Hormonal Imbalance - Everything You Need to Know

Table of Contents

Introduction

Hormonal imbalance is an endocrine condition that occurs when there is an overproduction or underproduction of hormones in the body. Since hormones play a critical role within the body as chemical messengers, even a small imbalance can have severe consequences on the health of an individual.

What is the role of Hormones?

Hormones are known as the body’s chemical messengers because they regulate quite a lot of functions in the body. Some of these functions include:

  • Rate of heartbeat
  • Rate of metabolism
  • Appetite
  • Circadian rhythm (sleep cycles)
  • Reproductive cycles
  • Growth and development
  • Body temperature

Hormones can affect men and women almost equally, however, certain hormones are produced only during certain events and in certain sex. For example, the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone is produced by women and is secreted only during pregnancy.

What are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance?

The actual symptoms of hormonal imbalances depend on which specific gland is affected. Since hormones play an important role in the chemical coordination of the body, the imbalance of hormones can have a wide variety of symptoms. The symptoms of more common causes of hormonal imbalance include:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Dry skin
  • Skin rashes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Bloating
  • Puffy/ swollen face
  • Headaches
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Blurry vision

What are the Causes of Hormonal Imbalance?

Almost everyone experiences episodes of hormonal imbalance at specific phases in their lives. However, most cases of hormonal imbalance occur when one or more endocrine glands do not perform their function properly. If a particular gland is affected, chances are that this condition will also affect levels of the hormone/hormones which is/are produced by that particular gland.

The human body has several endocrine glands, each producing its own specific hormones. These endocrine glands are:

Endocrine Gland Hormone(s) produced
Adrenal Glands Cortisol, Aldosterone
Gonads Testosterone, Estrogens
Hypothalamus Gland Dopamine, Somatostatin
Pancreatic Islets Insulin, Glucagon
Pineal Gland Melatonin
Parathyroid Gland Parathyroid hormone
Pituitary Gland Growth hormone, Adrenocorticotropic hormone
Thyroid Gland Triiodothyronine (T3), Thyroxine (T4)

Some of the causes of hormonal imbalances include:

  • Abuse/ Overdosing On Steroid Medications (Anabolic)
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Anorexia
  • Benign tumours on endocrine glands
  • Cysts which affect endocrine glands
  • Cancers of the endocrine glands
  • Chemotherapy And Radiation Therapy
  • Chronic stress
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Injury to the endocrine glands
  • Exposure to toxins, pollutants, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals
  • Specific hereditary conditions such as pancreatitis
  • Hormonal replacement therapy
  • Consumption of birth control medications
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Overproduction of the parathyroid hormone
  • The underproduction of parathyroid hormone
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pituitary tumours
  • Poor diet and nutrition
  • Extreme allergic reactions or infections
  • Turner syndrome
  • Diabetes (type 1 and type 2)

Treatment for Hormonal Imbalance

The treatment for hormonal imbalance depends upon the cause and also the person who is affected. Furthermore, women and men can have different treatments for their conditions. For instance, women who are suffering from irregular menstrual cycles can use medications containing female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can use birth control medications. For men with hypogonadism, stunted puberty or other similar conditions, testosterone patches and gels can help with the condition.

Further Reading:

Frequently Asked Questions on Hormonal imbalance

What is Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance is an endocrine condition that occurs when there is an overproduction or underproduction of hormones in the body.

How do you treat hormonal imbalance?

Treatment for hormonal imbalance depends upon the underlying cause as well as the individual affected. Furthermore, women and men have different treatments for most conditions as they have different endocrine glands and cycles.

What are the causes of hormonal imbalance?

Nearly everyone experiences periods of hormonal imbalance at specific points in their lives. However, most cases of hormonal imbalance occur when one or more endocrine glands do not work properly.

Is hormonal imbalance dangerous?

Most hormonal imbalances are caused due to an underlying condition. Identifying these conditions is important to assess the cause and the severity of the condition.

How do you check hormone levels?

A blood test is the most common method of checking hormone levels.

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