Hormone Problems, Not just for teens
Do you not feel quite like yourself anymore, or are your pants a little too tight? Your hormones may be the culprit.
Hormones are essential for regulating a woman's weight, mood, and overall sense of wellbeing. Hormone production tends to decrease naturally over time. As the production of certain hormones decrease, there may be an overproduction of other hormones.
The most common among women of all ages is progesterone deficiency. Menopausal women usually struggle with estrogen deficiency. There are different treatment options available for each.
What Causes Hormone Imbalances?
Most cases of hormone imbalance occur in women older than 35, although an imbalance may develop at other ages. Hormone imbalance may be caused by a number of contributing factors, such as:
· Chronic fatigue syndrome
· Certain medications
· Thyroid issues
· Autoimmune diseases
Poor diet and lack of exercise may contribute to a hormonal imbalance. Paying special attention to these areas can help lessen your symptoms.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
A hormonal imbalance can affect your health in different ways. Although symptoms vary depending on what is causing the imbalance, common symptoms include:
· Hot flashes
· Heart palpitations
· Bouts of sweating
· Rapid weight gain
· Hair loss
· Weight loss
· Adult acne
Women suffering from hormonal imbalances may experience headaches, depression, mood swings, irritability and memory lapses.
Diagnosis of Hormone Imbalance
Hormone levels are tested through several different methods, although some cases of hormone imbalance are diagnosed simply by evaluating patients' symptoms.
One test commonly used to diagnose hormonal imbalance is saliva testing, which is a laboratory analysis of a sample of the patient's saliva. It provides information about the levels of hormones circulating through the body, not just those present within specific tissue.
Blood serum testing involves measuring the levels of hormones that can easily enter cells, as well as the levels of hormones that become attached to substances that allow hormones to be carried through the bloodstream.
Follicle-stimulating-hormone testing (FSH) is frequently used to determine the hormonal status of women who are experiencing signs or symptoms of menopause. FSH testing measures the level of follicle-stimulating hormone in the blood. When a woman's estrogen levels begin to decrease, the pituitary gland in the brain will cause FSH to be released, stimulating estrogen production by the ovaries. If a woman's levels of FSH are rising, menopause is often the most likely cause.
Treatment of Hormone Imbalance
Treatment for a hormone imbalance depends on the underlying cause and specific needs and goals of the patient. One treatment is hormone-replacement therapy (HRT). Medication containing estrogen or progesterone is prescribed to supplement the hormones that are deficient. These synthetic forms of hormones are delivered through pills, patches or creams. There are risks associated with HRT, including heart disease, stroke and breast cancer. Risks may vary depending on a woman's health history and lifestyle. Before deciding if HRT is appropriate, a woman should discuss the risks and benefits with her provider.
Women suffering from depression or mood changes due to a hormone imbalance may also benefit from additional treatment. Talk to your provider about your different options. In addition to medical treatment, some patients are able to reduce the symptoms of hormone imbalance by maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle.