Check Your Hormone Levels From The Convenience Of Home
If youâre concerned about your hormone levels, you can use the information here on how to know if you have a hormonal imbalanceâplus speaking with a healthcare providerâto help inform your next steps.If youâre interested in hormone testing at home, consider the following tests :
- Womenâs Hormone Test – Lets you learn your levels for 10 key hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
- Thyroid Test – Check the 3 main thyroid hormones , plus thyroid antibodies.
- Womenâs Fertility Test – Test your levels for 5 hormones that help support ovarian function and pregnancy.
- Men’s Health Test – Check your cortisol, DHEA-S, estradiol, and testosterone.
Your Weight Is Out Of Control And The Number On The Scale Keeps Climbing
If you’re eating salad after salad and spending hours at the gym but you’re still not seeing results, you might be ready to throw in the towel. But the problem isn’t lack of effort or faulty scaleit’s likely your liver, which is responsible for removing toxins by turning fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble toxins so they can be excreted through your large intestine, kidneys, and skin. When you have a hormonal problem, your liver’s function is compromised and can’t work as efficiently at removing these toxins, so your body holds on to fat-soluble toxins.
Try: Adding lemons and oranges to your water. Citrus fruits contain a compound called D-limonene, which is critical for healthy liver function.
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
You Get Sneezy Or Wheezy Before Your Period
Moodiness, headaches, and bloat are annoyances you expect with PMS. But allergies or an asthma attack? Not so much. Turns out, allergy symptoms worsen in some women right before their period thanks to hormones going crazy. And premenstrual hormonal fluctuations can make it harder for those with asthma to breathe.
Again, progesterone may be the culprit: Rising levels in the days before your period coincide with airway inflammation that can set the stage for an asthma flare-up, a study from McMaster University in Canada found. On the flip side, as estrogen levels go up during the first half of your menstrual cycle, airway inflammation goes down. “It’s not a simple relationship in which progesterone is bad and estrogen is good; it’s more about your individual sensitivity to both hormones,” says study author Piush Mandhane, M.D., Ph.D.
Get back on track: Keep a journal for a few months recording where you are in your cycle and any asthma or allergy symptoms you experience. Then share that info with your doctor. If there’s a relationship between the two, your doc may suggest using an asthma inhaler or taking OTC allergy meds preemptively. The pill may also help: Birth control makes your hormones fluctuate less.
Signs You Have A Hormone Imbalance
Achieving balance in life is probably not a new concept to you. Just like balancing your diet and your schedule, your hormones also need to find a balance in order for you to feel your best. Women who are approaching perimenopause or menopause are commonly faced with hormone imbalance. Fortunately, your gynecologist can help, but it may be up to you to recognize the symptoms of hormone imbalance so that you can make the appointment.
Remember that there are many types of hormones in the body, ranging from estrogen, testosterone and progesterone that come from the ovaries as well as thyroid hormones, cortisol, prolactin and more.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of hormone imbalance in women:
- Irregular or absent periods
- Thinning hair or facial hair
- Heart palpitations
At North Pointe OB/GYN Associates, we dont want your health or quality of life to diminish due to out of whack hormones. We can conduct the necessary evaluations and testing to determine which hormones need adjustment. In many cases, we can prescribe hormone replacement therapy , to restore optimal balance. However, some women benefit from a change in lifestyle, including better eating habits, increased activity level and more sleep. If you can identify with the above symptoms, please call us today to schedule your consult. We treat women through all stages of life.;
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Weight Gain Or Difficulty Losing Weight
Why do so many people struggle with weight loss and maintenance? Usually, its because they are eating nutrient-poor foods and working too hard. The body processes this hard work as stress and when the body is stressed, it goes into survival or fight or flight mode, producing cortisol. When youre chronically stressed, your cortisol is always high and in an effort to protect itself from whatever danger it senses, your body holds onto fat as a form of energy.
