Look Out for These 10 Signs of a Hormonal Imbalance
While these signs could be related to another condition, a hormonal imbalance is often responsible. However, with proper medical attention, it's easily controlled.
Hormonal activity plays an important role in the physical and mental health of every individual. Hormonal imbalances can lead to a number of health conditions, which can have a significant impact on your quality of life.
However, many people often confuse the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance with other common health problems that have nothing to do with hormone levels. In fact, many people are unaware that hormones are responsible for regulating many physiological and mental processes throughout our lives.
For example, they’re responsible for vital functions, such as metabolism, growth rate, fertility and sex drive. Among other things, they determine our moods, body weight, and many other important processes that are essential for our well-being.
Below, we’ll go over 10 of the most common symptoms associated with hormonal disorders, so you can recognize the signs. That way, you’ll be able to seek the appropriate treatment.
Let’s take a look!
Signs You May be Suffering from a Hormonal Imbalance
As described in a publication by Northwell Health, 80% of women suffer from a hormone imbalance at some point in their lives. Often, these imbalances affect two hormones in particular, estrogen and progesterone. However, many common hormone disorders also affect cortisol levels.
It’s important to be aware that the presence of these symptoms doesn’t always indicate the presence of a hormonal issue. Sometimes, they can be a sign of other underlying health issues. So, if you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis.
1. Persistent acne
Some women suffer from breakouts before their period due to hormonal changes brought on by the menstrual cycle. However, if the acne is chronic and breakouts occur when you’re not on or getting your period, you may be suffering from an androgen imbalance.
This group of sex hormones is predominantly found in males, though they are found to a lesser extent in women. Androgens stimulate excess sebum production which then gets trapped in the pores, forming small pimples and blackheads.
2. Sleep disorders
Reduced levels of progesterone just before your period cause some women to have a hard time falling asleep. This inability to fall asleep can also occur after giving birth, but it’s often attributed to the responsibilities of being a new mother.
Progesterone works to relax the body. When levels are reduced, you’ll feel more anxious and stressed.
3. Constant hunger
A constant desire to eat is an obstacle to any weight loss program. In some cases, chronic hunger can be caused by a hormone imbalance. It’s been proven that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hormone called ghrelin, which is responsible for producing the sensation of hunger.
At the same time, levels of the hormone leptin – which helps to regulate the appetite – decrease. As such, the constant urge to eat could be the result of a hormone imbalance, brought on by lack of sleep.
4. Mood swings and depression
A large proportion of the female population experiences changes in mood just before menstruation, during pregnancy and during menopause.
The hormonal changes produced during this time increase stress, depression and other negative emotions that, under normal circumstances, would be perfectly manageable.
5. Migraines and headaches
At certain points of the menstrual cycle, hormonal changes can cause painful headaches and migraines. If both problems persist, the best thing to do is consult with a doctor to find out the underlying cause.
6. Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness is an unmistakable symptom of the imbalance in estrogen levels that occurs during menopause. This symptom not only increases the risk of vaginal infections, it also impacts a woman’s sex life.
7. Digestive problems
Cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone, can cause several physical reactions in the body. In some people, it increases muscle tension, causing headaches. While in others, it only causes mood swings.
However, some people suffer from digestive problems such as inflammation and stomach pain, as well as constipation. It often affects people with irritable bowel syndrome, who have abnormal serotonin levels.
8. Chronic fatigue
Exhaustion or fatigue is the result of working too much, worry or strenuous physical activity. However, chronic fatigue can also be the result of hypothyroidism, a condition associated with low levels of thyroid hormones. As the thyroid is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism, it can cause sudden weight gain.
9. Changes in the breasts
High estrogen levels increase pain and sensitivity in the breasts. In some cases, it can lead to the formation of tumors, fibroids and cysts. For this reason, periodic breast exams are vital. Regularly performing self breast exams at home is important for the early detection of lumps or any other irregularities.
10. Loss of libido
Many symptoms can be caused by changes in hormonal activity. While many are regulated naturally without the need for treatment, in other cases, medical intervention is necessary. So, if your symptoms are severe or persist, you must seek medical attention.