You Snack Throughout The Day
High cortisol levels leads your body to have a highly variable blood glucose level. This unstable blood glucose level makes you crave/require food every few hours in order to ward of those hypoglycemic moments – see sign #8.
Psst… snacking also leads to bloating and issues such as SIBO. Get the deets HERE.
Which Is The Best Book For Hormonal Imbalance
Her latest book, Beyond The Pill is an educational guide to understanding hormonal imbalance and claiming back our hormonal health. Its by no means anti-birth control, but rather a toolbox of information and resources to help women make the best decision for themselves and support their body whatever stage they are at.
Dangers Of Hormone Imbalance
The most dangerous thing about a hormonal imbalance is not actually the symptom, but what it may represent. Common causes of a hormonal imbalance range from diabetes to thyroid issues, to glandular issues and possible tumors either benign or malignant. If your body is reacting in these ways to changes in your bodys chemicals, it could be sign of a deeper issue, which could be dangerous if left untreated.
Particularly in women, a hormonal imbalance could indicate early onset of menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, primary ovarian insufficiency and even ovarian cancer, among other conditions. In men, hormone imbalance could indicate any number of conditions, including prostate cancer.
Talk to your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms that are not typical of your personality or body. Many people keep a log to keep track of changes this is helpful when describing to their doctors any concerns or symptoms. Once diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to prescribe medicine, advise life-style changes, conduct additional testing, or refer you to a specialist.
Remember, a hormonal balance can be serious if left untreated, but speaking to your doctor even if youre wrong can only help make the issue better.
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Hormonal Imbalance In Women
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Bloating, fatigue, irritability, hair loss, palpitations, mood swings, problems with blood sugar, trouble concentrating, infertility — these are just a few symptoms of hormone imbalance. These compounds affect every cell and system in the body. Hormone imbalance can debilitate you. Some hormonal shifts are normal, like monthly fluctuations of sex hormones responsible for menstruation and ovulation or the changes that occur during pregnancy. Menopause is another time for a normal hormonal shift in a woman’s life. Many women may experience weight gain, mood swings, night sweats, and diminished sex drive during this time. Other times these fluctuations may be due to a medication or a medical condition.
Balance Your Cortisol
Cortisol is an important hormone that may become imbalanced with stress or illness. Cortisol is secreted by the adrenal glands that lie on top of the kidneys. Low intensity exercise can help lower elevated cortisol levels. Stress impacts adrenal function and hormone levels. Get acquainted with hormone imbalance symptoms and signs so you can notice when things in your body and mind don’t seem right.
Risk Factors For Vaginal Atrophy
Some women are more likely than others to get atrophic vaginitis. Women who have never given birth vaginally are more prone to vaginal atrophy than women who delivered their babies vaginally.
Smoking impairs blood circulation, depriving the vagina and other tissues of oxygen. Tissue thinning occurs where blood flow is decreased or restricted. Smokers are also less responsive to estrogen therapy in pill form.
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What Is A Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalances occur when there is not enough or too much of a certain hormone being produced by the body. And because a hormone imbalance often presents as tiny inconveniences or mimic other conditions such as constipation or diarrhea, losing or gaining too much weight, hot flashes, sweating, exhaustion, and infertility, many people brush off the symptoms and do not seek medical treatment.
What Are Female Hormones
Estrogen and progesterone are the primary sex hormones in females. Most of the body’s supply of these hormones is produced by the ovaries, although small amounts are supplied by other tissues in the body. While best known for their primary function of regulating the reproductive system, female hormones also play a role in other aspects of women’s health, including cardiac function, metabolism, bone health, skin thickness and elasticity, urinary tract health, emotional health and brain function, among others.
Cortisol and the thyroid hormone can become imbalanced for various reasons and affect both men and women. Ensuring a healthy profile means keeping abreast of your body’s levels. A comprehensive hormone test can provide much needed insight.
The three primary sex hormones in women are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Female Hormone Imbalance: What Is It
Hormonal imbalance occurs when the amount of estrogen, progesterone or both is altered, disturbing the delicate balance between these powerful hormones. Imbalances in these vital female hormones can stem from a number of underlying causes. The most common cause is perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, during which the production of estrogens and progesterone begin to decline. Other common causes of hormonal imbalance include pregnancy, endocrine disorders, certain drugs, especially oral contraceptives, drugs used in hormone replacement therapy and cancer medications, and lifestyle factors that include stress, overweight or obesity, poor diet, sleep deprivation and lack of exercise.
