Hormones play a vital role in the body’s well-being. But did you know that even tiny imbalances in your hormone levels can wreak havoc in your body?
Women naturally experience hormonal imbalance at times during their development, such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and menopause.
But if you're consistently experiencing one or more of these symptoms on a prolonged basis, it is likely that you’re dealing with hormonal imbalance. These slight imbalances can fly under the radar for long periods of time, gradually chipping away at your sense of well-being and overall health.
Hormonal imbalance in the female body takes place in many ways. The tricky part of the problem is that symptoms of hormonal imbalance are easy to ignore or misattribute, so there are major signs of hormonal imbalance in the female body which you need to understand.
Below, we are going to take a look at a number of the key signs that your hormonal health may be out of balance. If you find yourself checking a few of the items on this list, no need to worry. There are ways to help bring your body back into balance, so that you can be your best self.
What are hormones?
The hormones are the signaling molecules, produced by various glands in the human body. The circulatory system transports these hormones to distant organs of the body to regulate the psychological and physical behavior. The hormonal problems tend to occur more in women than men, due to their physical and emotional structure.
Hormones are chemical messengers that have an impact on almost all of our daily activities. Most people attribute acne breakouts and mood swings to hormones that are out of control. However, hormonal imbalances are a lot more than just tantrums thrown by a teenager or a sensitive mother-to-be.
The endocrine system is a series of glands that produce and disseminate female hormones throughout the body. A woman’s hormones do a lot more than just regulate mood and sexuality – they determine whether an individual will be at risk for diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and thyroid disease.
Most women face the following common signs of hormonal imbalance at some point in their lives:
Maintaining proper weight is a challenge for people of all ages. However, the older you get, the more difficult it can be. It has been found that 90% of women experience weight gain between the ages of 35 and 55, not coincidentally, during perimenopause and menopause.
The decreased production of estrogen by the ovaries causes a woman's body to search for other sources of estrogen. Another source of estrogen is fat cells, so your body learns to convert more calories into fat, in order to increase estrogen production. This means weight gain.
Progesterone's role in weight gain is more deceiving; low levels of the hormone do not actually cause you to gain weight, but instead, cause water retention or bloating. This annoying side effect makes you feel heavier and makes your clothes fit tighter.
Insulin resistance and stress are also responsible for a woman’s difficulty or inability to experience weight loss. Insulin resistance occurs when a woman’s body incorrectly converts every calorie into fat; this is an extreme case of estrogen correction. Over time, your body resists the insulin produced in your bloodstream and you, therefore, experience weight gain.
Hot flashes are characterized by a sudden and intense feeling of heat on your face and upper body. Hot flashes can last from a few seconds to an hour and are often associated with sweating, increased heart rate, nausea, headache, anxiety, dizziness, and weakness. It is a suffocating feeling that often leaves your face red and sometimes finishes with an equally sudden chill.
The specific cause of hot flashes is often low estrogen and the resulting effects on the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls appetite, sex hormones, sleep and body temperature. Low estrogen levels trick the hypothalamus into believing that the body is too hot. It then triggers a hot flash in an attempt to rid the body of this nonexistent excess heat.
If you find yourself feeling tired most of the time, it could be due to imbalances of certain hormones.
Progesterone, another hormone responsible for various bodily functions, may cause fatigue – too little of this hormone can make it hard to sleep while too much of it can cause tiredness.
An underproduction of thyroid hormones may lead to lower levels of energy, causing you to feel tired and weak. Fuzzy or unclear thinking is another symptom of hormonal imbalance, especially during the midlife. Stress, sleep deprivation, and an unhealthy diet can trigger distorted thoughts that can cause mental tiredness.
You may suffer from a headache time-to-time due to heavy work schedule or stress. However, if you are a continuous victim of a chronic headache then maybe your estrogen level has dropped in the body.
Women health expert say the imbalance of female hormones estrogen and progesterone may also have an impact on headache-related chemicals in the brain. Lower levels of estrogen in the blood may aggravate headaches; higher levels may improve the condition. Fluctuating hormonal levels may affect headache patterns.
The drop in estrogen levels just before a period may cause a headache and heighten the patient’s sensitivity to pain. Up to 60 percent of women with migraines complain of headaches before or during their menstrual periods.
Vaginal dryness is a primary cause of low libido or sex drive in women and affects nearly 50% of all women between the ages of 40 and 59. Vagina dryness is uncomfortable, irritating and makes sex painful, causing women to avoid sex. This can cause problems in relationships and negatively impinges on overall mood and happiness.
Beyond the effect on low libido, vagina dryness can cause soreness, burning and itching that make even sitting, standing, exercising, or even urinating painful.
Normal vaginal secretions are necessary for overall comfort and sexual health. These secretions also possess an acidic PH balance which helps fight off infection from bacteria, without the secretions, a women are at risk for yeast infections and urinary tract infections.
The unbalanced estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels are to blame. Low estrogen and high progesterone results in the thinning and drying of the vaginal wall and diminished testosterone in woman reduces muscle tone in the vagina and lessens sexual sensitivity.
Poor sleep cycles
Not getting enough good-quality sleep? Your hormones might be at play. Many women experience insomnia because of the decrease in the production of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
Also, when you experience stress, the body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol. An overproduction of cortisol over a long period of time can disrupt normal sleep patterns. Combined with other hormonal imbalances, you can say goodbye to sleep!
Occasional insomnia, resulting from unusual stress, is common among women. However, when the sleeplessness continues beyond the original cause, then a problem may exist. The longer a woman experiences insomnia without getting help, the higher the probability of it becoming a chronic problem.
Hormones have no chance to do their healing work without sleep. When you lose sleep, you really can't catch up. Your hormones just don't spring back like that.
Sleeping less than you need affects at least 10 different hormones causing them to shift and disrupt appetite, fertility, mental health as well as cardiac health. Sleep is essential to maintain proper hormone balance and health. Insomnia hormones include estrogen and testosterone.
Don’t hesitate – find out the cause
As you see, hormones regulate most major bodily processes so the physical symptoms of hormonal imbalance will depend on which glands and hormones are affected.
The physical symptoms of hormonal imbalance can affect every aspect of your life, so it’s important to get them taken care of so that you can return to a healthy lifestyle as soon as possible.
If you suspect that you might suffer from hormonal imbalance, the first step is to consult with a medical doctor. You should tell your health provider about long-term unexplained symptoms, especially those that cause pain, discomfort, or interfere with everyday activities.
Treatment for hormonal imbalances may vary depending on the cause. Every person may require different types of treatment for hormonal imbalances. Once you explain your symptoms to your physician, he or she will be able to develop a treatment plan to meet your individual needs. This plan is usually based on the underlying causes of your hormonal imbalance.
For example, if your imbalance is due to lifestyle issues such as the quality of your diet and the amount of exercise you get, you may be put on a new nutrition and exercise regimen in order to naturally regulate your hormones.
If, however, the cause is not simply lifestyle-related, you may be put on medication in order to get your hormones to the correct levels again. And for women experiencing menopause, hormone replacement therapy may be the order of the day.