Hormonal imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream. Because of their essential role in the body, even small hormonal imbalances can cause side effects throughout the body.
Hormones are chemicals that are produced by glands in the endocrine system. Hormones travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it.
Hormones are important for regulating most major bodily processes, so a hormonal imbalance can affect a wide range of bodily functions. Hormones help to regulate:
- metabolism and appetite
- heart rate
- sleep cycles
- reproductive cycles and sexual function
- general growth and development
- mood and stress levels
- body temperature
Men and women alike can be affected by imbalances in insulin, steroids, growth hormones, and adrenaline.
Women may also experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, while men are more likely to experience imbalances in testosterone levels.
Symptoms for Hormone Imbalance:
The food we eat, the exercise we do, the toxins our body absorbs, the weight we carry, and the stress levels we put up with – all these affect our hormones. Surprising, right?
1. Sleep disorders
Experienced a sharp ‘rise’ in the progesterone hormone just before your period? This could be the reason for the lack of sleep. Sleep disorders (or insomnia) happens during the menstruation period, during and after pregnancy, and around menopause.
2. Mood swings, anxiety, and depression
When do women ‘over-react’ to things they never used to before? When there is a hormonal imbalance. This happens just before your period or during menopause.
3. Persistent acne
Acne outbreaks, and pimples happening more often (before your period)? Blame it on hormonal imbalances.
Although clogged pores are the reason for acne, doctors are of the opinion that hormonal changes can trigger acne and make it worse.
In short, Acne is truly ‘aching’…
4. Belly fat and persistent weight gain
Did you know, hormones are connected with your weight? And when hormonal imbalance happens, then expect your waist and hip dimensions to go haywire.
5. Loss of muscle mass
While growth hormones help in building muscle mass, lack of certain type of hormones might reverse the process.
Hola! When you eat green tomatoes and apples, it can help prevent the loss of muscle mass. So keep munching ‘em.
Face irregular and too-much-of sweating? It’s sign of a hormonal imbalance. Hormones control your body temperature, and if hormones go off-balance, then you will end up with more of sweating.
Never mind, sweating is harmless. Yeah, all it gets you is a bit of embarrassment and discomfort, if you sweat out more than you should. Sweat glands, I swear.
7. Memory fog
Keep forgetting where you put things? You could be facing Hormonal fluctuations. When a woman reaches a menopause, there is possibility of a drop in hormone levels. This can cause memory fog, even confusion.
Stress hormones also hamper the normal functioning of the brain and can even cause memory destruction.
8. Hunger pangs
Feel hungry off and on? It means your hormones are going up and down, meaning fluctuating.
Our body secretes a number of appetite-and-hunger-controlling hormones. Any imbalance in these hormones can lead to increased hunger and pound-gain.
Lack of sleep can also add upto hunger pangs and obesity.
9. Digestive problems
Get a feeling of ‘belly-churning’ in stressful circumstances? This is connected to your hormones. More importantly, estrogen imbalance.
Healthy bacteria and a healthy gut reduce the ‘gut’ stress, thereby solving the digestive problems and those of hormones.
10. Constant fatigue
Sometimes, one can feel tired most of the time. And if you have been feeling so constantly, then it could be due to imbalance of ‘thyroxin’ (thyroid hormone).
Plus, added reasons such as sleeplessness, stress, or your menstrual cycle can also lead to chronic fatigue.
11. Headaches and migraine
Hormonal fluctuations around your periods can lead to headaches and migraine. Stress and tiredness can add to the headache.
But, when estrogen levels get stable and balanced out, hormone-related headaches can ease out.
12. Hot flashes and night sweats
Getting hot flashes (or flushes) and night sweats is a sign of hormonal imbalance. This normally happens in menopausal ladies. This is why a visit to the doctor or gynae becomes important during the time of menopause.
Why? Because it can affect the quality of sleep, lead to depression, and decrease the quality of life.
Know what are hot flushes? It is heat in the face, neck, and chest. This makes the lady more self-conscious.
13. Vaginal dryness
Hormonal imbalance in estrogen can lead to changes in the vaginal wall. This can cause dryness, itching, discomfort and make having sex uncomfortable.
Interesting to know that estrogen is needed to keep the vagina moist as well as maintain the thickness of the lining of the vagina. Menopause, giving birth to a baby, or getting the ovaries removed can cause dryness in the vagina (which is sign of estrogen drop).
14. Breast changes
Have lumpy breasts which are beginning to feel tender and sore to touch? Drop in hormone levels can cause breast tissue to become less dense and fatty.
15. Low sex drive
Hormonal imbalance can affect your sexual desire. And logically so. That’s because estrogen has connection with increased sex drive.
Note: Want to boost your sex drive? Try epimedium (horny goat weed) as a natural remedy.
