It is no secret that many physical and mental problems can directly be linked to your hormones not being optimally balanced. The level of some hormones naturally decreases as we age, however, hormonal disbalance can happen at any age and affect your:
- Mood and energy levels
- Immune system
- Sex drive
- Skin and appearance
Hormones tell your body how to function and stay healthy, so even the smallest changes can be significant. While there are over 50 hormones regulating all parts of your body, today I want to talk to you specifically about hormones and hormonal disorders that affect how you feel and look.
HORMONAL DISBALANCE AND EMOTIONS
Let’s start by talking about the role of hormonal disbalance on emotions. Studies have shown that women are at higher risk of developing mood disorders and depression, which can be explained by fluctuations in one particular female hormone – estrogen. Surprisingly, modern science still doesn’t know exactly how estrogen shapes mood, however, evidence suggests that it has a direct effect on dopamine and serotonin, which are linked to conditions like depression and psychosis. So, a large fluctuation in estrogen could have an effect on a cascade of other hormones and through this indirect path, affect mood and emotional state.
Conditions linked to estrogen include premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoria disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression, perimenopausal and postmenopausal depression, etc. Actually, the problems can continue even beyond menopause. With decreased physical functionality and quality of life, people over 65 sometimes start experiencing depressive disorders. This is more common among women, which is again caused by estrogen levels. These are real, serious conditions that can have a significant effect on women’s lives. For example:
- Before the onset of the period, women with PMDD suffer from depression;
- Women taking oral contraceptives can develop irritability and even suicidal thoughts caused by changes in hormonal balance;
- Women in the postpartum period can suffer from postpartum depression and other mental illnesses that accompany major hormonal changes after childbirth.
These conditions often coincide with different phases of women’s lives when their bodies are going through massive changes, including in hormonal levels. So, it isn’t surprising that these processes can trigger various physical and emotional changes. During these periods people usually suffer not only from mood-related problems, but also other symptoms like fatigue, bloating, appetite loss, depression, insomnia, hot flashes, reduced libido, etc. So, treating hormone-related conditions can significantly improve your life.
There are other conditions, like perimenopausal depression, that aren’t even recognized widely as a medical condition or are often treated inefficiently using antidepressants when proper diagnosis and hormonal treatment could lead to much better results.
HORMONAL DISORDER IN MEN
Obviously, women aren’t the only ones suffering from mood disorders and other hormone-related problems. Disbalance in sex hormones influences mood and behavior in men as well. However, hormonal changes are more gradual in men.
The main problem is caused by a drop in testosterone levels, which usually happens at around 60. However, it is not uncommon to see hormonal imbalances happening in males as early as 30 years of age. As a result, men can develop irritability, mood problems, low energy and depression. Just like women, men also benefit greatly from hormone replacement therapy treatments which can restore the hormone to an adequate level and help you feel better not only physically, but also mentally.
In addition to sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone), thyroid hormones also play an important role in regulating mood. In case of thyroid hormone deficiency, people sometimes develop depression and anxiety and can lose drive. Various thyroid-related problems have been linked to mood problems. For example, people with an overactive thyroid can suffer from nervousness, restlessness, anxiety and irritability; while people with an underactive thyroid can experience fatigue and depression. However, hormone therapy coupled with dietary and lifestyle changes can fix the problem and restore mental balance.
Potential benefits of restoring hormonal levels using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy include reduced fatigue, increased sex drive, weight loss, increases muscle tonicity, improved mood and sleep, better memory and less hair thinning. This is no surprise because having your hormones in check means having your entire body in check!
PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF HORMONAL DISBALANCE
Now let’s look at another side of the coin – the effect of hormonal disbalance on physical performance and appearance. There are a number of physical problems that can emerge as a result of hormonal changes:
- Weight gain or loss
- Chronic acne
- Dry skin
- Joint and muscle pain
- Joint swelling
- Puffy face
- Purple or pink stretch marks
All of these problems make you feel like you’re getting older and are losing control over your body when in reality the problem isn’t age. It’s hormones!
Actually, maintaining proper hormonal levels has incredible rejuvenating and anti-aging effects. For example, estrogen is involved in elasticity of the skin, oil production, and overall skin health and even prevents premature aging and wrinkles caused by exposure to UV light. Also, estrogen was found to reduce the frequency of joint pain.
DIAGNOSING AND TREATING HORMONAL DISBALANCE
If the problem is in the hormones, then you have nothing to worry about. Diagnosing and treating hormonal disbalance problems is not rocket science. With proper treatment, it is possible to maintain youthful and glowy skin, manage pain and regulate your weight.
At the Dempster Clinic – Center for Functional Medicine, we pay special attention to our patient’s hormone levels and offer full hormonal analysis for a variety of hormones. Hormone imbalances may start to occur in men and women as early as their mid-thirties, some even earlier!
If you would like to regulate your mood, strengthen your bones, reduce fat storage and have visible anti-aging effects, you should definitely check your hormonal balance and understand the performance and level of hormones in your body.
If you are menopausal or are experiencing symptoms related to hormonal imbalance, like sudden weight gain or loss, muscle weakness, joint pain or stiffness OR if you simply want to maintain your skin by improving your hormonal state, there is an easy, quick and accurate way to get a hormonal analysis.
Dealing with hormonal disbalance isn’t complicated. It just requires the right knowledge and experience. For example, with Bioidentical hormone therapy you can start feeling better in a matter of weeks. Peak absorption happens within 4-5 weeks and an optimal level of health is generally reached within 3-4 months.