People going through menopause transition or menopause may experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance, Lo explains. Estrogen changes during menopause can impact our brain chemicals; for example, decreasing levels of estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, she says. This can also result in some people experiencing memory problems or feelings of “fogginess” as well as moodiness, feelings of depression, poor sleep quality, decreased sex drive and vaginal dryness, Lo adds.
Before we get into hormonal imbalance, it’s important to talk about what hormones actually are. According to Dr. Patricia Lo, an OB-GYN at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, hormones are chemical messengers produced by glands in the endocrine system to help coordinate and dictate different body system functions. They also can regulate a whole host of functions, such as metabolism, appetite, sleep, reproductive cycles, sexual function, mood and stress, she tells SheKnows.
In the years preceding menopause, a woman may suffer from decreased testosterone as her ovaries and adrenal glands slow the production of sex hormones. This may explain why many women experience a drop in libido during this period of their lives. Excess testosterone, however, may be the result of a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); possible symptoms include irregular periods, male-pattern baldness, a deepening voice, and excess body hair.
Hormonal imbalances can occur in men and women of almost any age.1 A variety of factors can be related to these imbalances, including high insulin levels from diets high in refined foods and sugar, exposure to environmental toxins (xenoestrogens), high consumption of hydrogenated fats, and lack of physical activity leading to weight gain.2-5 Age is also a factor in reduced levels of hormones, creating feelings of imbalance in everyday pursuits. For example, testosterone levels in women begin going down after age 20. By age 40 a woman's testosterone level will be half of what it was when she was 20 years old. This is why getting hormone levels checked even while in your 20's may be necessary if you aren't feeling yourself. For women between the ages of 40–60, testosterone levels can remain pretty constant. After menopause testosterone declines once again.1
Thyroid hormone regulates how fast you burn calories. One in ten women doesn't produce enough of it—a condition known as hypothyroidism, which can lead to weight gain, depression, and fatigue. On the other end of the spectrum is hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland releases too much of its hormone, causing symptoms such as anxiety, a racing heart, excessive sweating, even diarrhea.
Magnesium– Magnesium is vital for hundreds of functions within the human body and many of us are deficient in this master mineral (here’s how to tell if you are). There are several different ways to get Magnesium: In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly, ionic liquid form can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly,or transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to the skin (this is my favorite method). Topical application is often the most effective option for those with a damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.
Dr. Hotze: Low thyroid and imbalance of the female hormones, but low thy-, that’s a classical finding in hypothyroid patients. Unfortunately, most physicians don’t think about thyroid problems, and if they do, they use a blood test only to make the diagnosis and the blood test is so broad, so wide, so large, that 95% of the people fall within the range, so there’s literally millions of people, I’ve figured 70 million people walking around America today that are hypothyroid …
Hormone imbalance is becoming increasingly common in modern Americans, but what many who have these disorders don’t realize is the fact that hormone imbalance is not “normal.” In a healthy, functioning person, hormones should be in balance to support the functions of the body. When hormones are out of balance, it’s because something in the body is also not functioning properly.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause, you may be tempted to try a home testing kit. Home testing kits measure follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your urine. FSH levels increase when you enter menopause, but levels also rise and fall during a normal menstrual cycle. This test can give you an indication of whether menopause has started, but it can’t tell you conclusively.