The Causes and Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women
Your hormones could be the cause.
Women expect their hormones to have an effect during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause, but that’s not all. Hormone imbalance can occur at any stage of your life, having all sorts of effects on your body.
In this article, we’ll give you the details of the various symptoms of hormonal balance in women, and explain what causes them
The Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Women and their Causes
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it may be a sign of fluctuating hormones.
Weight gain is one of the most commonly ignored symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women. This is because it’s easy to put down to lifestyle. However, if you’re struggling with persistent weight gain, it could be due to an underlying hormone imbalance.
This often comes in the form of insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance can be caused by a poor diet. Specifically, carbohydrate and sugar intake. These foods rapidly enter the bloodstream in the form of glucose, and in response, the body releases high levels of insulin.
If this mechanism is repeated for an ongoing period of time, it causes insulin resistance. This has a domino effect on other hormones, such a progesterone, estrogen and testosterone.
Belly Fat and Loss of Muscle Mass
As well as general weight gain, women with hormone imbalances can experience a change in body composition. Muscle mass is lost, and fat accumulates in the belly area.
This is caused by overproduction of cortisol, while production of other hormones is decreased.
When sex hormones aren’t balanced in the way that they should be, the libido suffers.
If you’re experiencing a lower sex drive than usual, or finding that it seems to have disappeared altogether, your hormones could be the culprit.
This is often linked to quality of sleep. If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, the production of your sex hormones will start to decrease. However, it’s also an indicator of the menopause.
Even when you do get enough sleep, you can still feel tired and fatigued if your hormones aren’t cooperating.
Are you experiencing a lack of energy? Feeling more sluggish and lethargic than usual? Do you feel as though you get brain fog from time to time?
This could be down to your thyroid. An under-active thyroid gland, otherwise known a Hypothyroidism, is rather common. In fact, it affects millions of Americans.
Another cause of this kind of fatigue is chronic stress. If you’re overworked, it might be time to look into ways to get some relaxation.
Irritability, Anxiety, or Moodiness
One of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women is mood swings.
When hormones change, women often start to feel more irritable and anxious for reasons they can’t explain. They may start to feel as though their emotions are completely outside of their control.
These changes in mood are caused by an imbalance of sex hormones, as well as adrenal stress. This is why women who are going through the menopause commonly experience this symptom.
Most people assume that acne is a teenage problem, which doesn’t follow us into adult life. If only that were true.
In fact, many women experience adult acne. This is a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If you’re plagued by skin problems that don’t seem to go away no matter what lotions and potions you try, this could be the real issue.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns
Do you ever feel like you can’t sleep, no matter how tired you are? Are you waking up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep?
This is another side effect of hormone imbalance. Sleep is linked to cortisol, which is also known as a stress hormone. If your cortisol levels don’t rise and fall when they’re supposed to, you’re likely to have difficulty sleeping.
An imbalance of estrogen and testosterone can cause hair loss in women.
If your hair is starting to thin, it could be due to the menopause, or to an overactive thyroid.
On the other hand, PCOS can cause hair to grow in places that it shouldn’t. Many women with PCOS deal with facial hair. This is because the condition causes the body to produce too many androgens.
Your menstrual cycle is regulated by your hormones, so if your periods have become irregular, it’s likely to be caused by a fluctuation in your hormone production.
If your periods aren’t on schedule, the amount of bleeding has changed, or you’re experiencing spotting, this is a red flag.
If you’re between the ages of 45 and 55, this is likely to be a result of perimenopause. During this time, the length between periods becomes longer.
If this isn’t the case, your disrupted menstrual cycle could also be caused by stress. This could be in the form of physical stress, such as an intense exercise routine, or phycological stress.
Women with PCOS often experience sporadic periods, too.
Sweating often occurs as a result of the hot flashes that are associated with the menopause.
This isn’t the kind of sweating you experience when you’re feeling a little hot. These sweats are excessive, and can come on suddenly. For many women, it happens at night.
As well as the menopause, the most common causes of night sweats are hormone disorders such as hyperthyroidism. However, they can also be an early symptom of cancer, as well as certain infections.
Digestion problems can also be symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women.
When estrogen levels decline due to the menopause, cortisol levels aren’t regulated as they should be. This has a knock-on effect on the digestive system, which causes problems such as gas build-up, bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, and indigestion.
Are you experiencing unusual and insatiable cravings?
These cravings are usually associated with pregnancy, but if you’re not pregnant, they could be due to a hormone imbalance. Women going through the menopause often experience these same cravings.
Your hormones regulate your appetite. This is why women’s eating habits often change when they’re on their period.
There Is a Solution
Some of the symptoms listed above can be eliminated by changes in diet and lifestyle. However, if that doesn’t work for you, there are other options available.
One of those is hormone replacement therapy. As well as putting a stop to your night sweats, weight gain, hair loss and mood problems, this treatment can also bring several health benefits.