Puberty & Menopause Problems Caused By Hormone Imbalances
Getting First Period too Young or too Old
Typically, a girl will begin her period at a similar age to when her mother began getting hers. Some girls have their first period as early as 10 or 11. Others dont get their first period until theyre 15 or even 16. If you or your daughter are outside those age ranges and are concerned about that first period, it is worth a visit to her Pediatrician, Family Doctor or OBYGN.
Common factors that affect when a girl begins her period are weight changes, environmental factors that stimulate the hormones, or adrenal gland problems.
Irregular Periods in Teens
Pre-teens and teenagers have very irregular periods as their bodies mature. Sometimes, teens have unusual bleeding because they arent ovulating regularly. In this case, they have some hormonal development that isnt complete so the uterus isnt getting a clear enough signal of what to do.
Issues During Menopause
When women approach their mid- to late-40s, their cycles may become irregular as they enter the perimenopausal stage. You can read more about what to expect in perimenopause in our recent article. Signs that you may be experiencing perimenopause include skipping periods and having lighter periods.
If your periods are becoming heavier, more frequent, prolonged, or with spotting between periods, you should mention this to your doctor. These changes could indicate menopause, but they could also be caused by abnormalities in your cervix or uterus.
Period Problems And Period
A common complaint of women who visit Madison Womens Health is irregular periods or unexpected changes to their periods. A period is considered irregular when it occurs more often than before or less often than before, or if the amount and duration of bleeding has changed significantly for repeated months. Is your period suddenly much heavier than it has been? Or are you not having a period at all?
Keep track of your cycles, when you begin to bleed, and for how long. A popular app among our patients for tracking cycles is Period Tracker Period Calendar , although there are many options. Let your doctor know how many days there are between your periods and what your typical flow is like. Discuss what is different and why you are concerned. Let them know if youre under more stress than before, if youve changed your diet or exercise recently, or if you have a family history of irregular periods.
These changes could have a structural cause having to do with your cervix or uterus or a hormonal cause. Your doctor will likely want to perform a physical exam and may also check specific hormones on a specific day of your menstrual cycle.
How Do Hormones Affect Fertility
Hormones play a pivotal role in female reproduction, particularly those hormones that control the menstrual cycle. In order for a pregnancy to occur, hormones in the body must signal and regulate the growth of an egg within an ovary, the release of the newly formed egg into the fallopian tube and the thickening of the uterine lining for implantation. If the newly released egg is fertilized by sperm , the resulting embryo will then travel to the uterus for implantation.
An absence or irregular quantity of one or more hormones can delay or prevent any of the above processes from occurring, making pregnancy difficult to achieve.
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Do I Need To Keep Track Of When My Periods Happened
Diagnosing amenorrhea can be challenging. If the cause of amenorrhea isnt obvious, such as pregnancy, your provider may ask you to keep a record of changes in your menstrual cycle. This history of your periods can help your provider figure out a diagnosis.
Using an app or a journal, note:
- How long your periods last.
- When you had your last period.
- Medications you are taking.
- Changes in your diet or exercise routine.
- Emotional challenges youre having, such as stress.
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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How To Overcome Hormonal Imbalance Naturally
Let’s face it.
In today’s fast-paced lifestyle, hormonal imbalance is becoming increasingly common.
Weve covered how to test for hormone imbalance, but what about getting your hormones back in line?
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural options for overcoming a hormone imbalance, including:
- Saying no to sugar and sugary drinks
- Avoiding refined carbs
- Eating plenty of high-quality protein, such as grass-fed meat
- Engaging in regular exercise
- Learning to manage your stress
- Consuming plenty ofhealthy fats,like avocados, coconut oil, and olive oil
- Avoiding under-eating and overeating
- Making sleep a priority
- Eating lots of fatty fish, such a salmon, and mackerel
Engage In Regular Exercise
Physical activity strongly influences hormonal health. Aside from improving blood flow to your muscles, exercise increases hormone receptor sensitivity, meaning that it enhances the delivery of nutrients and hormone signals (
Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take up sugar from your bloodstream to use for energy. However, if you have a condition called insulin resistance, your cells may not effectively react to insulin. This condition is a risk factor for diabetes, obesity, and heart disease .
