Hormones are tiny – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful. These little chemical messengers have a huge impact on your physical, mental, and emotional health. They control many vital functions of your body, including appetite, weight, mood, and which is why hormone imbalance can cause a range of symptoms and health issues depending on which hormones are affected and to what extent.
When your hormones are functioning in a healthy way, your endocrine glands produce and release the right amount and mix of hormones needed for the everyday functions of your body.
But as you age, or have shifts in your health, or experience stress, your hormones will decrease production. That means your hormones, and your body, will be out of balance. And that leads to some serious symptoms that affect your health and your quality of life.
How Hormones Function
Hormones regulate key functions throughout your body – and there are several different kinds of hormones. They control your metabolism, growth, fertility, immune function, and much more.
Although testosterone is commonly considered a male hormone, both men and women require sufficient testosterone levels to function at their best. A lack of testosterone can lead to low energy levels, brain fog, low stamina, loss of strength and muscle mass, weight gain, anxiety, and low sex drive.
Estrogen is actually a collection of three hormones: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Both men and women naturally have estrogen – it’s also not just a female hormone. However, it plays a much more significant role in women’s health, especially as they age. During periods of transformation such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, estrogen plays a crucial role. To prevent conditions such as estrogen dominance, it is necessary to maintain appropriate levels of estrogen carefully.
For both men and women, progesterone is critical for multiple functions in the body. Low progesterone levels can cause symptoms such as sleep disturbances, low immune system function, memory loss, weight gain, and mood swings. Low progesterone levels are often associated with signs of aging, and progesterone is a precursor hormone that concerts to estrogen, testosterone, or cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Nearly every cell in your body has receptors for cortisol – it can affect many different parts of the body, including blood pressure, blood sugar levels, inflammation, and salt-water balance.
Your body releases cortisol in response to fear or stress, including chronic stress, which can lead to significant long-term damage to the body. When cortisol builds up in the body, you can experience lowered immunity, higher blood pressure, and weight gain that you just can’t seem to shake.
DHEA is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It’s a hormone that actually helps produce other hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. As a result, DHEA is essential for maintaining hormone balance. Your natural levels of DHEA peak in youth and then decline as you age.
Low levels of DHEA have been found in people with diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, osteoporosis, and other serious health conditions. DHEA has the potential to decelerate the aging process, enhance libido and athletic performance, as well as facilitate healthy weight maintenance.
Hormones are chemical messengers produced by various glands in the body. These hormones work together in various ways, affecting almost every function of the body, including growth and development, metabolism, sexual function, and mood regulation.
It is important to keep a healthy balance of hormones for your overall health and well-being. However, as you age, this becomes more difficult to maintain, and hormone imbalances can cause a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, low libido, and more.
Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalances and seek medical attention if necessary. Working with a qualified, experienced medical provider who can run detailed lab tests and measure the levels of your hormones is vital to finding balance and health again.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
The signs of hormonal imbalances may not always be obvious and can be similar to symptoms of other conditions. Also, these signs can vary from person to person since everyone’s body responds differently to internal hormone shifts and external stressors.
However, there are several typical symptoms that may indicate a hormonal imbalance. These symptoms can include:
- Night sweats
- Hot flashes
- Muscle loss
- Heavy or painful periods
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Trouble concentrating
- Lowered energy levels
- Low libido or sex drive
Hormonal imbalances typically arise during middle age in both men and women, as there is a natural shift in hormone levels that occurs during this time. In particular, women may experience a variety of symptoms during menopause and peri-menopause, including hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and mood swings.
Men also experience a similar shift in hormone levels during middle age, as testosterone production gradually decreases. This can lead to symptoms such as reduced muscle mass, decreased libido, and decreased energy levels.
Over time, these symptoms can accumulate and become more noticeable, especially when combined with other symptoms such as sleep disturbances and hot flashes. This can make it clear that there is an underlying hormonal imbalance that needs to be addressed.
If you suspect that you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance, you may have a variety of symptoms that occur intermittently or persist over an extended period of time. In any case, you should seek medical assistance from a qualified professional who specializes in treating hormonal imbalances.
Causes of Hormone Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by various factors, as our bodies are intricate systems in which a small change can trigger a chain reaction that affects multiple bodily functions. This is particularly true of hormones, which exert a significant influence on our mental and physical performance.
The most common cause of hormone imbalance is the natural aging process. As both men and women age, hormone levels shift in the body. Men start producing less testosterone, and women stop producing estrogen entirely after menopause.
While not everyone over the age of 40 experiences symptoms of hormonal imbalance, a significant number of individuals may exhibit mild to severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Therefore, undergoing a comprehensive hormone level checkup is beneficial to identify any potential imbalances.
