If your body is in a state of hormonal imbalance then it is having too much or too little of a particular hormone.
This will show in the form of common unpleasant signs such as feeling irritable, having mood swings and fatigue.
Hormones keep fluctuating throughout your life.
Especially women undergo big changes from puberty, to pregnancy and menopause.
Therefore, your hormones have their ups and down accordingly too.
If you are feeling bloated, fatigued, have hair loss and palpitations, you are likely undergoing an imbalance phase.
But why is this happening and what can you do about it?
This article discusses the signs and symptoms of an imbalance and how you can deal with it. Keep reading to know more.
What Are Hormones?
Your endocrine glands in the endocrine system and adrenal glands secrete hormones into the blood to deliver throughout your body.
These hormones reach the organs where they convey messages that tell the organ to respond accordingly.
Since they regulate many bodily processes happening inside your body, an imbalance can affect many systems at once too.
- sleeping cycle
- heart rate
- metabolic rate
- reproductive cycle
- the temperature of the body
- your mood and stress levels
- development and growth
When it comes to the reproductive cycle, imbalances in estrogen and progesterone affect the mood and body temperature of women.
Similarly, different levels of testosterone affect men.
Most hormonal conditions usually cause the same kind of symptoms in men and women.
- fatigue and muscle weakness
- mood swings
- an increase in weight or a sudden decrease in weight
- excessive sweating
- sudden increase or decrease in heart rate and palpitations
- swelling in joints, alongside pain and stiffness
- depression, anxiety and irritability
- puffy and round face
- hair loss and thinning of hair
- sensitivity to hot or cold
- muscle aches
- feeling more hunger and thirst
- less sex drive
- stretch marks that are purple in color
- blurry vision
While these are the most common signs, they can differ for women, men and children.
The main issue relating to hormones in men is due to testosterone.
They may also be at risk of developing osteoporosis.
Furthermore, there can be difficulty concentrating, a decrease in body mass and less hair growth in the beard and body.
When it comes to children, they can experience delayed puberty which affects their growth. More on that below!
Now that you know about hormonal imbalance in men, let’s find out about signs in women.
Hormonal Imbalance in Women
The hormones of a female undergo changes in four stages of life.
The typical cycle of your reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone changes during these stages.
Furthermore, diseases like thyroid due to the thyroid-stimulating hormone can bring changes to your general wellbeing.
Women of reproductive age can commonly get a hormonal imbalance problem, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
This and other hormonal balance problems cause a variety of symptoms in women.
If your period does not come on time then it hints towards more or less reproductive hormones.
Periods that come between 21 to 35 days are part of a normal cycle.
However, if they exceed beyond that or if you completely skip months then it indicates an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone.
Furthermore, a frequent period without any gap or less gap is also a problem.
If you lie in your 40s and 50s then it is probably the perimenopause stage leading to menopause.
Likewise, a heavy period isn’t normal either indicating PCOS.
Therefore, if you have irregular periods then consult your gynecologist about it.
Inability to Sleep Well
Are you tired all the time because you couldn’t sleep well?
You will be amazed to know that the hormone progesterone helps you sleep well.
Therefore, if you cannot sleep well, lower levels of progesterone are to blame.
Also, that may result in hot flashes and night sweats making it even harder for you to catch a good night’s sleep.
Bloating, Diarrhea and Constipation
The gastrointestinal tract contains cells that have receptors for the reproductive hormones.
Hence, when you are on your periods, the changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone can affect your stomach and intestines.
That is why you feel nauseous, diarrhea, bloating, constipation and pain during the time of the month.
Androgens are in both men and women.
These are male hormones such as testosterone.
These increase the productivity of oil glands hence, they secrete more oil.
This eventually clogs your pores resulting in acne.
While getting breakout right before your period is completely normal, chronic acne is usually due to a hormonal problem.
Moreover, this may point towards PCOS as well as insulin resistance.
Therefore, do not take your chronic acne for granted.
Mood Swings and Mental Health Problems
Estrogen affects neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
These impact your mood and also give the feeling of happiness.
Therefore, changes in your estrogen levels can change your mood especially around the time of the month.
You are likely to feel anxious, get depressed or moody.
