How Do I Know If I Have a Hormonal Imbalance?
January 6, 2020 | Yesmom
Our reproductive hormones keep fluctuating up and down throughout our menstrual cycles and this is perfectly normal, as long as they stay within certain ranges. There are many important hormones in our body and if any of them are outside their normal levels, it can create a host of health issues. When one hormone level rises too high or falls too low, it often creates a domino effect and upsets the balance of many other hormones as well.
Any imbalance in thyroid hormones directly influences the production of hormones such as prolactin and LH (luteinizing hormone). LH and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) levels impact the production of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. In women, menstrual irregularity is one of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Other symptoms of hormonal imbalance include PCOS, facial hair growth, acne, nipple discharge, hair fall, fatigue, mood swings, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and so on. These symptoms vary depending on the type of hormone irregularity.
So let’s take a closer look at the symptoms triggered by hormonal imbalance. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, its best to get some lab work done to identify the culprits and correct the imbalance.
Irregular Periods and/or Infertility: Any imbalance in the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) or FSH can cause menstrual irregularities and even infertility. FSH stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles while LH triggers ovulation and releases the mature egg. There are many other causes of irregular periods apart from LH and FSH imbalance. Other hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism, chronic stress, nutritional deficiencies, or medical disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also cause irregular periods.
If your periods are normal, then these hormone levels usually stay within range. Elevated LH and low FSH may be seen in women with PCOS. Elevated FSH levels are often found in menopausal women and those with primary ovarian insufficiency.
Facial Hair Growth and/or Acne: Elevated androgen ( testosterone and dihydrotestosterone) levels can cause menstrual irregularities, facial hair growth, and acne. Such symptoms are commonly seen in women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as above-average androgen production is one of its causes. You don’t have to worry about low androgen levels as androgen deficiency is very rare in women.
Nipple Discharge: The hormone prolactin, produced by the pituitary gland, helps regulate the menstrual cycle in women. It stimulates breast-milk production in new moms. Prolactin levels are elevated in pregnant women in preparation for the breast-milk secretion and they may naturally experience some nipple discharges.
But if you are not pregnant or lactating then nipple discharges may indicate abnormally high levels of prolactin hormones in your body. Prolactin imbalance can also cause menstrual irregularities. High prolactin levels may prevent ovulation by inhibiting gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which are hormones required for egg development and ovulation.
Vaginal Dryness, Thinning Hair, and/or Hot Flashes: Estrogen is one of the most prominent female hormones. Thinning hair, hot flashes, abnormal bleeding, and vaginal dryness often result from low estrogen levels. High levels of estrogen with low levels of progesterone causes estrogen dominance and this can lead to irregular periods, decreased sex drive, memory loss, an increase in PMS symptoms and so on.
Fatigue, Weight Gain, Constipation, Dry Skin: The thyroid gland produces the hormones T3 and T4 in response to TSH produced by the pituitary gland. It has many major functions including regulating your metabolism. Thyroid imbalances affect the production of other hormones, especially LH and FSH. Usually, Free T4 (ft4), the active form of thyroid hormones and TSH are tested for evaluating thyroid functioning.
If you feel cold even in a warm climate, experience constipation, weight gain, dry skin, and/or irregular periods, the culprit might be a sluggish thyroid. Hypothyroidism results from an underactive thyroid. Feeling hot, sweating, anxiety, tremors, heart palpitations, and weight loss are common symptoms of hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland. It takes just a simple blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels.
Yesmom’s fertility test is a comprehensive one that tests 8 hormones that keep your reproductive system functioning and healthy. By getting this test done, it can help you get a better idea about your menstrual irregularities, egg reserves, and track your fertility as well as help you have a more meaningful discussion with your doctor.
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