In our fast-paced modern world, stress is a prevalent cause of hormonal imbalances. Whether it’s due to ongoing chronic stress resulting from a life that is constantly on the go or due to a single or series of intensely stressful events, stress triggers the production of cortisol in the body. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, significantly impacts the entire body when at high levels in the body. Women of all ages are particularly susceptible to hormonal imbalances caused by stress.
Certain diseases can lead to hormone imbalances as well. Examples of such diseases are diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroiditis, and Cushing syndrome. Typically, these diseases initiate a hormone imbalance, and then it becomes more severe as the diseases progress. It is important to treat these diseases to regain good health, which may also help restore normal hormone function. In some cases, additional hormone therapy may be required to bring the body back into hormonal balance.
The Benefits of Balanced Hormones
Your body is a finely-tuned machine – fixing the elements that have fallen out of balance offers a number of benefits. Achieving hormone balance can improve your quality of life by giving you more energy, improved sleep, and more stable moods – but it can also have serious benefits for your overall health and reduce your risk of disease.
Stress is a common cause of hormonal imbalance in both men and women. When you are under stress, your body produces cortisol, which can harm your health in various ways. High cortisol levels can elevate blood sugar levels and lead to insulin overproduction, causing insulin resistance and increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Restoring hormonal balance can help reduce cortisol production and the risk of these conditions. It can also lower the risk of heart disease, which is often associated with hormonal imbalances. Even for normal age-related shifts in hormone levels, hormone therapy can offer benefits to reduce the frequency and severity of many or most symptoms.
How to Naturally Balance Your Hormones
Hormone imbalance may have natural causes, but the good news is that you don’t have to suffer from the negative impacts or symptoms any longer. Hormone replacement therapy has been a safe and reliable solution for hormone imbalance for decades.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) is increasingly popular for several reasons. It offers a replacement that is chemically identical to the hormones your body produces naturally, and it is derived from natural products like soy or yams. That means your body can use the hormones effectively while leading to fewer side effects because they act like your own natural hormones.
Bioidentical hormones can help reduce or eliminate the symptoms of hormone imbalance, and they have little to no side effects. This improves quality of life while reducing the risk for serious health conditions at the same time.
BHRT can be more effective when combined with healthy lifestyle changes. Hormonal imbalances are often linked to factors such as diet, exercise levels, weight, and stress levels. Therefore, a combination of healthy lifestyle support and BHRT can yield significant results in reducing symptoms. A holistic approach, like the one offered at Nava Center, can provide effective relief from the symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Testing and Diagnosing Hormone Imbalance
There’s no single test that can diagnose all forms of hormonal imbalance. Since hormones are so complex and interconnected, you will need a full diagnostic exam and bloodwork to determine your current hormone levels. The first step is making an appointment with a healthcare provider with extensive experience with hormone imbalances, like the ones at Nava Center.
Before your first appointment, it’s a good idea to make a note of your symptoms and write them down clearly. This will enable you to communicate effectively with your doctor and provide them with an accurate account of what you’re experiencing in your body, including how often it occurs and any other relevant health concerns you may have.
Your doctor will probably ask you questions like:
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- How often are you experiencing these symptoms?
- Have you gained or lost weight recently?
- Have you been more stressed than usual?
- When was your last period?
- Are you experiencing vaginal dryness or pain during sex?
- Do you have trouble getting or maintaining erections?
Your doctor may order various tests based on your answers to get to the root of your symptoms. Hormonal imbalance is typically diagnosed with blood tests to determine the levels of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, and other hormones in your body. Getting an accurate view of current hormone levels is critical for your healthcare provider to administer the right treatment.
Hormone Imbalance Treatments at Nava Center
At Nava, our practitioners are highly knowledgeable in the field of hormone health. Each provider possesses a thorough understanding of how the body’s systems work together to achieve balance and harmony, which ultimately promotes overall wellness. To live your healthiest life, a combination of advanced therapies such as BHRT and lifestyle strategies such as maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress, exercising regularly, and improving sleep is essential.
We believe in a truly holistic approach to health – everything works together to create the treatment plan that addresses the core issues keeping you from living your best life. Our medical staff will begin your treatment plan with appropriate testing to make sure we know what is at the root of the problem, and we’ll follow your blood hormone levels closely throughout your treatment to be sure your safety. Our BHRT therapies include ongoing support during your treatment plan, careful monitoring, and all of our advanced diagnostics at your fingertips.
Do you think you may be suffering from a hormone imbalance? There’s only one way to find out – with complete, accurate testing and diagnostics. Nava offers virtual telemedicine appointments nationally and in-person appointments at our three flagship locations. You can pick the option that works best for you.
Contact Nava Center today to get a plan to balance your hormones so you can live life at your 100% again – there’s no need to live with anything less.