However, while some researchers still debate whether the improvements come from exercise itself or from losing weight or fat, evidence shows that regular exercise may improve insulin resistance independently of body weight or fat mass reduction .
Many types of physical activity have been found to help prevent insulin resistance, including high intensity interval training, strength training, and cardio .
Being physically active may also help boost levels of muscle-maintaining hormones that decline with age, such as testosterone, IGF-1, DHEA, and human growth hormone .
For people who cannot perform vigorous exercise, even regular walking may increase these hormone levels, potentially improving strength and quality of life .
Strength training, aerobics, walking, and other forms of exercise may modify hormone levels to reduce your risk of disease and prevent muscle mass decline as you age.
How Do You Fix Your Hormonal Imbalance
Live a healthy life. Follow a healthy diet. Take organic supplements that boost hormone health. If youve experienced persistent symptoms of hormone imbalance, talk to your healthcare providers as quickly as possible. Theyll ask you to take blood tests to understand the causes behind your hormone imbalance symptoms.
Are There Complications Of Amenorrhea
Amenorrhea is not life-threatening. However, some causes may lead to increased risks over the long term, so amenorrhea should always be evaluated. Researchers have found a greater risk of hip and wrist fractures in people with amenorrhea. You may also be at high risk for bone thinning and fertility difficulties.
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How Do I Know If I Have A Hormonal Imbalance
If you suspect a hormonal changes, the only way to fully confirm a hormonal imbalance is to have your hormones tested with a simple and easy blood test.
An easy way to test at home is with a reputable home health test company such as Lets Get Checked. Ive used them personally for several tests and have found them to be very easy, accurate as well as convenient. You simply order online and receive a kit in a few days. Simple instructions are included with a convenient return envelope. Youll get notified within a few days to go online to view your test results. Easier and often cheaper than going to the doctor. No doctor referral or approval is needed. Use this link and FITFOUNDME code for a 15% discount!
Getting a diagnosis on what hormones are imbalanced is the first step to fixing a hormone imbalance and feeling better than ever.
How Stress Affects Our Hormones
When were stressed, our bodies go into a fight or flight response. This prompts our adrenal glands to release a surge of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. Whether its a rush of nerves before a big presentation or forgetting something at home, humans experience this small surge from time to time.
Unfortunately, when these hormones release more frequently or remain for a longer period of time, you may experience a hormone imbalance, causing things like missed or irregular periods or other symptoms as described above.
Stress can be associated to hormonal changes that can result in functional hypothalamic amenorrhea the cause of irregular or absent periodsamong many other symptoms, Andresen said. We often see this in elite athletes, but emotional stress can also be a cause and effect of the condition.
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Try Stress Reduction Techniques
Stress harms your hormones in several ways.
The hormone cortisol is known as the stress hormone because it helps your body cope with long-term stress.
Your bodys response to stress activates a cascade of events that leads to cortisol production. Once the stressor has passed, the response ends. However, chronic stress impairs the feedback mechanisms that return your hormonal systems to normal .
Therefore, chronic stress causes cortisol levels to remain elevated, which stimulates appetite and increases your intake of sugary and high fat foods. In turn, this may lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity (
In a review of 21 studies in 2,250 people, those assigned to a short sleep group showed higher ghrelin levels than those who got the recommended amount of sleep .
Plus, your brain needs uninterrupted sleep to go through all five stages of each sleep cycle. This is especially important for the release of growth hormone, which occurs mainly at night during deep sleep .
To maintain optimal hormonal balance, aim for at least 7 hours of high quality sleep per night.
Poor sleep has been shown to decrease fullness hormones, increase hunger and stress hormones, and increase insulin resistance.
