Hormone imbalances are when there is too much or too little of any particular hormone within the human body. Hormones are responsible for carrying messages to the organs and tissues, and affect many of the body’s processes over time.
When an imbalance occurs, it can throw off the relationship with a different hormone creating multiple issues. The most common cause of hormonal imbalances is age; however thyroid issues and diabetes may also be the source.
For women menstrual cycles, birth control pills, and pregnancy can also have an effect on the precarious balance of hormones in the human body.
Due to the varied nature of what hormones do inside the body the signs and symptoms of an imbalance may be varied and difficult to notice. Feelings of anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and poor concentration, along with mood swings and irritability are common signs.
Also a radical change in feelings towards oneself or interactions with others may be a potential sign of an issue. Physically signs may include weight gain, acne, hair loss, night sweats and reduced libido. Infertility may also be from the result of a hormonal imbalance.
Many of the risk factors are emotional with anxiety, depression and lethargy all linked to hormone imbalances. Physically there are several conditions caused by hormone imbalances, such as diabetes with insufficient levels of insulin in the body, which can in turn lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.
Adrenal hormone imbalance can lead to depression, fatigue, dehydration, and susceptibility to infection.
Hyperthyroidism may lead to heart disease and high cholesterol, and significant issues during pregnancy such as premature labor, anemia, pre-eclampsia and other conditions that may threaten the health of the baby.
During menopause women experience a high imbalance with progesterone and estrogen, which put women at risk of osteoporosis, breast and uterine cancer and heart disease.
A simple blood, saliva or urine test can be carried out to see if hormones are in the ‘normal’ range. The usual way to test is through an immunoassay which is when antibodies are applied to the sample which will tell how much of the hormone can be found. These can now be done very quickly and in one single step – so that tests may be carried out at home such as home pregnancy test kits.
These tests are extremely accurate and can give an indicator of what should be done to resolve the symptoms, and can be used to detect many different hormones to give a complex course of therapy.
Hormonal imbalance can cause many serious conditions if left untreated, and with it being so easy to know why the issue has arisen there is no need for these conditions to get too advanced without treatment being started.
In recent years hormone imbalance in children has become more of a concern which can lead to slow growth rate, and can affect girls and boys equally, hereditary and environmental substances can both be causes for childhood hormonal imbalance.
Often a simple change in diet or exercise may be recommended for any hormonal imbalance but in extreme circumstances surgery may be required.