Your hormone levels dictate how your body functions. When they’re well-balanced, you feel healthy, and everything works properly. But if just one type of hormone falls out of balance, you can feel like your overall health is suffering. That’s because when your hormones are out of whack, it can affect multiple body systems.
Hormone imbalances can stem from a variety of different factors. The providers at the office of Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich explain more about hormone imbalances and how they can affect your overall health.
Symptoms of hormone imbalance
The signs of a hormone imbalance are easy to spot if you know what to look for. Some of the symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- An overgrowth of body hair in unexpected places (also called hirsutism)
- Hair loss on your head
- Vaginal dryness
- Skin tags
- Night sweats
- Being cold all the time (in some cases)
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
You may have only one of these symptoms or several of them, depending on which hormones are out of balance. And because these symptoms can also point to other conditions, a visit to Dr. Weyhrich can determine if your hormones are to blame.
How is a hormone imbalance diagnosed?
Although symptoms alone are often a good indicator of a hormone imbalance, they’re not definitive proof.
You need to get a blood test to determine whether your hormones are in balance. Your blood show us how much of the following hormones you have in your system:
- Thyroid hormones
- Testosterone (even for women)
A urine sample also gives us valuable information about your hormone levels. In some cases, an ultrasound test can reveal the effects of a hormone deficiency.
Conditions related to hormone imbalances
Some of the most common hormone imbalances include:
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, affects 7-10% of women. You may not know that you have it unless you have difficulty conceiving, as many women with PCOS do. Having an ultrasound and blood tests are the only ways to confirm you have PCOS.
If you do have PCOS, we can often help restore your fertility so you can successfully conceive a child and carry to term, if that’s your wish. Even if you’re not looking to conceive, treating PCOS is still important because it’s an endocrine disorder that’s associated with insulin problems and type 2 diabetes.
If you have too much or too little thyroid hormone, your overall health can suffer.
If you have too little thyroid hormone, the condition is called hypothyroid disorder. Symptoms of hypothyroid disorder include being cold, gaining weight, depression, and low sex drive.
If you have too much thyroid hormone, the condition is called hyperthyroid disorder. Symptoms of hyperthyroid disorder include weight loss, increased appetite, trembling in your fingers, fatigue, anxiety or irritability, and sweating.
Disorders of your thyroid hormone are usually treatable. It’s important to get it treated because failure to do so can lead to more serious problems.
Perimenopause and menopause
During the transition to menopause, you may start to feel the effects of your hormone levels dropping. The first phase of this transition is called perimenopause, which can last for 3-10 years.
Once you’ve reached menopause, which is defined as a year after your last menstrual period, your hormones may shift yet again.
Some of the hormone shifts include a decline in your estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels. Since you no longer have follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) or luteinizing hormone (LH) to regulate your hormones, you may start to develop some uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood changes
- Sleep problems
- Weight gain (due to a slower metabolism)
- Dry and thinning skin
- Loss of breast fullness
If you have these symptoms, Dr. Weyhrich may suggest treating them with bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or medications for depression and bone health.
If you have any of the symptoms of a hormone imbalance, it’s time to schedule a consultation with Dr. Weyhrich. Contact us by phone or request an appointment online.