Have you ever found yourself laughing hysterically one minute then crying uncontrollably the next and think to yourself, “It must be my hormones”. Well, you’re probably right. Hormonal imbalance is a very common health issue women have and most don’t even know that the many symptoms experienced could be related to unbalanced hormones.
The complex hormonal fluctuations and interactions happening in a normal menstrual cycle play a huge part in a woman’s physical well-being and emotional vibrancy. When hormones are out-of-sync, unpleasant changes often manifest. If asked with the right questions, most women can intuitively identify when something’s ‘just not right’ with themselves. It is undoubtedly rewarding to help women know when their bodies are out-of-balance and understand how their ‘internal systems’ work, to guide them when their hormonal imbalance starts to surface during the aging process and teach them how to balance hormones naturally.
What is Hormonal Imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance in women is a very common condition and usually complicated, because there are lots of hormones present in our bodies. Since hormones are extremely adaptive and agile, they do not stop working even when they’re off balance. Instead, they will try to compensate for the shifts and this is the reason why you will begin to experience the unpleasant symptoms of hormonal imbalance that you have never experienced before.
Hormonal Imbalance – Hormone Highs and Lows
Apart from diet, medications or stress, the biggest factor why hormonal imbalance occurs is basically your state of health. Despite the number of hormonal imbalance treatments and medications offered nowadays, the key to realigning your hormonal state is still to take good care of yourself to prevent, if possible, any inevitable hormonal fluctuations. Though life situations are beyond your control, there are still some aspects in your life that can be managed such as your diet, physical activity, how you manage stress and whether you take herbal or vitamin supplements.
To better understand what hormonal imbalance is all about, including the symptoms and signs of hormonal imbalance, it is very important to learn about the female sex hormones, the functions of each hormone and how it affects your internal system.
Oestrogen is the female hormone responsible for shaping women’s breasts, and hips and affecting sex organs – and even vocal chords. It makes a girl transform into a woman and make her more feminine.
Oestrogen receptors are spread throughout the body. Oestrogen has plenty of amazing benefits, from maintaining the blood-sugar level to protecting the body against heart disease, tooth loss, colon cancer, incontinence, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Oestrogen levels start to fluctuate by age 35, mainly because ovulation drops with age. This results in a drop in progesterone levels as well, leading to an oestrogen spike in order to compensate. Rather than a gradual drop of oestrogen before their menstruations, some experience hormonal imbalance by the sudden highs and lows, which causes night sweats, fatigue, hot flashes and low sex drive.
As seen in Figure 1, the female hormone imbalance between oestrogen and progesterone is the root cause of most perimenopausal complaints. One of the main goals of natural hormone balancing is to bring back progesterone in normal levels to achieve balance with oestrogen.
Secreted in the ovaries, progesterone and oestrogen work hand in hand in preparing the uterus for pregnancy. Both essentially build a nest for the zygote (fertilized egg) by thickening the uterine lining and secreting nutrients necessary for the embryo. Oestrogen and progesterone provides the best effect but only when they are in equilibrium.
Progesterone provides several benefits. As a natural mood-enhancer, it provides a calming effect and improves mood. It also acts as a natural diuretic by regulating fluid balance. It makes the hair, skin and nails healthy and help burn fat for insulin regulation. Progesterone helps prevent bone loss and support the thyroid gland. In other words, progesterone affects almost every part of your body.
Progesterone usually increases in the second half of the cycle, as opposed to oestrogen that surges in the first half. This hormonal imbalance causes internal chaos for women. Because it is the ‘mood hormone’, it is vital to maintain normal to high levels of progesterone during the second half of your menstrual cycle. Low progesterone leads to oestrogen dominance, creating unpleasant hormone imbalance symptoms in women. The less a woman ovulates, the less progesterone she produces.
As a known ‘male hormone’, many medical providers don’t take notice of the signs of testosterone decline in women. Perimenopausal and menopausal women experiencing fatigue, weakness, low sexual sensation, low libido and muscle atrophy usually have low testosterone.
While dominant in males, testosterone is secreted in small amounts by the adrenal glands and ovaries in women, too. It is an essential hormone that women depend on for sex drive, energy, vitality and endurance. It helps build muscles and promote muscle tone. It also supports vaginal lubrication, elasticity and strength.
While most perimenopausal women have less testosterone, some have high levels. High testosterone level is usually due to chronic stress; however, the main disorder linked to it is polycystic ovarian syndrome, which can happen anytime within the menstruating years.
Now that you understand the three main female hormones, you have a better perspective about the signs of hormone imbalance and the importance of restoring and maintaining the balance of these hormones. Knowing the highs and lows of your hormones can make a huge difference in balancing your internal system.
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