Hormones are chemical messengers that impact the way the cells and organs function. There are many different types of hormones in the body, which all have different functions, but they are all influenced by each other. Some examples are:
Progesterone: this helps in maintaining pregnancy. The hormone is produced in the ovaries, the placenta (when a woman gets pregnant) and the adrenal glands. It helps prepare for conception and pregnancy and regulates the monthly menstrual cycle.
Testosterone (present in both male and female): is known as a “male” hormone. It also is made in small amounts by a woman’s adrenal glands and ovaries.It is linked to sex drive in a woman.
Estrogen: this helps organs such as breasts, pubic and armpit hair, endometrium, and the regulation of the menstrual cycle and reproductive system in a woman
HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin): HGC is produced in the cells that make up the placenta during pregnancy. It is this hormone that is detected in both blood and urine pregnancy tests.
- Androgens (present in both male and female): This is also a sex hormone found in the ovaries. It is majorly a male hormone but found in tiny bits in women.
These mentioned hormones above are referred to as the “female” hormones, even though a little bit of some of them are found in a man’s body. Some are responsible for puberty, menopause, pregnancy e.t.c. Hormone fluctuations occur naturally, such as in puberty and menopause. For women, the most pronounced changes come in their 40s and 50s, due to menopause. Some however can been seen as early as their 20s. Many more women are however having hormonal imbalance symptoms earlier, which has a lot to do with lifestyle and diet.
What causes the hormones to go out of balance are things like stress ( emotional stress, psychological, spiritual, work related) Digestion problems i.e diarrhea, gas, bloating, not eating healthy and proper foods.
Even when only one unbalanced hormone is present, it may result in the following hormonal imbalance symptoms in women. Knowing the signs can help to provide early solutions. See some of the signs below.
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Insomnia and poor sleep patterns
- Migraines and headaches
- Breast tenderness
- Heavy periods, or very light periods if you have low estrogen/ progesterone
- Breast lumps and cysts
- Cramping pains, back pains
If you have been experiencing some of these symptoms, please see a health care provider as soon as possible. They may not necessarily mean that you have a hormone imbalance, but prevention is better than a cure.