Here are some tell-tale signs
Hormones are our body’s messengers that help control important bodily processes and also affect our minds. Proper functioning of hormones is essential for maintaining mind and body balance, regulating energy levels, mood, appetite, metabolism, reproduction and more. Hormone levels fluctuate at different stages of life, typically during puberty, and in women particularly during menstrual cycles and pregnancy. Hormones may also oscillate due to certain medical conditions and overall lifestyle.
Hormonal imbalances occur when our body makes too little or too much of a hormone. When hormones go out of sync, it throws a lot of things off balance, including a woman’s overall health. It is therefore important to get to the root cause of the imbalance in order to set things right.
Some tell-tale signs of hormonal imbalances:
1. Irregular menstrual cycles:
The first indication of haywire hormones is an irregular, inconsistent, unpredictable menstrual cycle. Hormonal imbalances can also lead to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), irregular periods, heavy bleeding, unexplained weight gain or in some case, weight loss, fatigue, headaches, hair loss on scalp, hair growth on face known as hirsutism, mood swings, etc.
2. Uncomfortable periods:
Excessive, heavy bleeding is a clear indication of hormonal imbalance - (In which case, try checking which sanitary napkins brands offer comfortable xl sanitary pads). When heavy and/or painful periods are accompanied by other discomforts like abdominal pain, frequent urination, bowel problems, lower backache, etc. it could signal towards fibroids, which are basically non-cancerous growths caused by imbalanced hormones.
3. Stress and the Catch-22:
When hormones are all over the place, it causes stress. The Catch-22 situation here is that hormonal imbalances cause stress, and stress brings about hormonal imbalances. How? Prolonged stress exposes the body to high levels of cortisol - The primary stress hormone in our body. This in turn messes up other hormone levels and affects the body’s overall functioning.
4. Mood changes:
The female sex hormone estrogen adversely affects the brain’s mood-boosting chemicals. Estrogen fluctuations cause PMS and mood fluctuations. Therefore, several women experience irritability, depression, anger, anxiety and peaks and valleys of emotions before and during their periods. Hormonal changes occurring as per the menstrual cycle / ovulation / pregnancy / breastfeeding – All are natural phases for women, and they definitely cause mood swings. In addition, thyroid hormonal imbalance may also cause mood changes.
An imbalance of Progesterone, which is basically the body’s ‘relaxing hormone’ may cause insomnia, whereas too much progesterone brings on chronic fatigue. Falling estrogen levels may cause night sweats thus disrupting sleep and contributing to tiredness, lethargy, or lack of energy.
Since hormonal imbalances almost always impact the menstrual cycle, planning a pregnancy as well as easily getting pregnant become challenging. And as vicious cycles would have it, an imbalance in hormones may cause a dip in estrogen levels, reducing sexual desire as well.
7. Stomach discomfort:
The digestive tract is lined with cells that affect and control progesterone and estrogen. Fluctuations in these hormone levels therefore affect the overall digestive system, causing bloating and other stomach-related discomfort.
8. Skin woes:
Low estrogen and progesterone levels and/or high levels of male hormones could cause skin problems like adult acne, dry skin, itchy skin, etc.
When the mind and body don’t feel quite right, the first step is to identify the different signs of hormonal imbalances and check what applies to you. Once recognized, it becomes easier to deal with hormone fluctuations and take necessary steps to restore the balance, for your mental as well as physical wellbeing.