Contrary to some widely held beliefs, it is not only teenagers that are subjected to chaotic hormonal changes as experienced during puberty. In fact, women of all ages experience many hormonal fluctuations throughout the course of their lives. Consequently, it is important to understand how hormone levels can affect the female body before, during, and after menopause.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance occurs when the body produces too much or too little of a certain hormone or group of hormones. Hormones interact with every cell of the body and an increase or decrease of a hormone can easily cause illness and discomfort.
Hormonal imbalance in women is most commonly caused by a disproportionate relationship between estrogen and progesterone levels in the body. The symptoms of hormone imbalance tend to increase as a woman ages, tending to be especially prominent during menopause.
Factors such as stress, body weight, time of day, time of the month, and prescribed medications can all cause temporary changes and imbalance to a woman's hormone levels. Keep reading below to learn about the different causes of hormonal imbalance.
Causes of Hormone Imbalance
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance can be caused by a multitude of factors. Mainly, the reason is that there are fundamentally imbalanced levels of progesterone and estrogen in a woman's body.
These two hormones must co-exist perfectly balanced, because any variations and changes can have a dramatic effect on a woman's health, thereby causing the onset of a host of unpleasant symptoms.
When there is no ovulation the production of progesterone from the ovaries does not occur. As a direct result, the healthy accepted levels of progesterone start to decline.
This means that ovaries may not produce the eggs that have to be fertilized every month, and as a natural consequence, the estrogen levels start to increase. This is one of the main causes of hormonal imbalance in a woman's body.
Aside from this, there are other causes of hormonal imbalance as outlined below:
- Birth control pills. Although declared safe by The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the pill is made out of estrogen, causing many women to have abnormal reactions. Birth control pills can also cause low progesterone levels, leading to hormone imbalance.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT). A combination of synthetic hormones, as well as estrogen, is used to alleviate menopause symptoms. If administered incorrectly, it can lead to hormonal imbalance.
- Poor diet. Low consumption of natural vitamins and nutrients also leads to hormonal imbalance.
- Environmental reasons. Stress or pollution from everyday life can cause imbalanced hormones.
- Estrogen exposure. Consumption of non-organic or animal products with elevated estrogen levels can affect the body's own levels.
- Cosmetics. Some nail polish brands or hair products include estrogen in their chemical components.
Types of Hormonal Imbalance
Although they are more likely to occur during puberty and menopause, hormonal imbalances can arise at any age. There are quite a few serious medical conditions associated with hormonal imbalance including: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, breast cancer, and menstrual abnormalities.
The following are the most common types of hormonal imbalances:
- Adrenal imbalance. In females, the adrenal glands are the primary source of testosterone. If imbalanced, the adrenal system can cause irregularities in a woman's nervous and immune systems, blood sugar, and body composition.
- Thyroid function imbalance. Because thyroid hormones regulate the body's metabolism, symptoms of their imbalance are wide-ranging and could involve various bodily functions.
- Insulin imbalance. The conditions linked to insulin and glucose imbalances are chronic stress, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
- Adult growth hormone deficiency. Lack of this hormone has been related to poor muscle tone, weight gain, low energy levels, and cardiovascular changes.
Fortunately, there are different suitable treatment options to relieve symptoms of hormonal imbalance; however, before deciding which treatment option to pursue, it is important to get an adequate diagnosis of the specific type of hormonal imbalance that is being experienced. Click on the following link to find out more about hormonal imbalance tests.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
The balance of hormones in a woman's body at any given time is affected by many factors. Changes in a woman's life such as puberty or the onset of menopause can bring about major alterations to hormone levels.
During menopause, the ovaries typically reduce their production of certain hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. This fluctuation of hormone levels can result in discomfort and other health concerns. The two primary female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, exist in a delicate balance, and even slight variances can result in symptoms.
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance usually increase as a woman ages and tend to be especially prominent during menopause. However, women of all ages may experience hormone imbalances.
As hormones regulate almost all key functions of a woman's body, an imbalance can create a whole host of problems. Different women will have different symptoms of hormone imbalance; some may experience a single symptom and others may experience a combination of problematic symptoms. The most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance are listed below.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
- Hot flashes
- Loss of libido
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Joint pain
- Hair loss and facial hair growth
- Dry or oily skin
- Bone loss
- Decreased fertility
- Heavy or painful periods
- Tender or fibrocystic breasts
- Vaginal dryness
Although the symptoms of hormonal imbalance can be distressing for a woman, there is a wide range of treatment options available.
Hormonal Imbalance Treatments
All of the aforementioned sex hormones are at risk of becoming imbalanced and unstable in the female body, ultimately leading to troubling symptoms. Follow the link to learn more about possible treatments for hormonal imbalance.