A hormonal imbalance is an insufficient or excessive amount of hormones in the blood serum or a disrupted ratio between the hormones working simultaneously.
Please read the article to get knowledge of hormones, the underlying causes of hormonal imbalance, and the complications of hormonal imbalance.
What is Hormonal Imbalance?
When the blood serum level of hormones gets disturbed, it is known as a “hormonal imbalance.” The imbalance may be due to the endocrine glands’ dysfunctionality to produce normal amounts of the hormone.
Hormonal imbalance may lead to many medical complications. Hormonal imbalances can lead to medical conditions like:
- Irregular periods
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Amenorrhea (missing your period)
Hormones regulate most major bodily functions, so hormonal imbalances can affect various parts. The role of hormones is to control:
- The metabolic process
- Reproductive cycles and sexuality
- Development and growth
- Glucose level
- blood pressure
- Stress and mood
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
A gland produces, stores, and releases hormones. Several endocrine glands control different organs throughout the body, including:
- Pituitary gland
- Thyroid and parathyroid glands
- Pancreatic islets
- Gonads (testis and ovaries)
- Adrenal glands
- Pineal gland
- Hypothalamus gland
Endocrine glands can be affected by a number of medical conditions. It is also possible that adopting unhealthy lifestyle habits and environmental factors cause hormonal imbalances.
Underlying Medical conditions
The following medical conditions can affect hormone production:
- Addison’s disease,
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Pituitary tumors
- cancers (involve endocrine glands)
- Radiation and chemotherapy
- Goiters (iodine deficiency)
- Turner syndrome,
- Prader-Willi syndrome
Other causes of hormonal imbalance may include:
- chronic stress
- poor diet and nutrition
- Medication for hormonal replacement or birth control pills
- Drug misused with anabolic steroids
- Pesticides and herbicides are responsible for exposure to toxins and pollutants.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Following are the symptoms of hormonal imbalances:
Your brain sets a “circadian clock” that regulates the adrenal hormones cortisol and adrenaline levels. This brain clock is usually connected to light, dark, temperature changes, etc.
Under normal circumstances, your adrenal gland and circadian clock work together. One of the adrenal hormones, cortisol, is an awake hormone that will make you wake during daylight. Another thing that happens at bedtime is that the cortisol level decreases, and you feel sleepy.
External factors like stress may sometimes disturb the sleep-wake cycle set by your brain clock. Prolonged stress may lead to adrenal hormone imbalance, and the rhythmic sleep-wake cycle may be completely unbalanced.
This disturbance may result in sleeplessness, and restless nights, conditions commonly referred to as insomnia.
Sebaceous glands in the skin can overproduce oil, which leads to acne. As a result of the excess fat on the skin, pores become clogged, and bacteria are attracted, causing further inflammation. Testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone can affect the oil glands in the skin. These hormones can influence acne in a variety of ways, including:
Testosterone is responsible for the regulation of sebum (oil) production. Therefore due to its imbalance, the overproduction of oil may block pores, causing acne.
In pregnancy-related acne, progesterone levels are likely to increase, although doctors do not know how exactly this occurs. A woman’s estrogen levels and progesterone levels may change post-menopause, resulting in acne.
Additionally, females with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are more likely to have severe and persistent acne. In addition to testosterone and insulin resistance, doctors believe acne may be caused by exposure to androgen hormones.
Are you gaining weight without excessive calorie intake or adopting any weight-gaining habits? If this is so, then your hormones might have problems.
When it comes to unintentional weight gain, hormone regulation should be monitored; otherwise, all your efforts at weight maintenance will be in vain.
In the body, hormonal imbalances can lead to weight gain by affecting several processes. Here are some examples:
- The majority of people with Cushing’s disease gain weight. It causes your body to produce too much cortisol. Treating the underlying condition can help reduce hormonal weight gain.
- The thyroid hormone regulates the rate at which the body burns energy or metabolism. When thyroid hormone levels are too low, metabolism slows and weight gain.
- Estrogen levels decrease during menopause; weight gain can occur.
- The adrenocorticotropic hormone increases in PCOS, which can result in weight gain.
Fatigue and weakness
Are you getting eight hours of sleep but still feeling tired and weak? You might be unaware of the chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s common to feel physically and emotionally exhausted, despite getting plenty of sleep when you suffer from thyroid imbalances, adrenal gland dysfunction, or chronic stress.
