Diagnosis Of Womens Hormonal Imbalance
Since the symptoms of female hormone imbalance are also common signs of a number of other diseases and health conditions, women experiencing them should see a physician for a thorough physical examination. If other underlying medical conditions are ruled out, hormone level testing is the next step. Hormone levels can be measured through saliva testing and/or blood tests. Establishing an accurate diagnosis of hormone imbalance may require several tests, done at intervals, as hormone levels fluctuate throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle and may change greatly from one day to another.
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.
Risks Of Not Treating Hormone Imbalances
Hormone imbalances, when left untreated, are more than just annoying mood swings and bad PMS. They can be indicators that something more serious rarely, even cancerous is happening in your body.
Not getting your hormones back in balance could lead to other problems, like elevated cholesterol, osteoporosis, obesity, lack of sleep, and more.
Although truly identified hormonal imbalances often need medical or even surgical intervention, a healthy lifestyle can improve low-level symptoms.
Do your best to get:
- 6-8 hours of sleep each day
- 30+ minutes of vigorous exercise daily
- And a high-quality diet with enough protein and healthy fats and less sugar.
Can Stress Cause A Hormone Imbalance
Stress has not only been proven to play a huge part in causing hormonal imbalances, but there is also scientific evidence that long-term exposure to stress may lead to endocrine conditions.
Stress can lead to changes in serum levels of hormones like cortisol, thyroid hormones, and prolactin, among others. Women with higher stress levels are more prone to experiencing menstrual cycle irregularities.
A healthy menstrual cycle is a sign of good health. We care about our hormone levels, successful ovulation, and a normal length luteal phase because they are a solid proof our health is in good shape. It also signifies that our brain, ovaries, thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal glands are all working properly.
When we are under a lot of stress and our cortisol levels are constantly high, they disrupt the correct functioning of other hormones , which may disrupt our menstrual cycle. If your doctor diagnoses you with stress induced hormone imbalance, he or she will likely suggest trying to reduce your cortisol levels.
We know easier said than done! Here are a few options you can try for reducing cortisol:
- Sore breasts
- Hair loss
You should talk to your doctor if you are experiencing one or several of the symptoms mentioned above. Separately they may not be a cause of concern, but together they may signal underlying issues.
How To Treat Hormonal Imbalances
At the Center for Womens Health in Wichita, Kansas, we develop a personalized plan to help get your hormones and your life back in balance. Depending on your issues, treatment options may include:
- Low-dose antidepressants for mood and hot flashes
- Omega-3 supplements for distress and depression
- Vaginal estrogen to treat vaginal dryness
- A healthy diet and regular exercise program
- Hormone replacement therapy
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What Is Hormonal Imbalance And Do I Have It
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As a woman, you are sure to come across terms such as hormonal imbalance, hormonal changes, adrenal fatigue, how hormones affect your health, and many other variations.
Before I became peri-menopausal I didnt know what even the heck a hormone was. All I knew was I felt bloody awful and I needed to do something about it before someone was accidentally on purpose stabbed in the eye!
So what is a hormone? What the hell does a hormone do? What happens when hormones are not in balance? How can I tell if my if I have a hormonal imbalance ?
Hormones What Are They
Hormones are your bodys chemical messengers that help control many different processes, like reproduction and metabolism. Hormones are produced in the endocrine glands and travel through the bloodstream to tell the bodys muscles, tissues, and organs what to do.
When hormones are out of balance, even just a little, it can severely affect the whole body. Although some hormones fluctuate naturally as we age, some fluctuations can result from the endocrine glands not producing the right amounts. Youll often know when this happens as a broad range of symptoms accompany hormone imbalances.
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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.
Make Eating Into A Mindful Practice
What you eat is just as important as when and how you eat.
In order to maintain whats known as balanced blood sugar which means youre keeping your blood sugar in a rather straight line versus having big spikes and dips throughout the day you should be eating every three to four hours.
Please dont wait until youre starving, have the shakes, feel like youll throw up, or faint. In addition, follow these rules at mealtime. Slooowww it down, girlfriend.
