Hormonal changes in women and their impact
Hormones play an important role in the normal functioning of a woman’s body. The endocrine system produces them. Hormones travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs how to function. Hormones are vital for the smooth functioning of a woman’s body. Besides the more commonly known hormones progesterone and estrogen which influence a woman’s reproductive health, many other hormones affect numerous aspects of a woman’s health, such as her energy levels, mood, weight and more. If the hormones work properly then a woman’s mind and body to remain healthy.
Hormones help to regulate the following bodily functions:
- Metabolism and appetite
- Heart rate
- Sleep cycles
- Reproductive cycles and sexual function
- General growth and development
- Mood and stress levels
- Body temperature
Thus, even the slightest fluctuation of hormones disrupts the normal functioning of a woman’s body.
What are the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance?
It isn’t very easy to detect a hormonal imbalance as the signs are usually subtle in the beginning. If you are experiencing few or more of these symptoms then there is a likelihood of you suffering from a hormonal imbalance.
- unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- unexplained or excessive sweating
- difficulty sleeping
- changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
- very dry skin or skin rashes
- changes in blood pressure
- changes in heart rate
- brittle or weak bones
- changes in blood sugar concentration
- irritability and anxiety
- unexplained and long-term fatigue
- increased thirst
- needing to go to the bathroom more or less than usual
- changes in appetite
- reduced sex drive
- thinning, brittle hair
- puffy face
- blurred vision
- a bulge in the neck
- breast tenderness
- deepening of the voice in females
Causes of hormonal imbalance
There are a number of causes for the same but, here we will be listing out the most common ones.
- Extreme stress
- Poor diet and nutrition
- Being overweight
- Birth control medications
- exposure to toxins, pollutants, and endocrine disrupting chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides
Hormonal imbalances in women
Women undergo hormonal imbalances during various phases of their lives which are:
- pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding
- Perimenopause, menopause and post menopause
Women are also at risk of developing different types of hormonal imbalance disorders than men because they have different endocrine organs and cycles. Medical conditions causing irregular hormonal imbalances in women include:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- hormone replacement or birth control medications
- early menopause
- primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
- Ovarian cancer
Hormonal fluctuations cause a lot of health issues and mood swings in a woman. The most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in a woman are:
- heavy, irregular, or painful periods
- osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- hot flashes and night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- breast tenderness
- constipation and diarrhea
- acne during or just before menstruation
- uterine bleeding not associated with menstruation
- increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest, or back
- weight gain
- thinning hair or hair loss
- skin tags or abnormal growths
- deepening of the voice
Hormonal changes and imbalances can sometimes cause temporary hair loss. In women, this is often related to pregnancy, childbirth, or the onset of menopause. An over- or underproduction of thyroid hormones can also cause hair loss. Most hair loss, like male pattern baldness, is hereditary and unrelated to hormonal changes.
There’s no single test available for doctors to diagnose a hormonal imbalance. Begin by making an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and the timeline along which they’ve occurred. Bring a list of all medications, vitamins, and supplements you’re currently taking. The doctor will suggest a few tests to determine if there is a hormonal imbalance.
1. Blood test
Your doctor will send a sample of your blood to a lab for testing. Most hormones can be detected in the blood. A doctor can use a blood test to check your thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol levels.
2. Pelvic exam
If you’re female, your doctor may perform a pap smear to feel for any unusual lumps, cysts, or tumors.
An ultrasound machine uses sound waves to look inside your body. Doctors may use an ultrasound to get images of the uterus, ovaries, testicles, thyroid, or pituitary gland.
4. Additional tests
Sometimes more advanced tests are required. These can include:
- Thyroid scan
There are many medical science options to treat hormonal imbalances but, it is always recommended to try natural remedies first and if they still don’t work you can always go for medical treatment options. Yoga is a very good way to regulate your hormones. Lifestyle changes are also very important to treat and prevent hormonal imbalances. Losing weight makes your period more regular. This also improves your chances of getting pregnant.
Intake of a balanced diet helps solve many bodily troubles especially hormonal imbalances.
Hormones regulate many of your major bodily functions. When hormones get out of balance, the symptoms may be very varied. A lot of hormonal fluctuations take place in a woman’s body during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. Hormonal imbalance could cause a range of great complications, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Nearly everybody experiences a minimum of one or 2 periods of hormonal imbalance throughout their life. But some people experience continual, irregular hormonal imbalances. Many of these imbalances are caused by external factors, such as stress or hormone medications. However, it may also be caused by any medical condition that impacts or involves the system or glands. A person ought to speak to a doctor regarding recurrent unexplained symptoms, particularly those which cause pain, discomfort, or interfere with everyday activities.