Women are likely to experience hormonal imbalances at predictable and naturally occurring points, especially during menstruation, puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. This occurs when hormones rise above or drop below normal levels in the blood. The proper balance of hormones is essential for efficient reproductive cycles such as the ovulation process in women and the overall system of conception. Although hormonal imbalance can occur due to certain medical conditions, lifestyle habits, environmental conditions, and endocrine gland malfunctions.
Medical conditions that cause hormonal imbalance include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), anovulation, hyperprolactinemia, ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and birth control medications or hormone replacement therapy. Examples of causes of hormonal imbalance are poor diet, stress, diabetes, infections, thyroid gland diseases, and medications.
Signs that show you have a hormonal imbalance
Altered menstrual cycle, spotting between periods, dysmenorrhea, sudden weight gain or weight loss, fatigue, dry skin, hormonal acne, hair loss and hair thinning, constipation, diarrhea, low libido, mood swings, insomnia, memory fog, GIT disturbances, and infertility.
How do hormones affect fertility?
Hormones that control the menstrual cycle play a pivotal role in female reproduction. In order for pregnancy to occur the hormones in the body must signal and regulate the growth of the egg, release from the ovary into the fallopian tube, and prepare for implantation. If the released egg is fertilized by the sperm the embryo will then travel to the uterus for implantation. An irregular quantity or absence of one or more hormones can delay or prevent any of the processes from occurring, making pregnancy difficult to achieve.
There is no all-inclusive hormonal imbalance test. Although tests like:
- Blood test to check blood hormone levels in the blood.
- An ultrasound scan and pelvic exam are done to reveal any unnatural lumps, cysts, or tumors.
Hormonal imbalance treatment/management
Hormonal imbalances are often treatable with lifestyle changes and medications. Management or treatment for hormonal imbalance depends on the cause. If the hormonal imbalance is caused by an underlying condition then treating the condition will balance the hormones. This will involve medications to restore normal thyroid functions, normalize hormone levels, induce ovulation or trigger a fully matured egg.
There are two approaches to managing hormonal imbalance pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches. Non-pharmacological ways of managing hormonal imbalance include lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising, eating a balanced diet, and reducing stress.
Pharmacological approaches include:
- Birth control medication– contains estrogen and progesterone that can help manage menstrual cycle alterations.
- Hormone replacement therapy– eases symptoms of PCOS, endometriosis, menopause, and ovarian cancer.
- Anti-androgen medications– help minimize extreme acne and hair growth.
Note that for treatment for hormonal imbalance inquire from your doctor or your pharmacists.