Hormonal changes can produce a wide range of physical and mental symptoms. Hormones are the chemical messengers that allow your body to function in harmony.
During your reproductive years, women’s hormones cycle up and down every month naturally. Changes also commonly occur during the two significant events in your life that affect your hormones the most: pregnancy and menopause.
What’s more, hormonal diseases like low and high thyroid (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism) occur more in women than in men.
Each hormone has a function or a number of functions, including those that help promote the changes that need to occur for a woman’s metabolism and reproductive system to function optimally.
However, the symptoms that stem from hormonal problems are often subtle or appear so gradually; they can be hard to identify.
Here are the most common signs of a hormonal condition to watch out for:
Fertility problems – Because hormonal conditions can interfere with the normal functioning of reproductive hormones, they can stop the signals that prepare your ovary to release an egg. That is why your healthcare practitioner should check for the presence of all different types of hormonal conditions when you see them about difficulties with becoming pregnant.
Bowel changes – New symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, or going to the bathroom more or less often could be a sign of a thyroid problem.
Temperature changes – Have you been sweating a little more recently or experiencing hot flashes? These symptoms could be a sign of menopause, whereas cold intolerance is a sign of hypothyroidism.
Irregular periods – If you’ve noticed some changes in the frequency of your periods, you’ve been skipping periods, or they’re heavier or lighter than they have been recently, your hormones may be to blame.
Mood changes – Others are often the first to notice changes in our moods, occasionally to our dismay! However, if you’ve been more irritable, depressed, anxious, or angry, this may be a sign of a normal or abnormal hormonal change. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be the culprit if the mood changes appear before your period, or you could be presenting with signs of low thyroid, high thyroid, pregnancy, menopause, or high steroid levels.
Change in libido – Increased and decreased sex drive can both be linked to your hormones. Vaginal dryness is another symptom to watch out for.
Hair changes – High androgen (or male hormone) levels and high steroid levels can lead to more hair on the face, back, chest and abdomen. Polycystic ovary syndrome can also cause these changes as well as irregular periods and ovarian cysts. Or perhaps you’ve been losing hair? This can be a sign of a thyroid problem.
Skin changes – Acne or dry skin may be a sign of hormonal changes of a wide variety.
Weight changes – If your habits haven’t changed very much, but you’ve lost or gained weight, this may be a sign of thyroid, steroid, or other hormonal condition.
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? If so, make an appointment with your integrative healthcare practitioner to get a plan in place to address hormonal imbalances with nutrition and lifestyle changes.