Many important processes in our bodies are controlled by hormones. So, when the production of hormones is disrupted, this influences our mood, behavior, well-being, and appearance. But how to understand that the problem is caused by hormones, and which of them exactly?
1. Low Sex Drive? Could Be Low Testosterone
Testosterone is typically thought of as a male hormone, but both men and women have it. Low testosterone levels may cause low libido. In one study of more than 800 postmenopausal women reporting low sex drive, those who received 150 or 300 micrograms per day of testosterone in the form of a topical patch reported more sexual desire and less distress than women who received a placebo. Women receiving extra testosterone also reported more satisfying sexual experiences compared to women who took a placebo. However, women who took 300 micrograms of testosterone per day had more unwanted hair growth than women who took the placebo. Men can get low testosterone, too. The condition has been referred to as andropause in males.
2. Breast changes
A change in breast size is one of the most serious signs of problems in the body. A sudden decrease in estrogen level influences the skin humidification and elasticity. This is why breasts can lose their shape, volume, and change in size.
Besides, inside the breast itself, there may appear something solid which can cause a lot of discomforts. According to the National Cancer Institute, breast changes happen very rarely and most of the time, such changes have nothing to do with cancer. This happens only because of hormonal changes or before menopause.
3. Hormone Balance and Tummy Trouble
Cells lining the gastrointestinal tract have receptors for both estrogen and progesterone. Levels of these hormones change throughout the course of a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. When they do, they impact the function of the gastrointestinal system. Women often experience abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and nausea before or during their periods. These symptoms can also occur with many other conditions. If a woman experiences them along with mood changes and fatigue before or during her period, it may be more likely that the GI disturbances are occurring due to monthly hormonal fluctuations.
4. Increased sweating
Sudden sweating or fever are the most common signs that there is something wrong with your hormonal balance. Hormones control the temperature of the body, so if you have some kind of an imbalance, you might feel very hot suddenly.
According to doctors, this symptom is common after menopause when the hormone level is very unstable. In other cases, this symptom indicates that there is a problem in the body.
5. Constant Vaginal Dryness?
Falling estrogen levels during perimenopause and a lack of estrogen after menopause may lead to vaginal dryness. This makes the wall of the vagina thinner. It can be painful to have sex. A doctor may prescribe synthetic hormones or bioidentical hormones to combat these and other symptoms related to menopause. It’s important to take progesterone along with estrogen to decrease certain risks of hormone therapy. Some women are not advised to take it because of an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, gallbladder disease, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer. Hormone therapy may be associated with side effects that include headaches, breast tenderness, swelling, mood changes, vaginal bleeding, and nausea.
6. Sudden weight change
If you have a hormonal imbalance, your body can gain weight regardless of what foods you eat. A shortage or an excess of the production of certain hormones can make the body keep the fat and lose muscle mass.
For example, high levels of estrogen, cortisol, or insulin with a low level of testosterone can lead to the storage of fat in the belly. And the low level of thyroid hormones slows down the metabolism and leads to an increase in body mass.
7. Manage Your Mood
Hormonal imbalance may be to blame for some cases of mood disturbance. Many women experience anger, irritability, mood swings, depression, and anxiety before and during their periods. These can be associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS. Women who have PMS or PMDD appear to be more sensitive to changing hormone levels. Estrogen has an effect on neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Not smoking or drinking alcohol can help with these symptoms. Steer clear of caffeine, sugar, and sodium. Get plenty of exercises, enough sleep, and get adequate calcium. Some women may benefit from taking birth control pills or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Talk therapy may be beneficial, too.
8. Digestion issues
Many people have probably been in a situation when they had some stomach problems because they were feeling nervous about something. Such an effect is caused by a huge hormonal release because of stress.
A study conducted at the University of Texas showed that a high level of estrogen influences the microflora of intestines. Other studies showed that high levels of hormones in the ovaries can lead to seizures and stomach aches.
9. Uncontrolled bouts of hunger
Our bodies synthesize hormones which are responsible for our appetite and hunger. An imbalance of these hormones leads to uncontrolled bouts of hunger.
Doctors have found out that there are two hormones which need to be in balance to control hunger — leptin and ghrelin. Leptin decreases the hunger when we’ve eaten something and ghrelin does the opposite — it lets us know when it’s time to eat.
Constant forgetfulness and low focus can be caused by different factors, including hormonal imbalance. And again, it’s all about low cortisol and estrogen levels.
Studies have shown that low estrogen levels can cause forgetfulness, the inability to focus, and an unclear mind. And a low cortisol level influences short-term memory.
11. Frequent headaches
According to endocrinologists, the reason why you often have headaches (except for stress and fatigue) can be low estrogen level. Estrogen is a female hormone which is produced in the ovaries and controls all the metabolic processes in the brain and the spinal cord. That’s why if you have too much or too little of it, it can be the reason for migraines or a constant bad mood.
12. Frequent insomnia
Insomnia is a very dangerous sign because it may be connected with a low level of progesterone. Dr. Traci Johnson, a sleep specialist, says that progesterone is the natural relaxant. It can relax you, calm you down, and normalize your sleep. Changes in the level of this hormone often lead to insomnia.
According to the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, estrogen and progesterone are very low in women who have just given birth. That’s why some women can have trouble sleeping during this period. But it shouldn’t happen in other situations.
13. Hair loss
Excessive hair loss can be caused by thyroid hormones, insulin, or testosterone. For example, testosterone makes men big and hairy.
However, when women have a high level of testosterone, they often become bald. Under certain conditions, a hormone derived from testosterone tries to destroy the hair follicles which leads to hair loss.
14. Constant fatigue
All of us get tired from time to time, but if you feel tired all the time, even when you are resting, this may be a sign of hormonal imbalance.
Doctors from Maryland write that chronic fatigue can be caused by problems in the production of the thyroid hormones.
15. Sudden appearance of acne
Acne and blackheads can appear if your pores are blocked. However, some doctors claim that sudden acne appearance can often be caused by sudden hormonal changes in the body. For example, a very low androgen level leads to acne all over the body. Such things can often be noticed during the teenage years when it is very hard to get rid of acne.