You Have Flaky Itchy Skin
Dry patches are one of the first signs that your thyroid hormone level is low. “These hormones help set your metabolic rate; when you don’t have enough, all systems become sluggish,” says John Randolph, M.D., an ob-gyn and a reproductive endocrinologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The rate at which your skin cells turn over slows, resulting in dryness, redness, and rashes.;
Get back on track: See your doc if your skin is still desert-dry after a month of slathering it with moisturizer, especially if you notice any other signs of an underactive thyroid, such as unexplained weight gain, brittle nails and hair, or if your periods become irregular or MIA, says Dr. Isaacs. He or she will give you a simple blood test to diagnose the disorder, which is usually treated with a synthetic hormone medication that you will need to take long-term. “Skin symptoms should clear up within two to three months,” says Dr. Isaacs.
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Find Your Sleep Rhythm
Your microbiome has its own circadian rhythms with a continual fluctuation of the amounts of different bacteria, depending on the time of day, which influences your sleep. It also interacts with the genes that regulate your body clock. Melatonin, a hormone that is an important regulator of sleep, is produced in not only the brain but also the gut, where it helps your organs sync up your circadian rhythms, says Arthur Beyder, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the Mayo Clinic.
To keep your rhythms steady and get more zs, feed your microbiome prebiotic foods , like artichokes, raw garlic, leeks, and onions. When bacteria digest these, they release by-products that affect your brain, boosting sleep quality, according to an animal study in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.
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.
Hormonal Imbalance And Men
You may think that women are the ones facing hormonal imbalances. But this is not the case. Men, as well as womens bodies, produce several hormones that are essential for wellbeing. One very well-known male hormone is testosterone. But, did you know that men, also, produce estrogen? Testosterone is mainly produced in the testicles; and, a small amount is produced in the adrenal glands. It is responsible for ones manly characteristics, such as:
- Facial and Body Hair
- Muscle and Bone Density
- Deeper Voice
It also stimulates the production of sperm and affects your desire for sex. It also plays a major role in the way one gains weight ; and, how and where the body will end up accumulating these fat cells. Finally, red blood cells production is linked to testosterone levels.
Estrogen is made from testosterone with the help of an enzyme known as aromatase. As you age, not only do your testosterone levels naturally drop, but your estrogen levels go up simultaneously. The loss of testosterone with age is referred to by some professionals as andropause male menopause.
However, testosterone levels can drop, even in young men, from several causes, such as:
- Injuries to Scrotum or Testicles
- Testicular Cancer
- Liver Disease
But, testosterone and estrogen arent the only hormones that can get out of balance in men. You can suffer a decrease in cortisol levels if you are under a lot of stress, or even an imbalance in the thyroid hormones.
All You Can Think About Are Snacks Snacks Snacks
Think of those few food-crazy days leading up to your period. You know, the ones where everything looks like pizza and donuts and chocolate? It’s totally normal to feel extra hungry during PMS, but cravings that never go away may be a sign of a bigger problem.
As Dr. Sara Gottfried said on MindBodyGreen.com, “If you find yourself ravenous on a consistent basis, your hormones could be to blame. High cortisol or insulin, for instance, can cause those intense urges for sugar or wine, while adrenal dysregulation can lead to electrolyte imbalances that make you reach for salty snacks.” While there’s nothing wrong with snacking, it’s definitely something worth keeping an eye on if it feels out of control.
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You Are Suddenly More Hairy
Of course everyone has different levels of hairiness. What’s normal for one woman may not be normal for the next. So what you want to look for here are drastic changes to your hair growth. As Chloe Metzler said on Health.com, if you suddenly grow a beard within a month, or notice coarse, dark hair popping up on our chest, it could be a sign of a testosterone-secreting tumor. But donât freak out, Metzger warned, as tumors are rare and can often be treated with drugs or surgery.
If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your health issues are 100 percent due to your hormones, but it could certainly be the root of the problem, especially if you’re experience more than one at the same time. In any case, be sure to talk with you doctor about causes and treatments so you can start feeling better ASAP.