Depression and anxiety
Stress, hormonal imbalances, and sudden changes in hormone levels can lead to depression, anxiety, or overwhelm. The main hormones that are mood elevators are serotonin and dopamine. When levels of these hormones drop, depression, anxiety, and irritability can increase.
In women, anovulation, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and hyperprolactinemia are common conditions and hormonal imbalances. Infrequent or absent ovulation is often the result of these conditions, which complicate pregnancy for a woman or may lead to infertility in the worst scenario.
An imbalance in hormone levels can cause hormonal headaches. It can occur when estrogen levels drop or during menstruation. Oral contraceptives, menopause, and pregnancy can all cause them.
Irregular menstrual cycles
Irregular periods or an abnormal gap in your menstrual cycle indicate a disturbance in the hormonal signaling activity that controls menstruation. Thyroid dysfunction and estrogen dominance only make this hormonal imbalance worse.
Role of Hormonal Imbalance in Sex Life
A few signs and symptoms point to your hormones as the culprit for a lackluster libido or an unsatisfying session in bed. The most common are:
Low sexual drive or libido:
The hormones estrogen and testosterone play a role in sexual desire. Off-balance levels of one or both of these sex hormones can lead to a reduced sex drive and a non-existent libido.
Dryness of the vaginal area:
Reduced estrogen can make your vaginal walls drier, itchier, more irritated, and less lubricated and flexible during sex. Women between the ages of 57 and 69 are more likely to suffer from this problem during menopause.
Painful intercourse (dyspareunia):
There is a medical term for painful intercourse called dyspareunia, which is caused when your ability to lubricate naturally doesn’t function as it should. When sex isn’t pleasant, it can, in turn, reduce sexual desire.
Depression and anxiety:
Hormone health is often like a carefully crafted domino run. Studies have shown that low levels of progesterone can result in mood changes, anxiety, and depression, which can result in lowered sexual desire and libido.
Sex Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
The symptoms of a sex hormone imbalance are different.
Symptoms In Males
The dominant sex hormone in men is testosterone. An imbalance of testosterone levels may result in
- Poor sexual drive
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Fatigue causes muscles to lose mass
- Reduced hair growth and thinning hair
- Chest tenderness
Symptoms In Females
In females, the dominant sex hormone is estrogen. But in some cases, the estrogen level may be disturbed, and the male sex hormone, i.e., testosterone, may become more dominant. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in females include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Irregular bowel movements or diarrhea
- Inconsistent menstruation
- Fertility issues
- Menstrual pain in the abdomen or back
- low sex drive
- An unexplained weight gain or loss
- Having too much hair, or hirsutism
- Skin rashes
Diagnosis of Hormonal Imbalance
In order to diagnose hormonal imbalances, it is important to consult a doctor. Monitoring and identifying symptoms is good, but self-diagnosis may lead to hazardous health consequences.
Your doctor may recommend the following tests for diagnosis:
The recommended lab can perform blood tests on thyroid hormones, estrogen, and testosterone.
In imaging studies, doctors examine the body using ultrasound, X-rays, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for signs of cysts or tumors that could induce hormone excesses.
Menstrual cycle hormones are measured with urine tests, such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Treatment of Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances should be treated as soon as they are diagnosed. Once your doctor gets results from biochemical tests, he will recommend the best treatment as required by the condition and the severity of the imbalance. Following are some famous treatments that are recommended for treating hormonal imbalances at a faster pace.
Hormonal replacement therapy
During the menopausal transition, women lose hormones, which are replaced by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). In conventional HRT, estrogen and progesterone components are added to mimic hormones produced by the human ovary to relieve symptoms associated with menopause. Many estrogen therapies, including those made by the human ovary, are available, such as estradiol and estriol. The most commonly prescribed estrogen in the United States is conjugated equine estrogen (CEE). Though they have different effects on the human body, they share the same FDA indications.
Currently, testosterone therapy is available mostly for treating late puberty in boys, low testosterone levels in males (due to a defective pituitary or hypothalamus), and certain inoperable breast cancers in women.
Most estrogens are absorbed into the bloodstream when used vaginally or on the skin, leading to some, but not all, of the same effects as when taken orally. Estrogens are used vaginally at very low doses for treating local problems of the genitals.
