Do you know that hormonal imbalance can often occur due to excessive weight gain?
Hormonal imbalance affects you when you have too low or too much of a hormone in your bloodstream.
Because of their crucial role, even slight hormonal imbalances can cause side effects throughout your body.
Your endocrine system consists of glands that produce chemicals: Hormones.
Moreover, these hormones travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs.
These deliver messages that tell the organs what to do and when.
Hormones are important for regulating different bodily processes.
However, a hormonal imbalance can affect different bodily functions.
They help to regulate metabolism, blood sugar, growth, blood pressure, reproductive cycles, and sexual function.
Furthermore, an imbalance in insulin, steroids, growth hormones, and adrenaline can affect both men and women.
Women also experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels.
While men are more likely to experience an imbalance in testosterone levels.
Let’s learn more about them in detail.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play a crucial role in your overall health.
As a result, there is a broad range of signs and symptoms that can indicate a hormonal imbalance.
Moreover, your signs and symptoms also depend on which hormones or glands are not working properly.
Common hormonal conditions that affect both men and women can cause some of the following signs or symptoms:
- weight gain
- a hump of fat between the shoulders
- unexplained or sudden weight loss
- muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- increase or decrease in heat rate
- constipation or frequent bowel movements
- nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
- thinning of hair, fine, or brittle hair
Additionally, fatigue, muscle weakness, sweating, sensitivity to cold or heat, frequent urination, increase in thirst, an increase in hunger are signs.
Decrease in sex drive, blurred vision, infertility, dry skin, puffy face, rounded face, and purple or pink stretch marks are signs or symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Keep in mind that the above signs and symptoms are nonspecific.
And having them does not necessarily mean that you have a hormonal imbalance.
Signs or Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance Specific to Genders
Let’s discuss the signs or symptoms of hormonal imbalance specific to genders:
Signs or Symptoms in Females
In females of reproductive age, the most common hormonal imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS.
However, your normal hormonal cycle changes naturally during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
Some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalance specific to females are:
Heavy or irregular periods include missed periods, a stopped period, or a frequent period.
Hirsutism or excessive hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body.
Hair loss, acne on the face, chest, or upper back.
Darkening of the skin, especially along the neck creases, in the groin, and underneath the breasts.
Moreover, skin tags, vaginal dryness, atrophy, pain during sex, night sweats, and headaches are symptoms of hormonal imbalance in females.
Signs or Symptoms in Males
Testosterone is an important hormone and plays a role in male development.
Moreover, if you are not producing enough testosterone, it can cause a number of symptoms.
These are gynecomastia or the development of breast tissue.
Breast tenderness, erectile dysfunction, ED, decrease in bread growth, and body hair.
Moreover, loss of muscle mass, loss of bone mass or osteoporosis, difficulty concentrating, and hot flashes are signs and symptoms.
Hormonal Imbalance in Children
One of the important things to note is boys and girls start producing sex hormones during puberty.
Many children, however, with delayed puberty will go on to experience normal puberty.
However, some may have a condition: Hypoganodism.
Boys with hypogonadism may experience:
Lack of development of muscle mass, a voice that does not deepen, body hair that grows sparsely,
Moreover, impaired penis and testicular growth, excess growth of arms and legs in relation to the truck, and gynecomastia.
On the other hand, girls with hypogonadism may experience:
Menstruation that does not begin, breast tissues that do not develop and the growth rate does not increase.
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Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
There are several possible causes of hormonal imbalance.
These causes can differ depending on which hormones or glands are affected.
Some of the common causes of hormonal imbalance are:
Hormone therapy, medications, cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
Tumors that are either cancerous or benign, pituitary glands, eating disorders, stress, injury, or trauma.
While some of the conditions below may be due to hormonal imbalances initially, having them can lead to further hormonal imbalance:
Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, diabetes insipidus, hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid, and hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid.
Moreover, hypogonadism, Cushing Syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia that causes lot levels of cortisol and aldosterone and Addison’s disease can cause it.
Causes unique to women are:
- primary ovarian insufficient or premature menopause
- hormone drugs like birth control pills
Diagnosis of Hormonal Imbalance
There is no signal test that can help your doctor to diagnose a hormonal imbalance.
Start by making an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam.
It is important to describe all your symptoms and the timeline along which they occur.
Bring a list of medications, vitamins, and supplements you are taking currently.
