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What is a Hormonal Imbalance?

01.18.2022 / Isabella Brown
What is a Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormones are powerful actors in our body. They regulate and affect many systems. They impact day to day experiences like sleep, energy levels, weight loss/gain, digestion, and more. Hormones also play a vital role in the menstrual cycle and trying to conceive. Hormones like luteinizing hormone, progesterone, estrogen, follicle-stimulating hormone, and more all help to regulate cycles and fertility. 

When hormones are out of balance, there are many noticeable effects. A hormonal imbalance is when a person has too much or two little of one or more hormones. This can have many causes, as well as a long list of signs and symptoms. The good news is, there are treatments and solutions available, ranging from lifestyle changes to medications to hormone replacement therapy. Many people will experience a hormonal imbalance at one point or another in life. They can be managed as treated, especially if you know the signs. 

Causes

Hormonal imbalances can have many causes, such as medical conditions, habits, prescription changes, life events, and more. The cause often depends on which hormones or glands are affected. Here are some common causes of imbalances hormones: 

  • Hormone therapy
  • Medications
  • Cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy
  • Cancerous or benign tumors
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Stress
  • Eating disorders
  • Injuries
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
  • Menopause
  • Premature menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • PCOS 
  • Hormonal drugs such as birth control
  • Poor diet

While these conditions and situations do not mean you will definitely experience a hormonal imbalance, they are important to keep in mind. If you start to feel off or unlike yourself, and you have any of the causes above, you may want to ask your doctor about testing your hormones.

Symptoms

There is a wide range of symptoms when it comes to hormonal imbalances. Your symptoms may depend on which hormone is too high or low. Some common symptoms of hormonal imbalances include: 

  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems 
  • Weight gain or unexplained weight loss 
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness, or stiffness 
  • Pain in your joints
  • Change in heart rate 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Increased thirst or hunger 
  • Increased sensitivity to heat or cold 
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Infertility 
  • Low sex drive

If you started to feel some of these symptoms and are not sure why, ask your doctor about a hormone test. Understanding your hormone levels could be the first step in getting answers, and relieving the symptoms. 

Treatment

How can a hormonal imbalance be treated? There are many options. Your treatment plan may depend on the kind of hormonal imbalance you are experiencing. 

Lifestyle changes

  • Keeping a healthy, balanced diet 
  • Sleeping for 7-9 hours each night 
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight 
  • Using natural supplements (ask your doctor to make sure they are right for you!)
  • Managing and reducing stress levels 
  • Avoiding hot flash triggers such as hot or spicy foods 

If lifestyle changes don’t work for you, there are other options available. Each person may require a slightly different treatment plan. 

  • Hormone medications such as birth control
  • Estrogen tablets or rings 
  • Hormone replacement medications 
  • Eflornithine
  • Anti-androgen medications
  • Clomiphene (clomid) and letrozole (femara)

Most people will experience a hormonal imbalance at one point of another in their lives. They are most common during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, but people can get them at any time. 

If you’re experiencing a hormonal imbalance, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor. They can help you come up with a plan to relieve your symptoms and balance your hormones. 

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