Hormone imbalances can cause a wide variety of issues throughout the body, and due to their important function, even a small imbalance could see you experiencing some side effects. An imbalance is where there is too much or too little of a particular hormone in your bloodstream, where they travel to the particular organ through tissue. There are some signs that will indicate that this is happening to you, and that is what we are going to be looking at below.
What Do Hormones Do?
If you are wondering what hormones actually are, they are chemicals that are produced by glands in your endocrine system that tell your organs what they should be doing, and when to do it. Some of the important tasks that hormones perform are the regulation of:
• Heart rate
• Sleep cycle
• Growth and development
• Body temperature
• Reproductive cycles
• Mood and stress levels
There are many more to add to this list. One of the imbalances that many people have already heard of is an insulin imbalance, which is called diabetes. However, you could also be impacted by adrenaline imbalances, growth hormones and so on. It is not more likely to impact one sex over another, so men and women are both equally likely to experience various imbalances.
Causes of a Hormone Imbalance
It is normal for everyone to experience some kind of hormone imbalance through certain points of their life. There are natural imbalances that take place throughout key stages, and these are not going to be too harmful as they can sort themselves out. Or you might find that your endocrine glands are not functioning in the way that they should, which can also cause an imbalance to happen.
There are a variety of glands that are known as endocrine glands, which all make up your endocrine system. These glands are responsible for producing, storing and releasing the right amount of each hormone into your bloodstream. When these glands are not working properly, this is when the hormone level will be impacted. The endocrine glands in the human body are as follows:
• Pituitary gland
• Pancreatic islets
• Hypothalamus gland
• Pineal gland
• Adrenal gland
• Thyroid and Parathyroid glands
But it is not just the improper function of an endocrine gland on its own that could be responsible for your hormone imbalance. For example, there is a wide variety of medical conditions which are known to have a heavy impact on these glands and cause an imbalance, such as:
• Diabetes (both types)
• Underactive and overactive thyroid
• Addison’s disease
• Pituitary tumors
• Allergic reactions
• Certain cancers
• Extreme stress
But this list is not extensive. There is a wide variety of other medical conditions that could also impact the endocrine glands and cause an imbalance. As such, if you have any of these illnesses, you should have your hormone levels tested.
Or you could find that there are also environmental factors that could be responsible. Some of these include:
• Being overweight
• Poor diet
• Hormone replacement
• Overuse of anabolic steroids
Signs and Symptoms
There is variety of signs and symptoms that could point to the fact that you have a hormone imbalance. In fact, there are so many that it can be difficult to diagnose a patient. Be aware that the signs are also often different for both men and women. So, while you might have one symptom and be suffering from a hormonal imbalance, your partner could be experiencing something else entirely. So, let’s run through some of the common signs that may point to an issue with a hormonal imbalance. Be aware, though, that many of these symptoms will have other causes as well. As such, it’s important to get a diagnosis from a doctor instead of assuming you have an issue with a hormonal imbalance.
Do you constantly feel tired? Feeling tired is quite common, and even significant levels of fatigue are something that many in the population deal with on a near-daily basis. When you rest, get some food or even just drink some water, your levels of fatigue should improve. If they don’t or you find that you are run-down again more quickly than normal, there is a strong possibility that you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance. This is particularly true if you are dealing with high levels of fatigue and you are living a healthy lifestyle. For instance, you could be eating well and exercising regularly, but not to the point of exhaustion. Both hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue are common conditions in society today and can be the root cause.
Changes to Your Skin and Hair
Have you noticed that your hair is thinner than usual, drier or even falling out in clumps? It’s worth being aware that the state of your hair is directly tied to the hormones in your body. So, if there is an issue with your hormones, then your hair could be one of the earliest parts of you that begins to change. Similarly, dry skin and brittle nails are also common signs of a hormonal imbalance, particularly in patients who have problems with their thyroids.
