Frustrated and emotionally touchy, sometimes with no apparent reason to justify. Every so often we blame this on our feminine hormones, and this is not just an empty excuse. Hormones do, truly, play a vital role in women’s health and wellbeing and when its levels fluctuate, the impact our health, mood, sexual desire, fertility and ovulation is clear.
Your hormonal levels… your wellbeing
Having a sense of irritability, feeling bloated, anxious or just not at your best? An element of hormonal imbalance could be to blame. Hormonal problems are common, so if you suspect that you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance, then you are not alone. There are certain causes which can throw off your body’s natural chemistry. Common reasons are pregnancy, menstrual cycle, the use of contraceptives, menopause, as well as lifestyle factors such as disturbed sleep patterns, stress, poor diet and lack of exercise. Certain ailments could be the offender such as thyroid problems.
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long. Cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days. If yours doesn’t happen around the same time every month, or you skip some months, it might mean that you have something wrong with your feminine hormonal levels (estrogen and progesterone). Above 40 years of age, any disturbance in the regularity of menstrual cycle could be attributed to premenopausal stage (that is; the time before menopause). Irregular periods can be a sign of health problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Discuss the matter with your Gynecologist.
Your Mood Is Low
Repeated mood swings, feeling low, depression and anxiety can be frightening for the woman experiencing them and those around her. This is especially true when they seem to come out of the blue. A lot of research adopts the existence of a strong connection between fluctuating hormone levels and changes in emotion. Feeling out of control, overwhelmed, or moody is a common complaint resulting from sudden changes in the balance of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone.
If you’ve been taking contraceptive pills, you’ll be aware that they can have a strong influence on your mood. This is due to estrogen’s effect on your brain chemicals. Have your hormone levels checked by your Gynecologist as you could be reassured by the explanation.
A breakout before or during your period is normal, this is due to the cyclic changes in production of your reproductive hormones during the month. But acne that won’t clear up can be a symptom of hormone problems. A surplus of androgens; “male” hormones that exist in both men and women, can cause your oil glands to overwork. Testosterone causes production of sebum/oil which is a contributing factor to acne. The worse the imbalance, the worse your acne will be.
If you are suddenly starting to become frequently inattentive and forgetful, it might be a symptom related to a hormonal issue. Changes in estrogen and progesterone cause what is commonly described as “memory fog” and make it more difficult for you to remember things. This may be due to estrogen’s effect on your brain chemicals. Memory and attention problems are a common complaint around and with menopause. Thyroid dysfunction could be also a cause to rule out.
Struggling to get out of your bed in the morning?
It’s normal to have an off-day now and then where it’s extra difficult to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. However, if you find yourself feeling like this every day, if you aren’t getting enough shut-eye, or if the sleep you get isn’t good repeatedly, your hormones could be at play.
It could be the progesterone. You may notice that it’s harder to sleep before you get your period. This is due to a drop in progesterone. On the other hand, if you have too much progesterone, it will make you sleepy all the time. On the other side, estrogen messes up your sleep patterns in a different way. Low estrogen causes night sweats and hot flashes, both of which can make it tough to get the night rest you need. If you notice these symptoms, it’s best to get it checked out by your gynecologist.
Belly complaints, indigestion and bowel discomfort
Estrogen and progesterone are involved in regulating your digestive tract activity. When these hormones are higher or lower than normal, you might notice changes in your bowel movements. That’s why loose motions (diarrhea), stomach cramps, sense of bloating, and nausea can crop up or get worse before and during your period. This is an expected thing normal as part of your menstrual cycle symptomatology but if you have constant tummy troubles, it could be due to a hormonal imbalance.
You’re tired, always feeling drained and your hair is lifeless
Are you tired all the time? Does your facial expression always showing the sign `Battery low`? Fatigue and exhaustion are very common symptoms of low thyroid function (what doctors call hypothyroidism). The thyroid could be characterized as the metabolic gas-pedal of the body. It controls the general rate at which nutrients are burned for energy and heat. When your thyroid hormones are balanced you are energetic and ready to take on the day and if stress knocks your door you have the strength to deal with it. Hallmark signs of low or sluggish thyroid function are cold hands and feet, persistent sense of fatigue, dry, rough or scaly skin, and dry, tangled hair, as well as sluggish bowels. Collectively speaking, when your thyroid slows down, everything in the body seems to slow down!
Don`t worry, revitalizing your energy is accomplishable. Although the effects of thyroid problems are unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid conditions can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated.
You are always hungry and have been putting on weight
Can’t keep yourself away from the fridge all the time? Stop blaming yourself that you`re fat and take a look at the real reason fueling your hunger: hormones.
When you’re feeling blue or irritated, as you can be when your estrogen levels goes down, you may want to eat more. That might be why drops in the hormone are linked to weight gain. The estrogen dip can also impact your body’s levels of Leptin, a hormone that helps regulate food intake.
There are an infinite amount of triggers for headaches and migraines. For some women, low estrogen levels bring them on. That’s why it is quite common for headaches to strike right before or during your period, when estrogen is on the decline. Regular headaches or ones that often surface around the same time each month can be a clue that your levels of this hormone might be shifting.
If you’re worried about headaches as a result of hormonal imbalance, try keeping a diary and see if these headaches hit you at certain times of your menstrual cycle, if they’re associated with a food or atmospheric trigger, or if they just happen out of the blue, then share this history with your Gynecologist.
Loss of Libido (decline in sexual desire) & Vaginal Dryness
Hormonal imbalances wreak havoc on your sex drive, often due to a lack of estrogen. Estrogen is secreted by your ovaries, and it helps vaginal tissue stay moist and comfortable. If your estrogen drops because of an imbalance, this can lead to poor blood flow to the clitoris, vagina and vulva and accordingly, reduce vaginal fluids and cause vaginal dryness. It can also cause decreased genital nerve response and delay arousal sensation.
It may seem strange but estrogen level can alter the characteristics of your breasts. High estrogen may result in tender, sore breasts as well as development of lumps, fibroids and cysts. Low estrogen, such as during and after the menopause, will make your breast tissue less dense. Talk to your Gynecologist if you notice breast changes, even if you don’t have any other symptoms that could be of concern for you.
Have you recognized yourself in any of these signs that mean you may have a hormonal imbalance? If so, a solution may be as easy as a trip to your Gynecologist. The symptoms of hormonal imbalance can have a big impact on your life so there’s no need to suffer on … have it checked now for a better tomorrow!
Ladies, if you are experiencing symptoms related to hormonal imbalance, consult Dr. Amaya Carreras, the women’s health doctor of German Medical Center – the best women’s health clinic in Dubai. Dr. Carreras is an expert in providing compassionate and personalized treatment for various gynecological ailments, including gynecological ailments, including hormonal imbalance.
Dr. Amaya Carreras