A hormone imbalance can result from many different lifestyle choices, though some are just naturally susceptible to developing these types of imbalances. People who are suffering from a hormone imbalance can often determine what type of imbalance is occurring based on the symptoms that are occurring. This can help you find a way to correct the imbalance to restore comfort and optimum health to your body.
Causes of Hormone Imbalance
There are several causes that trigger hormone imbalance, such as using contraception, becoming aged, exposure to chemicals, frequent smoking or taking alcohol, eating poor diet and stress.
- Contraception. Using any sort of contraception treatments can cause women to suffer from a hormone imbalance. Birth control pills and other substances often contain progestins or progestogens which are synthetic hormones meant to stop the body from completing its natural ovulation cycle. Introducing these artificial chemicals into the body can cause the natural hormones to become imbalanced.
- Aging. Men and women may also suffer from a hormone balance as they age and the effects begin to take a toll on the body. Women frequently begin to suffer frequent hormone imbalances when they enter into menopause as the body begins to adjust to not having a regular ovulation cycle. Men may notice a dip in testosterone levels as the prostate gland begins to function less efficiently than it once did.
- Exposure to chemicals. This can cause the hormones in the body to become imbalanced with overexposure. Those who frequently eat meat that has been exposed to estrogenic hormones can cause the natural estrogen levels in the body to become excessively high. Coming into contact with chemicals such as PCB, DDT, dioxin or chlorine either through food or through products in our home can cause an imbalance in hormones to occur. Breathing in vapors containing these toxins can also cause a hormone imbalance in the body.
- Cigarettes and alcohol. Smoking or drinking alcohol frequently can also cause hormones to become imbalanced in addition to the other damaging effects these substances have on the body. Men who smoke or drink frequently are often found to have lower testosterone levels, while women who drink frequently often find themselves developing higher estrogen levels than normal.
- Poor diet. A poor diet can also cause men and women to suffer from a hormone imbalance. Processed foods, saturated fats and refined carbs can cause the body to produce and store excess amounts of fat, which reduces the production of testosterone which is present in both genders.
- Stress. This can be a major contributor to a hormone imbalance. As stress levels rise, hormones such as estrogen DHEA and cortisol can be thrown out of balance, especially weight, blood pressure or blood sugar are affected by these changes.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Given below are some common symptoms of hormone imbalance that you can compare with yourself to see whether you are experiencing this condition.
- Irregular menstrual periods. Women who are suffering from a hormone imbalance may experience irregular menstrual periods. This is quite common in adolescent girls who are just starting to develop a regular menstrual cycle, though this can also affect women going through menopause. Those who frequently have hormone imbalances or irregular periods may be suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes the body to produce an excessively high level of androgen.
- Hot flashes. Women may also suffer from hot flashes when they are dealing with a hormone imbalance. Most doctors believe that this is caused by a significant decrease in estrogen production. Women who have just undergone surgery to have their reproductive organs, namely their ovaries, removed may also suffer from hot flashes as the hormone levels change.
- Hirsutism. You may also notice excess body hair, often known as hirsutism when suffering from an imbalance of androgen. This is most noticeable in women who may not normally have much body hair present on their body. This hair may appear on the face, thighs, back, chest or abdomen. Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome or tumors in the reproductive system are especially vulnerable to this symptom.
- Amenorrhea. This is also a common symptom of those suffering from a hormone imbalance. This side effect can be described as failure to start a regular menstrual cycle by the age of 16 or an early onset of irregular periods similar to what one would experience during menopause. Some conditions such as bulimia, chronic liver or kidney disease, anorexia nervosa and others can cause what is known as secondary amenorrhea. This form of the condition can cause tumors to appear in the adrenal gland, brain or ovaries.
Treatments of Hormone Imbalance
The treatment required for a hormone imbalance will depend on the nature of the hormones becoming damaged.
Adjusting your diet to include more omega 3 or 6 fatty acids can often create more of a balance in the body. These can be found in supplement form as well as in foods such as fish oil, nuts or seeds. Those who frequently suffer from hormone imbalances can also take black cohosh or don quai supplements to help restore balance. Avoid foods like eggs, meat or dairy that may contain chemicals that can contribute to your imbalance.
Exercise has also been known to help return hormones to normal. Those who frequently suffer from this issue are recommended to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. In some cases these treatments may also be treated with supplemental hormones such as estrogen to help manage your symptoms. It is important to talk this therapy over carefully with your doctor as some artificial hormone treatments have been linked to increased heart disease or stroke risks.