Hormones are produced by the endocrine glands, and they are the chemical messengers in the body. Any up and down in the hormone levels can cause an imbalance, which has serious consequences.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance in Females
Hormones play a vital role in a woman’s body, and they affect almost everything from metabolism to fertility. Hormone levels are never stable, and they might also go out of balance. Since they are very important, small imbalances could cause many problems and determining them could help solve the problem. Here are a few reasons for hormonal imbalance in women:
When a woman gets older, the levels of hormones in her body naturally decline. Progesterone and estrogen are the two major hormones created during the menstrual cycle. Hormone levels fluctuate when a woman reaches menopause, and they gradually decline. They might even start decreasing many years before menopause.
During menopause, even progesterone and estrogen gradually decline. Weight gain, trouble sleeping, hot flashes and several other symptoms are due to the decline in these hormones.
Studies have also found that during menopause, the decrease in the hormone estrogen sometimes increases visceral fat. This is particularly dangerous since the fat surrounds many vital organs in the body.
Though exercising is good for maintaining your health, too much of it can cause a decrease in the level of estrogen. Your body consumes a large amount of energy when you regularly exercise vigorously every day. Processes such as reproduction and bodybuilding start to shut down gradually, and your body generates lesser hormones like estrogen. This reduction can cause infertility, osteoporosis, and even hot flashes.
3. Poor Diet
A poor diet could also be a reason for the imbalance in the level of hormones like eating a large amount of food with high sugar and carbohydrate levels which increase the levels of cortisol in the body. When the body has high cortisol levels, it affects the amount of progesterone generated.
A decline in hormones is also seen when reducing a large number of calories. A study indicates that a significant decrease in calories can cause an imbalance in the levels of hormones, disturbing the menstrual cycle.
Chemotherapy is a drug that eliminates cancer cells, and though it is life-saving, there is a chance of it affecting many other body cells. It might sometimes cause discontinuation in the production of hormones and shut down the ovaries, leading to medical menopause. Both medical and natural menopause have the same symptoms, but symptoms of medical menopause are sudden.
This is a procedure in which the uterus is removed. Hysterectomy is suggested for treating issues like uterine prolapsed, fibroids, and even heavy menstrual bleeding. In some cases, ovaries that produce progesterone and estrogen are also removed, causing surgical menopause. If they are not removed, there is less blood supply which affects its function.
Studies show that reduction in hormone levels due to surgical or natural menopause before the age of 50 can increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
These are chemicals found in almost all the items we use, from insecticides to plastic products, makeup, and even certain foods. A few examples of this chemical include parabens, BHA food preservative, and benzophenone present in sunscreen. This can have an estrogen-like effect and disrupt the endocrine system.
Research indicates that this chemical can sometimes mimic the role of estrogen and cause interference with the actions of natural estrogen. When the xenoestrogens are high in the body, it increases the level of estrogens, causing estrogen dominance where there is an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen. This condition is sometimes called progesterone deficiency.
7. Environmental Exposure
Harmful chemicals in our surroundings can interfere with and affect the balance of hormones. These are called endocrine disrupters. The endocrine system is in charge of creating and managing the body’s hormones. These chemicals could be from anything like pesticides, pollution, household cleaners, paints, car exhaust, products, and food. Some disruptions are:
- Hormone imitations
- An increase or decrease in the generation of hormones
- It could turn one hormone into another completely different hormone
- It might interfere with hormone signalling
- Cause premature death to cells
- Compete with important nutrients
- link with hormones
- Accumulate in hormone-producing organs.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a disorder in which the woman produces higher amounts of male hormones. This can affect the levels of hormones in women which cause prevention of normal menstrual periods making it harder to get pregnant. Imbalance in hormones due to this condition can cause problems like sleep apnea, infertility, metabolic syndrome, depression, and even endometrial cancer.
Signs of Hormonal Imbalances in Women
Hormones can affect nearly everything in your body. There is a wide range of symptoms that can indicate a hormonal imbalance. Some symptoms of hormonal imbalance in females are:
- Irregular or heavy periods, sometimes missed, frequent, or stopped periods.
- Hirsutism, or excess growth of hair on the chin, face, or other parts.
- Acne on the chest, face, or upper back
- Hair loss or thinning of hair
- Gain in weight and trouble losing it
- Skin darkening, especially along the neck, the groin, and below the breasts
- Skin tags
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal atrophy
- Night sweats
- Swelling, pain, or stiffness on the joints
- Increased hunger
- Pink or purple stretch marks
How to Diagnose Hormonal Imbalance in Women
Doctors use multiple tests to diagnose hormonal imbalance in a patient. You should start by taking an appointment for a physical exam with the doctor. You must also be prepared to talk about the symptoms you think you have been having and that has occurred. Also take the list of vitamins, supplements or other medication you are taking at the time.
Your doctor will ask a series of questions like:
- How often do you experience the symptoms?
- Have you put on or lost weight recently?
- Are you very stressed these days?
Depending on the symptoms and hormonal disorders in females, you might also be asked to take one or more diagnostic tests.
Treatment Options for Female Hormonal Imbalance
The treatments will depend on the cause. Some of the common treatments include:
1. Estrogen Therapy
If you are going through a few uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, your doctor might suggest you take a lesser dosage of estrogen. Don’t forget to ask your doctor about the benefits and the risks of this therapy with the doctor.
2. Vaginal Estrogen
If you have symptoms like vaginal dryness or experience pain during sex, it is recommended to try an estrogen cream, ring, or tablet. This treatment avoids a lot of risks that come with systemic estrogen, or the estrogen that travels to the organ through the bloodstream.
3. Hormonal Birth Control
This can help in getting pregnant by regulating the menstrual cycles. There are several types of birth control like:
This could stabilise the hormonal imbalance in young women + facial hair, and hormonal imbalance acne female are also improved.
4. Anti-Androgen Medications
This hormone is a male sex hormone which is also present in women. When this hormone is high, you can take medications to reduce the effect of androgen, like:
- Loss of hair
- Facial hair growth
5. Eflornithine (Vaniqa)
This is a cream that is specifically designed to remove the excessively grown facial hair in women. When you apply it over your skin, it works by reducing the time of growth of new hair, though the existing hair is unaffected.
Home Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance in Female
How to treat hormonal imbalance in female naturally? There are some natural remedies you could try to help with the hormonal imbalance.
1. Take Bioidentical Hormones
You can replace the missing hormones in your body by taking bioidentical hormones that are safe. They are different from hormone replacement therapy which has synthetic hormones. The hormones the body makes and bioidentical hormones are molecularly identical. Moreover, they are specifically designed for each person. These will help to ease the symptoms.
2. Having a Healthy Diet
You should start having a healthy diet planned to balance your hormones. It is best to avoid processed foods as it might contain chemicals that affect the hormones, like dyes and preservatives. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in protein and healthy fats. Make sure you are well hydrated too.
3. Exercising Regularly
Excessive exercise is bad as it interferes with hormonal levels, but very less exercise could also cause problems. It could cause obesity which affects the levels of estrogen. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes about four days a week.
4. Practice Good Sleeping Habits
It is important to get enough sleep to balance the levels of hormones. Most adults need seven or eight hours of sleep every night. Try to sleep comfortably in a quiet and dark room.
5. Learn Stress Reduction
Hormones are essential for most of the processes in the body. When they are imbalanced, you will experience a variety of symptoms. It is best to seek treatment, as hormonal imbalances can cause serious complications.
Also Read: Warning Signals Periods Give About Health