Read the symptoms? Now let us move to the causes –
Causes of Hormone Imbalance
1. Thyroid function
Our thyroid gland looks after our food metabolism, mood and sexual function. When the gland produces excess or insufficient hormones, it hampers overall health and wellness majorly.
2. Eating disorders
Binge-eating disorder and unhealthy eating styles often makes people obese. And that is where the hormone levels go for a toss, causing physical and psychological problems.
3. Ovulation disorders
Anything that interrupts with the hormonal regulation of the female cycle can lead to ovulatory (release of an egg from the ovary) dysfunction, which is an ovulation disorder.
4. Birth Control Pills
BCPs should be the last resort for managing hormone-related problems (once all other lifestyle and treatment options have failed to deliver). Taking BCPs with estrogen can increase the risk of developing blood clots in the legs, eyes, and lungs.
Chronic stress caused by the imbalance of thyroid hormone can lead to the depressing cycle of stress-illness-stress.
Leaky gut, stomach pain, burping, flatulence (gas), bloating etc. is to be blamed for messed up hormones.
All this sounds pretty scary, right? Home remedies are available, so you can now relax.
Here is the List of Hormone Imbalance Home Remedies:
Ten home remedies which will happily tackle hormone imbalance (if followed well):
1. Sleep Disorders
Sleep Deprivation can always be a spoiler in hormonal balance. Get this culprit out of the way by sleeping min 7 to 8 hours a day.
2. Supplement with Adaptogen Herbs
Do you know what Adaptogen Herbs are? They are healing plants that promote hormone balance and protect the body from many diseases, including those from stress.
Ashwagandha, medicinal mushrooms, holy basil are some of the adaptogen herbs.
3. Balance Your Intake of Omega-3 to Omega-6 Fats
A word of advice – stay away from oils high in omega-6 fats (Eg., sunflower, safflower, corn, cottonseed, canola, soybean and peanut).
Instead, increase your consumption of natural omega-3s (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts, wild fish, and grass-fed animal products).
4. Improve Gut Health & Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
Leaky gut not only upsets your digestive tract, it leads to hormone issues too. And gut-problems trigger off arthritis and thyroid disorders. Therefore, stay away from foods that can affect your digestive system, including added sugar, processed foods, gluten, and hydrogenated oils.
5. Eliminate Toxic Kitchen, Beauty and Body Care Products
Use natural products made with essential oils, coconut oil, shea butter and castor oil. They are better off than harmful chemicals including parabens, propylene glycol, DEA, and sodium lauryl sulfate.
6. Exercise (Especially Interval Training)
Go HIIT! Not hit literally, but do High-Intensity Interval Training. Exercise is great to balance hormones as it reduces inflammation, helps maintain a healthy weight, lowers stress, helps regulate your appetite, and helps in better sleep.
7. Reduce Stress & Get More Sleep
As mentioned before, get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. It is essential. Lack of sleep is one of the worst habits that can fuel hormone imbalance.
8. Watch Your Caffeine & Alcohol Intake
Moderate is okay, but not excess. Caffeine is a chemical that can change the way hormones are produced by the brain. It can have an impact on stress hormones. And chronic alcohol intake can lead to estrogen dominance.
So, drink not more than 1-2 cups a day of caffeine. Switch over to TULSI Tea, as it has less caffeine. And do not go more than 2 drinks daily.
9. Supplement with Vitamin D3
Vit. D keeps inflammation levels low. Sunshine is the best way to avail Vitamin D.
10. Back Off Birth Control Pills
A “pill” can bring estrogen levels to danger. And it has other disadvantages (particularly long-term such as weight gain, migraine, mood changes, nausea) that don’t make it a recommended product (except the fact that you wish to prevent pregnancy).
Precaution For Hormone Imbalance
- Well, in some cases, ‘artificial’ hormonal treatment (like insulin or thyroid medication) is necessary to treat the hormonal imbalance disorder.
- Those of you diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, insufficiency of Adrenaline, or Addison’s Disease, Graves’s Disease and Cushing’s Syndrome (for example) need to consult your doctor before discontinuing the medication.
- Since hormone imbalances vary symptom-to-symptom, keep a track of how you are feeling. Also evaluate – from time to time- how you respond to different treatments.
Tips for Hormone Imbalance
- Cut out the omega 6 polyunsaturated fats
- Avoid or limit caffeine intake
- Sleep for 7-8 hours/day
- Exercise correctly
Final Words about Hormone Imbalance
- Millions of people are affected by Hormonal imbalances, whether in the form of thyroid disorders, estrogen dominance, low testosterone, diabetes, irregular menstrual flow, or infertility
- Common Symptoms – anxiety, feeling tired and irritable, weight loss or gain, insufficient sleep, or changes in your focus, appetite, or sex drive
- Causes – poor gut health, inflammation, high levels of stress, toxicity
- Natural treatments – eat an anti-inflammatory diet, take adequate omega-3s, good sleep, exercise, and control stress
Questions? comment below and we would do well to answer it.