Not feeling yourself lately? Experiencing symptoms you can’t seem to shake off? Just generally out of whack? You may be suffering from a hormone imbalance.
Hormonal imbalances are common and can cause a wide range of symptoms. In this article, we’ll discuss the most frequent types of imbalance. We’ll also cover the signs of hormonal imbalance and its causes, so you can work out if this is what’s happening to you. If you then think this might be the root of your problems, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. You’re not alone!
- What is a Hormone Imbalance?
- The 5 Most Common Hormone Imbalances
- What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance?
- Weight Gain
- Hormonal Imbalance in Women
- Hormone Imbalances in Men
- What Causes a Hormonal Imbalance
What is a Hormone Imbalance?
Your hormones are responsible for regulating many different bodily functions. An imbalance occurs when they get out of sync with each other.
There are many different types of hormone imbalance. Some of the most common relate to estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones. These can cause you all sorts of problems – from fatigue and weight gain to mood swings and hair loss.
So let’s deep-dive into the main types of imbalance you could have.
The 5 Most Common Hormone Imbalances
1 – Estrogen Imbalance:
Estrogen is responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, so an estrogen imbalance can cause irregularities in your periods. You might also experience weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, and hot flashes.
The fact is that 95% of women don’t have a significant estrogen abnormality until they start going through menopause. However, elite athletes and those suffering from eating disorders may experience extremely light or nonexistent periods (amenorrhea).
In contrast, too much estrogen could cause your period to be heavy and prolonged: High levels of body fat sometimes cause this.
2 – Testosterone Imbalance
Testosterone is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism and sex drive, so a testosterone imbalance can have a major effect on your health. It can cause symptoms like weight gain, low libido, and fatigue.
Research also shows that a lack of sleep can impair your testosterone levels. This may contribute to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to type 2 diabetes.
You probably know that women, too, produce testosterone (one of the androgen hormones). They have smaller amounts than men. But women-only factors like ovarian failure or lengthy use of oral birth control (for example) can cause you to have a testosterone imbalance.
You can therefore see how important it is for both men and women to ask for treatment early on. This can help you avoid serious medical conditions like obesity and heart disease down the line.
3 – Thyroid Imbalance
The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism, so an imbalance can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Signs of hormone imbalance in your thyroid can be weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, and mood changes.
However, the imbalance might be either producing too little or too much of the thyroxine you need. This leads to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, which are easily confused.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid produces too little thyroxin hormone – which can cause you to feel constantly tired. Sometimes this leads to weight gain.
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, occurs when there’s too much production of thyroxine. This can be due to either genetic mutation or tumor growths. In this case, your metabolism increases and you might have weight loss or increased energy levels. However, if you eat more to compensate the energy you’re now using, this can cause some weight gain!
If you’re a woman, it’s worth remembering that you might also confuse thyroid symptoms with menopausal symptoms during perimenopause. So remember to consult your doctor if you’re worried.
4 – Adrenal Imbalance
The adrenal hormone regulates the body’s stress response. For that reason, an adrenal imbalance can cause you to feel constantly stressed out. You might also experience serious fatigue, anxiety, and a gain in weight.
When you think of the stress factor, think of a line of dominoes – and how one piece falling over sets off an endless chain reaction. If your adrenal gland isn’t regulating your stress response properly, you can end up with either too much hydrocortisone (cortisol) or not enough adrenaline. You can be sure your whole body will suffer as a result – in a chain reaction!
5 – Pituitary Imbalance
The pituitary gland is a small organ that produces important hormones of its own, such as the growth hormone and the luteinizing hormone (LH). But it also takes charge of all your other hormones and regulates when they spring into action!
Since the pituitary hormone has this producing and also regulating role, an imbalance can have a wide range of effects. Common symptoms include
- gaining weight,
- stunted growth during adolescent years,
- high blood pressure,
- fatigue, and
- low libido.
What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance?
Signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance show up in many ways, and they can vary depending on the type of imbalance you have. However, some of the most common ones include:
Feeling exhausted all the time, even after getting a good night’s sleep? You may be suffering from a hormone imbalance.
However, women experience changes in their hormones during perimenopause, and this can lead to problems with sleep. The reason? During this period, your ovaries start producing less and less estrogen or progesterone until they stop altogether post menopause. This typically causes an increase in night sweats. And as we all know, night sweats disrupt sleep!
Lack of a proper night’s sleep will obviously contribute to your fatigue levels during the day. But hormone imbalance is still at the root of the problem.
Unexplained weight gain can be another sign of hormonal imbalance. If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, despite diet and exercise, it may be because of an underlying hormonal issue.
The change in hormone levels during menopause leads many people to gain weight around the abdomen area. That’s because you’re now more prone to storing calories than burning them off as you used to!
Several other hormone-related conditions can cause you to pack on the pounds, including an under-active thyroid – when your body doesn’t produce enough hormones to regulate metabolism, and
polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – also known as “polyps.” This condition affects women’s reproduction by causing small cysts on their ovaries.
There are many reasons why libido levels might fall as a result of hormone imbalances. One possibility is simply the changing levels of estrogen and testosterone.
However, don’t forget this isn’t necessarily what causes low sexual desire in all cases! Other factors can come into play at the crucial moment, such as night sweats, fatigue, mood changes, and anxiety.
On the other hand, however your low libido has come about, it’s often due to a hormonal imbalance, and it’s good to talk with your doctor about these changes before having medication or any other intervention.
