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Understanding the role of hormones in our body gives us greater control of our health. Do learn about these 12 symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Let me first go back to the basics of what hormones are. Definition: Hormones are special chemical messengers which are created or formed by the endocrine glands.
These chemical messengers are responsible for basic functions in our body like hunger and also complex functions like reproduction. Hormones can even regulate our moods and emotions. While women have various hormones in their body, there are two hormones which are of prime importance when it comes to the female reproductive system, estrogen and progesterone. These female hormones govern our body and hence an imbalance in their levels is capable of wreaking havoc in a woman’s body.
Now you may ask, how can one know that a woman is suffering from hormonal imbalance?
There are nine symptoms which could indicate a hormonal imbalance in the body. Your hormones do go for a toss before and during the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and during menopause; but this is physiological. There are also certain medical issues and medicines can lead to an imbalance in the level of hormones, and a knowledge of these symptoms can help in understanding this.
Getting periods every month is a sign of good health. The normal average menstrual cycle length is between 22-35 days. However, not getting your periods regularly or skipping them regularly could mean that there is a hormonal imbalance in the body. So either your body is producing too much estrogen and progesterone or very little of it.
Irregular periods could indicate PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). You must visit a doctor in that case.
If you are finding it difficult to sleep well or your sleep pattern seems disturbed, then your hormones are responsible for this.
Progesterone is a hormone which helps you in catching up on a good amount of refreshing sleep. Lower than usual levels of progesterone can make it difficult for you to sleep well. Lower levels of estrogen can lead to hot flashes and night sweating which can again disturb your sleep pattern.
Getting acne in and around menstruation is absolutely normal. However, if the acne refuses to settle down even during ‘normal’ days then it can be a sign of hormonal imbalance.
Excess of androgens or male hormones especially testosterone can force your oil glands to work overtime. Increase in these hormones can also affect skin cells around the hair follicles leading to clogged pores and ultimately acne.
Do you feel that you have become forgetful over the past few days? Studies show that low levels of estrogen and progesterone can make your memory foggy which means that very often you may find it difficult to remember things.
Attention and memory issues are common during perimenopause and menopause, but otherwise it could indicate thyroid disease.
Did you know that your gut lining has receptors for estrogen and progesterone? Yes, you heard it right! The slightest change in your hormonal levels can impact your digestive system. Hence you would notice that during your periods you often face issues of constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and bloating.
But recurring digestive problems or an upset tummy coupled with acne, fatigue and disturbed sleep, is enough to indicate a hormonal problem.
Do you feel tired often? Fatigue is a known symptom of hormonal imbalance.
Too much of progesterone can make you sleepy and tired almost all the time. All the more if your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones; then you might feel low on energy and zing. If you have been facing it on and off, then it is time to get yourself checked.
Changes in your mood before and during your periods is common. However, being moody all the time or having temper related issues could be due to lower levels of estrogen in the body.
Estrogen apparently affects key brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. However, there could be other hormones also which could cause moodiness and blues, so do get yourself checked.
Drop in estrogen levels can lead to moodiness and compel you to eat more. That is why you tend to eat more or reach out to all the unhealthy foods lying in your kitchen cabinet.
Fluctuating hormones can lead to weight gain and change in your appetite. Estrogen, the female hormone is also linked to leptin, a hormone which can regulate your food intake on a daily basis.
While headaches can be triggered due to a lot of reasons, lower levels of estrogen could be one such reason. Hence you would experience constant headaches before and during your periods. If you have headaches all the time, it’s important to pay attention to what your body is trying to indicate.
Vaginal dryness can happen sometimes owing to the climate and various other factors. However, lower levels of estrogen can cause your vaginal tissues to become excessively dry, leading to irritation, especially during sex. If the estrogen levels dip due to hormonal balance, then there might be a reduction in the secretion of vaginal fluids leading to tightness.
Does a woman’s body only have estrogen and progesterone? No, a woman’s body also has testosterone, typically known as the male hormone. However, this hormone is present in a small amount in a woman’s body. Lower than usual testosterone levels in women can lead to loss of libido or decreased sex drive.
If your estrogen levels are low then your breasts might feel less dense and increased levels of the same can cause the breasts to thicken, even causing lumps or cysts. If you have been experiencing changes in your breasts recently, throughout the month, then you must talk to your doctor.
A woman’s body produces different types of hormones, and often in different proportions and combinations. They need to remain in balance for the proper functioning and well-being of her body. So if you have been experiencing any of the above symptoms or two or more of these symptoms, you must go and visit the doctor.
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A Nutritionist, Clinical Dietitian, Speaker, health/fitness blogger, online show host,menu planner, menstrual health
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