What Are The Treatment Options
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.
For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.
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What Is Hormonal Imbalance
An easy way to understand hormonal imbalance is to think of an assembly line.
The assembly line works at a good pace when hormones are balanced. This means that the endocrine system is functioning normally and our bodies are properly digesting, sleeping, storing fat, and more.
But when hormones are imbalanced, it means the endocrine system is in a state of confusion. It either tells the body to produce more or less of certain hormones. So, that assembly line has now either sped up to the point that things are starting to fly off the rails, or it has slowed down to a sluggish crawl.
Either way, the assembly workers are unable to work properlyand disarray can ensue.
Supplement With Vitamin D
A Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you may think, with over a billion people worldwide suffering from either a deficient or insufficient supply of this critical vitamin. Vitamin D plays an extremely important role in a number of bodily functions, such as immune function, cell differentiation, and inflammatory response. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with an increased risk in colon, prostate, and breast cancer, as well as tuberculosis, influenza, and heart disease. A relationship has also been found between hypothyroidism and a vitamin D deficiency.
Ideally, we would get our daily dose of Vitamin D from 10 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted sun exposure, but this is unrealistic for most. Thats why its important to take a Vitamin D3 supplement and eat foods rich in Vitamin D, such as pastured eggs and wild salmon. Its also important to note that as we age, our production of Vitamin D decreases, so make sure youre monitoring your levels and getting them checked by your primary care provider.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalances In Women
There are many signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalances in women. They depend on which glands in your body are affected and which hormones are imbalanced. Symptoms include:
A hormone imbalance can lead to polycystic ovary syndrome , a condition in which the body makes higher levels of male hormones. The imbalance leads to skipped periods and can contribute to health issues such as heart disease and diabetes. Imbalances may also cause heavier than normal periods.
Low sex drive
A drop in your estrogen levels can cause a loss of desire for sexual intercourse. The imbalance can also cause vaginal dryness, which may make sex painful or uncomfortable.
Unexplained weight gain
Cells in the lining of your digestive tract have receptors for estrogen and progesterone. Changes in the levels of these hormones may affect your digestion, leading to bloating and other stomach issues.
What Is A Hormonal Imbalance In Men
Hormonal imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone present in the body. Hormones, which are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system, play an essential role in the body. These chemicals travel through the bloodstream to deliver messages to tissues and organs. They regulate major body processes like metabolism and reproduction.
A hormonal imbalance can affect a number of bodily functions, including:
- Body temperature
Hormone levels may fluctuate over time, but symptoms of a hormone imbalance can also occur due to stress, injury, illness, poor nutrition, or a lack of exercise. This can occur at any time, but its more likely to occur as a person grows older.
Both men and women can experience imbalances in hormones such as growth hormones, insulin, and adrenaline. Men are more likely to experience hormonal imbalances in testosterone levels.
A drop in testosterone is also known as hypogonadism, or male menopause.Low testosterone can result in decreased strength, energy, stamina, and sexual function. Studies have found that low testosterone in men may increase their risk of developing coronary artery disease, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
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You Can’t Get Rid Of Breakouts
This is often a sign of cortisol imbalance. Cortisol imbalance is linked to higher intakes of sugar and higher blood glucose levels in general. One of the main jobs of cortisol is to increase your blood glucose levels. This cascade of reactions leads to increased inflammation throughout the body, including increased breakouts.
Side story ~ I have a good friend who was working a very high stress job that was emotionally and physically taking a toll on her body. At the time, she was also experiencing cystic acne that no amounts of facials or dermatologist appointments could get rid of. Within two weeks of leaving her job and switching to one she loved, her acne completely vanished. This isn’t to say that stress was the ONLY cause, but it was a major contributing factor.
Hormone balance is something that your body wants. It doesn’t want to have high cortisol, low melatonin, high ghrelin or all over the place insulin. It WANTS to feel GOOD! All we have to do is remove the barriers and provide the tools it needs in order to get there.
