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Hormonal imbalances occur any time your hormones are too high or too low, which can be one or many different hormones. These occur in men and women, though we are talking more about the hormone imbalances women experience, since it is more common in women.
Keep reading to learn more about what might have caused your hormonal imbalance, so you know what the next steps are.
The tricky thing about hormonal imbalances is that many of the symptoms are also symptoms of other physical conditions. However, it is still good to know about the potential signs and symptoms, so that you know when to talk to a doctor. This is not something you can diagnose on your own, but by understanding more about the common signs of hormonal imbalance, you can go to your doctor with all the necessary information.
5 Signs of Hormonal Imbalance in Women
Here are 5 common signs that you might have a hormonal imbalance.
1. Unexplained Weight Gain
This is often one of the first things women notice when their hormones are out of whack. IF you have weight gain that seems to come out of nowhere, and is not from changing your eating or activity habits, it is likely from your hormone levels or another medical condition that needs treating.
IN some women, it is from eating more, but if the sudden increase in your appetite seems out of place, that can also be related to your hormonal imbalance.
With hormonal imbalances, you might develop insulin resistance, have lower metabolism, or increased appetite, all of which can affect your weight.
2. Mood and Behavioral Changes
Some mood changes can be explained by monthly hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle, added stress, or unexpected events in your life, but others are random and come out of nowhere. These are the ones to be concerned about.
Hormonal imbalances can give you more mood swings, irritability you can’t seem to control, and even angry outburst in the most unexpected ways. You may have worsening PMS symptoms every month during your menstrual cycle, or increased anxiety and depression symptoms if you suffer from those mental illnesses.
3. Chronic Pain
Unfortunately, many men and women who have a hormonal imbalance also experience chronic pain. Most often, this is in the form of headaches, but you can get other aches and pains in various parts of your body as well. Even if it isn’t from your hormone levels, unexplained physical pain is always a good reason to see your doctor.
Have you been experiencing a lot of fatigue lately? Maybe you are sleeping normally, but are exhausted all day, or you are having trouble sleeping through the night. You might feel like you are worn down and just don’t have the energy for your normal daily activities. This is another big symptom of a hormonal imbalance.
5. Low Sex Drive
Naturally, another symptom of certain hormonal imbalances is with low sex drive, which can occur in both men and women. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones can all affect your libido.
If you have any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to find out if you have a hormonal imbalance.
Common Causes of Hormonal Imbalances
First of all, there are many causes of hormonal imbalances that can occur with men or women, and due to many different types of hormones. Each hormone is going to create its own causes and side effects, so this is where you can look at what hormones are out of balance and what you are actually experiencing to make you think your symptoms are due to your hormones.
Some of the general causes of hormone imbalances include:
Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
As you can see, the causes vary widely, based on the type of hormone and how out of level your hormones are. For women with disordered eating habits, you might notice that you have weight gain or weight loss, often linked to the vitamin deficiency as well. If you have a thyroid disease, that is naturally from your thyroid hormone being too high or too low. There is no single cause for hormones to be out of balance since there is so much to consider.
Causes for Women
There are also causes that can be specific or more common depending on your born gender. For women, some of the more common causes include:
Birth control pills
Other hormone drugs
These are all going to be related to your reproductive system, whether or not you are pregnant, your age, and other factors.
Causes for Men
Hormonal imbalances in men are similar, though the causes can be quite different. For men, they tend to have hormonal imbalance symptoms like insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, issues with muscle mass, depression, and decreased libido.
Some of the potential causes for these imbalances in men include:
Low testosterone (a leading cause of hormonal issues in men)
For men and women, it is important to see your doctor and find out which hormones are out of balance first, before determining the cause and proper treatments.
Mental and Emotional Effects of Hormonal Imbalance
When you are looking at the effects of a hormonal imbalance, you might read a lot about the physical changes, such as weight gain or chronic pain, but it doesn’t end there. This can also affect your mental and emotional health, particularly with certain types of hormones.
From mood and behavioral changes, to increased depression and anxiety, you might feel like a completely different person just because a hormone is too high or too low. Here are some things to know about hormonal imbalances and how they can change your mental or emotional health.
The first thing you might notice with a hormonal imbalance is that your mood is changing. You might go from the occasional mood swings and irritability to feeling like you can barely control what your mood is doing. If you are experiencing a lot of irritability, being angry a lot, having loud outbursts, or just a general mood swing that never seems to go away, it might be a good idea to consider whether your hormones are at fault.
This can happen with regular fluctuations of hormone levels, such as women who are going through PMS with their menstrual cycle, but when it happens more often or daily, that is when you know it might be something else going on.
Mental Health Issues
Some men and women also experience mental health issues with their hormonal imbalance. This is typically if you already have a mental health condition like depression of anxiety, which is then increased dramatically due to the hormonal imbalance.
For example, if you have depression, but suddenly your depressive episodes are more severe, last longer, or coming on more often, then it could be from your hormone levels.
Similarly, people with anxiety disorders might notice the panic attacks are worsened or that your generalized anxiety never seems to go away. That is also a sign that something else is going on in your body and you should talk to your doctor about it.
Everyone experiences some level of stress, and the cortisol hormone is there to help you deal with it. However, if your stress is heightened suddenly, and you can’t seem to handle the mental or emotional changes it is causing, the cortisol or other hormone levels might be too high. This is one of the side effects of hormonal imbalances.
Fatigue and Low Energy
Lastly, you may experience a lot of fatigue during the day and low energy, regardless of how much sleep you got. This gets into the field of pure exhaustion, where you can barely get through the day, have low productivity at work, and just want to sleep all day long, when you know it is a problem.
How Hormones Affect Your Weight
One of the most common physical side effects of having a hormonal imbalance, especially in women, is weight gain. Why is that? Because your hormones help to regulate many systems in your body that control your weight, including your appetite and metabolism.
This article is going to explore what hormones you need to keep balanced, how they can affect your weight, and what you can do about it.
Estrogen VS Progesterone Weight Changes
Many hormones can affect your weight, but two of the more common ones are estrogen and progesterone. The difference is that when these levels are too low or too high, it can cause considerably different outcomes as far as your weight goes. Understanding this will help you and your doctor to figure out which of your hormones are responsible for the unexplained weight gain.
If you have more body fat, unexpected weight gain, fluid retention, headaches, depression, and blood sugar issues, it is probably from the estrogen in your body being out of balance. On the other hand, if you are losing weight unexpectedly, you might be struggling with too much progesterone.
You want a good balance of both, where neither is too high or too low in order to maintain your weight properly.
Why Weight Gain?
There are a few different reasons you start gaining weight as a result of your hormone levels being out of balance. The first is that it can cause your metabolism to plummet. You need a good level of metabolism in order to burn fat and calories that you consume, so when you have low metabolism, your body holds onto more of what you eat, which can cause you to gain weight more easily.
You might also notice that when you had other symptoms of hormonal imbalance, you also had a bigger appetite, lower energy, and more cravings. These work together to cause you to eat more, eat more unhealthy foods you crave, and not exercise as much, which as you know can also contribute to your weight gain.
The Negative Effects of Weight Gain
Gaining weight isn’t just about how you look or how well your clothes fit. There are also other negative health consequences of being overweight or obese. When you start gaining weight, it increases the risk of visceral fat, which can lead to heart disease and stroke. You are at a higher risk for diabetes, irregular periods, worsening PMS symptoms, joint pain, and even some types of cancers. It is important that if you are gaining weight and are not sure why, that you talk to your doctor about it.