What is a Hormone Imbalance
pms. mood disturbance. acne. sleep disturbance and fatigue. hot flushes and night sweats. infertility. anxiety & panic attacks. depression. paranoid. loss of confidence. bowel symptoms. bladder symptoms. lack of libido. weight gain. period problems. mood swings. headaches. joint pains.
Hormone imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream and due to their essential role in the body, even small hormone imbalances can cause effects throughout the body.
Men and women alike can be affected by hormone imbalance. Women may experience an imbalance in oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone levels, while men are more likely to experience an imbalance in testosterone levels.
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 hormone 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
“Conditions such as PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) can be debilitating yet very much improved with the right treatment programme”
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
“Acne is a confidence destroyer and is very often caused by hormone imbalance which can be successfully treated following diagnosis”
- Heavy, irregular, or painful periods
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Depressed / low feeling
- Paranoid / negative feelings
- Loss of confidence
- Reduced memory / concentration / attention
- Brain fog
- Restless legs
- Aching joints
- Dry itchy eyes
- Blurred vision / runny eyes
- Poor sleep
- Vivid dreams/nightmares
- Osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Carbahydrate cravings
- Vaginal dryness
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings / short fuse
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Uterine bleeding not associated with menstruation
- Increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest, or back
- Central abdominal weight gain
- Thinning hair or hair loss
- Dizzy episodes
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
- Low sperm count
- Reduced muscle mass
- Reduced body hair growth
- Overdevelopment of breast tissue
- Breast tenderness
Hormone imbalance in women
Women experience several periods of natural hormonal change in their lifetime, primarily during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause.
Women are also at risk of developing different types of hormonal imbalance disorders than men because they have different endocrine organs and cycles.
Medical conditions causing irregular hormonal imbalances in women include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Postnatal depression
- Early menopause
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
- Medical illness
Hormonal imbalance in men
Men also experience natural periods of hormonal imbalance during their lifetime.
“Low libido and erectile dysfunction are relationship enemies”
- Medical Illness
Treatment options for women with hormone imbalance include:
Supplementing with oestrogen to alleviate perimenopause and menopausal symptoms, balanced with progesterone to protect the womb lining.
Testosterone supplementation is also used for symptoms of poor sleep, reduced memory, attention, concentration, poor motivation and low libido.
In PCOs lifestyle modification and hormone supplementation to correct low oestrogen symptoms and balance excess androgens.
For those who are not trying to get pregnant, medications containing forms of oestrogen and progesterone can help regulate irregular menstrual cycles and symptoms. Along with transdermal hormone supplementation patients can take birth control medications as a pill, ring, patch, injection or an intrauterine device (IUD).
People experiencing vaginal dryness associated with changes in oestrogen levels can apply creams containing oestrogen directly to vaginal tissues to reduce symptoms. They can also use oestrogen tablets and rings to reduce vaginal dryness.
Medications that block the predominately male-sex hormone androgen can help limit severe acne and excessive hair growth or loss.
Clomiphene (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara).
These medications help stimulate ovulation in people with PCOS who are trying to become pregnant. Those with PCOS and infertility may also be given injections of gonadotropins to help increase the chances of pregnancy.
Assisted reproductive technology. In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be used to help those with PCOS complications get pregnant.
Treatment options for men with hormonal imbalances include:
Gels and patches containing testosterone can help reduce symptoms of hypogonadism and other conditions that cause low levels of testosterone, such as delayed or stunted puberty.
Additional treatment options for anyone with hormonal imbalances include:
A medication licensed for type 2 diabetes, but Metformin can help manage and reverse insulin resistance which can cause central abdominal weight gain, difficulty loosing weight, carbohydrate cravings, PCOs, and increase risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes long term.
Medications containing levothyroxine can help improve symptoms of hypothyroidism.