Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body that travel through the bloodstream to tissues and organs, and control most of our body’s major systems. Hormones are made by the endocrine glands.
Hormonal imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the body. Because of their essential roles, slight alterations can significantly affect functions in the body systems.
Women will experience varying symptoms of hormonal fluctuations at different stages, and may require medical assistance to get their hormones in balance.
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The more recognisable symptoms of hormonal imbalance for women include premenstrual syndrome or PMS, or menopause symptoms of hot flashes and/or night sweats, foggy thinking, low libido, depression, fatigue, and/or weight gain in the hips or waist.
As uncomfortable as these hormone fluctuation symptoms may be, symptoms of estrogen dominance are less familiar but vital to breast cancer prevention.
For women, the most pronounced changes come in their 40s and 50s, but can been seen as early as their mid-30s. Many more women are having hormonal symptoms earlier, which has a lot to do with not only our lifestyle and diet, but also the pollution, toxins and xenoestrogens (synthetic chemicals that act as estrogen in our bodies) that we’re exposed to every day.
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Common signs that you may be suffering hormonal imbalance include:
1. Persistent Weight gain:
Lifestyle, diet and physical activity are components of maintaining a healthy body weight, but in some women, underlying hormonal imbalance can cause them to add weight faster and make it difficult to lose.
Insulin resistance is most culpable in this case, little adjustments in the diet can help to restore optimum hormonal functions, like cutting out on processed foods, sugars and wheat.
2. Mood Swings:
Some mood swings can be just natural, but a consistent pattern of anxiety, irritability and depression could be pointers to chemical imbalances in your body system.
You should take out time to listen to your own body and take necessary actions to meet your unique needs, getting rid of stress and toxicity.
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3. Heavy/Irregular/Painful Menstruation:
In a normal menstrual cycle, a balance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone regulates the buildup of the lining of the uterus (endometrium), which is shed during menstruation.
If a hormone imbalance occurs, the endometrium develops in excess and eventually sheds by way of heavy menstrual bleeding. Conversely, hormonal imbalance may cause irregular or absent periods.
Insulin resistance, PCOS, obesity are precursors to hormonal imbalance which may affect alter the menstrual cycle.
4. Uterine Bleeding Between Periods:
Bleeding in between periods, i.e. uterine bleeding that is not associated with menstruation could be a sign that your hormonal balances are in disarray, and you should check with your gynecologist to get to the root cause of your symptom.
This symptom as it relates to women is a condition of unwanted male-pattern hair growth in women, characterised by excessive hair on the face, chin, back or chest.
Women who present this symptom find that hair is growing in unlikely areas of their bodies and could be embarrassing, rather than shave them off, you should have your doctor assess your hormonal profile to determine a suitable line of treatment for you.
Physical stress, inadequate or irregular sleep can increase your stress levels to , if this happens consistently, your hormonal balances will be affected. You should therefore guard your rest as it affects every area of your body function.
READ ALSO: 7 Reasons You May Be Missing Your Period
7. Digestion Problems:
Gas, bloating and slow digestion are common hormonal problems that aren’t usually associated with hormonal imbalances, but may be associated with eating bad foods, not chewing your food and eating too much.
When you don’t have optimal digestion, your body is starving because of poor nutrient extraction.
If you are finding it difficult to get pregnant, it may not be unconnected to hormonal imbalance. Your healthcare practitioner may recommend an hormonal assay to determine whether your hormones are balanced or not among other medical evaluations.
More signs that could suggest hormonal imbalance in women include: hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, pain during sex, acne on the face, chest, or upper back and tender breasts.
Tags: Health, Hormonal Imbalance, Hormones, Women
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