HANDLING HORMONAL IMBALANCE

By Jereaghogho Efeturi Ukusare

Hormones are chemical substances produced by your body that influences its growth, development and condition. They are also referred to as your body’s chemical messengers. They are produced in the endocrine glands and tell your tissues and organs what to do.

Hormonal imbalance is having too much or too little of a certain hormone. Even tiny changes can have serious effects throughout your whole body.

How do you sense hormonal imbalance? In women, the most common hormonal imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) . Your normal hormonal cycle also changes naturally during:

puberty

pregnancy

breastfeeding

menopause

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance specific to women include:

heavy or irregular periods , including

missed periods, stopped period or

frequent period

hirsutism, or excessive hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body

acne on the face, chest or upper back

thinning hair or hair loss

weight gain or trouble losing weight

darkening of skin, especially along neck creases in the groin and underneath the breasts

skin tags

vaginal dryness

vaginal atrophy

pain during sex

night sweats

For men, testosterone plays an important role in development. If you are not producing enough testosterone, it can cause a variety of symptoms.

In the adult male, symptoms include:

development of breast tissue

breast tenderness

erectile dysfunction

loss of muscle mass

decreased sex drive

infertility

decrease in beard and body hair growth

osteoporosis which is the loss of bone mass

difficulty concentrating and 

hot flashes

In children, puberty is the time when boys and girls start producing sex hormones. Many children with delayed puberty will go on to experience normal puberty, but some have a condition called hypogonadism. Symptoms of hypogonadism in boys include: 

muscle mass doesn’t develop

voice doesn’t deepen

body hair grows sparsely

penis and testicular growth is impaired

excessive growth of the arms and legs in relation to the trunk of the body

gynecomastia which is the development of breast tissue

In girls:

period does not begin

breast tissue does not develop

growth rate does not increase

There is no single test available for doctors to diagnose a hormonal imbalance. Begin by making an appointment with your doctor for a physical exam. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and the timeline along which they’ve occurred. Carry along a list of all medications, vitamins, and supplements you are currently taking.

Treatment for a hormonal imbalance will depend on the cause. Common treatment options include:

Estrogen therapy

Vaginal estrogen

Hormonal birth control

Anti-androgen medications

Metformin

Testosterone therapy

Thyroid hormone therapy

Flibanserin (Addyi)

Eflornithine (Vaniqa)

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