Health

The Five Most Common Hormonal Imbalances to Be Aware Of

Hormonal Imbalances

Most people think of hormones as something that teenagers go through. But in fact, hormones are an important part of adult life as well, and being aware of your hormone levels is essential to staying healthy. Imbalanced hormone levels can lead to a variety of negative effects on the body, interfering with everything from sleep quality to stress response and metabolism. 

Fortunately, almost all common hormonal imbalances are correctable with the right treatment plan. The sooner you catch a hormone imbalance, the easier it is to treat. So if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or someone you know, take heed! Read on for more information about the most common hormonal imbalances and how to address them.

Hormonal Imbalance Basics

Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through our bloodstream. They are produced in various organs and glands in the body, including the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testicles. Hormones have many different functions, including maintaining metabolism, bringing nutrients to cells, regulating body temperature, and regulating body fluids. Each hormone has a certain target organ where it does its work. 

For example, progesterone is a hormone that is involved in regulating the menstrual cycle, along with estrogen. When we’re healthy, our hormones are in balance. But when they are out of balance, it can lead to negative effects. The most common hormonal imbalances are estrogen dominance, testosterone deficiency, cortisol imbalance, and stress management problems. A deficiency in the hormone DHEA is another common hormonal imbalance.

1. Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen levels are too high in relation to progesterone. Estrogen is a hormone that is primarily produced by the ovaries; progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands. Both estrogen and progesterone are hormones necessary for a healthy menstrual cycle. In the right proportions, these hormones work together to regulate the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and even mood. 

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When the body is producing too much estrogen, it can cause a number of negative health effects. Estrogen dominance can lead to water retention, mood swings, irregular periods, and even PMS. It can also contribute to lower bone mineral density and make osteoporosis more likely.

2. Testosterone Deficiency

Testosterone is a hormone produced in the ovaries, testicles, and adrenal glands. It interacts with many different systems throughout the body, including the sex drive, metabolism, immune system, and more. In both men and women, testosterone levels naturally decrease with age, as well as due to certain lifestyle factors. Some of these include too little sleep, caffeine, and stress. 

If testosterone levels get too low, it can lead to a variety of negative health effects. People with low testosterone may experience a decrease in energy, muscle mass, sex drive, and mood. It can also lead to higher levels of cortisol, which can lead to weight gain and poor sleep.

3. Cortisol Imbalance

Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands that is primarily responsible for stress response. When we experience stressful situations, our bodies produce cortisol to help us cope with the situation. It helps us stay focused, increases blood pressure, and helps us metabolize sugar. When cortisol levels are too high, it can have negative effects on the body. Too much cortisol can lead to weight gain, poor sleep, and feelings of anxiety or depression.

Cortisol levels can be naturally higher in the morning, so if you are experiencing negative effects from cortisol later in the day, it could be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Doctors recommend medical blood testing for cortisol imbalance. After the blood test, they may also recommend a saliva test, which provides a more accurate reading. Depending on the results, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or supplementation.

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4. Stress Management Problems

Stress is a normal part of life, but when we have too much of it, it can have unhealthy effects on the body. Stress can lead to a number of health problems, including sleep disturbances, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. There are many ways to manage stress, including exercise, therapy, and meditation. One way an individual can help manage their stress is with the hormone DHEA.

5. DHEA Deficiency

DHEA is a hormone that naturally declines with age and has been called the “youth hormone” because it is primarily produced by the adrenal glands during youth. As mentioned above, DHEA is naturally declining with age, but it is also a hormone that can be decreased due to stress. When the body is experiencing high levels of stress, it stops the production of DHEA. Not having enough DHEA can have negative effects on the body, including weight gain and poor sleep. DHEA is appropriate for most people older than 40. It is not recommended for people under 40 because the body can naturally produce enough DHEA without supplementation.

Conclusion

Hormonal imbalances are very common, especially as we get older. Fortunately, most hormonal imbalances are easily treatable with the right plan. The first step is to be aware of possible symptoms, so you can catch a problem early. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consider scheduling a doctor’s appointment to evaluate your hormone levels. If you take care of your hormones, they’ll take care of you.

 

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