Outside of puberty and menopause, hormones tend to be neglected. The reality is, many seemingly small symptoms may be a result of imbalanced hormones. From the digestion tract to reproduction system, hormones keep our bodies balanced and functioning.
Small disruptions in our hormones can send our entire bodies into a frenzy. Symptoms can be misleading – especially when you don’t understand the underlying cause. Fatigue, weight gain and headaches are common signs of a hormone imbalance.
Men and women experience hormone imbalances differently. While our bodies perform essentially the same functions, estrogen and testosterone are huge factors in the type of hormone imbalance you are experiencing and how it manifests itself as symptoms.
Types of Hormone Imbalances
There are 50 different types of hormones in the body and knowing which ones are under or overproducing isn’t always an easy task. Here are some of the most common hormone imbalances:
Estrogen, responsible for developing and regulating the female reproductive system, affects the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain.
When a female is experiencing a hormone imbalance, estrogen may be the cause. Deficiencies or an overabundance of this hormone can cause the body to compensate in other ways.
The term “estrogen dominance” describes a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen, but the body lacks progesterone to balance its effects.
Progesteron, an endogenous steroid, balances estrogen. When the body produces more estrogen than progesterone (progesterone deficiency), the excess estrogen becomes toxic.
It’s common for conventional medical doctors to prescribe supplemental estrogen when women complain of menopausal-type symptoms. However, without the right dose of progesterone to balance it, major side effects can occur.
Signs and symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
- Weight gain around middle
- Autoimmune disorders
- Cold hands and feet
- Decreased sex drive
- Muscle and joint pain
- Infertility and/or irregular menstrual periods
- Mood swings and/or PMS
For men, testosterone affects every cell in the body. More than just “sex hormone,” testosterone can affect functions like muscle mass, weight gain and libido.
Hormone changes can have much more serious effects. In men, these changes are associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis and hypertension.
Like women, men go through hormonal changes in their middle years. Known as “andropause,” many men experience this change in their 40’s and 50’s. One main cause is the reductions in free testosterone – the testosterone that is “unbound” in the body, and therefore free to exert its effects. Low testosterone affects almost 40% of men aged 45 and older.
The natural decline of testosterone begins around age 30 and continues about 1% per year throughout his life.
Signs and symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Weight gain around the abdomen
- Decreased libido and sexual function
- Moodiness and irritability
- A decrease in body hair
- Thinning of the bones (osteoporosis)
Adrenal Hormone Imbalance
The adrenal gland, otherwise known as the “stress gland,” allows your body to handle stress throughout the day.
The adrenal gland is located at the top of the kidneys in a small pyramid shape. The location is in a central location to mobilize a response to any possible change in your body. Having an adrenal imbalance means the gland is overworked and can not produce enough essential hormones to support the body.
Elevated cholesterol, nervousness and sleep disturbances are three of the many signs that women show when the adrenal gland is performing incorrectly. For men, depression, prostate problems and sleep disturbances are the main signs.
Thyroid Hormone Imbalance
The thyroid gland is a small gland located in the middle of your lower neck. This gland produces hormones responsible for numerous functions, like cell function, hair growth, heart rate and more.
Anyone can experience a variety of symptoms, like dry skin, constipation, weight gain, brittle nails and cold hands and feet that indicate a thyroid imbalance. Feeling sluggish, loss of muscle mass and erectile dysfunction are just some of the symptoms men will experience.
The Good News
It doesn’t have to be this way. Dive into your hormone imbalance with an expert. The staff at Advanced Practice Wellness Clinic are passionate about optimizing your hormone levels naturally. While you may resonate more with a certain type of imbalance in this list, it is common to see multiple imbalances at once. We highly recommend contacting one of our professionals to conduct a more in-depth analysis.
Are you experiencing a hormone imbalance? Check your symptoms now.