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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Puffy Swollen Or Rounded Face
Though this symptom of hormonal imbalance isnt talked about much, for those who experience it, it can be a major concern. And while this symptom is relatively painless, besides possible tenderness due to the swelling, it may be negatively impacting your quality of life. Sometimes referred to as moon face, this gradual rounding or swelling of the face is a common sign of high cortisol characterized by Cushings syndrome. If your adrenal glands release too much cortisol, theyre unable to properly regulate your blood pressure and inflammatory response. As a result, your body has a hard time keeping your blood vessels functioning appropriately, leading to swelling and a puffy appearance around your face or shoulders.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About A Hormonal Imbalance
If youre experiencing new, persistent symptoms, its important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can order tests to help determine the cause of your symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hormones are complex and powerful chemicals. If one or more of them goes out of whack, it can cause certain symptoms that make you feel like youre not in control of your body. If you have new and persistent symptoms, its important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can order some tests to see if a hormonal imbalance or another condition is the cause. The sooner you reach out for help and treatment, the sooner youll be able to feel like yourself again.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/04/2022.
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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.
Can You Test For Hormone Imbalances
The short answer is yes.
Your first step in testing for ahormonal imbalanceis to make an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam.
At your appointment, be prepared to describe the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as the timeline along which theyve occurred.
And you will need to bring a list of all …
youre currently taking.
Indications Of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal disequilibrium emerges in myriad ways and affects everything from how often you eat to your emotional state. Even a slight shift can cause big symptoms.
Here are eight signs that point to hormonal imbalance. We hope the list can help you understand just how influential hormones are.
1. Weight fluctuations: Your thyroid controls how your body uses energy from the food you eat. When it goes out of whack, you can either lose or gain weight.
Hyperthyroidism means your thyroid is overactive and you may have trouble maintaining your weight, while hypothyroidism makes your thyroid sluggish, and you tend to put weight on, even when trying to lose it.
2. Skin woes: If your body makes too much of the male hormone androgen, your oil glands go into overdrive and you suffer acne breakouts. Conversely, lower estrogen levels in later life contribute to skin dryness and a loss of elasticity.
3. Lowered libido: If your testosterone levels are lower than they should be and this includes women because they make it too your sex drive can plummet.
For women in perimenopause, lower progesterone levels also contribute to a loss of desire, while low estrogen during menopause causes vaginal dryness.
4. Raised blood sugar levels: A host of hormones contribute to higher blood glucose levels, but the most well-known is insulin, which is made by your pancreas.
6. Persistent sleep problems: If you have insomnia or dont sleep well night after night, the cause could be hormonal.
Causes For Hormonal Imbalance In Women
- Chronic or extreme stress
- Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- Hormone therapy
- Hormone drugs such as birth control pills
- Abuse of anabolic steroid medications
- Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
- Tumors, whether cancerous or benign in the glands
- Cysts in these glands
- Eating disorders such as Anorexia
- Injury or trauma to the glands
- Diabetes insipidus
- Thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules, and thyroiditis
- Hypogonadism shrunken or under-developed testes in men, ovaries in women
- Primary ovarian insufficiency, which is also known as premature menopause
- Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS
- Blood sugar abnormalities such as hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia
- Cushings syndrome characterized by high levels of the hormone cortisol
- Addisons disease characterized by low levels of cortisol and aldosterone
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which causes low levels of cortisol and aldosterone
- Severe allergic reactions or infections
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy
- Turner syndrome where the woman has only one functioning X chromosome
- Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes obesity, intellectual disability and shortness in height
- Phytoestrogens which are naturally-occurring plant estrogens found in soy products
- Exposure to toxins, pollutants, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides
Can You Lose Weight If You Have A Hormone Imbalance
Yes, you can lose weight if you have a hormone imbalance. However many discover that a hormonal imbalance makes it considerably harder to lose weight. If you find your weight loss struggle goes on and on it can be a good idea to step away and give yourself time to talk to a doctor and find a treatment options that will help you lose weight.
For many hormone imbalances greatly improve from weight loss. In this case, your struggle to lose weight may be hard at the beginning and get easier with time as your weight begins to go down and your hormones balance out. Weight loss for those with a hormonal imbalance can be a life-changing experience giving them the energy they forgot about once having naturally and allowing them to get back to a normal life.
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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