What Causes Hormone Imbalance?
Hormones play a central role in the management of your bodily processes. So it’s natural for people to wonder what causes a hormonal imbalance.
Produced by the endocrine system, hormones traverse the bloodstream delivering orders to various tissues and organs, telling them what to do.
Hormonal imbalances happen when there is either too much or not enough of a certain hormone in your bloodstream.
Even the smallest hormonal imbalance can affect several bodily functions including:
● Heart Rate
● Metabolism and Appetite
● The Sleep Cycle
● Reproductive System - Sexual Function
● Body Temperature
● Mood and Stress Levels
● Body Development
Both men and women can experience imbalances in growth hormones, insulin, steroids, and adrenaline. While women might show hormone imbalance symptoms related to estrogen and progesterone levels, men will more likely have imbalances in testosterone levels.
Throughout an individual’s life, hormone levels naturally fluctuate, but there are times when the cause is a malfunction within the endocrine system.
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
Hormone imbalance symptoms can vary widely depending on which hormones and glands are affected. Some of the more common symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
● Excessive Sweating
● Unexpected Weight Gain or Loss
● Difficulty Sleeping
● Muscle Weakness
● Skin Rashes - Dry Skin
● Increased Sensitivity to Cold and Heat
● Changes In Heart rate
● Changes in Blood Sugar Levels
● Reduced Sex Drive
● Blurred Vision
● Unexplained Bulge in Your Neck
● Puffy Face
● Changes in Appetite
● Thinning Hair - Damaged Hair
● Having to Use the Bathroom Less or More Often
Of course, having some or even many of these symptoms doesn’t automatically mean you have a hormonal imbalance.
What Causes Hormone Imbalance in Women?
Some causes of hormonal imbalance in women are natural. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are a few prime examples of times when hormones are re-regulating themselves and mood swings, weight gain/loss, and fatigue are simply part of the natural order.
However, there are other causes of hormonal imbalance that could be cause for concern. The leading causes of hormonal imbalance in women are:
● Eating Disorders
● Birth Control
Thyroid issues are often genetic. An overactive or underactive thyroid is usually the result of an autoimmune disease, tumors, or simply medication that needs to be re-balanced.
Stress releases the hormone cortisol. Long-term stress produces more cortisol and anything in over-abundance will eventually cause an issue. High levels of cortisol over a long period of time affect the levels of other hormones in the body, creating an imbalance.
Eating disorders, a regrettably common affliction, can lead to low bone density and low estrogen.
Birth control is also a major factor. Many birth controls have high levels of hormones in them. If you aren’t taking the proper medication for yourself, this could lead to digestive issues, irregular periods, lack of periods, weight gain, etc. Even coming off of birth control can be a tricky hormonal issue.
Occasionally, a hormonal imbalance could be caused by a medical condition like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), or ovarian cancer. It is important to consult your doctor if you feel like anything is amiss.
What Causes Hormone Imbalance in Men?
Generally, men do not have the same abrupt shifts in hormones that women do. However, there are stages of hormone imbalance that are important to understand. Natural stages of hormonal imbalance in men are primarily due to puberty and aging.
While testosterone is generally considered the main male hormone, men are also greatly affected by cortisol, insulin, and thyroid levels.
Male hormone imbalance is divided into four main types:
- Adrenal Fatigue
Andropause is caused by low testosterone levels. This is also coined “male menopause”. While it is inevitable that testosterone levels will drop with age, there are things you can do to try and put this off. A healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and moderating alcohol are good ways to start.
Hyperthyroidism can increase metabolism and make weight gain difficult. Sometimes this issue can be treated via medication, other times it necessitates surgery.
Hypothyroidism leads to a low level of the thyroid hormone being produced. Usually, this is evident through joint or muscle pain. Luckily, this is easy to treat if diagnosed correctly.
Adrenal Fatigue is caused by low levels of cortisol. Prolonged stress is the leading cause of this, but symptoms include brain fogginess, fatigue, depression, and cravings for salty or sweet foods.
Other times when hormonal imbalances in men might arise are generally caused by prostate cancer and low testosterone.
However, everyone is different. If you want to know more about what causes hormone imbalance or are suffering from symptoms you believe are different from life’s natural course, then let’s talk.