Depression is often described as an immense feeling of sadness that can last a for a few days, a week, months or even years. If you cannot pinpoint a cause for your depression, it could be due to a hormonal imbalance. This can impact your mood and cause you to feel lower than usual. Studies have shown that certain foods can trigger this type of response. Correcting your hormonal imbalance can often improve levels of depression and help you maintain your mental health.
We often think that hormonal imbalances will only cause physical changes, but this is not the case. It’s possible and indeed likely that you will experience mental symptoms as well. Anxiety has been linked with the release of norepinephrine and cortisol that is released by the adrenal glands. As such, it might be possible to correct your hormonal imbalance by avoiding foods that tend to trigger this type of response. This can also help with your anxiety problems.
Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
The causes of weight gain and loss could be different for men and women. A lot of the time, the reason for weight gain in women is that they have something called estrogen dominance. This usually occurs around menopause, but it can happen at any point during your life. Or the form of estrogen that is responsible for regulating your metabolism and body weight could be depleted, which will lead to gaining weight.
Or it could be the case that you have hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function. This issue impacts one in five women and one in ten men. One of the major causes of hypothyroidism is a gluten intolerance, but for many people, this goes undiagnosed their whole life. You can ask your doctor for a test of your thyroid stimulating hormone to see if this is the cause. If this is what is causing your symptoms, then you need to eat the right diet to fix this, which can be done with a strict meal plan.
But you could also find that stress is your big issue. When you are stressed, this creates a hormonal response which can cause weight gain. Cortisol is an adrenal hormone that helps you to run faster and is responsible for helping us survive in the face of danger, but if this is left unchecked, it could cause high blood sugar, muscle loss and increased amounts of belly fat. As such, you need to manage your stress to ensure that this only happens every now and then, which is perfectly normal as the cortisol can slow down your metabolism.
Have you noticed a change to your sleeping habits? It’s possible that with a hormone imbalance, you will find that you either struggle to sleep or you fall asleep through the day. This could be due to an imbalance in your Melatonin levels. This should be explored if rest and changes to your lifestyle do not have an impact on your ability to sleep through the night.
Irritable bowel syndrome can impact you in different ways. It can cause constipation, diarrhea or an odd and unpleasant mixture of both. Hormones do impact the body enough to cause the symptoms of IBS, changing the gut function and the bacterial level in the intestines. When this happens, imbalance will cause bacterial levels to increase, triggering your IBS. Similarly, issues with your gastrointestinal system can also cause hormonal imbalances, so it’s a two-way street.
Hormonal imbalances can have numerous impacts on your sexual health and sexual lifestyle. For instance, men who are struggling with a hormonal imbalance may find that they struggle to achieve or maintain their erection before or during intercourse. This can be due to an underactive thyroid and can often be treated with medication. Other symptoms may include a lower libido and a lack of sexual energy while women can experience painful PMS or vaginal dryness. This can make sex uncomfortable and unpleasant.
In terms of menstruation, women with hormonal balances may find that periods are longer, irregular and unpredictable and involve heavy bleeding and severe cramps. If you are experiencing any of these signs, it may be worth exploring the possibility of a hormonal imbalance. It can be embarrassing to address any symptom related to sex. However, it is worth getting checked out as many of these symptoms will fade with treatment.
There are countless other symptoms of a hormone imbalance as well. These can include:
• Increased thirst
• Changes in appetite
• Blurred vision
• Excessive sweating
• Deeper voice
This is one of the reasons why hormonal imbalances are often difficult to diagnose and treat without expert attention. The good news is that once the hormone imbalance is corrected (if it was the cause of the problem), the symptoms will typically disappear. The chemical cause is corrected, and the body adjusts accordingly.
There are various different forms of treatment for a hormonal imbalance. This will depend on the symptoms that you are experiencing and the hormone that is at the incorrect level. While some can be treated by medication, others can be treated with lifestyle changes, such as altering your diet.
We hope this helps you understand some of the signs and symptoms of a hormone imbalance. Many of these symptoms can be quite worrying, and it’s useful to know that they can all be triggered by a slight change in the chemicals in your body.