Obstetrics and gynecology

Submitted by admin on Fri, 10/20/2023 - 03:39

Hormonal Imbalance: Symptoms, Causes, and Effective Solutions


Hormonal imbalances can occur in the female body when there are fluctuations in specific hormones present in the bloodstream. These hormones, produced by glands, play vital roles in various bodily functions, including growth, mood regulation, body temperature, and heartbeat.

In women, hormonal disruptions commonly arise during specific stages such as premenstrual periods, pregnancy, and pre-menopause. While some hormonal imbalances are temporary and resolve independently, others may persist chronically. It's important to note that while specific imbalances can be addressed to promote physical well-being, others may not directly impact health but can significantly diminish one's overall quality of life.

What is a hormonal disorder?

A hormonal disorder refers to an abnormality or imbalance in the production, regulation, or functioning of hormones in the body. It can lead to various symptoms and health issues due to disruptions in hormone levels or actions. Examples include thyroid disorders, PCOS, adrenal or pituitary gland disorders, and diabetes. Diagnosis involves medical evaluation and testing, while treatment may consist of medications, lifestyle changes, or hormone replacement therapy. Seeking medical attention is crucial for proper diagnosis and management.

What are the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance?

  • Slow heartbeat or rapid heartbeat.
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Constipation.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Numbness and tingling in your hands.
  • High blood cholesterol levels.
  • Depression or anxiety.
  • Being unable to tolerate cold temperatures or warm temperatures.
  • Dry, coarse skin and hair.
  • Thin, warm, and moist skin.
  • Irregular body fat distribution.
  • Darkened skin in your armpit or the back and sides of your neck.
  • Skin tags.
  • Extreme thirst and frequent urination.
  • Hair loss.
  • Irregular periods.
  • Vaginal atrophy.
  • Vaginal dryness.

Causes of hormonal imbalance in women:

Often, the causes of Hormonal Imbalance in women are natural causes such as the premenstrual period, during pregnancy, and the premenopausal period; other potential causes of hormonal disorders in women include: 

  • Puberty and Menopause: Hormonal fluctuations occur during these natural life stages.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A hormonal disorder characterized by imbalances in reproductive hormones.
  • Hormonal contraceptives: Certain forms of birth control can affect hormone levels.
  • Chronic stress: Prolonged stress can disrupt the balance of various hormones, including cortisol.
  • Thyroid disorders: Conditions like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can affect the production and regulation of thyroid hormones.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle factors: Poor diet, lack of exercise, inadequate sleep, and excessive alcohol or drug use.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, including antidepressants, corticosteroids, and cancer treatments, can interfere with hormone levels.
  • Excessive stress
  • High Body Fat Percentage
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Prader-Willi syndrome (a genetic condition marked by chronic hunger) can lead to problems with growth.
  • Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be caused by injury to the endocrine gland.
  • Extreme infection
  • Exposure to toxins, pollutants, herbicides, or pesticides.
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Abuse of anabolic steroid medications.
  • If you have Turner syndrome, you only have one functioning X chromosome.
  • High levels of insulin
  • Birth control and hormone replacement medications.

How to diagnose hormonal imbalance in women?

Diagnosing hormonal imbalances in women typically involves a combination of medical history review, physical examination, and laboratory tests. Here is a list of standard diagnostic methods:

  • Blood test.
  • Pelvic exam.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Additional advanced tests include:
    • Biopsy
    • MRI
    • X-ray
    • Thyroid scan
  • Medical history review: Our Doctors will ask about symptoms, menstrual cycle patterns, and relevant medical conditions.
  • Physical examination: A physical exam may be performed to check for any signs or symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as abnormal hair growth or skin changes.
  • Hormone level testing: Blood, saliva, or urine samples may be collected to measure hormone levels, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid hormones, and others.
  • Pelvic ultrasound: This imaging test may evaluate the ovaries and uterus for abnormalities, such as ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids.
  • Thyroid function tests: Blood tests can assess the functioning of the thyroid gland by measuring levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), T3, and T4 hormones.
  • Hormone stimulation or suppression tests involve administering certain substances to stimulate or suppress specific hormone production, helping identify abnormalities in hormone regulation.
  • Imaging tests: In some cases, imaging studies like MRI or CT scans may be recommended to visualize the pituitary gland or other structures involved in hormone production and regulation.
  • Consultation with specialists: Depending on the specific symptoms and suspected hormonal imbalances, a referral to an endocrinologist, gynecologist, or other specialists may be necessary for further evaluation and diagnosis.

What is the treatment for hormonal imbalance in women?

The treatment for hormonal imbalance in women depends on the specific underlying cause and the symptoms experienced. Here are some common approaches to treating hormonal imbalances:

  • Lifestyle changes: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management techniques, sufficient sleep, and reducing alcohol and drug consumption.
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): Using medications or hormone supplementation to restore hormonal balance, especially in deficiency or imbalance of specific hormones.
  • Oral contraceptives: Birth control pills can help regulate hormone levels and manage symptoms related to hormonal imbalances, such as irregular periods or excessive hair growth.
  • Medications: Prescribing specific remedies to address underlying hormonal disorders and manage symptoms. For example, anti-androgen medications are used for excessive androgen production in conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
  • Thyroid medications: Prescribing medications to regulate thyroid hormone levels in cases of thyroid disorders causing hormonal imbalances.
  • Surgical intervention: Consider surgical options like removing ovarian cysts or the uterus (hysterectomy) if necessary to address the underlying hormonal imbalance.
  • Complementary and alternative therapies: Exploring complementary approaches such as acupuncture, herbal supplements, or lifestyle practices to manage hormonal imbalances. However, consulting a healthcare professional is essential before trying alternative therapies.

