10 Warning Signs of a Female Hormonal Imbalance
Female hormonal imbalances may be to blame for a number of unwanted symptoms, including fatigue, weight gain, itchy skin and low mood.
Hormones are chemicals that control virtually every aspect of life. They’re essential for both male and female health. When there’s less in the body, one may develop various hormonal imbalances that can lead to problems such as mood imbalances, declining testosterone levels, and irregular periods.
Hormones are present in the body and play roles in regulating many processes, including appetite, metabolism, sleep cycles, reproductive cycles and sexual function. The body needs them to maintain proper temperature & moods.
Some experts believe that there’s a link between depression and a mental focus shift toward external conditions over internal ones. This means that any imbalance you may experience, like the tip of the pyramid being too heavy towards the bottom, could have serious consequences.
Hormones’ levels fluctuate in various ways throughout a person’s life. The most notable changes occur during puberty and during the menstrual cycle for women, pregnancy and menopause for women and men. Other factors that contribute to hormone levels are lifestyle & certain medical conditions
It is important to notice any symptoms and get them checked out by qualified medical professionals so that you can receive appropriate treatment, whether that involves using medication or complementary therapies, or making lifestyle changes, to try and combat the rest.
Here are 10 signs of hormonal imbalance to watch out for:
1. Mood swings: Estrogen affects the brain, and in particular, serotonin levels. Fluctuations in estrogen, which cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or depressed mood during the perimenopause (the phase before periods stop completely), and the menopause are a risk factor for depression in women.
What to do: Some dietary and lifestyle changes can be particularly helpful if you are feeling low or anxious a lot. These include exercising, drinking less alcohol, smoking less, & taking up hormone replacement therapy if you’re perimenopausal. A symptom diary is a useful tool for tracking the symptoms of certain diseases and can help you identify if hormonal changes are to blame.
2. Heavy or painful periods: You may have fibroids if you’ll notice other symptoms such as abdominal pain, a frequent need to urinate, lower back pain, constipation and painful intercourse. Fibroids are non-cancerous, but multiple, growths that develop in or around the womb. There is thought to be an estrogen connection and having fertility issues during your family history may also increase the risk.
What to do: If you have unexplained fibroids symptoms, it’s important to consult with a health professional. Fibroids can cause complications, including severe pain or problems that require surgery. Severe fibroids can be treated with medication or removed surgically by a specialist.
3. Low libido: Low libido is particularly common in women going through the perimenopause or menopause due to falling levels of estrogen and testosterone (although known as a male hormone, women also have testosterone). One of the most common changes during menopause is night sweats, fatigue, low mood, & anxiety. They can also have an impact on your sex life.
What to do: If you are going through the menopause, you should consider adding testosterone to your HRT. Testosterone can improve your libido and mood as well as boost energy levels, making it a beneficial treatment for many women. It is given in very low doses & is available as a gel.
4. Insomnia and poor-quality sleep: Your hormones fluctuate through a process called the menopause & perimenopause which can lead to changes in how you sleep, contributing to fatigue and lack of energy. Estrogen levels are also impacted during this time and may cause night sweats, causing disruptions in sleep.
What to do: Estrogen & progestogen are two hormones that work alongside a woman’s body to regulate female health as she ages. Having low levels can cause serious health problems, so it’s important for people who are going through the perimenopause or menopause to talk with their doctor about the benefits of HRT. You can improve the quality of your sleep by wearing cotton pajamas and bedding, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, exercising regularly and sharply curbing alcohols and caffeinated drinks.
5. Unexplained weight gain: Weight gain can often be caused by various hormone-related conditions such as a low thyroid. This needs to be controlled to prevent any further weight gain and improve overall health. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone-related condition that can cause small cysts on the ovaries. Menopause, which ends menstruation and the menstrual cycle, triggers hormonal changes that can make it more difficult for you to lose weight around your abdomen.
What to do: If you’ve been experiencing unexplained weight gain without any change in your diet or exercise levels, it may be because you have conditions such as thyroid problems or ovarian cysts which warrant a diagnosis & treatment. It is sometimes felt that hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, causes weight gain. There is no evidence to support this claim. In order to better understand why this might happen without HRT, it’s important to go over the benefits of HRT with a doctor.
6. Skin problems: Adult acne can be caused by many factors. But when it is caused by low estrogen levels, high androgen hormones levels and polycystic ovary syndrome, it will usually appear more on the back, chest or chin. Many times hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or the menopause can cause itchy skin while dry skin is a symptom of the menopause or thyroid problems.
What to do: If you believe that a persistent skin problem like acne is caused by a hormonal balance, you could consult a women’s health expert to diagnose and treat the underlying problem.
7. Fertility problems: A woman’s fertility naturally decreases after the age of 35, which is one of the leading causes of female infertility. Women with low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) are often less fertile or have a harder time getting pregnant. Luteinizing hormones serve as a balancing mechanism for high follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and help to stop ovulation. The onset of early menopause is a well-known issue for women, and one which has many potential negative effects. For example, it will affect their fertility.
What to do: A blood test can be ordered from your GP to check your FSH and LH levels, or you may consider seeing a women’s health expert if you have been trying for a year or less.
8. Headaches: Many women experience headaches from hormonal changes during their menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause.
What to do: It is recommended that you keep a symptom diary to identify the triggers of your headaches or other pains that may crop up in order for them to be prevented or treated. To combat migraines, try eating small snacks of healthy foods and keeping a regular sleep pattern. If these are unsuccessful, your doctor may prescribe medicines or birth control pills to help.
9. Weak bones: It is well-known that estrogen levels decrease during and after the perimenopause and menopause. This can result in bone loss.
What to do: Many people tend to have the misconception that bone health is something that can’t be improved, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are countless ways you can reduce the risk of suffering brittle bones as you battle middle age & beyond. A healthy diet high in calcium & vitamin D, weight-bearing exercise and hormone replacement therapy can all be beneficial as you get older.
10. Vaginal dryness: There are many situations that can cause vaginal dryness, ranging from menopause/perimenopause to changes in hormone levels due to taking contraceptive pills or antidepressants.
What to do: Treatment for symptoms of the menopause can include washing with soap that doesn’t have a strong scent and using lubricants that are water-based. HRT will also help by increasing levels of estrogen.
Please contact a Superior Compounding pharmacist if you are interested in learning more about Hormone Replacement Therapy for women.