Hormones are chemical messengers. This chemical is produced in the endocrine glands and travel around bloodstream. They manage and control many functions in the body including metabolism, reproduction, body temperature, heart rate, appetite, growth, sexual function, sleep cycles, mood and stress levels.
Hence hormonal imbalance can cause temporary or longstanding problems. Hormonal imbalance means a person may have excessive or very less of some type of hormone. Some hormone levels vary throughout lifetime or it may be because of natural aging. Logically hormone level varies for women during puberty, gestation, breastfeeding and menopause.
Hormone imbalances depends on type of hormones or affected glands (adrenal, ovaries, pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreatic islets). Other Causes of a hormonal imbalance include certain medications, chemotherapy, pituitary tumors, unhealthy eating habits, anxiety, trauma, diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hypogonadism, Cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, PCOS and birth control pills. thyroiditis, Some of the major symptoms of a hormonal imbalance include heavy or irregular periods, obesity, hirsutism, acne (face, chest, upper back), hair loss, painful sex, headaches, vaginal dryness and atrophy, skin tags, night sweats, hyperpigmentation etc.
Hormone imbalances if not treated may lead to many chronic health problems and complications, like: diabetes, high BP and cholesterol, heart ailments, neuropathy, obesity, kidney damage, stress, endometrial and breast cancer, osteoporosis, infertility and sexual dysfunction.
There are home testing kits available for measuring follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) level in urine. But irrespective of which test you choose, it’s important to discuss results with doctors. Depending on symptoms some of the examinations done by doctors to diagnose a hormonal imbalance include:
- Blood test to check thyroid, levels of estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol.
- Pelvic exam for unusual lumps, cysts, or tumors.
- Ultrasound of uterus, ovaries, thyroid, pituitary gland to identify problem inside the body
Some of the advanced tests if required includes biopsy, MRI and X-ray Treatment:
Treatment depends on its causes. However, some of them include
- Estrogen therapy especially if the patient is suffering from hot flashes;
- Vaginal estrogen (cream or tablet) if the patient is suffering from vaginal dryness and painful sex
- Birth control methods like birth control pills, patch or shot
- Anti-androgen medications help to reduce hair loss, facial hair growth and acne Testosterone therapy
- Thyroid hormone therapy Here are home remedies to overcome hormonal imbalance – yoga, weight loss (to regulate menstrual cycles), balanced diet, hot flash management (by avoiding warm temperatures, spicy foods, or hot beverages) and facial or unwanted body hair removal.