If you’ve ever spent time Googling symptoms like fatigue or mood swings, you’ve probably come across the term “hormone imbalance” as one of the possible contributing factors. But what exactly is a hormone imbalance and how is it cured?
Hormones are chemicals that tell your organs what to do and when. They’re incredibly important to your overall health, because even a tiny imbalance can cause serious effects. When your hormones are out of balance, you may experience things like insomnia, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, or mood swings. The good news is hormonal imbalances can be corrected naturally. Keep reading to learn how to balance your hormones through functional medicine and turn your hormonal imbalance around.
Dr. Radawi at Tri-Cities Functional Medicine has helped many patients with hormonal imbalances address the root causes of their problems and step into a new world of possibilities. Our functional medicine practice is based in Johnson City, Tennessee, and we work with people from all over the Tri-Cities area and beyond. This includes Bristol, Kingsport, Knoxville, Greenville, and Abingdon in Virginia.
Find out more about hormonal imbalances and schedule a free discovery call.
What Does it Mean to Have a Hormonal Imbalance?
There are various organs around your body called endocrine glands that produce the different hormones your body needs. Hormones play a vital role in essential body functions such as metabolism, growth and development, and reproduction. A hormonal imbalance means your body is producing too much or too little of certain hormones, which can cause a range of unpleasant and sometimes serious symptoms that can seriously affect your quality of life.
Unfortunately, when one hormone is thrown out of balance, it can affect others. Hormones are very interrelated, meaning that a cortisol imbalance can contribute to an estrogen imbalance and vice versa. The longer a hormone is out-of-balance, the more difficult it can be to bring it back into harmony. Identifying and correcting the causes of your hormonal imbalance early on will help you maintain your health and prevent the onset of chronic disease.
If you believe you’re experiencing a hormonal imbalance, check out our free webinars.
What Are the Most Common Hormonal Imbalances?
Because hormones control nearly every system and process in the body, the symptoms can be wide ranging. While there are many different types of hormonal imbalances, there a few that are most commonly experienced in modern day life. Below are the four most common hormonal imbalances, including the top symptoms and causes of those imbalances.
Estrogen and Progesterone Imbalances
Hormones play a major role in women’s lives. Estrogen is the female sex hormone produced by the endocrine system. It promotes growth, supports bone strength, and maintains normal cholesterol levels. Progesterone regulates the menstrual cycle and helps maintain the early stages of pregnancy.
Symptoms of Estrogen and Progesterone Imbalances:
Mood Swings: Estrogen affects neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin. Fluctuations in estrogen can cause premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or depressed mood during perimenopause and menopause.
Low Libido: Low libido is particularly common in women going through the perimenopause or menopause due to falling levels of estrogen and testosterone.
Insomnia: Estrogen and progesterone promote healthy sleep. Imbalances in these hormones cause insomnia and can also contribute to night sweats, which disrupt your sleep and cause fatigue.
Skin Issues: Chronic adult acne can be a sign of estrogen and progesterone imbalances. Hormonal imbalances during pregnancy or menopause can also cause itchy or dry skin.
Fertility Problems: A hormonal imbalance can cause female infertility by disrupting ovulation, preventing the thickening of the uterine lining, or otherwise preventing a pregnancy from becoming established.
Weak Bones: Estrogen helps women build and maintain strong, healthy bones. Estrogen imbalances can contribute to bone loss, which increases the risk of osteoporosis.
PMS: Hormonal imbalances can negatively affect your period and may also be to blame for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which causes some women to experience anger, irritability, mood swings, depression, and anxiety before and during their periods.
Vaginal Dryness: Vaginal dryness is one of the leading symptoms of a hormone imbalance in women. The production of vaginal lubrication is controlled mainly by estrogen, so when a woman is suffering from estrogen deficiency, she may experience a more severe case of vaginal dryness.
Men are just as vulnerable to experiencing hormonal issues as women, and although men’s hormonal issues often receive far less attention, they can be just as damaging. Testosterone imbalances can reshape the way you look and feel, causing you to struggle with unfamiliar physical and emotional challenges.
Symptoms of Testosterone Imbalances:
Gynecomastia (Male Breasts): Gynecomastia is a strong indicator of hormonal imbalance in men. Many men write off gynecomastia as a result of a sedentary lifestyle or bad diet, but if your breast tissue is disproportionately larger than the rest of your body, then hormonal issues may be the culprit.
Low Libido: Hormonal imbalances often lie at the root of low libido. A dip in testosterone is the most common type of imbalance affecting sex drive, but high estrogen levels may also be contributing factors.
Erectile Dysfunction: Low testosterone may be a contributing factor to erectile dysfunction, but typically other factors such as depression, heart disease, stress, inflammation, or insomnia are the primary driver.
Muscle Loss: Testosterone regulates the maintenance of your muscles. If your testosterone levels drop, your muscles will typically atrophy more readily than they would otherwise.
Mood Changes: Low testosterone levels in men often manifest as irritability, decreased motivation, mood swings, anxiety, and depression.
An imbalanced thyroid can wreak havoc on your body and your overall wellness. The thyroid regulates and controls your body’s metabolism, heart rate, calorie burn rate, body temperature, blood pressure, muscle contractions, and mood.
Symptoms of Thyroid Imbalances:
Fatigue: Low thyroid function can result is energy loss and fatigue.
Loss of Appetite and Weight Gain: With lower energy needs, your body requires fewer calories, so your appetite declines. But you may gain weight as a result because your body converts fewer calories into energy, leaving more to be stored as fat.
Dry Skin: Slowed metabolism reduces sweating, which is the skin’s natural moisturizer, so your skin may become dry and flaky as a result of a thyroid imbalance.
Brain Fog: Thyroid imbalances can sometimes cause cognitive problems. Thyroid hormones influence brain activity, so if there is an imbalance of these hormones, brain fog often occurs.
Mood Disorders: Overactive or underactive thyroids can lead to mood disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and stress.
Inability to Regulate Body Temperature: Another telltale sign of a thyroid issue is a poor tolerance to cold and/or the inability to properly regulate your body temperature. Fluctuating between between sweating and feeling cold is typical of a thyroid imbalance.
Your adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other critical functions. If you have an adrenal imbalance, it can affect your body’s ability to produce and balance other hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Sleep Disorders: Difficulty falling asleep or getting out of bed in the morning can be an indicator that your adrenal gland is producing too much or too little cortisol.
Up and Down Energy Levels: If your adrenal glands are producing irregular cortisol levels, it can cause ebbs and flows in your energy level.
Mood Swings: If your adrenal gland is imbalanced, you may feel more prone to mood swings, especially when stress levels mount.
Cognitive Changes: If you feel mentally foggy, experience fuzzy thinking, or can’t seem to stay focused on one task, then an adrenal imbalance may to be problem.
Weight Gain: When your stress levels are high, especially over extended periods of time, it can cause you to gain weight.
Most of us are living life with hormone imbalances, often accepting them as normal. Functional medicine can apply dietary modifications, nutritional supplements, and other lifestyle changes that can minimize or eliminate the need for hormone therapy treatment.
A functional medicine doctor can help you figure out what is creating the imbalance and create a personalized treatment plan that addresses the underlying problem. If this resonates with you, schedule a free discovery call today.
Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA.