Hormone Replacement Therapies And Breast Cancer Risk Research
Although a number of studies over the years have pointed to elevated breast cancer risks among users of synthetic hormone replacement, the Womens Health Initiative was the first major clinical trial of its kind to study their impact on bodily health. Results revealed greater risk than benefit among HRT users in terms of heart disease, stroke, and blood clots and a 26% increase in breast cancer risk the trial was abruptly halted. Naysayers were quick to point out that since only one type of hormone replacement was used in the studyPremPro, a synthetic estrogen and progestin combination that was the number one prescribed HRT for womenthe results could not be applied to all forms of HRT use. And that further, the average age of women subjects in the WHI was over 60 so the results could not be representative of most women on HRT. These conclusions were swiftly challenged by the Million Women Study published in the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, which found that, use of HRT, by women in the UK over the past decade has resulted in an estimated 20,000 extra breast cancers. Note to WHI naysayers: The women in this study were between 50 and 64 years of age and a full 15,000 of these cancers were associated with any combination of estrogen-progestin.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance
Because your body makes over 50 different hormones all of which contribute to important bodily functions you could experience several different symptoms depending on which hormonal imbalance you have.
Its important to know that many of the following symptoms could be caused by other conditions, not just from a hormonal imbalance. If you ever notice a change in your day-to-day health and are experiencing new, persistent symptoms, its important to talk to your healthcare provider no matter what you think the cause might be.
Hormone imbalance symptoms that affect your metabolism
Common hormonal imbalances include those that affect your metabolism. Your metabolism consists of the chemical reactions in your body’s cells that change the food you eat into energy. Many different hormones and processes are involved in metabolism.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances that affect your metabolism include:
- Slow heartbeat or rapid heartbeat .
- Thin, warm and moist skin.
- Irregular body fat distribution.
What Is The Main Cause Of Hormone Imbalances
Imbalances of hormones especially in women usually happen during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. However, some individuals experience continuous irregular hormone imbalance.
There are various reasons for its cause. This could be due to increased stress, genetics, disease, medication, blood sugar levels, or a certain diet or food that we tend to consume in high amounts.
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Poor Diet & Nutrition
Eating a diet rich in processed foods, starchy carbohydrates, and sugar may lead to a hormonal imbalance by raising your body’s insulin levels, increasing cortisol in the body.
People who live with chronic stress tend to make poorer food choices and may increase their intake of “snack foods” that are not nutrient dense, leading to weight gain.
Science shows that a diet rich in processed foods and meat will cause a hormonal imbalance.
Consuming animal products can disrupt your endocrine system and lead to a hormonal imbalance, too. Researchers discovered that eating meat or drinking milk from cows treated with hormones has a profound” biological effect on humans.
What Hormonal Imbalances Can Cause Belly Fat
- Thyroid: The thyroid gland secretes hormones that control metabolism, a process by which the body consumes energy. When your thyroid doesnt produce enough thyroid hormones , most body processes slow down, which leads to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. According to the American Thyroid Association, weight gain due to hypothyroidism may be caused by a buildup of salt and water as opposed to a buildup of fat.
- Cortisol: Cortisol is released in response to stressful situations. When you are agitated, your body goes into flight-or-fight or survival mode, triggered by the secretion of cortisol by the adrenal gland. Increased cortisol can lead to the accumulation of fat around the abdomen.
- Leptin: Leptin helps you feel full after a meal. However, when leptin levels increase and lead to leptin resistance, this can cause increased food intake and fat accumulation in the abdomen.
- Estrogen: Low testosterone levels may reduce libido and increase abdominal fat in both men and women.
- Testosterone: Low testosterone levels in males decrease growth and increase fat accumulation in the body. Increased testosterone levels in females increase insulin resistance, which leads to the accumulation of abdominal fat.
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Is It Hard To Overcome A Hormone Imbalance
Because hormones affect so many different processes of the body, managing hormone-related symptoms and pinpointing the exact cause of these symptoms can take some time. For that reason, some individuals may find it difficult to overcome a hormonal imbalance. This is especially true for couples trying to get pregnant.If you or a loved one is experiencing a hormone imbalance, its important to remember that there are science-backed solutions and treatments available. The best place to start is by examining any lifestyle factors that may be influencing your hormones. If you are still struggling even after making any necessary lifestyle changes, its a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor for further advice and support.
How Do I Get Rid Of Hormonal Belly Fat
Unexplained weight gain can be upsetting, especially when its around your waistline. In some cases, it can even indicate that something more serious is going on, such as a hormonal imbalance.
Hormones play an important role in controlling your metabolism, appetite, satiety, and energy, all of which are regulated by finely coordinated mechanisms in your brain.
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How To Check For A Hormone Imbalance
The best way that you can test for hormonal imbalances will vary depending on the hormone that is affected, and the underlying condition that is causing the dysfunction.
