Hormones are the body’s messengers, sending chemical signals throughout your body. Traveling through the bloodstream, these chemicals have a lot of clout, telling your tissues and organs what to do and how to react. Some of the activities that are regulated by hormones include your metabolism and reproductivity. When things become off-balance, meaning that there is too much or not enough of a certain hormone, a hormonal imbalance can occur. And like a tiny ripple, even the smallest change in your hormones can have widespread effects across your body. Next time you feel as if you aren’t yourself, take note! It could be you are having a bad day, or it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Here’s how to know for sure, and ways to treat it.
Common Symptoms and Signs of Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones get a bad rap. That’s because the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance too often are identical to environmental factors, age, and lifestyle. The following symptoms could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance.
- Weight gain or weight loss, both of which may be unexpected or unexplained.
- Constipation or too frequent visits to the bathroom.
- An increased sensitivity to temperatures at both extremes.
- Muscle weakness and pain, stiffness and/or swollen joints.
- Thinning or brittle hair.
- Increased thirst and appetite.
- Decreased libido, infertility.
- Anxiety and irritability, depression and/or exhaustion.
- A rounded face, stretch marks, blurred vision.
Many times, women present symptoms of hormonal imbalance during periods of great change, mainly puberty, pregnancy, nursing and menopause. Younger women may experience amenorrhea — missed or stopped periods; as well as heavy or irregular periods and excessive facial and body hair, acne, weight gain, vaginal dryness, night sweats and pain during intercourse. Skin may darken along the groin or around the neck, and skin tags may start to develop.
Men may notice tenderness in their breasts or development of breast tissue; erectile dysfunction and a decreased libido as well as loss of both muscle and bone mass. Many start to lose body and facial hair and experience hot flashes and difficulty concentrating.
Because there is no magic formula or test to conclusively determine if one has a hormone imbalance, your endocrinologist often will try to rule things out. Expect a series of questions – have you lost or gained weight in recent months? Are you sleeping well or unusually stressed? How is your libido and performance? Your responses to these and other questions will help your endocrinologist determine which tests to recommend; quite commonly you can expect blood work, an ultrasound of various suspect glands or organs, and a pelvic exam if you are female. If further diagnostics are required, you may be referred for a biopsy, MRI, thyroid scan or X-ray. Men may also undergo tests for sperm count if that is an issue.
The treatment you receive will be the result of your diagnostic exams and the determination of your endocrinologist. Women may receive low-does estrogen therapy, vaginal estrogen, anti-depressant medications, and/or hormonal birth control methods such as the patch, pill or IUD. Women also may be prescribed anti-androgen medication to diminish facial hair and clear up acne. Men may receive testosterone supplements in the form of injectables, patches or gels.
In many cases, aggressive lifestyle changes may be enough to overcome hormonal imbalances. Losing weight, maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough exercise and practicing relaxation techniques are easy and convenient ways to overcome hormonal imbalances and change one’s outlook for the better.
Treatment for Hormonal Imbalance in Miami Beach
Don’t assume that hormonal imbalance is simply an inconvenience to be ignored. Left untreated, hormonal imbalance can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, depression and anxiety, sleep apnea, neuropathy, and even cancer, to name a few. Don’t waste another day feeling off. If you live in the greater Miami Beach area and are looking for a world-class endocrinologist, get to know Dr. Alexander Lurie. Board certified in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism, Dr. Lurie is committed to helping you and those you love receive proper diagnosis and comprehensive care for your endocrinological conditions. Don’t let another day go by. Call Dr. Lurie today at 305-456-4840 or request an appointment online.