Understanding Hormonal Imbalance In Females

In case there is excess or scanty production of certain hormones it leads to an imbalance and can present with different symptoms.

Dr Preeti Raheja Practicing as a Senior Consultant Gynecologist in Paras Bliss, New Delhi.

Our hormones are responsible for essentially every function in our bodies. Hormones are chemical messengers that impact the functionality of various organs of the human body. They play an important role in the physical, mental and sexual health of females. Women naturally experience several phases of hormonal changes during their lifetime. As in Puberty Menstrual cycle Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding Perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance In Females

In case there is excess or scanty production of certain hormones it leads to an imbalance and can present with different symptoms

  • Disturbance in the menstrual cycle: A normal menstrual cycle can vary from 21 to 35 days. If periods often tend to be irregular as in are early or delayed then there are chances of hormonal imbalance. Other indicators of imbalance can be excessive or scanty flow during periods and severe pain during periods.
  • Chronic acne: An excess of androgens can cause oil glands of the skin to secrete more sebum, excessive sebum can block the opening of glands which in turn can cause infection and eventually lead to acne. A breakout before or during periods can happen in females but persistent and chronic acne can be indicative of hormonal imbalance.
  • Hirsutism: Small amount of male hormones (androgens) are produced in females. Excessive production of androgens in females can result in the growth of dark and coarse hair in a male-like a pattern on face, chest and back.
  • Infertility: Hormones play a major role in female fertility. They are important for the formation of the mature egg, the process of fertilisation and for maintaining the pregnancy. PCOS (Polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a common condition of hormonal imbalance affecting women of childbearing age. It frequently presents with irregular scanty periods and infertility.
  • Weight gain: Hormones in females (oestrogen and progesterone) regulate food intake indirectly by inhibiting hunger along with it they also regulate body metabolism and mental status. Any imbalance in these hormones can cause excessive weight gain in females.
  • Mood swings and disturbance in sleep = Oestrogen affects key brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine thus indirectly controlling moods and sleep patterns in females. An imbalance can lead to depression anxiety and irritability. Low level of hormones causes a disturbance in sleep.
  • Breast Changes: An imbalance in hormones in females can cause thickening of breast tissue and the formation of lumps and cysts. Imbalance can also result in breast tenderness.
  • Darkening of skin: It has been seen that elevated levels of oestrogen and progesterone can lead to excessive production of melanin and thus darkening of skin.

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Other symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance in Females:

  • Hair loss
  • Easy fatiguability
  • Loss of libido
  • Headache
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Indigestion
  • Osteoporosis

All women experiencing these symptoms should visit their gynaecologist. The doctor will get necessary investigations and on the basis of diagnosis established will give treatment accordingly. There is little lifestyle recommendation which can help in correcting hormonal imbalance:

  • Diet rich in protein: Dietary proteins provide essential amino acids which are required for production and release of hormones. Protein-rich foods include eggs, chicken, soya, pulses, and legumes.
  • Make time for exercise: Exercise has a major benefit in regular zing the secretion of various hormones. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise in a week.
  • Consume right fats: Essential fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids are vital for hormone production. Thus intake of coconut oil, nuts, flaxseeds and fish can help.
  • The focus of sleep: Hormones are balanced if the circadian rhythm of the body is maintained. Thus it is important to get regular and good quality sleep.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates and caffeine.
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