Hormonal Imbalance – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

HORMONAL IMBALANCE – SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT

Undoubtedly, hormonal balance can significantly improve one’s quality of life as hormonal imbalances can cause a wide range of symptoms, including changes in weight, energy levels, mood, and fertility. Hormonal imbalances are caused by various factors, including medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors. Seeing how detrimental it can be to one’s health, accurate diagnosis and treatment of hormonal imbalances are important for maintaining overall well-being. In this blog post, we will explore the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for hormonal imbalances. We will also discuss ways to treat hormonal imbalances and manage their symptoms. By understanding the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalances, as well as the available treatment options, one can take steps to maintain one’s hormonal health and improve one’s quality of life.

WHAT ARE HORMONES?

Hormones are chemical messengers produced by glands in the endocrine system. They are secreted into the bloodstream and travel to various parts of the body to regulate various bodily functions, including growth and development, metabolism, and mood.

Hormones play a vital role in maintaining homeostasis or balance in the body. Different hormones are responsible for different functions, and an imbalance of any hormone can have a significant impact on overall health.

Some common hormones and their functions include:

  • Adrenaline: This is produced by the adrenal gland,  and is responsible for the “fight or flight” response to stress
  • Insulin: This is produced by the pancreas and regulates blood sugar levels
  • Thyroid hormone: This is produced by the thyroid gland and regulate metabolism and energy levels
  • Estrogen and progesterone: These are produced by the ovaries and involved in the menstrual cycle and fertility
  • Testosterone: This is produced by the testes and plays a role in male sexual development and function

WHAT IS HORMONAL IMBALANCE?

A hormonal imbalance occurs when there is an excess or deficiency of certain hormones in the body. For several hormones, even a minor excess or deficiency can result in significant physiological changes and specific illnesses that necessitate medical attention.

While some hormonal imbalances are chronic, others are temporary. Additionally, some hormone imbalances must be treated in order for you to maintain your physical health, while others may not have a direct influence on your health but still have a detrimental impact on your quality of life.

WHAT CONDITIONS ARE CAUSED BY HORMONAL IMBALANCES?

Some of the most common hormone-related conditions include:

  • Infertility: For females, hormonal abnormalities are the main cause of infertility. Infertility can be brought on by hormone-related diseases such as PCOS and anovulation. Aside from physiological problems that influence fertility, such as low testosterone levels, men might also face these issues (hypogonadism).
  • Irregular menstruation (periods): The menstrual cycle involves a number of hormones. As a result, irregular periods may result from an imbalance in any one or more of those hormones. PCOS and amenorrhea are two particular hormone-related diseases that lead to irregular periods.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is the most prevalent endocrine (hormone-related) disease in the US. In diabetes, your pancreas either fails to produce any or enough insulin, or your body fails to utilize it efficiently. Diabetes comes in a variety of forms. Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, and gestational diabetes are the most prevalent types.
  • Thyroid disease: Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels) and hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels) are the two main kinds of thyroid illness. Each condition may have several different causes.
  • Obesity: An imbalance of some hormones can cause weight gain in the form of fat accumulation because several hormones can influence how your body uses energy and sends signals that you need food. As an illustration, high levels of the hormone cortisol and low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism) can both contribute to obesity.
  • Acne and Hormonal acne (adult acne): The main contributor to acne is blocked pores. Although there are various causes of acne, hormonal changes, particularly throughout puberty, are a major contributor. When hormones become active throughout puberty, oil glands, particularly those in the skin of your face, are stimulated.

When hormonal changes cause your skin to produce more oil, hormonal acne (adult acne) results. This is especially typical for those who are menopausal, pregnant or undergoing testosterone therapy.

CAUSES OF A HORMONAL IMBALANCE

There are many possible causes of hormonal imbalances, including:

  • Aging: Hormonal imbalances can occur as a natural part of the aging process. For example, women may experience hormonal imbalances during menopause, and men may experience imbalances as they get older.
  • Stress: Stress can have a significant impact on hormonal balance. Chronic stress can cause the body to produce too much of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to a hormonal imbalance.
  • Poor diet and lack of exercise: A diet high in unhealthy foods and low in nutrients can contribute to hormonal imbalances. Similarly, a lack of physical activity can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as steroids and some antidepressants, can cause hormonal imbalances as a side effect.
  • Chronic conditions: Certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance.
  • Pituitary gland disorders: The pituitary gland is a small gland located in the brain that produces hormones that regulate various body functions. Pituitary gland disorders can cause hormonal imbalances.
  • Ovarian and testicular disorders: Ovarian and testicular disorders can disrupt the production of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, leading to hormonal imbalances.
  • Thyroid disorders: The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. An imbalance of thyroid hormones can cause hormonal imbalances.

