Hormones play an essential role in the proper functioning of a woman’s body. These powerful chemicals are produced in the endocrine glands and released into the bloodstream.
Their sole purpose is to issue orders to your body’s organs. Without them, the body’s major processes — growth, metabolism, mood and reproduction functioning — would fail to operate as intended.
When hormones are in harmony with the body, our moods are pleasant, we have plenty of energy and can better fight off illnesses and infections. When hormones become unbalanced, the body sends out warning signs.
Sometimes, those alerts come in the form of mood swings that make us unpleasant to be around, or extreme fatigue that makes it difficult to get off the couch and enjoy life. Other times, they come in the form of more serious medical conditions like diabetes.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance depend on which hormones or glands are working improperly. Identifying which hormones are malfunctioning is imperative in correcting the issues.
What Is Hormonal Imbalance?
Women’s bodies are amazing. Just think about everything they do, including bringing new life into the world. When their bodies work as intended, it is a beautiful thing.
Sometimes, though, their bodies get a bit out of whack. When that happens, it can cause a lot of unpleasant issues, from hair growing in weird places to horrible gas and bloating.
Hormonal imbalances occur when there is either too much or too little of a specific hormone in the bloodstream. They are the body’s normal response to certain times of transition, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Perimenopause is the beginning of a woman’s journey toward menopause, which officially marks the end of her reproductive years. Hormonal changes signalling a woman is in perimenopause can begin eight to 10 years before menopause starts.Oestrogen levels fluctuate, which can cause irregular periods.Among the common symptoms are hot flashes and sleep problems, decreased libido, and changing cholesterol levels. Even though oestrogen levels will be low towards the end of perimenopause, it is still possible for a woman to get pregnant, so be sure to continue using birth control during this time.
- Menopause starts when a woman’s oestrogen levels are so low that her ovaries no longer produce or release eggs. A woman who has gone without a period for one year will likely be declared in menopause by her gynaecologist. Among the symptoms associated with menopause are night sweats, depression, fatigue, frequent urination, and vaginal dryness.
- Oestrogen Dominance occurs when the body overproduces oestrogen. It brings with it an uncomfortable set of symptoms, like infertility, mood swings, and weight gain. If raging oestrogen levels are left unchecked, they can lead to more serious illnesses and diseases such as cancer and thyroid dysfunction. Dietary changes and medication are the most common treatments for oestrogen dominance.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can strike a woman anytime during her fertile years and involves the over-production of the male hormone testosterone. PCOS causes infertility, irregular periods, and the excessive growth of hair on the face and body. Medications like birth control pills and diabetes drugs can be used to treat it.
- Endometriosis is a disorder that causes the tissue found in the lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterine cavity. It can grow on the bowels, ovaries, and pelvic tissue. While it is unusual for the tissue to spread beyond the pelvic area, it is not impossible. When hormonal changes that control a woman’s menstrual cycle occur, it affects the displaced endometrial tissue. It causes the tissue to grow, thicken, and then break down — a painful process when it happens outside of the uterus where it is intended. Eventually, the tissue that has broken down outside the uterus becomes trapped in the pelvis. When this happens, it causes scar formation, severe pain during periods, and fertility problems, among other issues.
Common Signs of Hormonal Imbalance
We have all heard the jokes about hormonal women. Raging one minute and crying the next. But hormonal imbalance is no laughing matter. It can cause real discomfort and pain for women.
The good news is, there are effective methods for controlling the unpleasant symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance. It is a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplemental regimen. Here are some natural suggestions for dealing with some of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
1. Abdominal Weight Gain
As we age, our metabolisms become slower, making it easier than ever to gain weight. And where does that weight like to hang out? Right around the mid-section, which is the worst place it could go. This can lead to health problems down the road, including heart disease and high cholesterol. Eating too many processed sugars and carbohydrates, combined with a lack of adequate exercise and high-stress levels, can lead to packing on the pounds.
Sometimes, there is another factor at play when abdominal weight gain occurs later in life: hormones. PCOS, an underactive thyroid, and menopause are all contributing factors to the inability to keep weight off.
Recommendation: In addition to a sensible diet and plenty of exercise, women who find they are gaining weight will want to add Gymnema Sylvestre to their daily care routine. Supplementing with this herb can help reduce sugar cravings, promote the regeneration of damaged cells, and block the absorption of sugar in the small intestine. Consuming 300 milligrams twice daily is ideal for weight loss.
2. All-Over Weight Gain
When the number on the scale keeps rising no matter how much you diet or exercise, it could be a sign of a sluggish thyroid. Metabolism is regulated by the thyroid. When the thyroid overproduces or underproduces hormones, extreme weight loss or weight gain can happen. Hypothyroidism, which leads to weight gain, is far more common.
Recommendation: Consuming chamomile can help protect the thyroid. A Greek study offered some evidence of reduced risk of thyroid abnormalities among individuals who drank chamomile tea two to six times weekly. Another helpful herbal supplement is fennel seed. Studies have indicated it also boosts thyroid health and functioning.
3. Afternoon Fatigue
Occasionally feeling fatigued is normal. Maybe it is due to a night of less-than-optimal sleep or a common cold.
Other times, it is our body’s way of sending out an S.O.S. When getting off the couch seems like an impossible task, adrenal fatigue could be the culprit. If the body over-produces cortisol, unpleasant side effects occur, including weight gain and fatigue.
Recommendation: We lead stressful lives, and sometimes the anxiety it causes pushes our bodies to produce too much cortisol. Supplementing with American Ginseng Extract can help promote normal cortisol production and restore energy levels.
4. Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Ask any woman going through perimenopause or menopause what they hate the most, and the answer is likely to be the hot flashes and night sweats. About 75 per cent of women going through the “change of life” experience hot flashes that last for up to two years. They are usually the last sign leading up to a woman’s final period.
In addition to raising the temperature of the skin, hot flashes can elevate the heart rate. The result is not only feeling hot and sweaty but potentially also dizzy. Maca root extract can help alleviate hot flashes and other unpleasant symptoms of menopause. There is no recommended dosage of maca root, but most studies on its effectiveness for menopausal women have tested with 1.5 to 5 grams of daily intake.
5. Perimenopausal and Menopausal Symptoms
6. Mood Swings, Anger, and Frustration
In 70 per cent of women going through menopause, feelings of irritability were among their biggest complaints. While it is perfectly normal to experience mood swings, that does not mean women enjoy the process.
Why does menopause rage happen?
It is because oestrogen affects serotonin production, and serotonin is the hormone that regulates mood. Less oestrogen equals more moodiness.
Emotions eventually stabilise again once the process of menopause is complete, but that is of little comfort to women who are tired of dealing with moodiness.
Recommendation: Ashwagandha extract can help ease women through the process, keeping moods a little more stable. Clinical evaluation of this natural herb supports its effectiveness in taming irritability, anxiety, and depression.
7. Stress, Low Self-Esteem, and Low Confidence Levels
Stress is a normal part of life. For women going through menopause, it can feel like non-stop stress and anxiety, which can in turn prompt low self-esteem and low confidence levels.
When your body feels out of control — swinging through moods like a monkey in the jungle — it can be difficult to feel confident in yourself.
Recommendation: Regaining control can be as simple as supporting your daily regimen with Rhodiola, an adaptogenic plant known for balancing stress responses.
Research demonstrates the plant’s ability to delay or mitigate these conditions when associated with menopause and hormone fluctuations.