If you are experiencing symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, or moodiness, it could be caused by a hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by stress, diet, and other lifestyle factors. Hormones play a vital role in our bodies, and they can cause several problems when they become imbalanced. Read on to know if hormone imbalances are causing your symptoms.
Hormones are essential chemical messengers in the body that help control many of its functions.
An imbalance in hormone production can lead to a wide range of symptoms, depending on the affected gland.
If feeling off-balance, it is important to contact a medical doctor as they need to diagnose and treat any hormonal imbalances accurately.
What are hormones?
Hormones are powerful agents in our bodies that help regulate our thoughts, feelings, and bodily functions. They act like messengers through the bloodstream to tell organs and tissues what to do. Most hormones are produced in endocrine glands, such as the thyroid or ovaries.
Hormones control many parts of our bodies that help us function daily:
- Mood and emotions
- Reproduction and sexual function
- Growth and development
Hormone production in the body
Multiple glands produce hormones in the body, and the affected gland can produce different symptoms. Glands affected vary based on the person’s assigned gender and its specific function.
Glands that assist in the making of your hormones include:
- Adrenal glands
- Pituitary glands
- Pineal gland
Hormone imbalance – what is it?
An imbalance of hormones means that you have too little or too much of a hormone being produced. They produce signals to other areas of the body for instructions, so when they are off, it can cause major problems.
When the hormones produced in our body become unbalanced, it results in an unhealthy disruption of our natural bodily patterns. This can lead to various conditions, such as fatigue, insomnia, weight gain or loss, acne, and mood swings.
Causes of hormone imbalances
Hormone imbalances occur when the gland responsible for regulating certain hormones is disrupted. Sometimes the imbalances can be temporary, and sometimes they are long-term complications caused by another issue.
Many factors can lead to these disruptions, including:
- Certain medications
- Tumors or growths on specific hormone-producing glands
- Damage to an endocrine gland
- Autoimmune diseases
It is important to determine what may be causing the imbalance and work with trained health professionals in order to address it. Understanding the real cause of a hormone imbalance can help people better manage their condition and restore balance.
How to spot a hormone imbalance
Hormone imbalances can cause a lot of different issues with your health. They can disrupt the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of someone when not corrected. More than 50 different types of hormones help regulate our body, so different symptoms can affect you depending on what is imbalanced.
Common symptoms that may be attributed to hormonal imbalances include:
- Weight gain
- Anxiety and depression
- Adult and puberty acne
- Mood swings
- Irregular periods
- Irregular bowel movements
It is important to be mindful of any noticeable changes in your body and see a doctor if something seems off. With the proper diagnosis and treatment, hormone imbalance-related problems can often be addressed and managed, so it is essential to reach out for help.
Different types of hormone imbalances:
There are many different types of hormone imbalances, each with its own symptoms. Because so many different glands produce different kinds of hormones, each type may affect a person differently. Let’s look at some common hormone imbalances.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland located in the neck and produces particular hormones that control metabolism. The hormones released from the thyroid tell the body how much energy to use. When these hormones are out of balance, it can lead to many problems.
Thyroid hormone imbalance symptoms include:
- Weight gain or loss
- Dry hair and skin
- Temperature intolerance
The adrenal glands located on top of the kidney produce hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps you deal with stress and gives you energy.
When cortisol levels are imbalanced, symptoms may include:
- Weight gain or loss
- Abnormal blood sugar levels
- High or low blood pressure
Female sex hormone imbalances
People who are assigned female at birth can have imbalances of the estrogen and progesterone hormones that the ovaries produce. Testosterone and androgen can also be imbalanced, leading to other complications.
Symptoms of female sex hormone imbalances can include:
- Hair loss
- Irregular periods
- Excess body hair
- Vaginal dryness
Male sex hormone imbalances
People who are assigned male at birth can have hormone imbalances of testosterone and other hormones that are produced in the testes.
Male sex hormone imbalances include:
- Decrease in body hair
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of muscle mass
Diagnosing hormone imbalances
To diagnose an imbalance of your hormones appropriately, your doctor will perform a full workup. Your hormone levels are assessed through blood work. The lab work will be able to determine the different types of hormones in your body and which ones are low or high.
From there, the doctor will be able to find out more information about which specific gland is being affected to better determine the cause of your symptoms.
Hormone imbalance treatment options
You may be dealing with a hormonal imbalance if you’re experiencing unexplained anxiety, fatigue, and skin problems. Fortunately, several lifestyle changes and medical treatments are available for treating this issue.
Life changes that may help:
- Eat healthily
- Exercise regularly
- Sleep at least 6 hours a night
- Reduce stress levels
If lifestyle changes do not help with hormone imbalance symptoms, then, you may need to talk to a doctor about taking natural supplements or even start a prescription regimen to alleviate your symptoms.
You may be able to try to use over-the-counter supplements to help with your hormone imbalances, but getting tested to find out what the imbalance is first is important. While most supplements claim to help, there is little evidence and testing to prove the claims. Talk to your doctor first about treatment options to find what is right for you.
If a tumor or a growth causes abnormal hormone levels, you may need surgery on the gland. Sometimes there is a hormone-blocking medication that you can take as well.
Many things can cause hormone imbalances, and most of them are treatable. You can manage your hormone imbalances and feel better with the proper treatment.
When should I call a doctor?
If you are feeling off-balance and suspect a hormonal imbalance might be the cause, you should always seek professional advice from a medical doctor. Consulting your doctor is the only way to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances accurately, so it is important to make sure you adequately explain all symptoms and background health information to ensure the best diagnosis possible.