Here's What Happens to Your Body When Your Hormones are Imbalanced

Hormones chemical signalling molecules are an essential part of your ability to live, grow, and learn, but you aren’t usually aware of them until they become imbalanced and cause unpleasant symptoms.

Your body secretes some 50 hormones to control things like weight, libido, mood, and mental focus. These hormones can fall out of balance at any time during life due to stress, illness, childbirth, or aging. The hormones that become most noticeable for women as they get older are the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. For men, it’s the sex hormone testosterone.

Production of these hormones notably drops off during your late 40s and early 50s, as women experience menopause and men, “manopause.” Both sexes experience a cascade of unpleasant symptoms. The following are some conditions that result from a hormonal imbalance.

Irregular periods

A typical menstrual cycle spans between 21 and 35 days, and the period, or bleeding, phase usually lasts for 3-7 days. During hormonal shifts, especially around menopause, periods may come much more frequently or infrequently. You may have extra-heavy or lighter cycles. Your breasts may become more tender, you may have greater cramping, and you may see spotting between your periods.

Sleep disruption

Hormone imbalance may make it so you just can’t get good quality sleep. Progesterone is a female sex hormone that helps you sleep. As your levels drop, sleep may be elusive. The changes in your estrogen levels during perimenopause also often cause night sweats and hot flashes, which further disrupt your slumber. A decline in testosterone in men can cause similar symptoms.

Your sleep problems can lead to fatigue and poor function during the day, too.

Poor concentration and memory

Brain fog isn’t really a medical term, but it is a symptom commonly reported by women going through menopausal changes. As men and women get older and hormones shift, they often report memory deficiencies and have more difficulty concentrating. The brain fog may be a result of hormonal changes, or it can result from the symptoms, such as sleep disruption, hot flashes, and mood swings.

Mood swings

Irritability and mood swings commonly occur due to hormone imbalances. You may experience cycles of anger, depression, and anxiety as a result of the estrogen and progesterone shifts that occur during menopause or due to a decline in testosterone. Hormone replacement can help even out your moods, as can avoiding substances such as alcohol, tobacco, excessive caffeine, and added sugar. Stress-reducing activities, such as yoga and talk therapy, may also ease mood swings associated with hormonal changes.

Vaginal dryness and libido changes

As your estrogen levels fall during perimenopause and menopause, your vaginal tissue may become less lubricated. This can lead to a thinner vaginal wall that’s easily irritated during sexual intercourse. As a result, you may avoid intercourse because of discomfort but also find that hormonal changes cause you to feel less “sexy.” Hormone replacement therapy can help restore strength in your vaginal tissue and light up your sexual interest.

Men may experience erectile dysfunction and a decline in libido as a result of declining testosterone levels. Dr. Wayne will do a thorough exam to ensure these issues aren’t due to an underlying health issue, such as sleep apnea or heart disease, and then hone in on low testosterone as a possible problem. 

Skin aging

As you get older, women’s skin is more susceptible to sagging and developing lines and wrinkles. Hormones contribute to this appearance of aging skin. Lower estrogen is associated with accelerated skin aging, so hormone replacement therapy can help minimize and delay the signs of an older complexion. 

If you experience any of these symptoms and they interfere with your quality of life, reach out to the office of Wayne Bonlie, MD for help. He offers lifestyle changes, dietary amendments, and bioidentical hormone therapy to ease your transition and help you feel like yourself again. Call the office at 410-994-2380 or book an appointment online. 

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