Hormones are chemical messengers in our body that carry directives to different organs, “telling” them what to do and regulating their functions. With the glands that produce them, they make up the endocrine system, which coordinates our metabolism, reproduction, growth, sleeping cycle, blood sugar, and many other biological processes.
This article explains the symptoms and causes of hormonal imbalance, and how we can get our endocrine system back to optimal functioning.
Hormones naturally increase and decrease throughout our lives. However, unexpected or long-term hormonal fluctuations result in a hormonal imbalance. Having too few or too many of one or more hormones prevents them from delivering the messages properly, disrupting the functions of the organs that receive them.
There are varying degrees of hormonal imbalance and the effects it can have on our bodies differ from person to person. Sometimes the patient’s health is compromised, requiring medical attention and therapy. In other cases, the treatment is optional, depending on how the patient feels. If the symptoms are mild, the patient may be able to restore hormonal balance with a change in lifestyle habits.
Scientists have identified over 50 hormones in humans up to date. Since hormonal imbalance can be due to one or a group of hormones, symptoms are varied and can resemble those of other health issues. That’s why it is important to contact your medical provider and perform necessary lab tests if you notice changes in your day-to-day well-being.
Some hormonal imbalance symptoms are specific to a particular sex or age.
Men typically experience these hormonal imbalance symptoms:
Note: Learn how testosterone therapy restores optimal levels of this hormone.
For women, the most common hormonal imbalance symptoms include:
Note: Learn how perimenopause differs from premenopause and menopause.
When they reach puberty, children get acne due to natural fluctuations in sex hormones. However, some children experience hypogonadism, a condition where the glands don’t produce sex hormones, and the child doesn’t enter puberty. Children may experience the following:
Other signs of hormonal imbalance unrelated to sex and age include:
It is normal for hormones to fluctuate throughout the day. However, chronic and dramatic changes in our hormone levels often compromise our health. Certain periods in life, lifestyle factors, and medical issues are common causes of hormonal imbalances.
These are naturally occurring causes of hormonal imbalances. The symptoms they cause don’t endanger our health and don’t require treatment, but patients often seek help to alleviate discomfort and improve their quality of life.
Endocrinologists are doctors specialized in treating endocrine disorders. However, a primary care physician can also diagnose a hormonal imbalance and provide adequate therapy.
The doctor performs a physical exam and asks the patient a series of questions about the symptoms and their duration. This can help the medical provider narrow down potential glands/hormones that are causing health issues and prescribe adequate tests.
Standard testing for hormonal imbalances includes:
Medical providers usually order blood tests to check the patient’s thyroid hormones, sex hormones, glucose, or insulin levels.
Urine tests can show the levels of hormones that regulate menstrual cycles, such as the follicle-stimulating hormone.
Ultrasound, MRI, X-ray scans
Doctors order imaging tests if they suspect the existence of a growth (e.g., tumor or cyst) that is causing a hormonal imbalance.
Another way to identify potential lumps and growths is to physically examine reproductive organs and do a Pap smear test (for women).
Contact your medical provider if you experience symptoms that negatively affect your daily life. The doctor will determine if the symptoms are caused by a hormonal imbalance and prescribe therapy.
Different treatments exist for hormonal disorders based on which hormones are out of balance and the severity of symptoms.
Hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy is designed for patients suffering from a reduction in hormone levels. Women who experience uncomfortable menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, low libido, and urinary incontinence, can benefit from individualized bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. The therapy is in the form of a pill, gel, cream, or a vaginal ring and typically includes a dose of estrogen, or estrogen and progesterone.
Male hormone replacement therapy is designed to help patients with erectile dysfunction, mental fog, sleep issues, and other issues that appear with aging. The therapy comes in the form of injections, patches, pellets, or gels and includes a dose of testosterone.
Patients suffering from excess hormones are prescribed medication to block their effects. Medications include:
In cases where hormonal imbalance is caused by a tumor or a thyroid gland disorder, medical providers recommend surgery.
The best way to keep your hormones in check is to maintain healthy lifestyle habits, including:
Hormones are an integral part of our biological system. Their imbalance can lead to many health issues, especially if you ignore the symptoms and don’t seek proper treatment.
Our experienced medical professionals at Vibrant Vitality Clinic are dedicated to helping patients with hormonal disorders reduce the risk of severe illness and improve their quality of life. Visit us today to begin your healing journey!
4325 E Indian School Rd, Suite 130
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm