Are you wondering if your hormones could be unbalanced? Whether male or female, when your hormones are fluctuating outside the realm of normal or are too high or too low, this can cause real symptoms that you may not know are coming from your hormone imbalance. The only way to tell if your hormones are unbalanced is through testing, I use blood testing in my practice, but some hormones can be measured through urine or saliva as well.
The problem with testing is that it is a one-time snapshot of a measurement. Many times, I know many of you have gone into your doctor to check if your hormones are off, only to be told you are in a healthy range for your age, and nothing is wrong. Hearing this can set off a cascade of frustration as your symptoms may persist, and you’re only offered the latest drug to bandage your symptoms. Tests should be used in conjunction with a thorough review of symptoms, and all area’s of the patient’s life that could be causing an imbalance in hormones. I am going to review six signs or symptoms that may be caused by unbalanced hormones wreaking havoc on your wellbeing. This is certainly not a comprehensive list, but if you find your symptoms among this list, you may have a hormone imbalance that should be addressed to get you back to your healthy self.
Are you tired a lot? Are you pushing yourself to get through your day? Unable to sleep? Most of us feel tired sometimes, but it’s usually just a bit of a blip that you can get past by catching up on sleep and making sure you are managing your stress. If your fatigue is down due to hormones, likely, you’ll still feel tired – no matter how much you manage to sleep, keep your stress low. You will find yourself not able to the things you used to like to do, due to low energy. If you also tend to alternate between extreme fatigue and periods of feeling wired, where it interferes with your ability to fall asleep and get into a deep sleep. Your stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenalin, most likely are a factor. If your having a hard time waking up, dragging your morning out or needing a cup or two of your favorite java, thyroid imbalance could be the culprit, especially if you are having brain fog, poor focus, and even some memory loss.
You’re struggling with low mood, sadness, anxiety, or depression? PMS? Excessive stress from life or life events can cause your stress response to trigger at inappropriate times, causing anxiety or panic attacks. This is often blamed for being a mental disorder but can be an over-responsive hormone reaction, not a mental health problem. Chronic stress can also drive down hormone production, when testosterone or progesterone is low, this can affect our mood, as we have many receptor sites in the brain for hormones. Men and women both are affected by low hormones, feeling sad, depressed, loss of drive for life, even irritable and emotional highs and lows. For Ladies, but Men listen up as you may be the first to recognize this in your partners or daughters. Premenstrual Symptoms around your period or during, is caused by hormone imbalance, especially if you have heavy, painful periods, sadness, crying, emotional, none of this normal. Menstrual periods should not create such disruptive symptoms in your life. If estrogen is too high, this can cause anxiety, irritability with heavier bleeding, progesterone too low can cause pain, heavy bleeding, sadness, crying, and a feeling of down. This is all correctable keep reading!
Your putting on belly fat or you can’t seem to lose weight. Are your cravings out of control? Finding it a big struggle to lose weight or noticing that you keep gaining weight? Stress can encourage your body to produce more cortisol, which is a significant factor in storing fat (especially for storing belly fat). Testosterone may be low in men and women due to stress or age, which affects your ability to keep your body fat down. If you can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to your weight, even when you’re exercising and eating healthy, it could be a sign that your hormones need to be brought back into balance. An unbalanced body will not let go of fat; it is a time to store for a future stress event. Hormones are playing a big part here. Tried everything to distance yourself from cravings and still getting nowhere? It may not just be a willpower issue. Sometimes, your hormones may be the real culprit for why you can’t stop craving certain foods.
Have you lost your sex drive, that feel-good feeling you had at one time for your partner? Sex drive is a big deal; it keeps intimacy in relationships; it brings us together as couples. A healthy sex drive gives you a good feeling of self-confidence, even if you are not sexually active. Your thought processes function better, you are more creative, and did I say confident, ok yes. When sex hormones drop or are out of balance, both men and women have issues of mood, lack arousal, poor orgasm or no orgasm, vaginal dryness, incontinence, erection issues, yep I will talk about it. It is a big deal; low sex hormones or hormones out of balance affects us at the core. Even increasing your risk of diseases like diabetes, and heart disease.
Does your skin seem to be getting drier? Or are you noticing you feel cold, or maybe you have cold hands, feet, and nose? You may have noticed that your hair is getting thinner or falling out? Nutrition and stress can play a part in this, but if they’re not the obvious culprits, it may be time to look more closely at your hormone health. Thyroid hormones can affect the health of your skin and hair, so it’s worth getting your thyroid health checked if you consistently notice these changes. If the above shined light on issues you struggle with, you might want to have your hormones checked. Remember, sometimes lab results show a slight lowering or rise but still within normal reference ranges, this can lead to an “Everything is fine response” from your practitioner. I find instead of treating labs, we treat the patient and put together the symptoms, the labs, look at diet, sleep, lifestyle factors, only then are we able to balance even when the labs are in low normal. Many patients will do better with a little bio-identical thyroid if the above shows us a picture of low thyroid function. Keep seeking answers if you don’t feel good, change your provider until someone listens to you. Most Functional Medicine Practitioners practice this kind of medicine, optimizing the body, not treating a lab value. There is always an answer to why you are not feeling well. Using bio-identical hormones for balancing hormones your hormones is a safe alternative to pharmaceutical hormones or drugs. Meantime, while you are waiting for evaluation: Things to do:
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