Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

When women approach 40, they start hearing about their hormones more often. The term is usually associated with menopause, even if the hormones’ job isn’t just to regulate menstruation.

In truth, hormones affect many, if not all, aspects of a person’s health. And hormonal imbalances aren’t exclusively a female issue. It also affects males. In addition, hormones aren’t only categorized as male and female. Insulin and cortisol are also hormones, and they’re usually the first ones that undergo an imbalance, regardless of sex.

That said, is hormonal imbalance an inevitable problem? The answer depends on certain factors. Male and female hormones work differently, so an imbalance in a woman won’t necessarily have the exact cause as an imbalance in a man. If diseases play a role, the two sexes might be related differently to that, too. For example, suppose the imbalance leads to hypothyroidism. In that case, it’s more likely affecting a female, as the disease can affect one in eight women.

With that in mind, here’s a deeper analysis of this complex health issue and see if you can avoid it.

Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Women experience hormonal imbalances more often than men. They’re bound to go through it at different stages of their lives. The first is when they hit puberty.

Girls typically develop acne, body hair, and mood changes upon reaching adolescence. Then they’ll have their first period, the frequency and duration of which also depend on their hormonal activity.

If they get pregnant, their hormones will act up again. It’s why pregnant women are often emotional, moody, and constantly stressed out. It lasts until after they’ve given birth, especially if they’ll breastfeed their infant.

When they reach their 40s, women start their premenopausal stage, which affects their hormones. Their menstrual flow might become lighter or heavier. They might experience symptoms such as hot flashes, flushing, and night sweats. Again, these are all due to the changes in their hormones.

Hormonal imbalances due to those causes are normal and natural. However, a massive drop in estrogen and an increase in testosterone are unusual in females. That can be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the most common cause of hormonal imbalance among women of childbearing age.

PCOS or other abnormal hormonal imbalances in women can also lead to thyroid diseases. The thyroid provides energy to nearly every organ in the body, affecting hormone health. Replacing low hormones with artificial hormones is one effective treatment for thyroid symptoms.

Women on the pill often experience hormonal imbalances, too, as a side effect. But they can treat it by changing the medications they’re taking or exploring other birth control methods.

Hormonal Imbalance in Men

Like girls, boys will also experience hormonal changes at puberty. Their voices get deeper, grow taller, and grow body and facial hair. They might also notice their muscles bulking up.

If their puberty is delayed, they might have hypogonadism, a condition in which the sex glands produce little to no sex hormones. It also happens to females, causing a delay in puberty as well.

Men with hormonal imbalances can develop gynecomastia or enlarge the breast tissue. Their muscles can also be underdeveloped, their body hair thin, and their voice not as deep as it should be.

Without treatment, men with hormonal imbalance, especially testosterone deficiency, can increase their risk for obesity, infertility, and other conditions related to their sex.

Thankfully, any man suffering from low testosterone can replenish their reserves with a healthy diet and exercise. Taking vitamins and health supplements help too. It is also crucial for men to keep their hormones balanced. Doing the opposite can lead to diabetes (type 1 and 2), Cushing syndrome (high stress levels), Addison’s disease, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

When Should You be Concerned?

Though you can avoid an abnormal hormonal imbalance, it’s not always a cause of concern. Even if your puberty is late, it’s not automatically a sign of hypogonadism. Sometimes, late puberty just runs in the family.

But if your hormonal imbalances are starting to affect the quality of your life, you should indeed seek treatment. Trying to conceive, for example, can be frustrating if you have PCOS or low testosterone. Although those conditions won’t necessarily doom you to severe illnesses, they can still affect your overall health, so seeking treatment is crucial.

Hormonal imbalances can also affect your self-confidence and self-esteem. A girl with facial hair, for example, can feel insecure when going out with friends. Alternatively, a boy with gynecomastia can feel afraid of being teased. If these issues hit close to home, you should also seek treatment.

If hormonal imbalance concerns you significantly, monitor how your body reacts to physical changes. Keep track of what looks normal what does not. That way, you will figure out if your hormonal activities are healthy or not.

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