Your doctor may ask questions like:
How often are you experiencing symptoms and does anything help to relieve them?
Have you recently lost or gained weight?
Are you more stressed than usual?
When was your last period, or are you planning to conceive?
Do you have trouble getting or maintaining an erection?
Do you have vaginal dryness or pain during sex?
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may suggest one or more diagnostic tests.
Moreover, you can also request that your doctor perform these tests.
Let’s discuss them as follows:
The diagnostic tests your doctor will suggest are:
With the help of a blood test, your doctor can check your thyroid and levels of estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol.
This is because most hormones can be detected in your blood.
If you are a female, then your doctor may perform a pap smear test to feel for any unusual lumps, cysts, or tumors.
However, if you are male, they may check your scrotum for any lumps or abnormalities.
An ultrasound machine uses sound waves to look inside your body.
In case of hormonal imbalance, your doctor may request an ultrasound of the uterus, ovaries, testicles, thyroid, or pituitary gland.
In some cases, your doctor can request advanced tests
These are biopsy, MRI, X-ray, thyroid scan, and sperm count test.
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If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance, then you can also consider a home testing kit.
These kits are available for a number of conditions.
With a home testing kit for menopause, you can measure follicle-stimulating hormone, FSH, in your urine.
FSH levels often increase when you enter menopause.
However, these levels also rise and fall during a normal menstrual cycle.
Some other factors like using hormonal birth control pills can affect your FSH levels.
These kits give you an indication of whether menopause has started, however, they cannot tell you conclusively.
Your healthcare provides confirmation is necessary.
Home testing kits use saliva or blood from your fingertip to measure the levels of cortisol, key thyroid hormones, and sex hormones.
These include progesterone and testosterone.
Some tests, however, may need a urine sample.
Moreover, these kits require sending the sample off the lab. Your results are available online within 5 to 9 business days.
The company, LetsGetChecked provides at-home tests approved by the Food and Drug Administration, FDA.
But many times, these tests have not received FDA approval.
Regardless of which type of test you choose, it is important to discuss the results with your healthcare provider.
And let them know if you have any concerns about certain symptoms or a possible diagnosis.
Often treatment for hormonal imbalance depends on its causes.
Some common treatment options are:
In case you are experiencing hot flashes or any other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, your doctor may recommend a low dose of estrogen.
Make sure to discuss the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy, HRT with your doctor.
If you are experiencing vaginal dryness or pain during sex, you may want to apply an estrogen cream, tablet, or ring.
Using this lock therapy treatment will help to eliminate the risks associated with systemic estrogen.
Or estrogen that travels throughout your bloodstream to the appropriate organ.
Hormonal Birth Control
These can help regulate your menstrual cycle.
Types of hormonal birth control include:
Birth control pill, birth control patch, birth control shot, vaginal ring, and an intrauterine device, IUD.
Moreover, it can also improve acne and reduce extra hair on your face and body.
Androgens are male sex hormones that are found in both men and women.
In case a woman has high androgen levels, they can take medication that blocks the effects of androgens.
Hair loss, facial hair growth, and acne are these effects.
Other Treatment Options
Other treatment options are:
These supplements can reduce the symptoms of low testosterone in men.
In adolescents with delayed puberty, it can stimulate the start of puberty and is available in different forms like injections, a patch, and gel.
Thyroid Hormone Therapy
In case you have hypothyroidism, the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine can bring hormone levels back into balance.
These also include Levoxyl, Synthroid, and Unithroid.
Metformin is a type 2 diabetes medication that may also help women with PCOS.
However, it is not approved by FDA to treat PCOS but can help to lower androgen levels and encourage ovulation.
Flibanserin and Bremelanotide
Addyi and Vyleesi are the two only FDA-approved medications for the treatment of low sex desire in premenopausal women.
Addyi is a pill, while Vyleesi is a self-administered injectable medication.
However, it is important to note that these drugs can come with serious side effects.
These include severe nausea and changes in blood pressure.
Make sure to seek medical advice and if either one could be right for you.
Eflornithine or Vaniqa is a prescription cream that is specifically designed for excessive facial hair in women.
When applying it topically to the skin, it can help to slow new hair growth, however, it does not get rid of existing hair.
Natural Remedies and Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance
There are a number of nutritional supplements available in the market that claim to treat menopause and hormone imbalance.
