What You Need to Know About Hormonal Imbalances
Hormone imbalances can be to blame for a large range of unwanted symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and even a bad mood. Since your hormones regulate many processes in your body including your metabolism, appetite, sleep, sexual function, mood, and body temperature, it is no surprise that even the slightest imbalance can have a noticeable impact on your health and wellbeing.
While hormone levels fluctuate at various life stages, it is important to note any new or worsening symptoms should be checked by a qualified health professional so you can receive appropriate treatment.
Our health care team at Impact Med Zephyrhills discusses everything that you need to know about hormonal imbalances so you can feel your best.
What Are Hormones?
The endocrine glands in your body produce hormones, and send them throughout your bloodstream, giving orders to all the organs and tissues of your body.
Having properly balanced hormones is important to live a healthy, happy life.
What is a Hormone Imbalance?
Every hormone has a role to play in your body, and if you have too much of one, or too little of another, you will have an imbalance. Even the smallest imbalance or change in this delicate balance of hormones can affect the body and mind in a BIG way.
In some cases, an overabundance of one hormone can lead to low levels of another and can impact normal bodily processes. It is important that if you feel like you have a hormonal imbalance that you act as soon as possible.
What Causes Hormonal Imbalances?
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by many factors including autoimmune disorders and your lifestyle. Some of the most common reasons for hormonal imbalances in both men and women include:
- You have diabetes or prediabetes
- You are overweight or obese
- You have high stress levels
- You have a thyroid disorder
- You have a cancerous or benign growth
- You have an eating disorder
- You are taking medication
- You have had hormone therapy
- You have gone through a cancer treatment
- You have experienced repeated injury or trauma
- You have an unhealthy diet
- Your environment is toxic
Other causes for women include:
- You have PCOS
- You are pregnant
- You are breastfeeding
- You are on birth control
- You are experiencing perimenopause or menopause
Four Hormone Imbalances to Be Aware Of
While the body has over 50 types of hormones, here are four hormone imbalances that you will want to be aware of in case you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone” and is produced by your adrenal gland to help regulate your blood sugar, metabolism, inflammation levels, and memory. Cortisol is released when you are stressed and as a result, temporarily shuts down your digestion and reproduction systems.
If your adrenal gland produces too much cortisol, you may experience the following:
- Flushed face
- High blood pressure
- Increased thirst
- Irregular menstruation
- Mood swings
- Muscle weakness
- Reduced sex drive
- Weight gain
If too much cortisol is secreted over a prolonged period, it can increase your risk of developing Cushing’s syndrome.
If you have low cortisol levels, you may experience dizziness, fatigue, weight loss, mood swings, and muscle weakness.
Estrogen is the main sex hormone in women, but men have estrogen too. Men do not experience the same effects from estrogen that women do since their bodies secrete a smaller amount.
In women, estrogen is responsible for physical changes during puberty, the regulation of your menstrual cycle, and the support of your heart, bones, and mood during pregnancy. In men and women, estrogen helps regulate cholesterol and bone health.
In women, high estrogen can cause breast lumps, fatigue, depression, anxiety, reduced libido, and weight gain. In men, high estrogen can cause infertility, reduced sex drive, and enlarged pectoral muscles. Generally, high levels of estrogen are a result of a fluctuation of hormones in response to medication such as antibiotics or birth control.
Low estrogen in women usually occurs during menopause and causes dry skin, irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, mood swings, and reduced sex drive. When men secrete too little estrogen, they might experience weight gain and low libido.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas and allows your body to absorb glucose and break down fat and protein to regulate metabolic processes.
High insulin levels can cause hypoglycemia or abnormally low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Heart palpitations
To remedy this, eat carbohydrate-rich foods or drink a sugary beverage to increase blood sugar levels.
Low insulin is usually a result of type 1 or type 2 diabetes which results in high blood sugar. Dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, hunger, weight loss, and frequent urination can all be caused by low insulin. Insulin injections are usually used to regulate insulin levels in the body for those with diabetes.
While testosterone is the main sex hormone for men, women have lower levels of testosterone. In men, testosterone supports the physical changes of puberty, the deepening of the voice, and the growth of hair and muscles. In women, testosterone supports reproductive tissue and bone health.
High levels of testosterone can cause infertility while low levels can cause:
- Enlarged pectoral muscles
- Low sperm count
- Mood swings
- Erectile dysfunction
- Weight gain
Women may experience fatigue, muscle weakness, reduced libido, and weight gain if they are experiencing low testosterone.
As we age, our hormones fluctuate and adjust. While it is natural to experience some symptoms related to the fluctuation of hormones, imbalances can cause pain, weight gain, and other uncomfortable symptoms. If you feel like you have an imbalance, your primary care physician can help you manage your condition and even out your hormone levels.
At Impact Medical Zephyrhills, we offer hormone replacement therapy to ensure that you feel and look your best. Call our office for a consultation today— (813) 706-5156.