Produced by glands within your body, hormones play a vital role in various body processes. Once produced, they circulate freely in the bloodstream from where they are recognized and picked up by specific target cells. Note that your body cells have receptors that can only be activated by specific type of hormones. Once a cell has received the appropriate type of hormone, it embarks on a specific process that when combined with processes of other cells produce desired body functions. Hormones are therefore very necessary as catalysts for other chemical reactions within cells, which is necessary for growth, development and energy.
Your glands produce two types of hormones, steroids and peptides. Steroids are mainly sex hormones that determine your sex maturity and fertility. Steroids are made by the placenta while you are still in the womb. They are also produced by adrenal gland (ovaries). On the other hand, peptides are also produced by your glands from amino acids and have different roles. They include the growth hormones that also help in burning fat and building muscles in your body. Insulin that is produced by the liver is also a peptide hormone that is responsible for converting sugars into energy used by your body cells.
Naturally, your body controls hormonal levels. It is only at their optimum and balanced level that normal body functions can take place. However, there are instances when the imbalance is not achieved. Note that as a woman, your organs produce both estrogen and progesterone hormones every month. Any imbalance of these two hormones leads to various problems. The function of your hypothalamus becomes impaired, leading to dysfunction of your pituitary gland. This directly affects your ovaries, fallopian tube and your uterus in general.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Although previously thought to occur mainly in mature women, young women in their twenties have also been diagnosed with hormonal imbalance. Such imbalance presents such symptoms as changes in
- Menstrual cycle
- Occurrence of acne on the skin (especially on the face)
- Unusual oily skin
- Excessive hair growth
- General body fatigue
- Increased anxiety
- Low libido
- Occasional headaches
- Unexplained weight gain
- Water retention
- Premenstrual syndrome
- And urinary tract infections amongst other many symptoms.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
There are varied causes of hormonal imbalance. Contraceptive pills can easily cause hormonal imbalance. This is especially with pills containing synthetic estrogen. Regularly consuming a poor diet is also a major cause of hormonal imbalance. Environmental issues relating to high levels of pollution and high stress levels are also major causes. You can also suffer hormonal imbalance by regularly consuming non-organic products that contain high levels of estrogen. Various cosmetics containing high levels of estrogen or other penetrative chemicals have also been established to cause hormonal imbalance.
A close look at hormonal imbalance symptoms reveals that they are symptoms presented by other health conditions. It is therefore very necessary to seek medical attention before you can authoritatively say you have hormonal imbalance. Experiencing any of the symptoms requires that you pay a visit to an obstetrician, gynecologist or a reproductive endocrinologist for the necessary test for diagnosis.
Treatment of Hormonal Imbalance
There are three main treatment options that medical personnel recommend. These are lifestyle changes, HRT and the use of alternative medicine. A change in lifestyle is usually the first line of treatment because of it involves the least amount of risks. It involves avoiding alcohol, caffeine, attaining adequate sleep, intake of vitamins B, C, D and E, eating a balanced diet and regular exercises. The use of alternative medication is usually recommended as second line of treatment. This involves the use of non-estrogenic herbal remedies. Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) is not only expensive but also risky. This type of treatment increases the risk of developing different types of cancer.