According to MedlinePlus, hormone testing can be used if youre showing symptoms that could be caused by too much or too little of a hormone. The most common types of samples that can be used for hormone imbalance tests include:
Your healthcare provider may order different hormone tests depending on your symptoms, and medical and family history. They may also perform a thorough physical examination or order further testing to determine the cause of the problem.
Hormone levels test results can vary depending on certain factors, such as your age, gender, medications you take, and chronic diseases. Its important to discuss your test results with a healthcare professional so you can understand what your results mean and the impact they may have on your health.
At-home hormone level tests allow you to take your samples from the comfort of your own home. Most of these test kits use saliva and fingerstick blood samples, which can be easily collected. Depending on the provider, you may be asked to mail your samples back to the company or drop them off at a certified lab for testing. You will also receive professional guidance to discuss your at-home test results.
Reasons Your Doctor Cant Give You A Hormone Imbalance Test
You may wonder why your doctor cant give you a quick test to determine if all your hormones are in balance. Testing hormones is very different from testing cholesterol or iron in your blood because your hormone levels are always changing, day by day, even hour by hour. They change based on where you are in your menstrual cycle, when you last ate, what your other hormones are doing, how stressed you are, and many other factors. Thats why a single hormone check cant really tell you if all your hormones are balanced.
Secondly, asking your doctor to check your hormones is a huge request. The human body produces more than 50 hormones! Hormones include melatonin adrenaline , oxytocin , cortisol , and progesterone , just to name a few.
The best way to discover if specific hormones are out of balance is by telling your doctor which symptoms you are experiencing so they can narrow down what should be checked and when. Your symptoms are your doctors first clues about what could be wrong.
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What Is The Meaning Of Hormonal Imbalance In Females
Hormones are essential for the growth and development of the body. The hormones help in the regulation of the various functions of the body, maintenance of the balance within the body, reproduction, metabolism, and maintenance of the energy level in the body. It is important to have a hormonal balance in the body regardless of the sex of the person. An increase or decrease in the level of a particular hormone results in hormonal imbalance in the body.
Hormonal imbalance may lead to various conditions and disorders of the body. This increases the chances of developing serious diseases. Hormonal imbalance may even impact the fertility of a woman.
There are several questions about hormonal imbalance in females. In this article, we will be discussing in detail hormonal imbalance and ways of treating hormone level fluctuations in females.
- What are Hormones?
- What are the causes of Hormonal Imbalance in Females?
- What are the symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance in Females?
- How to diagnose Hormonal Imbalance in Females?
- What are the ways of increasing the Hormone levels in females?
- What is the treatment for Hormonal Imbalance in Females?
How Is A Hormonal Imbalance Diagnosed
First, make an appointment with a health care provider for a physical exam. The health care provider will ask about your symptoms. Then, depending on your symptoms, they will suggest which hormone imbalance tests to do. These could be evaluations like:
- Blood test: Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroxine, TTH, insulin, and cortisol levels can be detected in the blood.
- Pelvic exam: A health care provider will search for any lumps or cysts.
- Ultrasound: Images of your uterus, ovaries, thyroid, and pituitary gland can be obtained.
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What Are The Ways Of Increasing The Hormone Levels In Females
A woman can increase her hormone levels by using a few of the following measures.
- Avocados can help in increasing the hormone level Avocado fruit is extremely beneficial for a womans health. An avocado salad helps to increase the hormone levels in females. A mixture can be made by grinding an avocado and mixing it with some honey and milk. This mixture can be consumed to increase hormone levels. The mixture consists of many minerals and nutrients and has a high fiber content that helps in increasing hormonal levels and keeping the body healthy.
What Are The Causes Of Hormonal Imbalance In Females
There can be a hormonal imbalance in females due to several reasons. Let us tell you in detail further.
- Hormonal imbalance may occur due to hypothyroidism in females.
- Bloating: Changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone levels can affect digestion, causing bloating of the stomach.
- Mood swings: Hormonal imbalances during the menstrual cycle, menopause, or thyroid hormone disorders may lead to mood swings and irritability.
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia: An imbalance in the level of progesterone hormone can cause insomnia and other sleep disturbances.
- Fatigue: An increase in the level of the progesterone hormone may result in fatigue and tiredness.
- Hair thinning and hair loss: It is usually noticed when there is a decline in the level of estrogen, during pregnancy, menopause, or after starting with birth control pills.
- Headaches: Can be a result of a decrease in the level of estrogen.
- Acne: An excess amount of Androgens may lead to acne formation.
- Night Sweats: Low estrogen levels during menopause usually result in night sweats.
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Treating Imbalance With Medications
Treatments for hormonal imbalance are often specific to the type of hormone in question and its related effects. Doctors use medications to treat imbalance because there are a variety of medications that can either stimulate or even replace hormonal chemicals in the body. These treatments are often referred to as hormone therapy.