Sit down while eating , chew your food 20 to 30 times , and focus on something positive while eating. When youre stressed out, your gut cant easily absorb the nutrients youre consuming, so it doesnt matter how much broccoli you eat!
How Does The Male Reproductive System Work
While there are hundreds of hormones that control the bodys chemistry, testosterone is a versatile and critical part of the balance that specifically controls male characteristics and sex drive. When the levels dip, the result can cause a male to experience low sex drive and depression, among other complaints. Low T as it is commonly referred to in the media, can cause a number of symptoms, including:
- Fatigue or generalized weakness
- Memory problems or lack of concentration
- Changes in mood or irritability
- Erectile dysfunction
Some diseases, like diabetes, can cause similar symptoms, so it can be hard to diagnose. To further complicate matters, testosterone decline in men is a slow process and, some healthy men can produce sperm well into their 80s.
In addition, there are variables that affect hormonal decline and speed up the process. These include weight gain, drug use, tobacco or alcohol abuse, mental illness or severe depression, as well as stress and chronic illness. One may need to keep in mind that medical experts still disagree about the link between declining hormone levels in men and their need for HRT.
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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Ways To Balance Your Hormones Naturally
If you think you might have a hormonal imbalance, start by talking to a healthcare professional about your symptoms and potential underlying causes. At Parsley Health, we work with our members who have hormone imbalances to naturally bring their hormones back into balance. Typically, this starts with advanced hormone testing to help you and your doctor determine where your hormone levels are at. Working closely with your practitioner and health coach, you can resolve the underlying cause of hormonal imbalance with a personalized plan, including changes to your nutrition, lifestyle, and stress management practices.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of hormonal imbalance, there are some general steps we recommend to start feeling some relief. Here are some of our tried and true strategies.
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.
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Ways To Naturally Balance Your Hormones
Hormonal imbalances are common in todays day and age, because of our fast-paced lifestyles and poor food and exercise habits.
However, there are ways to naturally keep your hormones balanced. Here are some tips that will help you get started:
A nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle choices may help keep your hormonal health in check. However, consult your doctor and discuss a way forward for your diet.
Incorporate Healthy Fats Into Your Diet
Adding healthy polyunsaturated fats to your diet, such as omega-3 and omega-6 may help reduce your appetite and. Fatty acids signal the production of leptin, a hormone that reduces appetite by suppressing the area of the brain that controls our appetite and signals to us its time to eat. Without adequate healthy fats in your diet, youre more likely to have low leptin levels, which can induce overeating and an inability to feel satiated. That may be one reason women have been experimenting with seed cycling for hormone balance.
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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.
Trouble With Sleep Digestion Or Focus
These types of symptoms could be a sign that you have higher-than-normal levels of cortisol the stress hormone running through your body. If youve been stressed out lately, you might have noticed stomach issues, difficulty sleeping or muscle weakness. It can also affect your ability to focus, as well as your mood and energy levels.
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Why Cortisol Testing Is Important
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:
- 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.
What Is A Hormone And What Do They Do
Simply put a hormone is a chemical substance that acts as a messenger to control and coordinate activities within the body. Activities such as sleep, MOOD, digestion, reproduction, metabolism, and stress.
You may have already heard the thyroid hormones, adrenaline, cortisol, insulin, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
The Hormonal Imbalance Quiz
Heres how to take the quiz: As you read through the eight categories, mark down the symptoms that apply to you currently. Total up your symptoms in each category, note how many apply to you and jot down the number in the box next to TOTAL. Once youve gone through each of the categories, take a look at Dr. Brightens results at the end.
I experience bloating or puffiness.
I feel irritable or experience mood swings.
I experience heavy, painful periods.
I have gained weight or have difficulty losing weight, especially around my hips, butt, and thighs.
Ive been told I have fibroids.
My life is crazy stressful.
I feel overwhelmed by stress.
I have extra weight around my midsection.
I have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
My body is tired at night, but my mind is going a mile a minutewired and tired.
I have brain fog or feel like my memory isnt quite what it used to be.
Im losing hair .
Im tired no matter how much I sleep.
Im constipated often and need a stimulant to get a bowel movement.
Im cold and/or have cold hands and feet.
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.