However, very few of them are backed up by scientific evidence.
A number of these supplements contain plant-derived hormones.
These are sometimes called Bioidentical hormones as they chemically resemble the natural hormones of your body.
But there is no evidence to suggest that they work better than regular hormone therapy.
In some cases, you may find yoga to help treat symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Yoga is great for your strength, flexibility, and balance and can also help in weight loss to help regulate your hormones.
Moreover, you can also make the following lifestyle changes:
Lose Weight: A 10% reduction in body weight in women can help to make your periods more regular and increase your chances of conceiving.
However, weight loss in men can help to improve erectile function.
Eat Well: Eating a balanced diet is an important part of maintaining overall health.
Decrease Vaginal Discomfort: You can use lubes or moisturizers free of parabens, glycerin, and petroleum.
Avoid Hot Flashes: Identifying what triggers your hot flashes like warm temperatures, spicy foods, or hot beverages.
Remove unwanted Hair: In case of excess facial or body hair, you can use hair removal cream, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.
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Acne and Hormonal Imbalance
The primary cause of acne is excess oil production.
It can lead to clogged pores. Moreover, acne is most common in areas where there are a number of oil glands.
These are your face, chest, upper back, and shoulders.
In most cases, doctors associate acne with pubescent hormonal changes.
However, there is a lifelong relationship between acne and hormones.
Ance and Menstruation
The menstrual cycle is one of the most common acne triggers
And it often develops the week before they get their period and then clears up.
Many dermatologists recommend hormonal testing if you have acne in combination with other symptoms.
These include irregular periods, and excess facial or body hair.
Androgens and Acne
It is important to note that androgens contribute to acne by overstimulating the oil glands.
Both girls and boys have high levels of androgens during puberty.
This is why acne is common at that time.
However, it often settles down in their early 20s.
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Weight gain and Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play an integral role in metabolism and the ability of your body to use energy.
Hormone disorders like Cushing syndrome can cause you to become overweight or develop obesity.
If you have Cushing syndrome, then you will also have high levels of cortisol in your blood.
his can lead to an increase in appetite and fat storage.
On the other hand, hypothyroidism that might be severe can also lead to weight gain.
During menopause, many women gain weight as their metabolism slows down.
You may find that even though you are eating and exercising like normal, you are still gaining weight.
The only way to treat weight gain from a hormone disorder is to treat the underlying medical condition.
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Pregnancy and Hormonal Imbalance
During a normal, healthy pregnancy, your body goes through major hormonal changes.
This is different than a hormonal imbalance.
PCOS and Pregnancy
Hormonal imbalances like PCOS are one of the leading causes of infertility.
With PCOS, the hormonal imbalance interferes with ovulation and you are unable to get pregnant if you are not ovulating.
However, pregnancy is still possible if you have PCOS. Losing weight can make a huge difference in your fertility and prescription medication can help stimulate ovulation.
Moreover, they can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
In vitro fertilization, IVF is also an option if medications do not work.
As a last resort, surgery can help to temporarily restore ovulation.
It is important to note that PCOS can cause problems during pregnancy or both you and your baby.
Furthermore, there are higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, cesarean delivery.
High birth weight, and admission to and time spent in neonatal intensive care int, NICU.
Hypothyroidism and Pregnancy
Babies born to women who do not receive treatment for hypothyroidism have a higher risk of birth defects.
This includes serious intellectual and developmental problems.
Hair Loss and Hormonal Imbalance
In most cases of hair loss, like male pattern baldness, is hereditary and unrelated to hormonal changes.
However, hormonal changes and imbalances can in some cases, lead to temporary hair loss.
On the other hand, in women, it is related to:
- the onset of menopause
Moreover, an overproduction or underproduction of thyroid hormones can lead to hair loss.
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Hormone imbalances are associated with many chronic, and long-term health conditions.
Without proper treatment, you can be at a risk for a number of medical conditions.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes, diabetes insipidus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
Moreover, neuropathy, obesity, sleep apnea, kidney damage, depression and anxiety, and endometrial cancer are complications.
Breast cancer, osteoporosis, loss of muscle mass, urinary incontinence, infertility, sexual dysfunction, and goiter are other complications.
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Hormones are responsible for a number of your body’s major processes. When they get out of balance, the symptoms can be extremely varied.
Hormonal imbalance can cause a number of serious complications, so it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.