Hormones are produced by various glands in the body that make up the endocrine system. They serve as little messengers carrying out orders throughout the body, telling it what to do and when to do it. Hormones regulate many bodily functions, so when an imbalance arises, it can really throw off all your cycles. If you’re experiencing the following health concerns, these may be signs your hormone levels are off.
Please note that all suggested solutions should be decided based on discussions with a healthcare provider first.
1. Weight change
There are numerous hormones that affect weight stability. Your frequency of hunger, metabolism, genetics, and lifestyle habits can all affect the likelihood of weight gain or loss. If you notice a substantial change in weight, one of the following hormones may be the culprit.
Prolonged periods of stress can boost your levels of the hormone cortisol, causing you to gain more weight than normal. In addition, serotonin hormones play an important role in your hunger level and, if paired with stress, can also cause a change in weight.
Then there’s the thyroid gland, which regulates your metabolism and manages your ability to burn more calories. If you notice a change in weight and nothing drastic has changed in your lifestyle habits, this may be a good indicator that hormone changes are the root cause.
Solutions: First, assess whether there has been a change in your lifestyle habits. If nothing has changed, it’s important to reflect if you’ve been feeling more stressed than normal.
Exercise and various relaxation techniques can be effective to help maintain normal cortisol and serotonin levels. It’s also important to visit your doctor if you feel you can’t effectively manage your stress or to determine if it’s actually a thyroid issue.
2. Hormone levels and irregular periods
Every woman’s menstrual cycle is different. For some, it comes like clockwork every single month; while for others, it’s a little unpredictable. You know your body better than anyone else, so when you notice your period starts to vary, a hormonal imbalance may be an underlying cause.
If your body’s levels of estrogen and progesterone start to change, this can cause a disruption in your monthly flow. You may notice your period varies in length or comes more sporadically than normal. Common causes of irregular periods and hormonal imbalances include: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), stress, uterine fibroids, exercising too much, or certain birth control methods.
Solutions: For some, the solution may involve decreasing levels of stress. For others, the use of synthetic hormones to stabilize hormone levels may be required.
This can be done by visiting your healthcare provider to prescribe the best birth control option for you or by ordering hormonal birth control online. If you’re already on birth control and this is the problem for your imbalance, a doctor may suggest switching to a different kind to meet your body’s specific needs.
3. Extreme fatigue
Having an off day where you feel more tired than usual is totally normal. However, if you experience extreme exhaustion for a consistent period of time, this may indicate something’s off with your hormones.
Constant fatigue is often related to an imbalance in your thyroid gland, which makes the hormone, thyroxin. Additionally, a hormonal imbalance of this type can cause interference with your quality of sleep; therefore, making you more tired than normal.
Solutions: There are various natural ways to improve thyroid health like upping your B12 intake or taking up yoga. The thyroid gland is one of the most essential parts of the human body, therefore, taking extra care of it is crucial. If you suspect you may have a thyroid issue, visit your doctor to discuss your concerns and symptoms.
4. Hair loss and hormone levels
Your hair goes through a 4-stage cycle comprised of anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. During the anagen phase, your hair follicles grow consistently for a few years at a time.
Those follicles then transition into the catagen phase indicating the end of the active growth phase. Finally, the telogen phase causes your hair follicles to go into a resting state, which is when you usually experience shedding.
Both the thyroid hormone, thyroxin, and the stress hormone, cortisol, play a huge role in excessive hair thinning. Hormone imbalances can affect not only growth but also make hair dull rather than shiny.
On the other hand, when the adrenal gland produces elevated levels of cortisol, your body will feel like it’s in a high state of stress.
Solutions: Similar to hormone-induced weight change, the same solutions can be applied here. Additionally, to stop current hair shedding in its tracks, there are a few hair care tricks you can follow. First, try taking a multivitamin or Omega-3 supplement to strengthen your hair from the inside-out. It’s also important to not wear tight hairstyles and to use hair products designed to reduce shedding.
Most of us correlate hormonal acne to our puberty days, however, it can follow us far into our adulthood. Hormonal acne is typically persistent and often appears on your cheeks, jaw, shoulders, and chest. Even if you didn’t experience acne as a teenager, it may develop later in life depending on the state of your hormones.
Hormonal acne arises when androgen hormones, like testosterone, increase. This can lead to higher levels of sebum (oil) production, clogged pores, and inflammation. Hormonal acne is a little more difficult to treat, but there are definitely effective remedies out there.
Solutions: Since hormonal acne deals with an imbalance of the sex hormones, switching to or changing from a hormonal birth control can be an effective treatment option. If you’d prefer the natural route, changing your diet and skin-care routine can both be helpful.
For food, it’s important to stay away from dairy and high glycemic foods, such as white bread, pasta, or rice. For your skin, you should use non-comedogenic products since these don’t block or clog pores. Additionally, try using products that regenerate skin cell growth, like an alpha-hydroxy acid serum.
6. Digestive problems
Sex hormones, such as estrogen, greatly affect your gut’s microflora. This can cause issues in your GI tract’s function, leading to stomach pain, bloating, constipation, or nausea. However, digestive issues may arise due to numerous factors such as stress, diet, activity level, or the medications you’re taking.
If you’ve been experiencing prolonged digestive problems, this may be an indicator that hormones are throwing off your microflora. There are a few solutions you can try to get your body back on track.
Solutions: It may be necessary to change your diet to include more fiber and fluids. Additionally, taking a daily probiotic will help maintain your gut health and can even boost your immune system. A probiotic might not work immediately, so be sure to give it some time to see full benefits.