your hormones are tiny chemical messengers that travel throughout your body, delivering messages to your organs, tissues and cells to boost metabolism, build muscle, de-stress, lift mood, etc. The food you eat, how much you move , and lifestyle factors like sleep and stress management play fundamental and crucial roles in setting and maintaining ideal hormone balance.

Make the wrong food choices, lack exercise in your daily life, or burn the candle at both ends and it will come at a cost. Some of us can get away with this for a long time without suffering too heavily. For others, it can quickly derail health and performance goals.

While its human nature to look for the exciting and sexy new fixes to hormone imbalance, the truth is, an ancestral approach of tackling the things that impact you the most food, activity, environment are the answer that addresses the root cause of why these imbalances occurred in the first place.

Struggling to lose weight? Unable to focus? Chances are, your hormones are out of whack.

Here is a quick look at 8 common hormone imbalances and how to fix them.

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What Is The Function Of Cortisol

When people talk about stress, they often talk about cortisol. Because this hormone is released by your body as soon as you find yourself in a stressful situation. Affected glands include the adrenal glands, hypothalamus and pituitary gland. By secreting cortisol, various bodily reactions are triggered, for example:

  • Blood sugar levels are controlled
  • Immune system inflammation improves
  • Energy is supplied
  • Metabolism is regulated

Stress and also the short-term release of cortisol can be very helpful in dangerous situations, for example, so that the body can react quickly. However, if your body is exposed to chronic stress, this can have many possible harmful effects on your health.

Risk Factors And Causes

Hormonal imbalances are multi-factorial disorders, meaning they are caused by a combination of factors such as your diet, medical history, genetics, stress levels and exposure to toxins from your environment.

Some of the major contributors to hormonal imbalances include:

  • Food allergies and gut issues: An expanding field of new research shows that your gut health plays a significant role in hormone regulation. If you have leaky gut syndrome or a lack of beneficial probiotic bacteria lining your intestinal wall, youre more susceptible to hormonal problems, including diabetes and obesity. Thats because inflammation usually stems from your gut and then impacts nearly every aspect of your health.
  • Being overweight or obese
  • High amounts of stress, and a lack of enough sleep and rest

Adrenal dysfunction is the largest cause of the hormonal imbalance with the sex hormones especially because of something called the cortisol steal.

This occurs when cholesterol, which usually helps to make the sex hormones, combines with too much stress and the enzyme 17/20 lyase blocks the conversion the production of cortisol ensues. Cortisol then causes the imbalance of progesterone, estrogen and testosterone, which then decreases the sex drive.

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Hormonal Imbalance And Weight Gain

Hormones play an integral role in metabolism and your bodys ability to use energy. Hormone disorders, such as Cushing syndrome, can cause you to become overweight or develop obesity.

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.

Why Cortisol Testing Is Important

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Cortisol testing is important because that system does not always function in the normal, healthy manner outlined above. Sometimes cortisone levels can stay too high for too long, which can have far-reaching effects on your health, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Problems with memory and/or concentration

Issues That Can Cause Abnormally High Cortisol Levels include:

1- Chronic stress: The bodys natural fight-or-flight stress response system is set up to manage short-term stress situations. Stress in todays world is often a longer-term health issue. Rather than being stressed by a sudden encounter with a predator, a situation that can be resolved quickly by running away, we are more likely to face ongoing problems that cause stress, like job pressures, for instance, or financial ones. This can cause long-term activation of the stress response system, leading to chronically high levels of cortisol.

2- Problems with the pituitary gland: Tumors on the pituitary gland or excess growth of the gland can cause it to release too much ACTH, increasing cortisol levels.

3- Problems with adrenal glands: Tumors on the adrenal glands can cause overproduction of cortisol.

4- Other tumors: Growths in other areas of the body can increase cortisol production.

5- Medications: Overuse of corticosteroid medications or long-term use of them can lead to abnormally high cortisol levels.

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You Have Erratic Cravings And Crazy Binges

Everyone craves certain foods now and then, but if your cravings are out of control and you find yourself bingeing at various times of the month, your hormones are the likely culprits, and a diet heavy on sugar is the probable root cause. If you consume too much sugar, whether it’s in the form of pasta, bagels, candy, or colayour body has to churn out a hormone called insulin to break it down. Spikes in glucose and insulin can disrupt ovulation, shutting down your production of progesterone and setting you up for the troublesome effects of estrogen dominance.

