From digestion to fertility – our endocrine system sends hormones through our bloodstream to help our body regulate essential functions. Factors like poor sleep, stress, infections, and hormonal birth control can contribute to a hormone imbalance affecting your everyday life.
Hormone imbalances occur when there is too little or too much of a hormone being produced, or when there is an imbalance in relation to other hormone levels. Even the smallest offset or hormones can cause major side effects, affecting your everyday life.
Because hormone balance is essential for regulating most bodily functions, an imbalance can cause disruptions in:
- Metabolism rate and appetite, resulting in weight loss or gain.
- Sleep cycles, resulting in sleep deprivation or feeling tired throughout the day.
- Reproductive cycles and sexual function, resulting in low libido or infertility.
Causes of Hormone Imbalances
Many different factors can trigger a hormone imbalance. For some, the imbalance is caused by genetics, for others, the cause can be related to a person’s lifestyle. There are even general causes for hormone imbalances not linked to a specific underlying condition or lifestyle habits.
Lifestyle Causes for Hormone Imbalance
The most common lifestyle factors contributing to hormone imbalance include poor diet, inconsistent sleep patterns, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress and medication use. Many of these things you may have little control over, or have already caused an imbalance in your body.
General Causes for Hormone Imbalance
General causes, not linked to underlying conditions, include hormone therapy, medications (such as birth control), intense treatments (such as chemotherapy), tumors (cancerous or benign), eating disorders, stress, menopause, PCOS, puberty, aging, injury and trauma.
Specific Conditions Causing Hormone Imbalances:
If symptoms are not the result of a general cause or lifestyle factor, hormone imbalances can result from an underlying condition. Some conditions that could trigger an imbalance of the body’s hormones include:
- Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
- Diabetes Insipidus
- Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism
- Cushing Syndrome (or high levels of cortisol)
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
- Addison’s Disease
- Hyperglycemia or Hypoglycemia
Causes Unique to Women:
There are causes of hormone imbalances specific to each gender. Some factors that may cause the onset of a hormone imbalance in women specifically are estrogen dominance, menopause, primary ovarian insufficiency (premature menopause), pregnancy, breastfeeding and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Causes differ depending on which hormones or glands are affected.
Causes Unique to Men:
Common causes of hormonal imbalance in men are prostate cancer and hypogonadism, resulting from low testosterone. Men are at risk of developing different hormonal imbalances because they have different endocrine organs and cycles.
A healthcare provider who specializes in hormone replacement should address hormone imbalances unique to both men and women should be consulted to avoid complications which can lead to chronic disabilities or dysfunction in the body.
The 5 Main Signs of Hormone Imbalance
While hormone imbalances can be hard to identify and diagnose without testing and treatment, there are five telltale signs that an imbalance may be present. For both men and women, symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight gain or trouble losing weight
- Digestion problems
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Inconsistent Sleep or Insomnia
- Low libido
Other Signs and Symptoms of Hormone Imbalances
Men and women present slightly different symptoms when experiencing a hormone imbalance. Women may also experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, while men are more likely to experience imbalances in testosterone levels. There are universal symptoms both men and women can experience in the presence of a hormone imbalance.
Signs and Symptoms Most Prominent in Women:
There are specific symptoms of a hormone imbalance more commonly seen in women than in men. Too much or too little of any hormone can cause dysfunction and disease within a woman’s body. Upon experiencing a hormone imbalance, women may present with any of the following symptoms as a result:
Signs and Symptoms Most Prominent in Men:
Men also have specific symptoms caused by hormone imbalances less commonly seen in women. Low levels of the male reproductive hormone testosterone can cause many ailments within a man’s body and present symptoms that are disruptive to daily life and regular bodily functions. An imbalance of any hormone can induce any of the following symptoms:
The first step is identifying the problem. Many approaches only address the symptoms — providing a temporary fix. A trained medical professional specializing in hormone health can set you on the right path towards a balanced life by determining which type of hormone imbalance you have.
Ready to take the next step?
Book an appointment with one of our practitioners today.Book an Appointment