- 1 DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A HORMONAL IMBALANCE? WHY YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
- 2 UNDERSTANDING THE FUNCTION AND ROLE OF HORMONES
- 3 SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FEMALE HORMONE IMBALANCE
- 4 NOT ALWAYS BLACK OR WHITE
- 5 IT IS A MATTER OF RECOGNITION, ACTION AND FOLLOW-UP (IF NECESSARY)
- 6 YOU ARE YOUR OWN WISDOM
DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A HORMONAL IMBALANCE? WHY YOU SHOULD NOT IGNORE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Women today have more stress and responsibility than ever before. To list a few, most of us juggle raising children, caring for the family, managing household chores, hosting dinners with friends and family, all while working full-time. Where does keep ourselves healthy fit in?
The main factors to keep the body and mind healthy? Sleep, nutrition and exercise. Sounds simple enough right? WRONG. I think all of you can agree that these are the 3 factors that suffer the most because of our busy lives. That is why it is extremely important to continuously assess our health and recognize any signs and symptoms of female hormone imbalance. In reality, if these 3 main factors (sleep, nutrition and exercise) were consistently adequate, our hormonal system would more than likely remain in a happy place of equilibrium.
We also have to learn to trust our body and the signals that we receive from it. Did you know that hormones are the primary chemical messengers in our body, trying to communicate to us when we are in a state of imbalance? This imbalance, if long-term, can cause much more severe consequences than temporary fatigue, irregular periods, bloating, moodiness and digestion issues.
UNDERSTANDING THE FUNCTION AND ROLE OF HORMONES
The endocrine system is composed of several glands and because of the critical role it plays and the many glands involved, it is an elaborate topic to discuss. I think what is most important is to understand the overall function of this system. The endocrine system produces and controls the release of hormones into the bloodstream so that they can reach other organs and cells in the body to regulate many of the body’s functions such as:
1. Metabolism, hunger and body temperature;
2. Bone and tissue growth;
3. Reproductive system;
4. Blood sugar levels;
5. Blood pressure;
6. Sleep patterns; and
7. Control stress levels.
Without even knowing the intrinsic details of how all of this is done, it is obvious that if the hormones produced and excreted by the endocrine system are low, the recipient organs and cells of these hormones will not be able to function sufficiently. Depending on the person, even a small amount of hormone deficiency can develop into obvious and notable signs and symptoms of female hormonal imbalance (By the way, this of course applies to men as well!).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FEMALE HORMONE IMBALANCE
So given that hormones control a large portion of the body’s functions, the signs and symptoms of female hormone imbalance can display itself in several forms, depending on if it is one or more hormones that is deficient. The most common ones are:
1. Irregular periods or missed periods when not pregnant.
2. Sleep Problems – Can not fall asleep or stay asleep.
3. Chronic Acne – not only during the menstrual cycle.
4. Memory Fog – attention span diminished and/or forgetfulness.
5. Ongoing fatigue – despite how much rest you get.
6. Vaginal Dryness – for an extended period.
7. Low libido – very little or no interest in sexual activity with your partner.
8. Belly issues – Diarrhea, bloating, pain and nausea.
9. Mood swings & Depression – over an extended period and no specific reason why.
10. Appetite & weight gain – unexplained increase in appetite.
11. Breast changes – either less dense or more dense breast tissue.
NOT ALWAYS BLACK OR WHITE
As you can see, some of these signs and symptoms can of course be the result of other causes and we must evaluate our specific situation.
For instance, if you experience chronic fatigue because you are choosing to go to bed super late and sleeping very short nights, or the recent loss of a loved one is weighing you down emotionally, than this fatigue can simply be resolved by getting extra sleep and/or time to mourn.
If you have suffered from an irregular menstrual cycle for many years, there may be an underlying cause such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. I suggest with irregular periods, it is always best to see a doctor and eliminate this health concern before assuming that it is due to high or low levels of estrogen and/or progesterone.
If you are experiencing weight gain, first evaluate if your eating pattern and determine if you are eating more or if you are eating unhealthier than usual. Furthermore, has your activity level decreased over the last few days, weeks or months? But if you are eating more because you are feeling overly depressed and moody, than hormone imbalance may be the culprit.
Also, for changes in breast density, especially when you feel a thickening of the breast tissue, this is a symptom not to take lightly and can be another more serious health issue like breast cancer. See you doctor immediately if you notice such changes.
IT IS A MATTER OF RECOGNITION, ACTION AND FOLLOW-UP (IF NECESSARY)
Remember, it is not to say that if we experience hormonal imbalances that we should panic and worry. Let us face it, there are so many factors that influence our state of equilibrium and some of these are natural and unavoidable stages in our life such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, thyroid issues and unique unexpected stressful events. What is important is we understand and recognize the signs and symptoms and take appropriate measures to deal with them, because in most cases, hormone imbalance is reversible if not ignored and if we make the necessary changes in our lifestyle.
If however, there is little or no improvement after implementing changes, we in turn have to ensure that we do not ignore our body’s clear cry for help. It is at this point that we need to seek professional guidance, in order to measure hormone imbalance through medical tests to pin-point the exact root of the problem.
YOU ARE YOUR OWN WISDOM
If there is one thing I want you ladies to take away from this article, is that you know you do not need ME to tell you when you do not feel well. Intuitively you know it and I believe as women, we tend to put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list and/or do not want to accept the reality that we may have to slow our life down. We should not be ashamed or embarrassed that our hormones affect us the way that they do – this is a natural biological occurrence and we have to remove the stigma or the “undermining” comments from others who say “Oh she is just hormonal”. Remember you are far from being alone and we should not feel the need to hide behind our hormones, because this may only lead to a decrease in your health and well-being and to chronic health issues. So ask yourself, do you know if you have a hormonal imbalance?
Please share your comments and your experiences below:)