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8 signs of hormonal imbalance and how you can restore it

Hormonal imbalance can disrupt our body's equilibrium and impact everything from sleep to energy levels. The first step is to recognise the signs

Fluctuating hormone levels can severely impact energy levels and leave you feeling constantly fatigued
Fluctuating hormone levels can severely impact energy levels and leave you feeling constantly fatigued (Unsplash/Naomi August)

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers that help to regulate different bodily functions such as metabolism, growth, mood and reproduction. However, imbalanced hormones – in men and women – can disrupt the delicate equilibrium of our bodies leading to a wide range of symptoms that can affect overall health and well-being. Knowing the signs of hormonal imbalance is key to addressing these issues and bringing back body harmony.

Also read: 8 subtle signs of menopause women tend to overlook

What are a few common signs of hormonal imbalance?

Irregular menstrual cycles: Hormonal imbalance may lead to menstrual cycle irregularities such as missed periods, prolonged periods or heavy bleeding. These abnormalities may be due to an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone levels which affects the reproductive system.

Mood swings and emotional instability: Changes in hormone levels could influence neurotransmitters in your brain, thereby producing mood swings, irritability, anxiety or depression. Notably, estrogen-progesterone imbalances may also affect human emotions making them unstable besides affecting their general mental well-being. 

Fatigue and low energy levels: Persistent fatigue and low energy levels usually accompany hormonal imbalances making it hard for you to do day-to-day activities or even engage in any physical activity. 

Weight gain or difficulty losing weight: Changes in hormone levels have the potential to affect metabolism and appetite regulation, thereby causing weight gain or making it difficult for an individual to lose weight. Insulin resistance, thyroid imbalances or changes in cortisol levels can impair the body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight despite attempts at dieting or exercise. 

Skin problems: Hormonal imbalance may be visible on the skin leading to acne, oily skin, dryness and inflammation. The sebum production and skin cell turnover could be influenced by fluctuations in cortisol, androgen levels, insulin among others which can cause these various dermatological disorders. 

Hair loss or thinning: Fluctuations in hormone levels especially androgens like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can cause hair loss or thinning. Hormonal imbalances can interfere with the growth cycle of hair, thereby causing premature resting stage of hair follicles and resultant loss of hair. 

Sleep disturbances: Hormone imbalances interfere with sleep patterns resulting in cases such as insomnia, difficulty in sleeping as well as waking too many times during the night. Circadian rhythms together with sleep-wake cycles are influenced by fluctuations in estrogen levels, cortisol, melatonin among others causing poor quality sleep overall and reduced sleep duration. 

Digestive issues: Problems with digestion may be due to hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance may contribute to digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea or abdominal discomfort. Imbalances in cortisol, thyroid hormones or serotonin can affect gastrointestinal motility and function, leading to digestive disturbances. 

Also read: A simple urine test could detect ovarian cancer early, reveals study

What should you do if you suspect hormonal imbalance in your body?

Consult with a healthcare professional: In case of hormonal imbalance, it is important to seek medical advice so as to accurately evaluate and diagnose the condition. Hormone levels can be measured in a laboratory by conducting blood tests to determine the level of thyroid hormone or underlying conditions.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle: A lot of hormones can be balanced by leading a healthy lifestyle that can improve overall health. Regular exercise, well-balanced diet, stress management and enough sleep are ways that people can attain hormonal health and relieve some symptoms related to their imbalances.

Consider hormone therapy: Sometimes, hormone replacement therapy may help achieve balance of hormones through mitigating the symptoms caused by it. This usually involves administering substitute hormones for those who lack them or using drugs that regulate their circulation. 

Address underlying health conditions: Addressing existing health issues such as diabetes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid complications is very important when dealing with hormonal imbalances. By stabilizing hormonal levels through treatment of these problems, patients have greatly improved their physical state. 

Dr. Nandita Palshetkar is an obstetrician, gynaecologist, director of Bloom IVF India and president of the IVF Society of India (ISAR).

Also read: Why patient education is essential for couples seeking IVF treatment

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