Images:AsiaVision/E+/Getty Images; Giphy
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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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 Irregular Periods
Most women have menstrual cycles that last between 21 and 35 days. Up to one quarter of women experience irregular periods. This includes having periods that are shorter or longer than usual or periods that are lighter or heavier than usual. Some women who have irregular periods may experience abdominal cramping or a lack of ovulation. Amenorrhea is a medical term that refers to an absence of periods for at least 3 months even though a woman is not pregnant. Menorrhagia is the term that means excessive menstrual bleeding. Dysmenorrhea refers to pain and cramping during periods. Prolonged menstrual bleeding involves periods in which bleeding routinely lasts for 8 days or longer. Oligomenorrhea is a condition in which periods occur infrequently or more than every 35 days. See your doctor if you believe hormonal imbalance is affecting your menstrual cycle.
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Problems With The Master Gland
The pituitary gland is a small structure located at the base of the brain. It is known as the “master gland” because it produces several hormones that affect many bodily processes and other endocrine glands. Hormones produced by the pituitary gland include prolactin, growth hormone , thyroid-stimulating hormone , luteinizing hormone , adenocorticotropin , and follicle-stimulating hormone . The pituitary gland also releases antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin. A pituitary gland tumor is the most common kind of pituitary disorder. They are usually benign . Sometimes these tumors secrete more or less of hormones made by the pituitary gland. Other tumors don’t secrete anything. Some pituitary tumors produce symptoms because they grow large enough to affect the functioning of the pituitary gland or surrounding brain structures.
Cholesterol And Level Of Fat
One of the main functions of the liver is to maintain a healthy level of fats in the bloodstream. For an average person, approximately 80% of the cholesterol is generated by the liver. A sluggish liver will show up as:
- Elevated low-density lipoprotein , or bad cholesterol
- Reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or good cholesterol which is the precursor for your hormone production
- Elevation triglycerides
- Heart disease
You’re No Long Interested In Sex
Where once there was a vivacious, sex-crazed person now lays a tired human with a “headache.” But who can blame you? In the same way hormones fuel your sex drive, they can also take them away.
If this sounds like you, know it’s not your fault. According to Gottfried, “In most cases, estrogen dominance or low estrogen can be blamed, but your thyroid health and cortisol levels can also play a role. Add to that high stress, burning the candle at both ends and poor sleep, and sex is probably the last thing on your mind.”
What Are The Different Types Of Hormones
Endocrine glands are located throughout the body. These glands include the:
- Hypothalamus: controls thirst, hunger, sleep, sex drive, moods, body temperature, and the release of other hormones
- Parathyroid: controls calcium
- Ovaries, in women: controls female sex hormones
- Testes, in men: controls male sex hormones
There are several different types of hormones in the body. When you have a hormonal imbalance, you may have a problem in one of more of these glands. The specific hormone that’s imbalanced will determine the signs and symptoms that you experience as a result. Some of the major hormones found in the body include:
- Estrogen: controls sex drive in both men and women, and regulates the menstrual cycle in women
- Progesterone: influences the body’s changes through pregnancy
- Testosterone: controls sex drive in both men and women
- Cortisol: controls stress
- Melatonin: control’s the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles
- Serotonin: controls sleep cycles, appetite, and mood
- Growth hormone: controls the reproduction of cells and their subsequent growth
- Leptin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re full
- Ghrelin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re hungry
- Insulin: responds to sugar in the bloodstream
If your hormones are well-balanced, you will thrive. An imbalance, however, is something you cannot afford to ignore.
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Conventional Medicines Approach To Hormone Imbalances
Conventional medicines answer for most hormone imbalances is synthetic hormone medications in the form of birth control pills or HRT, hormone replacement therapy, prescribed as pills, patches, gels, or creams.
Moreover, they do nothing to actually address the underlying cause of the imbalance and instead leave you dependent on potentially harmful pharmaceuticals.
It is also important to note that balanced hormones are essential for various aspects of your health from supporting your immune system and preventing cognitive decline to having a comfortable and healthy sex life.
Hormone Replacement Therapy is a treatment we will utilize in some women with amazing results. But you want to make sure the hormones are Bioidentical which means they are structurally identical to your own hormones and derived from natural substances like yams, not horse urine which is where many synthetic hormones come from.
It is also essential to continually assess how your body tolerates hormones not only with how you feel, but also through the proper testing to see how you are metabolizing the hormones. Remember, we are all unique being which is why each person needs an individualized approach.