If you feel out of sync and have a host of unwanted symptoms, a hormonal imbalance may be to blame. According to the latest statistical reports, almost 80 percent of all women will experience a hormone imbalance. Unfortunately, many women live with a hormone imbalance without even realizing it. In addition to this, about 70 percent of those suffering from an imbalance do not realize that certain conditions like PCOS are caused by hormone irregularities. It is important to know about the common symptoms of hormone imbalance for women so you can take care of your health in optimum manner.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that are created in the body and released into the bloodstream. These chemical messengers help regulate systems and functions throughout the body including your metabolism, your sleep cycle, reproduction, temperature, appetite, and mood. When an imbalance occurs, it can negatively impact your overall health and well-being.
What Causes Hormone Changes
Throughout your life, your hormone levels will fluctuate. These fluctuations are most notable during menopause, pregnancy, puberty, and the menstrual cycle. However, hormone fluctuations can also be caused by medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and medications.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalances
If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of hormone imbalance, contact your health care provider to find the appropriate treatment. Treatments for hormone imbalances include lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, prescription medications, and complementary therapies.
Hormone imbalances can cause brain fog. When your estrogen and progesterone levels are out of order, it can cause memory issues and reduced alertness. Some researchers believe estrogen can impact the neurotransmitters in the brain. When estrogen levels are imbalanced, it can reduce attention spans and cause memory loss. Other health conditions like adrenal fatigue and thyroid disease can also cause hormone imbalances and lead to attention problems and concentration issues.
Your digestive tract contains receptors that respond to both progesterone and estrogen. Any hormone changes can impact your digestion. Researchers believe that these receptors cause many of the symptoms associated with PMS, including upset stomach, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea. A functional medicine doctor understands that all systems in the body work together. Your doctor will find the root cause of your digestive woes. If a hormone imbalance is discovered, your integrative health practitioner may recommend supplements, lifestyle modifications, and bioidentical hormone therapy to help balance your hormones and relieve your digestive woes.
Headaches are quite common during a woman’s menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and during menopause. During these times, a woman’s hormones can rise and fall. Keeping a headache diary can help you and your doctor identify things that trigger your headaches. Eat small, healthy meals, get the recommended amount of sleep by establishing regular sleep patterns, and practice stress relief techniques to improve your health and balance your hormones.
Low sex drive plague most women going through perimenopause. During this time a woman’s estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels can decline rapidly, causing night sweats, low energy levels, mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue. All of these can impact your libido. If you are going through menopause, ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy. When properly administered, bioidentical hormones can balance your hormones and improve your sex drive.
Heavy, painful periods that include low back pain, a frequent urge to urinate, painful intercourse, abdominal pain, and constipation can be a sign of fibroids. Fibroids are noncancerous growths that develop in a woman’s uterus. Although the exact cause of fibroids remains unknown, researchers believe they are related to high estrogen levels. In addition to this, women with a family history of fibroids are at an increased risk of developing fibroids. If you are experiencing painful periods, seek out medical help. There are medications that can relieve your pain and reduce your menstrual complaints.
You have probably heard the expression, “she’s hormonal” to describe a woman who is experiencing mood swings. Estrogen fluctuations can have a negative effect on serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps boost your mood. When estrogen levels decline, it can cause depression. Conversely, when levels are too high, you can experience anxiousness. If you are experiencing mood swings, talk with your doctor and make healthy lifestyle changes, including eating a healthy diet, stopping smoking, getting daily exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, and talking with your doctor about herbal remedies and hormone replacement therapy.
Do you suffer from adult acne? If so, a hormone imbalance may be to blame. Low estrogen or progesterone levels along with high androgen levels can lead to skin issues. Those suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), those who are pregnant, and those going through menopause may have skin problems. In addition to this, thyroid problems can cause dry, itchy skin. If you are dealing with skin issues, talk to your doctor. Your functional medicine doctor will work to find the underlying cause of your skin issues and offer advice on how to correct hormone imbalances and improve your skin.
Poor sleep, insomnia, and other sleep issues have been associated with fluctuations in hormone levels. During perimenopause, the ovaries do not produce as much progesterone or estrogen. Both of these hormones promote sleep. In addition to this, low estrogen levels have been associated with hot flashes and night sweats. In order to improve your sleep, you must get an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor will check your hormone levels, do a sleep study, and ask you about your current sleep patterns. There are several things that you can do to improve your sleep patterns and help you get a full night’s sleep. First, wear cool, loose clothes made of natural fibers like cotton. Lower the temperature of your bedroom a few degrees, reduce your caffeine and alcohol consumption, use cotton sheets, and hang room darkening shades or blinds to help create a room inductive for sleeping.
Vaginal dryness is another symptom of falling estrogen levels. Oftentimes, those going through menopause will have lower than normal estrogen levels. In addition to this, antidepressants and contraceptives can cause hormone imbalances, resulting in vaginal dryness. You can reduce vaginal dryness by opting for unscented soaps that do not contain any dyes. We recommend using a water based lubricant to keep the vaginal area moisturized. If your symptoms are due to menopause, your holistic doctor can help regulate your hormone levels and improve the moisture levels in your vagina.
There are several hormone issues that can lead to weight gain. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Your thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism. When enough thyroid hormones are not produced, weight gain will occur. Polycystic ovary syndrome and menopause both cause hormonal changes in the body. When these occur, you will gain weight in your abdominal region. If you are experiencing unexpected weight gain and have not made any changes to your diet or activity levels, your women’s health doctor will work with you to find the root cause of your weight gain and recommend the appropriate treatment to balance your hormones and help you lose excess weight.
Ready To Balance Your Hormones
If you are experiencing any of the signs of hormone imbalance, it is time to seek out treatment from an integrative women’s health doctor specializing in hormone balancing. Many women are surprised to learn that their health problems are related to imbalanced hormones. Your integrative doctor will find the root cause of your health issues and then use the latest scientific discoveries along with alternative therapies to help bring your body in alignment for optimal health.