Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance in Woman
There are several symptoms of hormone imbalance in woman. This list contains just a few of those symptoms.
- “Brain Fog”
- Increased Fatigue
- Irritability and Mood Swings
- Decreased Libido (“Sex Drive”)
- Decreased Bone Density
- Difficulty Sleeping (Sleep apnea and insomnia)
- Unwanted Weight Gain
Hormones affect every cell and every system in the body. Because of this, hormone imbalances can cause many problems, some debilitating. Hormonal shifts are natural and everyday occurrences. Those shifts include the monthly changes responsible for menstruation and ovulation or the hormone changes during pregnancy. Menopause is probably the best-known example of hormonal shifts. The symptoms of menopause include unwanted weight gain, night sweats, mood swings, and decreased sex drive.
What Causes Brain Fog?
While not a medical term, “brain fog” is a common complaint of women going through menopause. Declining estrogen levels is one of the factors that may play a role. Perimenopausal and postmenopausal women frequently experience difficulty sleeping, hot flashes, and depression. These conditions can worsen the symptoms of brain fog.
Thyroid imbalances can also cause brain fog and exacerbate the symptoms of hormone imbalances. If you are experiencing the symptoms of brain fog or hormone imbalance, schedule a simple blood test to determine the cause of your brain fog. If estrogen imbalance is to blame, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can relieve and restore hormonal balance.
Can Hormone Imbalance Cause Fatigue?
Fatigue or tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalance. While too little progesterone can cause insomnia, too much can increase fatigue. Another common symptom of hormone imbalance that results in fatigue is hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Like Testosterone deficiency, low thyroid levels are easily diagnosed with a simple blood test. If your Thyroid levels are low, prescription medications can return your levels to optimal levels.
Practicing good sleep hygiene also optimizes your sleep regardless of any hormone imbalance. Beneficial sleep habits include sticking to a schedule when going to bed, waking up (including weekends), and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and late afternoon exercise. All of these will interfere with sleep. Establish a relaxing nighttime routine to tell your body it’s time for rest. Take a warm bath, sip chamomile tea, or listen to soothing music.
Imbalanced Hormone Levels and Managing Mood
Hormonal imbalance can also cause mood disturbances. Many women with Estrogen, Progesterone, or Testosterone imbalances can experience mood swings, depression, anger, and anxiety during their menstrual cycles. These symptoms are also called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is considered a more severe form of PMS. Women with PMS or PMDD appear more sensitive to changing hormone levels. Estrogen affects neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.) Smoking and drinking alcohol exacerbate these symptoms, as do caffeine, sugar, and salt (sodium.) Inadequate amounts of sleep, exercise, and calcium worsen these symptoms. Some women may benefit from birth control pills or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Talk therapy may be beneficial, too.
Estrogen’s Effect on Lowered Sex Drive
Testosterone is considered a male hormone. However, both men and women have it and need it to maintain optimum health. Low Testosterone levels in men and women can cause low libido. A study of over 800 postmenopausal women with low sex drive found that 150 to 300 mcg per day of Testosterone increased sex drive and decreased stress. Women that received extra Testosterone also reported more satisfying sexual experiences than women receiving a placebo. However, women taking 300 mcg of Testosterone a day had more unwanted hair growth than those taking a placebo. Men experiencing low testosterone levels experience similar symptoms called “Andropause.”
Unbalanced Hormones and Decreased Bone Density
Estrogen is essential for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. Estrogen loss after menopause can cause bone loss and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Roughly half of the women over 50 will experience a fracture because of osteoporosis. White and Asian women tend to have higher levels of osteoporosis than women in other ethnic groups. Research shows that bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) helps women retain bone mass.
Increases in the Risk of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often increases in women during and after menopause. OSA is a severe condition that causes people to stop repeatedly breathing while sleeping. OSA results from muscles in the throat relaxing too much and blocking the airway while sleeping. People with this type of sleep apnea typically snore. Research has shown that women with lower estrogen levels are more likely to suffer from OSA than women with higher estrogen levels. While more research is needed, women experiencing increased fatigue or poor sleep would benefit from measuring their hormone levels to see if BHRT could help relieve their symptoms.
