Hormones play an important role in stabilizing bodily functions. Hormone levels can become unbalanced during the major periods of hormonal change during a woman's life, including puberty, pregnancy, postpartum, and all of the stages of menopause.
Women who start experiencing hormonal imbalance in their 30's or 40's may be entering the premenopausal stage, whereby menopause-like symptoms are experienced many years before menopause. However, there are many other factors that may not be related to menopause. Read on to find out more about hormonal imbalance in premenopausal women.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
Estrogen and progesterone are the two most important female sex hormones. Hormonal imbalance occurs when these two hormones deviate from their normal levels. Estrogen commonly increases causing estrogen dominance. Estrogen is a pro-growth hormone which regulates the menstrual cycle, promotes cell division and development of the female organs including the ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes, vagina, and breast tissue.
In premenopausal women, hormonal imbalance is due to a number of factors, including being overweight, malnutrition, erratic lifestyle, premature menopause, phytoestrogens found in food, birth control, stress, tension, thyroid problems, pollution, complications in the ovaries, and a host of additional problems.
What Are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance during Premenopause?
A host of symptoms result from hormonal imbalance in premenopausal women, including:
- Night sweats
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Water retention and bloating
- Diminished sex drive
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Mood swings
- Polycystic ovary syndrome or ovarian cysts
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Weight gain or obesity
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
How Can I Tell If I Am Experiencing Hormonal Imbalance?
The most common identifier of hormonal imbalance is a simple blood test. Doctors look for evidence of higher than usual follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estradiol, thyroxine (thyroid hormone), and thyrotropin levels in a blood test.
Abnormally low or high thyroid hormone levels can sometimes be an indicator of a hormonal imbalance in premenopausal women. High levels of estrogen increase levels of the thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG), disrupting normal thyroid function. This results in hypothyroid symptoms, otherwise known as an underactive thyroid. Autoimmune thyroid disease can also be an indicator of estrogen dominance, as it over-stimulates the immune system.
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, to find out if you have an underlying hormonal imbalance. Click here to find out more about the available treatments towards hormonal imbalance.