The phrase “hormonal imbalance” is nothing new and certainly not unheard of. In fact, it’s so common that, on average, most people will experience some sort of imbalance during their lifetimes (Medical News Today).
More often, when you think of how hormones can affect someone, you might think of a menstruating or menopausal woman, AKA the “leave me alone, or else” period that occurs for a few days a month. And while that’s a relatively true picture, changes in hormones can be caused for many reasons other than menstruating — more so, it can just as well affect men.
Hormones are responsible for maintaining different bodily functions such as sleep, metabolism, mood and reproductive functions, among others. Imbalances that involve adrenaline and insulin can affect men and women equally but when it comes to estrogen and progesterone, women tend to be affected more by these while men tend toward testosterone.
Because different hormones are responsible for a wide array of functions, the symptoms also stretch over a long list as well. A few of the more common symptoms can be unexpected weight changes, sleep problems, sensitivity to cold or heat, changes in blood sugar or blood pressure, depression or increased thirst. These signs are just a tip of the iceberg and encompass much more.
One reason for an imbalance could be a dysfunction in the endocrine glands. These glands are located in various places throughout the body. For example, the adrenal glands or thyroid glands.
There are also certain disorders that can cause secondary fluctuations. Diabetes, thyroid disorders and some cancers can be a cause for changes. Lifestyle choices such as poor diet (being under or overweight), chronic stress along with medications can be a contributing factor as well.
Although men and women can have similar symptoms, there are a few that are more common in one gender over the other. In women, it’s often due to menstruation and childbirth changes, along with ovarian disorders. Symptoms can include irregular periods, hot flashes, infertility and hair loss.
In men, it’s more to do with aging. Medical conditions like hypogonadism (low testosterone) or prostate cancer are causes as well. Signs in men can look like reduced muscle mass, overdevelopment of breast tissue (“man-boobs”) or sexual dysfunction.
As hormonal imbalances can really affect the quality of your life, it’s important to take it seriously and seek treatment. There are several different medications options on the market to manage symptoms.
It’s also advised for everyone to make lifestyle changes to reduce your likelihood of developing a dysfunction but also for people who are already having problems. Keeping tabs on what you’re eating and avoiding sugary, processed foods is a good start. Watching your weight and stress levels is good as well.
Before you do anything, talk to your doctor. Relief could be just around the corner.