Medications to balance female hormones, like estrogen and progestin, can alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and even increase fertility. Women with high androgen, a male hormone, can take medication to suppress high levels. Meanwhile, testosterone supplements can help men experience relief from fatigue, muscle loss, and other symptoms of âLow Tâ. Medications can even stimulate puberty in teenagers with delayed puberty.
There are a variety of other medications used to relieve other hormone imbalances, including insulin to treat Type I and Type II diabetes. Hormone therapy medications are available in pill, patch, injection, and topical cream form, depending on the treatment you need.
Fertility Problems Caused By Hormone Imbalances
Another common time women ask for a hormone checkup is when trying to conceive. Typically, 84% of women get pregnant after a year of unprotected sex. When conception doesnt happen, one reason could be a hormonal imbalance. To learn more, read our extensive article about fertility challenges here.
Again, its important to track your menstrual cycle, including the dates you have unprotected sex, to give your doctor a picture of what your reproductive cycle is doing. Keep in mind that your partner should also be tested for structural or hormonal issues if you have been trying to conceive for some time.
If youre having your period too often , then your uterus cant sustain a fertilized egg. If your periods are too far apart , your ovaries may not be releasing eggs often enough into your fallopian tubes.
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What Kind Of Doctors Treat Hormonal Imbalances
Primary healthcare providers can diagnose and help you manage many hormonal imbalances, but you may benefit from seeing an endocrinologist.
An endocrinologist is a healthcare provider who specializes in endocrinology, a field of medicine that studies conditions related to your hormones. They can diagnose endocrine conditions, develop treatment and management plans and prescribe medication.
What Is The Treatment For Hormonal Imbalance In Females
The treatment for hormonal imbalance in females depends on the cause for the same. Some of the treatment modalities may include:
- Thyroid medications
- Medications for the treatment of any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, eg. Metformin
- Hormonal birth control, which includes birth control pill, vaginal ring, intrauterine device , birth control patch.
- Anti-androgen medications
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How Can I Prevent A Hormonal Imbalance
While many hormonal imbalances arent preventable, there are certain things you can do to optimize your overall health, which could help keep your hormones balanced, including:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Managing your chronic health conditions well .
- Quitting smoking or using tobacco products, if you smoke.
What Are The Treatment Options
Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most common treatments of low hormone levels.
For people experiencing menopause, premature menopause, or primary ovarian insufficiency as well as after oophorectomy or chemotherapy estrogen therapy can offer some relief. Estrogen therapy alone is recommended for those who have had a hysterectomy. You can take estrogen in different forms, generally estrogen pills and estrogen patches.
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Puberty & Menopause Problems Caused By Hormone Imbalances
Getting First Period too Young or too Old
Typically, a girl will begin her period at a similar age to when her mother began getting hers. Some girls have their first period as early as 10 or 11. Others dont get their first period until theyre 15 or even 16. If you or your daughter are outside those age ranges and are concerned about that first period, it is worth a visit to her Pediatrician, Family Doctor or OBYGN.
Common factors that affect when a girl begins her period are weight changes, environmental factors that stimulate the hormones, or adrenal gland problems.
Irregular Periods in Teens
Pre-teens and teenagers have very irregular periods as their bodies mature. Sometimes, teens have unusual bleeding because they arent ovulating regularly. In this case, they have some hormonal development that isnt complete so the uterus isnt getting a clear enough signal of what to do.
Issues During Menopause
When women approach their mid- to late-40s, their cycles may become irregular as they enter the perimenopausal stage. You can read more about what to expect in perimenopause in our recent article. Signs that you may be experiencing perimenopause include skipping periods and having lighter periods.
If your periods are becoming heavier, more frequent, prolonged, or with spotting between periods, you should mention this to your doctor. These changes could indicate menopause, but they could also be caused by abnormalities in your cervix or uterus.
The Bottom Line On Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms
It is important to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional as soon as possible if you believe you might be experiencing a hormonal imbalance. This will help you get the support you need to get your body back to functioning at its best and may prevent long-term issues. It will also help you get to the bottom of why your hormonal balance occurred so you can avoid another in the future.
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Period Problems And Period
A common complaint of women who visit Madison Womens Health is irregular periods or unexpected changes to their periods. A period is considered irregular when it occurs more often than before or less often than before, or if the amount and duration of bleeding has changed significantly for repeated months. Is your period suddenly much heavier than it has been? Or are you not having a period at all?
Keep track of your cycles, when you begin to bleed, and for how long. A popular app among our patients for tracking cycles is Period Tracker Period Calendar , although there are many options. Let your doctor know how many days there are between your periods and what your typical flow is like. Discuss what is different and why you are concerned. Let them know if youre under more stress than before, if youve changed your diet or exercise recently, or if you have a family history of irregular periods.
These changes could have a structural cause having to do with your cervix or uterus or a hormonal cause. Your doctor will likely want to perform a physical exam and may also check specific hormones on a specific day of your menstrual cycle.