How Are The Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance Different From Menopause
Estrogen and progestin are produced in the ovaries. During menopause, this production slows causing hormones to shift or a drop in estrogen that leads to menopausal symptoms. It can be easy to confuse the signs of a hormonal imbalance with the typical signs of menopause.
Common symptoms of hormonal imbalances include:
- Changes in appetite
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
- Dry skin or skin rashes
- Changes in blood pressure
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
- Dry skin or skin rashes
- Changes in blood pressure
- Puffy face
- Blurred vision
Menopause has some of these symptoms in common but has a few, such as hot flashes, that help set it apart.
Symptoms of menopause can include:
- Mood swings
- Weight and body fat gain
- Slowed metabolism
- Brain fog
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Hormonal Imbalance And Fatigue
Fatigue is a common symptom that may have many potential underlying causes. Just as too little progesterone can make it hard to sleep, too much progesterone can make you more tired. Another common hormonal imbalance that causes fatigue is low thyroid hormone levels . This condition is easily diagnosed with a blood test. If your levels are low, you can take prescription medication to bring your levels back up to normal. Regardless of any hormone imbalance that may exist, practice good sleep hygiene to optimize your sleep. This involves going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and exercise from the late afternoon on to avoid interfering with sleep. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine to give your body the message that it’s time for sleep. Take a warm bath, sip a cup of chamomile tea, or listen to relaxing music.
Treatments For Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone replacement therapy is used commonly to balance hormones in women after menopause. It is used for a certain period of time before being discontinued.
Bioidentical hormones are another way to balance out hormones. They are man-made hormones similar to those in our bodies like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. They are advertised as being safer and more natural than conventional HRT.
At this time, medical societies and researchers state that the risks and benefits of conventional and bioidentical hormones should be considered equal. Talk with Kennesaw Gynecology about their use if you are having symptoms.
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Consider How Caffeine Is Affecting You
When I talk to most women about caffeine, I usually hear something like, Ill do anything you want me to, but dont make me give up coffee.
I get it. Life is nuts, and most of us need to mainline caffeine just to get by. As I said above, though, this could be really problematic, especially if you experience anxiety on the regular, feel like you cant get out of bed in the morning, have energy crashes in the day, or have trouble falling asleep at night.
If youre not ready to ditch the joe, then just observe how you feel 30, 60, and 120 minutes after youve had coffee. If youre wanting to call it quits, ease into it with half decaf and half regular, replace a cup a day with decaf, or experiment with matcha.
Life is full-on for so many of us these days, which is why I hope that you have a clearer picture of what a hormone imbalance actually looks like and how to start to reverse it. Hormones exist in a hierarchy, so its important to take a top down approach to addressing problems that arise from a hormone imbalance.
Hormones are also talking to each other all day long, so once you work on one hormone, the rest will start to fall in line. Thats the beauty of hormones. Theyre working together to support you, always.
Some Ideas For Stress
- Daily deep-breathing exercises, like breathing in for five seconds, holding your breath for five seconds, and breathing out for five seconds
- Creating a pre-bedtime self-care ritual
- Making sure to get some form of movement each day
- Spending time in nature simply walking or meditating
- Journaling your worries and anxieties
- Meditating with an app like Breath, Calm, or Headspace, or with free meditation videos accessible on YouTube
- Simply sitting still for a few minutes and focusing on your breath
- Turning to art or dance for stress-relief
- Embracing yoga or tai chi before bed or when you wake up
- Integrating short stress-relief activities throughout your day
Dr. Nicole Arzt, MS, licensed therapist, also recommends joining a support group. A support group shows you that you’re not alone, and that others have experienced similar struggles and can provide insight, she says. Facebook, for example, is home to several patient-run groups dedicated to providing a platform for people going through similar health problems. Additionally, seeking a therapist, if you dont have one, is a good idea, she says.
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What Causes A Hormone Imbalance
Hormone fluctuations are normal during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. However other factors like stress, poor diet or eating disorders, and underlying health problems can also upset the normal balance of your hormones.
A blood test and exam can usually tell whether youre dealing with a hormone imbalance. If youre experiencing symptoms of a hormone imbalance or are going through menopause and would like more information about hormone replacement therapy, schedule an appointment with us to learn more.
For more information about hormone health and other womens health issues, contact Memorial Women’s Specialists today to schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN at our office in Houston, Texas, or you may also request an appointment online.
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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.
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