You might think of estrogen or testosterone when someone talks about hormonal balance. Although those are important hormones and you may well experience an imbalance because you have too much or too little of either one, a different hormonal issue is the most common — diabetes.
At Osteopathic Center for Healing in Rockville, Maryland, Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA, have a deep understanding of how important hormone balancing can be. In order to live a healthy, active, high-quality life, you need balanced hormones.
We can help you understand whether you have a hormone imbalance, as well as what you should do if that’s the case.
What are hormones, anyway?
Hormones are sometimes described as your body’s messengers, and your endocrine system is the messaging system. Hormones are involved in virtually every bodily process, including your sleep cycle, metabolism, digestion, mood, growth, and development.
One example of a hormone serving as a messenger is insulin. Your pancreas manufactures insulin, which serves as a messenger or key for your cells. Insulin tells the cells to let glucose, or sugar, in so that it can be converted to energy.
When you have less insulin than your cells need, you have a hormone imbalance. In some cases, this particular hormone imbalance can progress to diabetes.
Because your endocrine system is vast and you have so many hormones, it’s easy to understand that imbalances happen. In fact, it would be unusual to go through your whole life without experiencing a hormone imbalance at some point or other.
Chronic hormone imbalances
You can also have a chronic hormone imbalance that has a negative impact on your health.
For example, if you have chronic stress, you may have too much cortisol and adrenaline. Those hormones can cause anxiety, weight gain, and sleep disturbances, and are even associated with cardiovascular disease.
If you have a thyroid disorder, you have either too much or too little thyroid hormone. You may have a rapid heart rate, little energy, unexplained weight gain or weight loss, feel cold often, or have other symptoms.
Chronic hormone imbalances can have wide-ranging health effects and cause serious damage over time. You must address any chronic hormone imbalances to maintain good health.
Temporary hormone imbalances
Sometimes hormone imbalances are temporary. Puberty is one example of a normal period of hormonal imbalance. During pregnancy and menopause, your hormones are also out of balance as your body undergoes changes.
Treating a temporary hormone imbalance can make you more comfortable and even resolve symptoms. For example, many women benefit from hormone therapy during menopause because it can relieve symptoms such as hot flashes.
Symptoms of a hormone imbalance
The sheer number of hormones in your body, combined with the numerous functions and body systems that depend on them, can make it difficult to identify a hormone imbalance without the help of an expert and lab testing. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Difficulty sleeping or a change in sleep habits
- Feeling cold often
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in your heart rate
- Dry skin
- Changes in your libido
- Blurry vision
- Brittle hair or nails
- Hair loss
- Excessive hair growth
Sometimes your symptoms may seem to come and go, or you may not realize that what you’re experiencing actually is a symptom. You may just feel off or not quite yourself.
If you’d like to learn if you have a hormonal imbalance, schedule an appointment at Osteopathic Center for Healing. We address your health from a whole-person perspective and follow a functional medicine model to help you reach an optimal level of health.