Hormone Imbalance in Women: What to Do
By Judy Couch, FNP-C
Hormone imbalance- it’s something most of us struggle with at some point in our lives. Today I would like to just go back to the basics with hormones and discuss the importance of hormone balance. It isn’t just a matter of having one hormone or the other; what’s truly important is how they’re balanced and how they work together in our bodies.
Balanced hormones help us to enjoy a long and healthy life. Long-term hormone imbalance can make life miserable for women. It can also make life miserable for their loved ones. So I think it’s important to understand what hormone imbalance can do as well as what you can do to start regaining that needed balance.
What a Hormone Imbalance Can Cause
Hormone imbalance can start early and it often does so in women. It can start as early as when you start having your first periods. We see this happening in young women all the time. A hormone imbalance can present itself as the following symptoms:
- Infertility issues
- The development of Fibroids
- Breast cancer
- Mood disorders
- Heart Disease
Probably one of the most glaring symptoms that we see from the list above is heart disease in women, but for most women, all of these symptoms are concerning and typically get their start with a hormone imbalance.
You may have ended up here today because you’re experiencing some of these symptoms and wondering what you can do. This is because you want to take a proactive approach to your health and we couldn’t agree more.
At Your Wellness Center, we believe that you do not have to accept being unhealthy or less than great quality of life. You also do not have to accept the idea suggested in comments such as “That’s just the way it is” or “It’s just your age.” We can help many of the symptoms and problems that women are having by simply balancing their hormones.
What We’re Told as Women
Balanced hormones can prevent adverse health conditions from developing because on the other hand, most of the aforementioned health conditions will become worse the longer you have a hormone imbalance.
Women, by nature, are strong and resilient. We’re meant to be strong and resilient. We’ve become pregnant and we have children and then we raise those children- but we’re also meant to be in a balanced state to remain strong and resilient.
There are many suggestions made to women: watch what you eat, make sure you exercise, reduce stress- those things are all good and necessary, but they’re not all that we need to meet the needs of our bodies.
Recognizing changes in our hormones and addressing them with hormone replacement can also be beneficial. All of the other things that we’re doing: trying to eat right, exercise, reduce our stress- these will only be augmented by reaching a state of hormone balance.
The 4 Hormones That Matter Most
What we have to understand is how important hormones are. They coordinate the biochemical activity of all the cells of our body, in our brains, and every other part of our body. This biochemical activity and the changes to hormone levels can create or set up many many health issues. So by replenishing these lost hormones, we’re helping our body, our basic biochemical activity, attain and remain in balance.
Let’s talk about four of the main hormones we have and what happens to our bodies when they start declining.
We have three estrogens in the female body. The decline of these estrogens starts in the 30’s. One of the main things that it can affect is fertility. By our 40’s, estrogen levels are rapidly declining, leading us to menopause. When these changes are happening, you’ll experience symptoms such as:
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair
- Loss of libido
- Mood swings
- Saggy breasts
- Loss of pubic hair
The next hormone that’s vital to our health is progesterone. In fact, progesterone is the most protective hormone in our bodies. We’ll see levels starting to drop in our mid-30’s, right about the same time our estrogen levels change. These lowered levels of progesterone can cause:
- Low blood sugar levels
- Mood swings
- Fluid retention
- Allergic reactions
- Increased cholesterol
- Increased triglyceride levels
The loss of progesterone can also affect our thyroid gland by lowering our thyroid hormone levels as well. When progesterone levels are not optimal, there can be an increased risk of tumor development in our bodies.
Oftentimes, testosterone is thought of as the male hormone, but it’s definitely a female hormone as well. It’s critical to the healthy function of every tissue in our body- for healthy muscles and bones, for a good sense of well-being and for libido.
It is a vital hormone in the female body. So when we’re looking at rebalancing our hormones, we have to consider rebalancing testosterone as well. As with estrogen and progesterone, women can start to see a decline in their early 30’s.
DHEA is the most abundant hormone in women. Our levels of DHEA are very, very high when we’re babies. It’s actually considered to be the “mother” hormone. Our levels decline as we age and can start around the age of 25. DHEA is a precursor hormone to all the other hormones. It helps the metabolic functions in our body, helping us to maintain a more youthful metabolism.
Your First Step? Get those levels checked.
While this look at hormone imbalance may be brief, you’ve taken a crucial first step in regaining that balance by looking for the cause or reason behind some of your symptoms.
Oftentimes, patients will tell me many different things they have been diagnosed with by other physicians. An example that comes up often is depression. When we look at their hormone levels, however, we see they’re completely zeroed-out. This gives us an idea of why the depression might be occurring.
When you come into Your Wellness Center, you have your labs drawn and we go over your levels. Then, many of your symptoms will start to finally make sense, especially when you see the hormone imbalance that is at hand in your body.
So I encourage you, if anything discussed here today sounds like you or someone you know, get your levels checked. Consider the fact that a hormonal imbalance could be the cause of many of the symptoms that you are experiencing.
If you have any questions or want to sit down to discuss your concerns and options, please call us at 513-791-9474 or fill out our consultation packet to get started. We’d love and are always here to help.