One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to health issues concerning women is that a hormonal imbalance is inextricably and exclusively linked to menopause and the changes the female body goes through during that time. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Hormonal changes affect everyone from birth to death, yet we seem to have a very negative association with that term.
A hormonal imbalance can be a symptom of many health issues that are often wrongly associated with diet, lifestyle and other factors.
This is why it is important to shed some light and hopefully raise awareness on these issues. Therefore, we have created a list of the 4 most common health problems that are often disguised as something else but that in fact, arise as a result of hormonal imbalance.
Hair where no hair should be
One of the most worrying and unpleasant issues a woman can experience is excess hair growth and a plague of adult acne. If you notice excessive hair growth, particularly on body parts where a woman should not have hair such as the face, nipples, chest and the middle of the lower abdomen, it is very likely that you might be suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (or PCOS).
This condition is often followed by acne and male-patterned hair loss. The syndrome is associated with excess or higher than normal levels of male hormones in women and can affect them at any age. Luckily there are treatments that will help you regain hormonal balance, and as for the hair, there are always laser removal procedures.
Where are all these extra pounds coming from?
Yes, there are lifestyle, diet and physical activity components to maintaining a healthy weight, but what if you lead a healthy lifestyle, your dietary habits are great, you exercise but somehow you keep gaining weight instead of remaining fit?
Many women have underlying hormonal imbalances that make it difficult to maintain healthy weight despite doing everything in their power to do so. Small changes in diet — such as eliminating processed foods, sugars and wheat — are steps in the right direction. However, if the problem persists, do not hesitate to pay a visit to a specialist and seek other courses of treatment.
Trouble getting out of bed in the morning
No matter how much you sleep you cannot help but constantly feel tired and even coffee and similar pick-me-ups do not seem to help. Does this sound familiar? Unless you are working fourteen hours a day, feeling sluggish, scattered or mentally foggy is not normal.
Constant fatigue and exhaustion can often be signs of excess progesterone, but these are not serious since small dietary changes, such as eliminating wheat and most grains, will help stabilize your blood sugar and help you get your stride back. If the issue remains, a simple blood test called a thyroid panel can tell you if your levels are too low, or if you have autoimmune antibodies showing Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. If they are, you can get treated.
Yes, almost all women experience at times oddly specific cravings, especially during PMS, but if you are constantly feeling hungry, Dr. Mehmet Oz suggests that you might have ghrelin and leptin to blame for that. As he puts it, ghrelin cues the brain to signal you that you are hungry. After you eat, leptin swoops in to tell the brain you’re full. If these two hormones fall out of sync, you may lose the ability to recognize when your body is satiated and overeat as a result.
The recommended course of action for this hormonal imbalance is to do everything you can to get a full night’s sleep as a Stanford University study found that lack of sleep (sleeping five as opposed to the optimal eight hours) raises a person’s ghrelin levels by nearly fifteen percent, and lowered leptin levels by the same percent, and was directly associated with increased body weight. The answer is clear – sleep tight and do not let leptin bite.
I have PCOS and can completely relate. The symptoms are manageable in my case (with diet and exercise), but I needed a little extra help with medication after I had my daughter. I am just thankful that we were able to have her!
It’s great that you’re able to manage it with diet and exercise! It’s so amazing how our bodies can balance themselves out if we give them what they need!