How Do Hormonal Imbalances Affect a Woman’s Health?

Hormones are natural substances produced in the body to communicate between organs and cells. Hormonal imbalance in women occurs when they have too much or too little hormones, such as progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. This affects many bodily functions, including weight, mood, energy level, metabolism, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause.

The following are the different types of hormones and how they affect women's health:

Estrogen

Though ovaries are the major source of estrogen, adrenal glands and fat cells also produce it in small amounts. Estrogen plays a major role in:

  • Pregnancy and menopause
  • Promoting the development of female characteristics, including armpit hair, pubic hair, and breasts
  • Regulating your menstrual cycle
  • Keeping your cholesterol levels under control, thus protecting your bone health

This hormone also impacts your heart health, skin, mood, and tissues across the body. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout the month, remaining high in the middle of your menstrual cycle and low during your period and menopause.

Women with low estrogen levels may experience symptoms, such as:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Dry skin
  • Mood swings
  • Dryness of the vagina
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Difficulty sleeping

Symptoms of high estrogen levels may include:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Weight gain in the waist, thighs, and hip
  • Decreased libido
  • Menstrual problems (light or heavy bleeding)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Intensified premenstrual symptoms
  • Uterine fibroids (non-cancerous uterus tumors)
  • Fibrocystic breasts (non-cancerous breast tumors)
    • Progesterone

      Progesterone is produced in the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine gland produced in the body after ovulation. It supports pregnancy by preparing the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to accept a fertilized egg. If a woman does not conceive, the corpus luteum breaks down, decreasing the progesterone levels and causing menstruation.

      Women with low levels of progesterone may experience:

      • Irregular or missed periods
      • Difficulty conceiving
      • Higher risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery
      • Abnormal uterine bleeding
      • Spotting
      • Abdominal pain

      Low progesterone levels may also contribute to high estrogen levels, leading to symptoms, such as:

      • Gallbladder problems
      • Weight gain
      • Decreased sex drive

      Symptoms of high progesterone levels are associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which include:

      • Weight gain
      • Breast swelling and tenderness
      • Low libido
      • Depression
      • Bloating
      • Fatigue
      • Anxiety or agitation

      Testosterone

      While testosterone is found in higher levels in men, it still plays a vital role in women's health. Testosterone is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands. It is responsible for:

      • Libido
      • Creating muscle mass
      • Bone density

      Low testosterone levels in women may lead to:

      • Weight gain
      • Loss of bone density
      • Vaginal dryness
      • Weak muscles
      • Fertility issues
      • Sleep disturbances
      • Irregular menstrual cycles
      • Fatigue
      • Sluggishness
      • Low libido

      Women with high testosterone levels may experience the following symptoms:

      • Deeper voice
      • Irregular or missed periods
      • Increased muscle mass
      • Excess hair growth on the body and face
      • Acne
      • Male pattern baldness
      • Infertility

      High testosterone levels can cause polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine condition that causes irregular or missed ovulation, impacting pregnancy.

      Women with PCOS may experience these symptoms:

      • High blood pressure
      • Weight gain
      • Insulin resistance
      • Elevated triglycerides
      • Excessive or thinning hair
      • Low good cholesterol levels and high bad cholesterol levels
      • Acne
      • Carbohydrate intolerance (that increases your weight)
      • Menstrual irregularity

      What to Do If You Have Health Problems Despite Normal Hormone Levels

      If your hormone levels are normal but you are still experiencing health problems, it is time to examine other factors that may impact your overall health and wellbeing.

      Sleep

      It is essential to have 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Otherwise, you may experience physical and emotional problems, such as obesity, diabetes, mood swings, depression, and confusion.

      Exercise

      Exercising at least 20 minutes a day can:

      • Reduce depression, anxiety, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
      • Help you maintain your weight
      • Prevent diabetes
      • Decrease your risk of developing heart disease
      • Enhance your brain function and mood
      • Protect bones, joints, and muscles

      Diet

      Drinking plenty of water and eating a diet rich in vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains helps your body get the required nutrients to function well.

      Doctor Visits

      Regularly visiting your healthcare provider can help prevent health issues or diagnose them early while they are less severe and easier to treat. How often you need to visit your doctor depends on your age, family history, lifestyle, and overall health.

      If you have a hormonal imbalance or are showing symptoms of PCOS, schedule an appointment with us at North Atlanta Women’s Care. We offer comprehensive women’s health care services, from routine physicals to PCOS treatment, ultrasound services, pregnancy care, and delivery.

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North Atlanta Women's Care

North Atlanta Women’s Care specializes in complete women's health care and is the preferred source of comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology services for many women in Johns Creek, Georgia, and the greater Atlanta area.

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