Hormones are chemical messengers produced by the endocrine glands. They play an important role in controlling, monitoring, and regulating many of our bodily processes including growth, metabolism, reproduction, mood, and sexual health.
A problem with hormones can cause serious damage to the body system. Here, you’ll find a breakdown of the condition, it’s identifiable symptoms, and effective ways to treat and manage the imbalance.
What is hormonal imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance occurs when you have too little or too much of a particular hormone in your bloodstream. Due to the specificity of hormonal function, a slight change imbalance can affect the entire body system.
What are the symptoms of hormonal imbalance?
Several symptoms could serve as a pointer to hormonal imbalance and the symptoms you experience will depend on which hormones are affected. Common symptoms to look out for include:
- Anxiety and depression
- Pain and inflammation
- Stiffness and swelling in joints
- Blurred vision
- Dehydration and increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Thinning hair
- Increased sensitivity to changing temperatures
- Frequent bowel movements
- Drastic increase or decrease in heart rate
- Weight loss
- Decreased libido
Other symptoms are more gender-specific. For example, women may experience changes to their hormonal cycle during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. These periods are marked by changes in menstruation, acne, excessive weight gain, vaginal atrophy, hair loss, and night sweats.
Similarly, men experience natural changes in hormonal levels during puberty but as they grow older, a decline in testosterone levels may trigger symptoms such as loss of muscle mass, erectile dysfunction, hair loss, loss of bone mass, and infertility. All of these symptoms can be prevented with hormone replacement therapy.
Can hormonal imbalance be treated?
Hormone imbalance is a common problem for both women and men, especially when they are going through the menopause or male menopause, however, there are ways of treating these imbalances.
The treatment prescribed by your doctor would be determined by the cause of the imbalance. Common treatment options include;
- Vaginal estrogen – A treatment for women experiencing vaginal dryness or vaginal atrophy.
- Testosterone therapy – treatment to counteract the effects of low testosterone and other symptoms of andropause (male menopause)
- Estrogen therapy – hormone replacement therapy to reduce uncomfortable symptoms of menopause.
Natural remedies and lifestyle changes can also help you regulate your hormones and manage symptoms more effectively. Some changes to implement include:
- Get enough quality sleep – Limit the presence of artificial lights at night to avoid suppressing the hormone melatonin and restore your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
- Avoid stress – Stress could cause an increase in adrenaline and cortisol so reducing stress can help regulate the levels of these hormones.
- Exercise regularly – Regular physical activity can help regulate hormones that control appetite and reduce overeating.
- Eat a healthy diet – avoid sugars and unhealthy fats. Consume more fiber, protein and healthy fats, and limit alcohol consumption and smoking.
Hormonal imbalance has been shown to increase the risks of many chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, sexual dysfunction, and high blood pressure. As such, it’s important to seek out proper treatment immediately you notice any worrying symptoms.