Hormonal imbalance occurs when the level of hormones in the bloodstream either deteriorate or shoot up abnormally. As hormones play quite an essential role in maintaining our health, even a tiny hormonal imbalance can cause major side effects throughout the body.
What are hormones?
Produced by different glands, hormones are chemicals delivered to various organs and tissues through the blood. They regulate some important functions of our body such as metabolism, sleep, reproductive system, stress level, blood sugar, and heart rate. A shift in your hormone levels at various points in your life is a pretty normal occurrence. At times such as puberty, before or after the periods, during pregnancy and menopause, most of us experience ups and downs in our hormone levels.
However, it becomes a cause of concern when your body starts producing either an excess or shortage of a certain hormone, that can leave broad-ranging consequences for a person’s health. Since the various hormones work in coordination with others, the disequilibrium of one may affect the others. Some of the most common hormones that impact our body include Cortisol, Serotonin, Thyroid, Estrogen, and Testosterone. Hormonal Imbalance can be attributed to diabetes, PCOS, thyroid issues, pregnancy, eating disorder, chronic stress, poor diet, obesity, lack of sleep, and more. Some of the most typical consequences of hormonal imbalance in women are:
Irregular Periods: Irregular periods are those that come too early, too late, or sometimes do not come for a few months. Also sometimes, you may bleed a lot more than usual and at other times, the bleeding stops in two days. These are signs that all is not well with your hormones. A disrupted period cycle is usually attributed to fluctuations in the female hormones- estrogen and progesterone. This in turn could have been triggered by stress and lifestyle factors or underlying medical issues such as endometriosis, fibroids, and PCOS. Sometimes, the consumption of birth control pills also leaves an impact on your menstrual cycle.
Mood Swings: Sudden changes in mood that lead you to get angry at one moment and exuberant with joy a few moments later is the kind of behaviour commonly associated with hormonal imbalance. The constant shift in your mood from being anxious, sad, frustrated to happy can be due to fluctuating levels of estrogen and hypothyroidism. The moody behaviour is often seen before the start of the period. A high level of cortisol is known to cause anxiety while high serotonin, on the other hand, keeps you in a good mood
Persistent Acne: If you are troubled by acne that refuses to go, it could be due to disrupted hormones. A high amount of androgen hormones in the body causes widespread acne on the face. The harmless pimples that arise during teenage are not to be confused with the persistent adult acne that even tends to leave scars behind.
Indigestion: Issues related to gas, bloating and constipation in women are seen during the time of perimenopause and menopause, as also some other times. This happens due to a decline in the level of estrogen in our body, which in turn elevates the level of cortisol. Our digestive ability gets impacted as a result and we become gassy and bloated.
Weight Gain: While a gradual weight gain due to age and lifestyle may be normal, it becomes striking when a person suddenly puts on a lot of weight. The most common reason is a dysfunctional thyroid which causes hormonal changes leading to weight gain and other related symptoms like fatigue and tiredness. An underactive thyroid that causes Hypothyroidism slows down our metabolism making us store fat and feel exhausted.
Excessive Fatigue: Being a little tired is alright, but if you feel worn out or exhausted all the time, it could be a sign of disturbed hormones. This kind of fatigue encompasses muscle weakness and generally low energy levels. Thyroid hormones are usually the culprit behind feelings of excessive tiredness.
Infertility: A hormonal imbalance in the body is one of the leading causes of female infertility. This imbalance is mostly attributed to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Thyroid dysfunction. Under such conditions, ovulation is disrupted and the uterine lining doesn’t get thickened enough and due to a short luteal phase, implantation gets prevented.
Hair Loss: A disturbance in hormones such as thyroid, insulin, or testosterone may cause excessive loss of hair. When women produce a lot of testosterone, their hair follicles get damaged and they tend to lose hair very fast.
Brittle Bones: A lack of estrogen can lead to thin and brittle bones, making them prone to breakage and debilitating conditions like osteoporosis. As one age, bone density keeps getting reduced due to a drop in growth hormone while in women, the bone mass gets depleted fast after menopause. This is the time when estrogen levels in women’s bodies drop rapidly increasing their risk of fractures.
Headaches and Insomnia: The female hormone estrogen is again the culprit behind chronic headaches and migraines in women. A reduced level of estrogen in our bodies trigger regular headaches that majorly affects the quality of life of several women. When the ovaries produce a less amount of progesterone, there arises the problem of insomnia. Due to the fluctuating hormone, there can be difficulty in both falling and staying asleep.
Hot Flashes and Sweats: One of the most common signs of perimenopause and menopause is hot flashes and excess sweating experienced during both day and night. The massive hormonal changes and fluctuations cause an increase in body temperature resulting in hot flashes and sweats experienced by many women.
Hormones are important building blocks of our body and their imbalance can cause serious complications. It’s important to identify the problem and seek help as soon as possible to avoid much suffering.
The OneFitplus panel suggests practising yoga and meditation to manage stress, having a nutritious diet, avoiding processed food, staying hydrated, having a good night's sleep, and doing regular exercise to keep your weight in the recommended range, to avoid hormonal imbalance.