Try: Limiting your sugar intake and eating lots of fiber-rich foods that will help detoxify your liver and create more of a specific hormone called FGF21 that has been found to prevent sugar cravings.

Signs You Need Your Hormones Balanced

Finding hormone balance for women in their 40s and early 50s can be a rough road. Rougher for some than others. There are two main determining factors to consider:

1. Genetics: Thanks, Mom and Dad!

2. Lifestyle: Stress, sleep, nutrition, exercise, and environmental estrogens

For women, the most pronounced changes come in their 40s and 50s. More recently, a bombardment from external estrogens are forcing these changes earlier in life. It is not out of line to see women as early as their mid-30s seek care for perimenopause-like symptoms. Our hormones are affected by not only our genetics and lifestyle, but also by the pollution, toxins and xenoestrogens that were exposed to every day. How do I know if I have hormone imbalance? Here are the 9 signs:

1. Persistent weight gain.

Yes, there are lifestyle, diet and physical activity components to maintaining a healthy weight, but that isnt the end of the story. Many women have underlying hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Unaddressed or emerging insulin resistance is one of the most common. When small changes in diet such as eliminating processed foods, sugars and wheat are unproductive a deeper dive into the hormones that drive metabolism is necessary.

2. Belly fat and loss of muscle mass.

3. Low libido.

4. Fatigue.

5. Anxiety, irritability and depression.

6. Insomnia and poor sleep patterns.

7. Sweating.

8. Digestion problems.

9. Cravings.

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Final Thoughts On Hormonal Imbalances

  • Some of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalances include unexplained weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, and changes in hair, skin, and nails.
  • Root causes of hormonal imbalances include compromised gut health, elevated inflammation, and high stress levels.
  • Natural ways to balance your hormones include eating anti-inflammatory polyunsaturated fats, reducing your exposure to endocrine disruptors, getting adequate sleep, and using supplements to fill in any nutritional gaps related to gut health and vitamin D levels.

Pms And Low Sex Drive

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Low testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are all associated with a decreased sex drive in both men and women. This is especially common after age 50 when estrogen and testosterone production declines. Since estrogen is one of the main hormones regulating a womans menstrual cycle a decrease in production can also lead to irregular periods that are too long, too short, unpredictable, heavy, or painful, infertility, hot flashes, mood swings, or painful intercourse.

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Increased Risk Of Sleep Apnea

The risk of obstructive sleep apnea increases in women during and after menopause. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes people to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. OSA occurs when muscles in the throat relax and block the airway during sleep. People who have this type of sleep apnea often snore. Researchers who performed one study found that perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who had lower estrogen levels were more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea than women who had higher estrogen levels. More studies are needed, but women who feel tired or who have unrefreshing sleep should see their doctors to assess hormone levels and discuss risk factors and testing for sleep apnea.

What Does Serotonin Do In The Body

Serotonin affects our entire body. It is a hormone and neurotransmitter that makes you happy. This is why it is often referred to as the happiness hormone. This is because the part of your brain responsible for negative emotions is suppressed by serotonin. Together with another neurotransmitter dopamine, serotonin thus counteracts depression, sadness and anxiety.

But this hormone not only influences your mood. Serotonin also sends signals in your body that, for example, ensure that your heart beats, activate your muscles and trigger thought processes. It also has an important influence on body temperature, bone health, sleeping and digestion.

Serotonin stimulates parts of the brain that control your sleep-wake cycle. Another hormone that, together with serotonin, is essential for your sleep is melatonin.

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The Dangers Of Untreated Hormonal Imbalance

Statistics show that hormonal imbalances, especially in women, are much more common than thought previously. You might not be able to see a hormonal imbalance, but its effects can present themselves in all aspects of your life and, left untreated, can be dangerous or even life-threatening. So with the prevalence of a hormone imbalance being so high, why dont more of us seek medical treatment? First, it helps to know what a hormone does, and why left untreated, it can be dangerous.

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