Addressing Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Addressing Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Elina Dawoodani profile Authored by Elina Dawoodani on 11 Jun 2014 - 10:19.

What are hormones?

Hormones are regulatory biochemicals that work as messengers. They are secreted from the exocrine and endocrine glands into the blood which travels to organs and tissues in the body to exercise their functions. They affect different important processes like the growth and development, respiration, reproduction, lactation, sexual function, digestion, metabolism, movement, sensory perception etc. They are released in extremely small amounts, but play a major role in the body and hence are of great importance.

Some of the major endocrine glands that are secreted in the body are:

  • Pituitary Gland
  • Pineal Gland
  • Thymus
  • Thyroid
  • Adrenal Glands
  • Pancreas
  • Testes
  • Ovaries

What is hormonal imbalance?

Hormones work together in symphony. When these hormones secreted by the glands are more than required or less than needed, hormonal imbalance occurs. Controlling imbalance is tricky and complicated. They have a dramatic effect on the weight, appearance, fertility, anxiety and energy levels.

Are you at risk?

Hormonal imbalance can happen to anyone at any age, but is generally seen in middle aged adult women, mostly above 50 years of age.

What are the causes of its prevalence?

There are many factors that cause hormonal imbalance, a few of which are enumerated below:

  • Menopause
  • Age
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Medications
  • Birth Control Pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Insulin Imbalance
  • Unhealthy Lifestyle and Dietary Habits
  • Insufficient Sleep
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Stress

What are the symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women?

As seen in the case of hormonal imbalance in males, women also experience some similar symptoms. They include issues like acne, fatigue, diminished sex drive, mood swings, memory loss, urinary tract infections, and weight problems. These symptoms are shared by both the genders. Besides, women experience some symptoms that are commonly seen in their sex. They are generally associated with menstrual cycle and menopause. They include:

1. Hot Flashes: Hot flashes are characterized by a sudden feeling of intense heat on face and upper part of the body.

2. Night Sweating: Night sweating is similar to hot flashes, but causes more sweating at night as compared to hot flashes that occur during the day time.

3. Insomnia: Insomnia is a term used to indicate sleeplessness. It is accompanied usually by anxiety, stress and night sweats.

4. Vaginal Dryness: Vaginal dryness is a common symptom of hormonal imbalance and generally leads to low sex drive in women. It is uncomfortable and causes pain during sex. It leads to burning and itching sensation and causes soreness.

5. Pre-menstrual Syndrome: The imbalance of estrogen and progesterone before the onset of menstrual cycle every month causes a number of unpleasant symptoms in many women. Some of these symptoms include: anxiety, depression, bloating, weight gain, nausea, cramps, change in appetite etc.

6. Excess Hair Growth: It is also called ‘hirsutism’. In this condition, hair starts to grow from those parts of the body where hair growth is not seen e.g. women with hair on their chins (beards), side of the cheeks etc. it is a common problem with women suffering from PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disease).

7. Irregular Periods

8. Water Retention: Water retention may be seen as bipedal oedema in many cases.

9. Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition in which a tissue, similar to the uterus lining, grows outside of the uterus. Some of the areas where this occurs include vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes etc.

10. Oily or Dry Skin

11. Alopecia: Alopecia is a term used to indicate sudden hair loss. Hormonal imbalance leads to weakness of follicles resulting in alopecia.

12. Abnormal Heart Beat

13. Dryness in the mouth and eyes

14. Low Libido: Hormonal imbalance during pre-menopause and menopause causes a decline in sex drive. This is known as low libido.

15. Fibrosis: The growth of muscles or connective tissue in the uterus is known as uterine fibrosis. They form clusters and require hysterectomy to be removed.

Many of these symptoms can be linked to other physical problems, and a simple blood test can reveal if there are other underlying concerns.

 

What is the treatment of hormonal imbalance?

There are several treatment options available. One of them is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which are of two types:

1. Estrogen replacement

2. Combination therapy (a combination of estrogen and progesterone)

Based on the severity of the condition, the right treatment of hormonal imbalance would be suggested by your physician. However, it is always recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle and make dietary modifications in order to bring hormones back into equilibrium.

Which foods are suggested for prevention and cure of hormonal imbalance?

1. Foods rich in essential fatty acids

2. Foods rich in fiber

3. Foods high in flavanoids

4. Nuts

5. Cruciferous vegetables

6. Organic foods

With consistent effort to improving diet and digestive health, stress management, improved sleep and consistent physical activity, true holistic health is attainable.

References:

1. http://www.google.com/patents/US5468736

2. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hirsutism/Pages/introduction.aspx

3. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=btnews&dbid=125

 

*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.