Estrogen Levels and Appetite
Fluctuating hormone levels, including during women’s regular menstrual cycles, can trigger mood changes. Some women will use comfort foods high in fat, calories, sugar, and salt to improve their mood. Unfortunately, eating these foods usually backfires, making women feel worse. Sodium increases water retention and bloating. Sugar, excess fat, and calories will cause unwanted weight gain. Low estrogen levels also reduce leptin production. Leptin is an important hormone that helps inhibit appetite. You can combat hormonal weight gain by keeping a healthy diet and regular exercise. Eating lean meats, healthy fats, complex carbs, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables helps prevent PMS symptoms. It encourages blood glucose levels and weight loss.
Causes of Constant Vaginal Dryness
Changes in estrogen levels during menopause can often lead to episodes vaginal dryness. These changes can also make the wall of the vagina thinner, making sex painful. BHRT can combat this and other conditions related to menopause. BHRT can help women at an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, blood clots, gall bladder disease, and both breast and endometrial cancer. All types of HRT can be associated with side effects, including swelling, nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, mood changes, and vaginal bleeding.
Changes in Libido and Sexual Desire
While Testosterone is typically considered a male hormone, it is essential for both men and women. Hormonal imbalances in women can include low testosterone levels that may cause low libido. A study with over 800 postmenopausal women reporting low sex drive showed that supplementing 150 or 300 mcg of Testosterone daily increased sexual desire and decreased stress. Women receiving supplemental Testosterone also reported more satisfying sexual experiences than those taking a placebo. Andropause occurs when men experience low Testosterone.
Estrogen and Circadian Rhythm Imbalances
The pineal gland is part of the endocrine system in the brain. It produces hormones, including melatonin, which affects the circadian rhythm, sleep, and levels of other hormones in the body. A pineal cyst is a pineal gland disorder that can occur without symptoms. However, a sizeable pineal cyst can cause hydrocephalus (water on the brain), headaches, and eye and vision problems. Women in their 20s are most likely to suffer from a pineal cyst.
Hormone Imbalance in Woman and Unstable Blood Sugar Levels
The pancreas serves as both an exocrine and endocrine gland. As an exocrine gland, it secretes enzymes that allow the digestion of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The endocrine function of the pancreas is to secrete the hormones insulin and glucagon. Both of these are important for regulating blood sugar. We need a steady supply of glucose (blood sugar) to fuel our brain, kidneys, and liver. Diabetes affects insulin metabolism, resulting in unwanted weight changes, excessive thirst, and wildly fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Accelerated Skin Aging and Hormone Imbalance
Dropping estrogen levels during perimenopause and menopause can accelerate skin aging. As the skin gets thinner when we age and collagen levels decrease, wrinkles increase. Our skin becomes drier, less elastic, and less vascular as we age. Decreasing estrogen levels are associated with increased signs of aging skin. BHRT helps prevent or delay the signs of skin aging that may also increase the risk of breast and uterine cancer.
Imbalanced Hormones and Estrogen Dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a condition with too much estrogen in the body. Receptors for estrogen exist in the brain, heart, uterus, breast, and skin. Excess estrogen plays a dangerous role in both breast and ovarian cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, autoimmune conditions, and gynecomastia (“man boobs”). While diet and lifestyle changes can help balance estrogen levels, supplements like diindolylmethane (DIM) help lower estrogen levels.
Changes in Weight Distribution From Hormones
Many women experience weight gain in the abdomen and arms after menopause. This type of weight gain is known as “central obesity.” It is dangerous because it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that BHRT can prevent unwanted weight gain in the torso and arms. While women in the study gained some weight during the study, the pattern of fat distribution was not associated with an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Women receiving BHRT also tend to have greater bone density than those not receiving hormone therapy.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance in Woman
Addressing hormone imbalances begins with a simple blood test. This post has just a few of the symptoms of hormone imbalance in woman. If you are in Arvada, Denver, or Wheat Ridge, Colorado, contact our preferred provider to schedule this quick test or set up a FREE consultation.