Are you having trouble falling asleep at night or is your sudden weight gain causing you to worry? Chances are that you have a hormone imbalance. Most of us go through hormone imbalance at some point in our lives without being aware of it. This is especially true for women.
What is Hormonal Imbalance?
A hormone imbalance occurs when your body doesn’t produce proper levels of hormones. The timing of hormone release, its transportation through the bloodstream, and its ability to respond through receptors play an important role in creating hormonal balance. Any disturbance in these can cause a hormonal imbalance.
Some people may face a hormone imbalance due to deficiency in hormone production while for others an imbalance may manifest because of over excretion of hormones. Though the symptoms of hormone imbalance may vary according to specific hormones and their functions, there are some common signs that indicate you need to get a hormone imbalance test.
Below, we look at some of the common signs of hormone imbalance.
Signs Of Hormone Imbalance
1. Fatigue: This is one of the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance and is mostly caused by an imbalance in the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is responsible for your metabolism. This means that an overactive thyroid can burn up all your energy quickly while an underactive thyroid cannot produce enough energy. Imbalance of other hormones like cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen also causes fatigue.
2. Sudden Changes In Weight: Most people complaining of sudden weight gain or weight loss often attribute it to age, diet, or a stressful life. Though all these factors play their roles, the possibility of a hormone imbalance is often overlooked. While out of line thyroid levels can cause a sudden change in your weight, high levels of cortisol produced due to stress lead to lower metabolism and weight gain. Increased levels of insulin also lead to sudden weight gain. Unexplained weight gain around the abdomen during menopause is due to hormonal fluctuations.
3. Mood Swings: Hormonal imbalances can lead to frequent mood swings and irritability. In some cases, the imbalance can cause depression and anxiety. Most women are affected by fluctuating estrogen levels due to PMS. Pregnancy or menopause often leads to mood changes oscillating between exhilaration and extreme sadness. While an imbalance in cortisol that controls your stress levels can also enhance mood swings, experts believe that an imbalance of the neurotransmitter, serotonin is often linked to depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and anxiety.
4. Changes in Appetite: Your appetite is controlled by your metabolism. Changes in your metabolism caused by an imbalance of hormones like thyroid and cortisol can trigger changes in appetite levels. Leptin and Ghrelin, known as the hunger hormones, are also responsible for controlling your appetite and their imbalance can lead to a sudden increase or decrease in appetite.
5. Muscle pain and Joint Stiffness: Muscle pain and joint stiffness are common symptoms for those suffering from hormonal imbalance. Those suffering from hypothyroidism are at a higher risk of developing diseases like rheumatoid arthritis leading to muscle pain and joint stiffness. Another common cause is the fluctuating levels of estrogen in pre-menopausal and menopausal women. Lower levels of estrogen can lead to joint stiffness and weak bones.
6. Skin and Hair Problems: Adult acne is caused by decreased levels of estrogen. Increased levels of cortisol due to stress can lead to an increase in oil production in the skin, causing breakouts. Hormonal imbalance during pregnancy can cause itchy skin while dry skin is a symptom of thyroid-related issues. A malfunctioning thyroid gland can lead to thinning hair and excessive hair fall.
7. Disturbed sleep patterns: Disturbed sleep patterns can be experienced due to various hormonal imbalances. Cortisol and Melatonin are two key hormones that control your sleep. Stress increases the production of cortisol, thereby reducing melatonin or the sleep-inducing hormone. This causes disturbance in sleep patterns. For women, a decrease in the levels of estrogen and progesterone due to PMS or menopause can lead to disturbed sleep patterns.
8. Headaches: Persistent headaches are a common symptom of hormonal fluctuance. Also, a drop in estrogen levels during mensuration causes headaches. On the other hand, some women may see a decrease in headaches during menopause. This is because increased levels of estrogen cause migraines and when these levels are reduced considerably, the headaches tend to disappear. A visit to a gynecologist is a must for women suffering from regular menstrual migraines.
9. Fertility Problems: For women, the most common cause of infertility is hormonal imbalance. Imbalanced hormones can affect the efficiency of reproductive cycles (like ovulation) that lead to infertility. Disorders like PCOS result from hormonal imbalances.
Hormonal Imbalance Testing
If you have some of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s advisable to visit your doctor and clearly communicate your symptoms. This can help them recommend the appropriate hormonal imbalance tests for you. While a blood test is the most common method for testing and can test levels of thyroid, cortisol, estrogen, and testosterone, a saliva test can be done to check your progesterone levels. For blood tests, choose a test that is suitable for your gender. Tests for women differ from those for men. To check thyroid imbalance, ask your doctor for tests that include thyroid anti-bodies along with TSH levels.
Conclusion: Symptoms like fatigue, irritability, disturbance in sleep patterns, and muscle soreness are common to most hormonal imbalances. However, proper hormonal imbalance testing is a must to know the cause of the problems. You can make a few healthy lifestyle changes to bring about the required balance.
A healthy diet consisting of low sugar and nutrient-rich foods can help you restore the balance. A high intake of fiber along with supplements like vitamin C and probiotics and can improve your bowel movement, an important factor for reducing hormonal imbalance. Exercise daily to balance your hormones. Exercise reduces estrogen and releases endorphins that trigger a happy feeling in the body. Practicing yoga and meditation daily can help you keep your mind and body healthy. Visit your doctor if you see any of the above signs.
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