Estrogens for vaginal use are available only with your doctor’s prescription.
The following dosage forms are available for this product:
- Insert, Extended Release
- Liquid-filled capsules
- The table
Hormone replacement medications
Hot flashes or night sweats associated with menopause can be temporarily reduced with medications.
Eflornithine (Vaniqa) :
Eflornithine prescription creams may slow the growth of excessive facial hair.
Anti-androgen medications: Managing severe acne and excessive hair growth or loss is possible by taking medications that block the male hormone androgen.
Letrozole (Femara) and clomiphene (Clomid)
Women with PCOS trying to conceive can take these medications to stimulate ovulation.
Doctors may also prescribe gonadotropin injections for women with PCOS and infertility. Assisted reproductive technology In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be an option for those with PCOS complications.
Prevention of Hormonal Imbalances
Diet and nutrition
Diet is as important as medication. Changing dietary habits is necessary for the effective treatment of hormonal imbalances. Nature has gifted us with several functional foods that play a vital role in healthy hormonal stimulation and regulation in the human body.
Let us have a look at foods that should be added to your diet to prevent or manage hormonal imbalances.
Eat Healthy Fats
It is important to note that MUFAS and PUFAS are considered healthy fats; however, trans fats are categorized as unhealthy or harmful to human health.
Some examples of healthy fat are
Egg yolk is enriched with nutrients, including A, D, E, B2, B6, B9, and B12; iron, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, and choline are essential for healthy hormone levels. Note that choline and iodine play integral roles in thyroid hormone production.
Their fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 are rich in these foods. The nutrients in these foods are essential for the production of hormones. Besides providing great amounts of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, butter also has antimicrobial properties, meaning it fights bacteria and viruses in the body.
Nuts and seeds:
Raw cultured dairy products, fermented cod liver oil, hemp oil, flaxseed oil, and soaked nuts and seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Antioxidants prevent free radical damage resulting from oxidative stress. It affects the health of the skin and the overall function of cells, and hormone levels*. There is growing evidence that free-radical damage causes havoc on our thyroid function and pituitary gland. Hormones are secreted into your bloodstream by a gland in the endocrine system called the pituitary gland.
- Collard greens
The body builds cells throughout the body with the help of proteins, which provide essential amino acids. They also produce insulin and growth hormone.
Some protein-enriched foods are
- Nuts sprouted or soaked
- The quinoa plant,
- Beans and lentils,
- Fish caught in the wild
Exercise and Physical Activity
Exercise and physical activity are key to keeping your hormones on track.
It is known that through mindful exercise, stress may go away. Therefore, mindful yoga and stretching are considered natural practices that give positive energy to your mind and body. Regular yoga and meditation make your hormone stimulation and regulation healthy by lowering stress hormone release. The other good option is HIIT (high-intensity interval training), which combines short bursts of high-intensity exercise with brief rest periods to produce the best results.
When to Consult a Doctor for Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormones are the proteins that govern the complete signaling in your body. If one of these key protein chemicals is released in low or excessive amounts, your body processes get disturbed, and ultimately, you can function properly.
In case of any symptom of hormonal imbalance observed, it is crucial to seek medical attention; otherwise, your body may suffer more than you imagine.
Therefore, Ignoring hormonal imbalance may lead to irreversible medical conditions, for example, infertility or cancer.
Hence It is recommended to consult your doctor for the right treatment advice and medical prescription to save yourself from deadly medical complications that may lead to death if left untreated.
Feel free to connect and chat with your doctors online, highly professional doctors that will ensure you get the best treatment according to your condition and turn your hormones on the right track again!
FAQs about Hormonal Imbalance Answered by Your Doctors Online Team.
The leptin sex hormones, growth hormones, and insulin influence appetite, the metabolism in your body, and body fat distribution. An imbalance of these hormones can slow your metabolism and ultimately promote fat deposition, leading to weight gain.
Following are the know hormones that can play a role in weight gain
1. leptin and insulin,
2. sex hormones and
3. growth hormones
Hormonal imbalance can make your sex drive poor; ultimately, it makes your sexual pleasure diminished.
The common sexual dysfunctions are
1. Viginal dryness
2. Ejaculation problems
4. Poor sex drive