Being able to spot the signs you have a Hormone imbalance is key to maintaining a holistic health lifestyle because they play such an important role in virtually every aspect your well being.
What do your Hormones do?
Your hormones are tiny little chemical messengers that whizz around your bloodstream telling your organs and body tissues to fulfill their functions. These busy little chaps affect your well being in various ways, which include:
- Your development and growth
- The way you metabolize food
- Sexual functionality
- Cognition and mood
- Body temperature
The most publicized hormonal changes...
When our bodies go through certain hormonal changes, it can create havoc. The most common events that get the most publicity are the hormonal changes that teenagers and pregnant women experience, and the so-called "change" that both men and women experience, but which is much more pronounced in womenfolk.
Hormones and health are like love and marriage; when everything is well, it's all kisses and roses, when it's not, it's all thistles and thorns.
Okay, let's get on with taking a look at the 9 signs you have a hormone imbalance.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 1 - Constant weight gain
If you're having a little trouble with your weight, it doesn't necessarily mean your diet's wrong; it can be one of the signs you have a hormone imbalance. The so-called stress hormone "Cortisol" is secreted by the Adrenal glands. When Cortisol production is disrupted (whether through stress or some other cause), it cannot not only cause weight gain, but can also dictate where that weight gain accumulates on your body.
Studies have shown that increased Cortisol levels can lead to what is sometimes referred to as "toxic fat" gathering in the abdominal area. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease - both the risk of heart attack and stroke.
One of the results with increased Cortisol production is that it's stimulates an increase in the amount of Insulin released into your bloodstream. This can affect your blood sugar levels, which often results in increased appetite.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 2 - Poor Libido
Having a poor libido can also be one of the signs you have a hormone imbalance. The hormonal Androgen is manufactured in men by their testicles, and in women by their ovaries. Lack of this hormone can give rise to poor libido, even in women.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 3 - Feelings of fatigue
Fatigue is another of the signs you have a hormone imbalance, especially if you are getting plenty of quality sleep, but still wake up feeling tired. This could be down once again to our good old friend Cortisol. The constant state of readiness that the presence of Cortisol brings about with regard to the fight or flight syndrome, occurs when feelings of stress are being experienced. If stress is present too often, this can lead to feelings of fatigue.
In the presence of chronic stress, people often experience something called Adrenal Fatigue, again brought about by high levels of Cortisol. Cortisol actually controls something called the Circardian Rhythm. This eventually becomes disrupted, leading to very low levels of Cortisol later in the day. This will leave you feeling tired and empty.
Another hormonal problem that can induce feelings of fatigue comes about when the levels of TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone) are too high. This can occur when the Thyroid Gland malfunctions in a condition known as Hypothyroidism.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 4 - Low mood
With feelings of low and bad mood such as irritability, anxiety, and depression, the Thyroid Gland can be the guilty party once again, and for exactly the same reason - over production of TSH through Hypothyroidism
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 5 - Insomnia and interrupted sleep
Insomnia and interrupted sleep conditions are often experience by women going through the Menopause or Perimenopause. It is a result of the huge change to hormonal balances. Unfortunately continued insomnia and interrupted sleep is only serves to make the condition worse. It's a vicious circle!
The problem is that hormone levels and balances are addressed during sleep, so sleep deprivation will affect up to 10 different hormones causing problems with appetite, cardiac health, fertility, and mental health too.
The hormone Estrogen is the hormone that helps to maintain regular sleep patterns. The deficiency of Estrogen, which is a symptom of Menopause or Perimenopause, is a main cause of Insomnia.
Testosterone deficiency can also be an issue for women. In men, it often leads to Sleep Apnea causing interrupted sleep for both themselves and their partners.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 6 - Excess Sweating
Excess sweating is another of the signs you have a hormone imbalance. Women going through the Menopause (or Perimenopause) often experience hot flashes. At night, when in bed, these are known as night sweats, and are sometimes a precursor to the onset of menopause itself, if it is not already in full swing.
In both men and women, night sweats can be a result of problems with the endocrine system, brought about by over or under production of hormones such as serotonin.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 7 - Problems with your digestion
If you are experiencing problems with your digestion, it could be brought about through the imbalance of 3 hormones in the gastrointestinal system. These are called Gastrin, Secretin, and Cholecystokinin, also known as CCK. These 3 hormones help to stimulate the actual digestive process that breaks food down into simple molecules that can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 8 - Craving for sugar
Another sign you have a hormone imbalance is a craving for sugar, which can be brought about by the gland we have already discussed on several occasions, namely the Thyroid gland. It's another consequence of the condition of hypothyroidism, whereby the gland is underactive.
A craving for sugar can also be brought about through an adrenal overload. Again, this reaction is part of the fight or flee mechanism that we mentioned earlier, whereby the body boosts production of Adrenaline and Cortisol. Anything sweet is unfortunately a great source of energy (albeit only very short lasting) to feed the fight/flee preparation process.
Hormone Imbalance Sign # 9 - Hair loss
It was always thought that hair loss was usually the result of a lack of Testosterone. Whilst this may be true in terms of the root cause (ha ha - please excuse the pun) it is now known that Dyhydrotestosterone, or DHT for short, is believed to be the main culprit. Whilst women only have a very small level of Testosterone in their body systems, it is enough to cause DHT to trigger hair loss.
Getting the Balance Right
Hormones and health are closely related. You simply cannot enjoy good holistic health all the time that your hormones are out of balance - and the balance is a very fine one. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms discussed above do not necessarily mean that you have an actual hormone imbalance. These symptoms often relate to other conditions.
However, if you wish to pursue the hormone imbalance route, you'll find that a hormone diet can go a long way towards addressing many of your body’s possible hormonal imbalances.
About the author
Michelle Toole runs a popular health related website, Healthy Holistic Living.com. Michelle is an independent health researcher or, to put it simply, an information seeker. Michelle would describe herself as an inventor, entrepreneur, mother, adventurer, author and webmaster.
You can find more health related information and tips on Michelle’s website healthyholisticliving.com or on her popular Facebook page healthyholisticliving