What Causes Hormonal Imbalance in Women?

Explore common symptoms and causes of hormonal imbalances in women to take charge of your health and feel your best.

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woman with excessive thirst due to hormonal imbalance

Scientists have discovered more than 50 different hormones throughout the human body accounting for nearly every bodily process, including sleep, metabolism, emotions, fertility, sexual function, growth, blood pressure, and blood sugar. That’s why when glands produce too much or too little of these hormones, the imbalance can throw your body completely out of wack. Find out what causes hormonal imbalance in women.

Most Common Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms

Perhaps the most frustrating part of determining whether or not you have a hormonal imbalance is that the symptoms can be very vague and attributed to a number of other conditions. Here are just a few of the most common signs of a hormonal imbalance.

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unplanned weight loss or weight gain
  • Extreme thirst
  • Acne, especially along the jawline, lower cheeks, chest, and back
  • Irregular periods
  • Onset of depression, anxiety, or mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased libido
  • Hot flashes and sweating
  • Sleep issues
  • Vaginal dryness

4 Causes of Hormonal Imbalance in Women

While there are certain life phases in which women expect to experience hormonal changes, like pregnancy, puberty, breastfeeding, and menopause, for some, hormonal imbalances strike seemingly out of nowhere. Here are some of the most common causes of hormonal imbalances in women.

1. Extreme Stress

Many patients experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalances are shocked to learn that the root cause of their condition is stress, resulting in too much cortisol. Stress can look different from one woman to the next and is handled differently by all. For some, extreme stress could be caused by consistently moving through life at 100 miles per hour without taking time to rest. For others, extreme stress can be triggered by a traumatic event.

2. Unhealthy Diet or Eating Disorders

Nutrition can have a tremendous impact on the endocrine system. Not only do women need enough calories for proper hormonal function, but they need a well-balanced diet full of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. That’s why oftentimes women suffering from eating disorders also suffer from hormonal imbalance. Artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and caffeine should be avoided when managing an imbalance.

3. Disorders and Conditions Impacting the Endocrine System

Many conditions directly affect the endocrine system and can cause hormonal imbalances. If you have diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, obesity, tumors, adenomas, and autoimmune conditions, you may be at risk for hormonal imbalance.

4. Endocrine Disruptors

Simply put, an endocrine disruptor is a chemical that interferes with the endocrine system. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can cause hormonal imbalances in three ways.

  • Mimicking a natural hormone
  • Blocking the pathway between a receptor and a natural hormone
  • Directly stimulating or blocking a specific gland

These EDCs can be present in the food we eat, the air we breathe, the cleaners we use, and even the toys our children play with.

Scientists and doctors have only truly begun to understand the impact of EDCs on the human body and environment in the past decade or two. Developments and medical studies continue to be published as more data about toxicity and the endocrine system every year.

To limit your exposure to EDCs, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences recommends avoiding or limiting exposure to the following:

  • BPAs often found in plastic materials like food containers
  • Non-stick pans and coatings
  • Phthalates found in cosmetics, food packaging, and many consumer products
  • Soy products, like tofu
  • Flame retardants

How to Diagnose a Hormonal Imbalance

The only way to diagnose a hormonal imbalance is to work directly with your doctor. To start, your doctor will likely have a series of questions. For women especially, it helps tremendously if you bring a calendar of your last menstrual cycles and the symptoms you experienced each day.

From there, your doctor will determine the best route to proceed. Usually, a blood test will be ordered to look at hormone levels and check your thyroid. Other common tests for women may include a pelvic exam or an ultrasound to check your uterus, ovaries, thyroid, or pituitary gland.

Treatment Options for Hormonal Imbalances in Women

Based on the results of your blood labs and other tests, your physician will hopefully be able to determine what type of hormonal imbalance you have and develop a customized treatment plan. Common ways to treat hormonal imbalances in females include:

Your doctor may also suggest some natural remedies to help alleviate symptoms. Changes to diet, exercise, drinking habits, stress management, and exposure to EDCs are just a few small ways women can naturally improve hormone levels.

Hormonal Imbalance Treatment for Women in Indianapolis

If you think you may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance and live in the greater Indianapolis, Indiana area, contact the physicians at Supro Direct. Dr. Rajanahalli and Dr. Kharidi are primary care physicians that focus on treating the root cause of hormone imbalance symptoms. Call our Greenwood, IN office at 317-300-7424 or request an appointment online to get started.

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