Statistics show that hormonal imbalances, especially in women, are much more common than thought previously. You might not be able to see a hormonal imbalance, but its effects can present themselves in all aspects of your life and, left untreated, can be dangerous or even life-threatening. So with the prevalence of a hormone imbalance being so high, why don’t more of us seek medical treatment? First, it helps to know what a hormone does, and why left untreated, it can be dangerous.
What are Hormones?
Hormones work as the messengers within your body. Based on specific chemicals, the hormones that are produced by your endocrine system affect different outcomes within your body. Among the things hormones regulate is your body’s metabolism and appetite, sleep patterns, mood and stress levels, heart rate and sexual and reproductive functions.
What is a Hormone Imbalance?
Hormone imbalances occur when there is not enough or too much of a certain hormone being produced by the body. And because a hormone imbalance often presents as tiny inconveniences or mimic other conditions such as constipation or diarrhea, losing or gaining too much weight, hot flashes, sweating, exhaustion, and infertility, many people brush off the symptoms and do not seek medical treatment.
Women vs. Men
For women, experiencing irregular periods, seeing excessive body hair sprout up, breaking out and gaining weight all are symptoms of a change in your body’s hormones. Each symptom alone may not seem like a cause for concern, but together, may be a red flag that something is off. Women experience hormonal imbalances at key transitions in their lives, for example, puberty, child birth, perimenopause and menopause. For men, a hormonal imbalance can present as a decreased sex drive, loss of hair and loss of muscle mass and too often are seen as simply a sign of maturing.
Dangers of Hormone Imbalance
The most dangerous thing about a hormonal imbalance is not actually the symptom, but what it may represent. Common causes of a hormonal imbalance range from diabetes to thyroid issues, to glandular issues and possible tumors – either benign or malignant. If your body is reacting in these ways to changes in your body’s chemicals, it could be sign of a deeper issue, which could be dangerous if left untreated.
Particularly in women, a hormonal imbalance could indicate early onset of menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome, primary ovarian insufficiency and even ovarian cancer, among other conditions. In men, hormone imbalance could indicate any number of conditions, including prostate cancer.
Talk to your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms that are not typical of your personality or body. Many people keep a log to keep track of changes; this is helpful when describing to their doctors any concerns or symptoms. Once diagnosed, your doctor will work with you to prescribe medicine, advise life-style changes, conduct additional testing, or refer you to a specialist.
Remember, a hormonal balance can be serious if left untreated, but speaking to your doctor – even if you’re wrong – can only help make the issue better.
For more information on hormonal imbalances, and different treatment options, contact the health experts at Between the Bridges Healing Centers in Mankato, Minnesota. We’re here to help you find the right treatment that will make you more you. To make your appointment, call us at (507) 388-7488 today.