Hormonal Imbalance In Women

By Patricia | July 10, 2009

Hormones are important chemicals in your body, which carry messages across various organs, tissues and cells. They are produced by the glands and move all around your body through the bloodstream.

There are several different hormones present in the female body, the primary ones being estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for regulating your menstrual cycles, ovulation cycles, as well as various important functions, some of which include –

  • Arousing sexual desire
  • Building up the uterine lining
  • Controlling mood
  • Developing muscle mass
  • Keeping the bones healthy
  • Preparing the uterine lining for implantation
  • Stimulating the breast tissue
  • Thickening the vaginal walls
  • Weight management

Another hormone called testosterone can be described as a male steroid hormone, but is present in all women. This hormone is released into the bloodstream (in small amounts) by the ovaries and adrenal glands.

Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that could cause your glands to produce a higher or lower amount of hormones than normal. This leads to a hormonal imbalance in the body, which in turn could trigger off several health concerns. Some of the effects of a hormonal imbalance can be quite serious.

Symptoms

The symptoms of hormonal imbalances may vary, depending upon the type of balance as well as the hormones that are affected.

High Progesterone

  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Decrease or ceased menstruation
  • Deficiency of functional estrogen
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Increased risks of yeast infections
  • Mood swings
  • Sleepiness
  • Vaginal dryness

High Estrogen

  • Allergic reactions
  • Cramps
  • Depression
  • Feeling lethargic
  • High blood pressure
  • Hot flashes
  • Increase hair growth (including facial hair)
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular periods
  • Low sex drive
  • Migraine headaches
  • Mood swings and short temperedness
  • Osteoporosis
  • Skin problems like acne
  • Soreness or tenderness in the breasts
  • Thinning hair or excessive hair loss
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Weakened memory

Low Progesterone

  • Breast tenderness
  • Deficiency of magnesium
  • Depression
  • Dysfunction or disorders in the thyroid gland
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Infertility or difficulty conceiving
  • Irregular periods
  • Low blood sugar
  • Panic attacks
  • Passing of blood clots during menstruation
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Water retention
  • Weight gain

Low Estrogen

  • Arthritis
  • Concentrating difficulties
  • Depression
  • Dry skin and premature ageing
  • Fatigue
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Hot flashes
  • Increased risks of vaginal infections
  • Lapses in memory
  • Loss of libido
  • Low self-esteem
  • Night sweats
  • Pain in the joints
  • Panic attacks

It is best to visit a doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above. Left unchecked, the symptoms of hormonal imbalances tend to worsen with time.

Causes

There are several different factors that could disrupt the normal levels of the hormones within your body, creating an imbalance. Given below are some of the most common causes of a hormonal imbalance in the body –

  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Conditions like Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or Turner’s Syndrome
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Eating disorders
  • Excessive and uncontrolled use of painkillers
  • Exposure to environmental chemicals
  • Following fad diet
  • Glandular problems
  • High levels of insulin
  • Improper use of birth control pills
  • Inconsistent sleeping patterns
  • Lack of exercise or even exercising excessively
  • Living in highly polluted areas
  • Obesity
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Poor nutrition
  • Premature menopause
  • Presence of Candida
  • Prolonged stress
  • Smoking or using recreational drugs
  • Undergoing hormone replacement therapy

Some of the causes of hormonal imbalances are quite serious and need to be addressed by a doctor immediately. In most cases, treating the cause of the problem restores the right hormonal balance within the body.

Home remedies

The treatment of hormonal imbalance depends on the severity of the symptoms as well as the underlying cause of the problem. Making healthy changes to your diet is the first step in the treatment of hormonal imbalance. You need to -

  • Increase your consumption of fresh, organic fruits, veggies and whole grains. Check to make sure that the foods you choose are free of pesticides and herbicides
  • Restrict your intake of animal products like mutton, beef, pork and veal. This also includes dairy products like cheese, cream and full-fat milk
  • Eat the right amounts of food that are high in omega 3 fatty acids, such as lean fish, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day
  • Avoid foods that are processed or high in fat, like white bread, frozen meals, luncheon meat, bakery items and sweets

Apart from choosing the right foods for your diet, you also need to make sure that you –

  • Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day instead of three large ones
  • Start your day with a wholesome and substantial breakfast
  • Do not leave a time gap of more than 2 or 3 hours between each meal
  • Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast
  • Include a wide variety of foods from each food group in your daily diet

Incorporating these healthy lifestyle changes can also help manage hormonal imbalances to a great extent –

  • Follow a proper workout routine in which you exercise for at least half an hour a day, 5 days a week
  • Practice stress-relieving and relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing, aromatherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and acupressure
  • Quit unhealthy practices like smoking cigarettes, drinking excessive alcohol or using recreational drugs
  • Reduce your exposure to environmental hazards as well as pollutants
  • Get around 8 hours of sleep each day.

In case the hormonal imbalance persists in spite of following these remedies and suggestions, your doctor may prescribe medication or advise you to go in for hormone replacement therapy.

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