 SYMPTOMS OF A HORMONAL IMBALANCE

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can vary depending on the specific hormones involved and the underlying cause of the imbalance. Some common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance include:

  1. Changes in appetite and weight: Hormonal imbalances can affect appetite and metabolism, leading to weight gain or weight loss.
  2. Fatigue: Hormonal imbalances can cause fatigue and low energy levels.
  3. Changes in mood: Hormonal imbalances can affect mood, leading to feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability.
  4. Changes in sleep patterns: Hormonal imbalances can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or excessive sleepiness.
  5. Changes in skin and hair: Hormonal imbalances can cause changes in the appearance of the skin and hair, such as acne, dry skin, or thinning hair.
  6. Changes in menstrual cycle: Women may experience irregular periods or other changes in their menstrual cycle due to hormonal imbalances.
  7. Low libido: Hormonal imbalances can affect sex drive in both men and women.
  8. Infertility: Hormonal imbalances can interfere with fertility in both men and women.

HORMONAL IMBALANCE DIAGNOSIS AND TESTS

A variety of factors, including certain medical conditions, medications, and lifestyle factors can cause hormonal imbalances. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause of a hormonal imbalance and to develop a treatment plan.

Here are some common tests that may be used to diagnose hormonal imbalances:

  1. Blood tests: Blood tests can measure hormone levels in the body. For example, a thyroid panel can measure levels of thyroid hormones, such as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). A testosterone panel can measure levels of testosterone in men, and an estrogen panel can measure levels of estrogen in women.
  2. Urine tests: Urine tests can measure the levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol, in the body.
  3. Saliva tests: Saliva tests can measure the levels of certain hormones, such as cortisol and testosterone, in the body.
  4. Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as CT scans and MRI scans, can be used to visualize the pituitary gland and other endocrine glands to check for abnormalities or tumors.

It is important to note that hormonal imbalances can be caused by a variety of factors, and no single test can diagnose all types of hormonal imbalances. A healthcare provider will take into account a person’s symptoms, medical history, and test results to diagnose a hormonal imbalance and recommend treatment.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR A HORMONAL IMBALANCE.

Treatment options for a hormonal imbalance will depend on the specific type of imbalance and its underlying cause. Here are some common treatment options that a healthcare provider may recommend:

  1. Medications: Hormonal imbalances can be treated with medications that replace or supplement the hormones that are not produced sufficiently. For example, thyroid hormone replacement therapy can be used to treat an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), and insulin injections can be used to treat diabetes.
  2. Lifestyle changes: Making certain lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress, can help to improve hormonal imbalances.
  3. Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove a tumor or other abnormal growth that is causing a hormonal imbalance.
  4. Alternative therapies: Alternative therapies, such as herbal supplements or acupuncture, may be recommended as part of a treatment plan for a hormonal imbalance. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any alternative therapy to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for the individual’s specific needs.

Due to how important hormone balance is, it is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan for a hormonal imbalance. The treatment plan will depend on the specific type of imbalance and its underlying cause, as well as the individual’s symptoms and overall health. You can get personalized treatment for your hormonal imbalance at HRT Doctors Group.

REFERENCES

American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. (n.d.). Endocrine tests. Retrieved from https://www.aace.com/patient-resources/all-about-diabetes/treatments-and-procedures/endocrine-tests

Causes of hormonal imbalances. (n.d.). Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/hormonal-imbalance-causes

Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Hormonal imbalances: Symptoms, causes, and treatments. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17479-hormonal-imbalances

Hormonal imbalances: Symptoms, causes, and treatment. (2018, October 16). Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323607

Hormonal imbalances. (2020, August 5). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/hormonal-imbalance/basics/causes/sym-20050761

National Institutes of Health. (n.d.). Endocrine system. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-system/endocrine-system-overview

Witchel, S.F., Teede, H.J. & Peña, A.S. Curtailing PCOS. Pediatr Res 87, 353–361 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41390-019-0615-1