Taking birth control pills or therapy can help cope with these symptoms.
When your estrogen levels drop, your appetite increases.
That is why you crave different kinds of food when your periods are near.
Especially those that are salty, sugary and fatty.
Though, we all know very well that you will feel worse after eating more.
High sodium content will cause bloating. Sugar, fats and calories will add to your weight.
Either way, you are likely to gain weight when your estrogen levels drop.
Other than these signs and symptoms, women can also feel:
- Constant headaches
- Brain fog
- Hirsutism i.e. an increase in facial hair and body hair
- Vaginal dryness
- Skin darkening along the neck
- Excessive hair loss
- Low libido
- Changes in the breast
- Constant fatigue
If you experience any of these symptoms continuously, visit your doctor soon.
Symptoms in Children
Sex hormones develop in children during puberty.
Not everyone matures at the same time and even if some children have delayed puberty, they undergo normal changes soon.
They may also produce fewer sex hormones if they get the condition hypogonadism.
Girls who have this condition do not develop breast tissue.
They also do not begin their periodic cycle hence, no menstruation.
Also, their growth rate remains stagnant.
For boys, as their puberty is delayed so are signs of growth and maturity.
Their voice does not deepen and their body hair does not grow.
However, their body growth does not stop but occurs disproportionately.
Their legs and arms will keep growing but not their trunk.
Furthermore, their muscle mass doe not develop.
The testicular growth is also impaired and they may develop breast tissue.
If their puberty is delayed then their body will grow normally whenever it occurs.
Though, you need to treat hypogonadism properly.
But first, you should know what causes hormonal issues in men, women and children.
Keep reading below to know that.
Causes and Diagnosis
Bodily changes, as well as medicines and illnesses, can lead to hormone fluctuation.
The presence of tumors in your pituitary gland or other areas either benign or cancerous can cause imbalances.
Moreover, cancer treatment such as chemotherapy can also change the levels of hormones.
Furthermore, taking hormone therapy, medicines to treat illnesses, taking the stress and having eating disorders can all cause changes in normal levels.
For women taking birth control pills, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, and PCOS can all disturb normal levels.
Also, primary ovarian insufficiency and premature menopause will make changes to your estrogen and progesterone levels.
Also, there are certain medical conditions that you may initially get because of a hormonal imbalance such as breast cancer.
However, they are also responsible to cause fluctuations in hormones.
These include diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome and Addison’s disease.
In order to diagnose the exact cause behind the fluctuating levels of your hormones, your doctor will recommend a bunch of tests.
- Blood Test – Checking thyroid, estrogen, cortisol and testosterone levels in your body
- Ultrasound – To get a detail look into organs like the pituitary gland, uterus and testicles that are affected by hormonal changes.
- Pelvic Exam – A Pap Smear or checking the scrotum for lumps
- Home Testing Kit – This checks for follicle-stimulating hormones. It identifies the start of menopause.
Other tests include thyroid scans, imaging scans and biopsy.
How to Cure Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormonal therapy for women and men may differ according to the cause of imbalance.
Women may get treatments like estrogen therapy and topical vaginal estrogen.
This can help ease menopause symptoms such as hot flashes.
Using local therapy in the vagina helps to reduce consistent vaginal dryness.
For facial growth, you can also use Vaniqa which slows down the growth of new hair on your face.
Furthermore, you can take anti-androgen medicines to reduce the negative effects of these hormones in your body.
For women, it increases facial hair, acne and results in hair loss.
Hence, women can take these to reduce the consequences of androgen hormones.
Whereas men can get testosterone supplements to initiate puberty or deal with low levels.
Besides reproductive hormones, a synthetic thyroid hormone can increase thyroid levels in the case of hypothyroidism.
Also, if you want to look for natural remedies for hormonal imbalance in women and men then you should first try losing weight.
It can improve erectile function and make periods regular.
Furthermore, eating a good diet, avoiding spicy foods and hot drinks can keep your hormone levels normal as well as avoid hot flashes.
Hence, you can reduce the signs of hormonal changes by taking some care naturally.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms, consult your doctor.
Do not treat hormonal imbalance on your own unless your doctor recommends that.
Though, keeping a good weight and eating healthy foods will save you from many hormonal issues.