If you’re experiencing heavy or painful periods with other symptoms such as abdominal pain, a frequent need to urinate, and lower back problems, it’s possible your problem could be fibroids. Fibroids often cause a hormonal imbalance.
We don’t know why these non-cancerous growths develop in or around the womb. But they tend to appear when there’s an increased risk from family history alongside estrogen stimulation. This also means they’re more likely to show up by chance during pregnancy scans.
Since fibroids are a pesky nuisance and won’t go away on their own, it’s worth talking to your health provider about how to solve the hormone imbalance they can cause.
Fluctuations of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause can cause changes in your mood – one minute up, next minute down, like a rollercoaster!
The reason for this is that the female sex hormone affects neurotransmitters such as serotonin (a chemical that boosts feelings). These fluctuations can therefore result in premenstrual syndrome or low mental states, maybe even a true depression.
It’s quite common to find these hormone-caused mood swings among women after their childbearing years and before their periods stop completely at around the age of 45-50. This period of time, of course, includes the perimenopause years!
Hot flashes are a common symptom of estrogen imbalance. If you’re experiencing hot flashes, it’s a sign that your estrogen levels are too low.
Other common symptoms of hormonal imbalance are:
- Hair loss
- Muscle weakness
- Night sweats
It’s no secret that America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of American adults are obese, and that number is increasing. While there are many factors contributing to our nation’s weight problem, hormonal imbalance may be one of the biggest culprits.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, therefore, and you think this might be due to a hormone imbalance, there are a few things you can do to get back on track.
Firstly, see a healthcare professional who can help diagnose the cause of your imbalance and its effects on your weight.
Secondly, once you know what’s causing the hormone imbalance, work with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that will help restore your hormone balance and preferred weight.
Of course, there are many different treatment options available for unwanted weight gain, so it’s important to find one that suits you. But it also needs to be one your health provider has tailored specifically for you. Over-the-counter options are rarely a good choice!
Hormonal Imbalance in Women
Obviously, hormone imbalances can happen to anyone. But some groups are more likely to experience them. Women, for example, are more likely to suffer from hormonal imbalance because they have more hormone fluctuations throughout their lifetime. As we’ve seen above, this is due to falling estrogen levels.
In addition, we’ve seen that hormone imbalances in women can cause a wide range of symptoms. These include weight gain, fatigue, mood changes, hair loss, and hot flashes.
Primary symptoms include
- periods that are heavy or irregular, including missed periods, periods stopping altogether, or a frequent period
- hirsutism – a condition that causes too much hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body
- vaginal dryness
- acne forming on the face, chest, or upper back
- night sweats
- a change in the color of the skin, often on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts
- pain during sex
- skin tags
- vaginal atrophy
Hormone Imbalances in Men
Just like women, men can experience hormonal imbalance due to a variety of factors. Hormone imbalances in men cause symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, low libido, and mood swings – just like in women. Other signs include:
- gynecomastia, or the development of breast tissue
- breast tenderness
- erectile dysfunction (ED)
- decrease in beard growth and body hair growth
- loss of muscle mass
- loss of bone mass, otherwise known as osteoporosis
- difficulty concentrating
- hot flashes
What Causes a Hormonal Imbalance
As we’ve seen, when there’s an imbalance of hormones in your body, you can end up with many side effects. But what causes this imbalance? To answer that, we need to look at what hormones are.
Hormones are your chemical messengers. You have more than 50 of them running through your body right now! Your endocrine system releases these hormones into your bloodstream, and they then travel to all your cells, helping communication between your brain and your body.
In this way, your hormones maintain your biochemical balance (or homeostasis). They tell different parts of you – such as muscles, organs, or bones – what they need to function properly together. A well-oiled team organized by your hormones!
This hormonal balancing act has positive effects on all your bodily functions, including
- blood sugar levels, and
- a match between production and uptake of estrogen or progesterone.
However, although each hormone has its own message and function, it also depends on the others for overall homeostasis.
So, to answer the question about what causes hormone imbalance, it’s this: When one hormone increases or lessens its output in error, your other hormones try to make up for it. This effort puts them out of sync with each other. And that causes – you guessed – hormone imbalance!
Of course, we experience periodic hormonal fluctuations throughout our lives. But if this imbalance continues, you’ll most likely experience one or more of the symptoms we’ve been talking about. And you’ll definitely feel out of whack, like we said up top!
Is Hormone Imbalance Distressing You?
Do you have any of the signs we mentioned? If so, it’s time to take a closer look at your hormones and consider hormone therapy. Hormonal imbalances can cause some pretty serious health problems if left untreated.
But don’t worry – most imbalances are relatively easy to fix. And although they can result from many factors, there’s help available.
Your first step is to consult an experienced BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy) doctor. They’ll be able to find out what’s going on for you and advise you on how best to get back into balance.
Are You Ready to Discover Your 100% Again?
The journey to wellness starts with you. At Nava Center, our practitioners are experts in hormone health and integrative wellness.
We understand how the systems of your body work together to create balance. And we take time to get to know you – which means we don’t just put a band aid on symptoms. We get to the root of your problem. You deserve this kind of care!
Moreover, hormone replacement therapy in the form of BHRT is a safe and effective way to manage any hormone imbalance, including the symptoms of menopause.
During your treatment, our medical staff work closely with you, monitoring blood hormone levels and providing ongoing support to avoid any problems or side effects along the way!
Ready to act? The only way to find out if you’re suffering from a hormonal imbalance is to get complete and accurate testing and diagnostics. Contact Nava Center today and let us help rebalance your hormones so you can discover your 100% again!