What are the complications of hormonal disorders?

Hormonal imbalance can lead to various complications and health issues. Here are some of the common complications associated with hormonal imbalances:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles: Hormonal imbalances, particularly in women, can cause irregular periods, heavy or light bleeding, or missed periods.
  • Infertility: Hormonal imbalances can affect ovulation and make it difficult for women to conceive. In men, hormonal imbalances can reduce sperm count or quality, resulting in infertility.
  • Mood swings and emotional instability: Hormonal fluctuations can impact neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or depression.
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight: Imbalances in hormones, such as insulin, cortisol, estrogen, or thyroid hormones, can contribute to weight gain or make it challenging to lose weight.
  • Fatigue and low energy levels: Hormonal imbalances, particularly in the thyroid or adrenal glands, can cause fatigue, low energy levels, and a general feeling of sluggishness.
  • Sleep disturbances: Hormonal imbalances may disrupt standard sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or excessive sleepiness.
  • Acne and skin problems: Fluctuations in hormones, particularly androgens like testosterone, can increase sebum production, clogged pores, and acne breakouts.
  • Hair loss: Hormonal imbalances, such as high androgens or thyroid hormone imbalances, can lead to hair loss or thinning. 
  • Bone loss: Hormonal imbalances, particularly a decline in estrogen levels in women during menopause, can contribute to accelerated bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Metabolic disorders: Hormonal imbalances can affect metabolism and contribute to insulin resistance, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome.
  • Cardiovascular problems: Imbalances in hormones like estrogen or thyroid hormones can impact cholesterol levels blood pressure, and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Digestive issues: Hormonal imbalances, particularly in the thyroid or adrenal glands, can affect digestion, leading to symptoms like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.

Can hormone imbalance cause anxiety?

Yes, hormone imbalances can contribute to developing or worsening anxiety symptoms. Fluctuations in hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, or thyroid hormones, can affect neurotransmitters and brain chemistry, increasing anxiety and stress.

  • Hyperthyroidism: When an individual has hyperthyroidism, their body produces excessive thyroid hormone. This leads to an accelerated metabolism, which can result in anxiety and feelings of nervousness, restlessness, and irritability.
  • Cushing's syndrome: Although less common, Cushing's syndrome (excess cortisol) can induce anxiety, along with depression and irritability.
  • Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency: Adults experiencing a shortage in growth hormone often describe feelings of anxiety and/or depression.

Can hormone imbalance cause weight gain?

Yes, hormone imbalance can contribute to weight gain. Hormones are crucial in regulating metabolism, appetite, and fat storage. An imbalance in hormones, such as insulin, cortisol, estrogen, or thyroid hormones, can disrupt these processes and lead to weight gain or difficulty in losing weight.

For example, insulin resistance or elevated cortisol levels can promote fat accumulation, particularly in the abdominal area. It's important to note that hormone imbalance is just one of many factors influencing weight, and individual circumstances may vary.

How can women prevent hormonal imbalances?

While many hormonal imbalances aren't 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.
  • Eating a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Managing your stress.
  • Getting enough quality sleep.
  • Managing your chronic health conditions well (if applicable).
  • Quitting smoking or using tobacco products if you smoke.

What kind of doctors treat hormonal imbalances?

Primary healthcare providers have the ability to diagnose and assist in managing various hormonal imbalances, but consulting an endocrinologist can be beneficial.

An endocrinologist is a specialized healthcare professional in the field of endocrinology, which focuses on studying hormone-related conditions. They possess the expertise to diagnose endocrine disorders, create treatment and management strategies, and prescribe appropriate medications.

When should I see my healthcare provider about a hormonal imbalance?

If you're experiencing persistent symptoms that are new to you, it is crucial to consult with your healthcare professional. They can request diagnostic tests to ascertain your symptoms' underlying cause.

Book your appointment at UHS today!

For more information about gynecology services or to Make an appointment with one of our expert gynecologists in Sharjah, fill out the booking form

Doctors in obstetrics and gynecology

Dr. Hind Sabah

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr.Arathy Velusamy

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr. Sana H Al Abassi

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr. Nariman Awad

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr. Nagla Elhadi Abdalsamad Abdalla

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr. Mai Kazem Abou Safia

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr. Eman Rashid Deemas Al Suwaidi

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist/Fetal Medicine

Dr. Noha Ahmed Mousa

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecology

Dr. Ghada Siddig Abdin Mohammed

Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecology

Dr. Ameenah Mohammed Saadi

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist

Dr. Abeer AlQedrah

Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctor

Dr. Fayez Abukharoub

Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist