Our hormones are silent workhorses in our bodies, regulating most of our systems. They act as chemical messengers, coordinating everything from fertility to moods to metabolism. Aging can create a decline in hormone production.
This is especially true after a woman goes through menopause. It’s declining hormones that are behind those annoying hot flashes and weight gains. For men, declining hormones can lead to fatigue and decreased libido.
Some struggling with hormone imbalances try to naturally balance their hormones by taking dietary supplements, changing their diet and sleep cycle, and avoiding environmental endocrine disruptors such as those found in plastics. Others find over-the-counter hormone creams and pills to supplement their suspected deficiency, or go to a physician who can prescribe oral or injectable synthetic hormones, which are usually ready-made prescriptions used by many patients despite their individual, varied hormonal problems.
What is Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a unique solution to hormone imbalances because the prescriptions are developed specifically for the patient. Using regularly-scheduled lab work, Affirm Health Center diagnoses and treats each patient’s individual hormone deficiencies. Naturally-synthesized hormones chemically identical to the hormones of the human body are compounded into a prescription used to combat hormone imbalances so that patients can feel better and work better as they go about their daily lives.
What is Hormone Imbalance?
Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system. Once produced they travel throughout the body by way of the bloodstream to the tissues and organs. There they deliver messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it. Hormonal imbalances occur if there is either too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream.
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What Causes a Hormone Imbalance?
Hormone imbalances can be caused by a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors. Some factors are within our control: inconsistent sleep patterns, a poor diet and lack of exercise all contribute to hormone imbalances. However, hormone levels are frequently affected by factors out of one’s control, including endocrine disruptors found in everyday manmade materials and natural hormonal changes caused by the onset of aging. Hormonal imbalances can be responsible for one’s weight gain, foggy thinking, fatigue and emotional disturbances, among other symptoms.
Causes Of Hormone Imbalances in Women
Women naturally experience several periods of hormonal imbalance throughout their lifetime, including:
- Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding
- Perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause
Various medical conditions can also create hormonal imbalances in women:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Hormone replacement or birth control medication
- Early menopause
- Primary ovarian insufficiency
- Ovarian cancer
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms in Women
- Heavy, irregular, or painful periods
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal dryness
- Breast tenderness
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Acne during and just before menstruation
- Uterine bleeding not associated with menstruation
- Increased hair growth on the face, neck, chest, or back
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair
- Skin tags or abnormal growths
- Deepening of the voice
- Clitoral enlargement
Causes Of Hormone Imbalance in Men
Like women, men also experience periods of hormonal imbalance over their lifetime from puberty or aging. These medical conditions can also be a cause:
- Prostate cancer
Hormone Imbalance Symptoms in Men
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm count
- Reduced muscle mass
- Reduced body hair growth
- Overdevelopment of breast tissue
- Breast tenderness
Can Hormonal Imbalance Affect Fertility?
Hormone imbalance can affect both female and male fertility.
In women, an imbalance can cause infertility by disrupting ovulation, preventing the thickening of the uterine lining, or otherwise prevent pregnancy.
In men, hormonal imbalances can lower sperm counts.
What is Menopause?
Menopause is a hormonal change that is signaled by 12 months without menstruation. Symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness and sleep disturbance. These symptoms can lead to anxiety or depression. Treatments for menopause include topical lubricants and hormone replacement.