Vigorbuddy.com | What Causes a Hormonal Imbalance in Females? | The human body is no doubt a wonderland, producing more than 50 different types of hormones. Secreted by endocrine glands, hormones are crucial chemical messengers. While they come from the endocrine system, they act on other organs in other parts of the body.
As hormones play roles in many bodily processes, there must always be enough of them. Hormonal imbalance in females (and men) occurs when there’s too little or too much of them. Women may have a higher risk, though, as their bodies can go through more changes.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the causes of too-low and too-high hormone levels in women. Read on to learn what they are and what you can do to avoid or manage them.
Puberty and Menstruation
Puberty is often the earliest period in which females experience hormonal imbalance. After all, this stage of life starts when girls start to menstruate. It affects estrogen and progesterone, the two primary sex hormones.
Estrogen is vital to the development of the female reproductive system. It also brings about secondary sex characteristics.
Progesterone’s chief job is to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. It also helps regulate the menstrual cycle.
Both sex hormones drop just before menstruation, during the follicular phase. Estrogen levels then drop during the ovulation phase, while progesterone supplies increase. Once the menstrual cycle reaches the luteal phase, estrogen levels surge.
During the menstrual cycle, luteinizing hormone levels also go up and down. The same goes for follicle-stimulating hormone levels.
The rise and fall of hormones during this life stage is normal. However, some adolescents may experience more noticeable hormonal imbalance symptoms. These include hormonal acne and heavy periods.
Sleeping for eight to 10 hours can help control hormonal imbalance symptoms in teens. A balanced, nutritious diet full of fiber, fatty fish, and healthy fats can also help. It’s also beneficial to avoid added sugars and unhealthy fats.
Pregnancy triggers a sudden and significant influx in estrogen and progesterone levels.
The rapid increase in estrogen occurs during the first trimester. It then goes up at a steady rate throughout the entire pregnancy. Progesterone levels rise at a more consistent rate during pregnancy and until labor.
Both estrogen and progesterone are crucial to the mother and the developing fetus. Severe fluctuations can endanger the mom and the unborn baby. For instance, low progesterone can make it difficult to stay pregnant.
If you’re trying to or are already pregnant, an obstetrician (OB/GYN) can help you monitor your hormones. You may need hormone therapy if you have low levels of essential pregnancy hormones.
Most hormone levels decrease as part of normal aging. Endocrine functions also diminish as a result of desensitized hormone receptors. Estrogen, growth hormone, and melatonin are common hormones that dwindle in aging women.
While age isn’t something you can fight back, you can still defy its effects on estrogen with a proper diet. One way is to consume adequate amounts of food rich in phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are plant nutrients that mimic estrogen. Some studies also found a link between them and reduced risks of tumor cells and breast cancer. Phytoestrogen-rich foods include soy products, broccoli, cauliflower, and whole grains.
Menopause starts with perimenopause (pre-menopause), then menopause, and finally, post-menopause. The average age at which menopause occurs is 51. However, it can occur at any point between 40 and 58 years old.
Hormone levels can start to decline as early as the pre-menopausal stage, though. It can start eight to 10 years before the actual menopausal stage. During this stage, your estrogen levels will already start to diminish.
Progesterone is another hormone that decreases in supply during menopause. As its primary job is pregnancy-related, it naturally dwindles during menopause.
Eating plant-derived estrogen can help boost estrogen during menopausal. While they don’t contain progesterone, they may help stimulate the body to create more.
You can also use hormone pills that contain phytoestrogens. However, it’s best to consult an endocrinologist before you take any hormone medication. This way, the specialist can determine which hormones in your body are out of whack.
High Levels of Stress
Stress is a normal body response that triggers the body to release stress hormones. These include adrenaline and cortisol.
Adrenaline boosts the body’s energy supplies, blood pressure, and heart rate. Also known as epinephrine, this hormone is what triggers the body’s fight-or-flight reaction.
Cortisol, the chief stress hormone, makes more glucose (sugar) available to the bloodstream. It also helps the brain use glucose better, among many other crucial tissue functions.
Unfortunately, high levels of stress can make adrenaline and cortisol skyrocket. When this happens all the time, it can put you at risk of cardiovascular issues. It can also contribute to obesity and the development of mood disorders.
Interestingly, exercise is one of the best ways to combat mental stress. It has a long-term lowering effect on the body’s stress hormones. Moreover, it stimulates the release of endorphins, also known as happy hormones.
Good quality sleep helps contain stress hormones, so be sure to get as many hours of ZZZs as you need. Regular exercise also helps here, as it can help you fall asleep faster and more soundly.
Too Much TV or Screen Time
TV, computers, smartphones, tablets, and portable gaming devices emit blue light. This light, in turn, appears to impair the body’s production of melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that signals the body to go to sleep.
When you have melatonin imbalance, you may find it hard to fall asleep and get good quality sleep. For that reason, it’s best to stop using screened devices at least one to hours before bedtime.
Combat These Top Causes of Hormonal Imbalance in Females
As you can see, even the age-related causes of hormonal imbalance in females are treatable. Many other culprits, such as menstruation and pregnancy, are also manageable. Others, like stress and too much screen time, are highly avoidable.
What’s important is to know that help is available if your hormones are out of whack. So, if you think your hormones are making you feel unwell, talk to your doctor.
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