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HORMONE THERAPY

Early Menopause or Hormonal Imbalance?

Night sweats, bad moods, poor sleep, weight gain - for women of a certain age symptoms like these are often written off as the inevitable signs of early menopause - or impending menopause - known as perimenopause. But many women may be putting up with discomfort when they don't have to.

Hormonal imbalances unrelated to menopause can mimic many of the same symptoms as menopause. Hormones regulate most major bodily processes, so when they get off balance it can cause a wide range of symptoms throughout the body.

What do Hormones do?

Hormones are produced in glands throughout the body, and each has a specific purpose and system to manage.

Hormones help to regulate:

  • Metabolism and appetite
  • Heart rate
  • Sleep cycles
  • Reproductive cycles and sexual function
  • General growth and development
  • Mood and stress levels
  • Body temperature

How are the Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance Different from Menopause?

Estrogen and progestin are produced in the ovaries. During menopause, this production slows causing a drop in estrogen that leads to menopausal symptoms. It can be easy to confuse the signs of a hormonal imbalance with the typical signs of menopause.

Common symptoms of hormonal imbalances include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
  • Dry skin or skin rashes
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Brittle or weak bones
  • Blood sugar changes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
  • Dry skin or skin rashes
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Brittle or weak bones
  • Blood sugar changes
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Long-term fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Infertility
  • Puffy face
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Long-term fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Frequent urination
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Infertility
  • Puffy face
  • Blurred vision

Menopause has some of these symptoms in common but has a few, such as hot flashes, that help set it apart.

Symptoms of menopause can include:

  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Decreased libido
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Weight and body fat gain
  • Slowed metabolism
  • Waking insomnia
  • Brain fog

What Causes a Hormonal Imbalance?

Because hormones are produced in glands located all over the body, there are many opportunities for production and delivery to be disrupted and cause a hormonal imbalance. Physical issues, such as a tumor or disease, cause some imbalances while others are a result of poor diet, lack of sleep, stress and other lifestyle factors.

What About Balancing Estrogen and Progesterone?

Estrogen prepares your body for pregnancy and childbirth, protects bone health, helps prevent high blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and controls insulin. Progestin and testosterone work to keep estrogen in check. While a drop in estrogen levels causes menopause, an overabundance of estrogen can cause weight gain, depression, headaches, blood clots, issues with insulin levels, gallbladder disease and more. It's vital that these three hormonal players work as a team and are kept in balance, whether that means adding estrogen or getting more progestin or testosterone into the mix.

If I have a Hormonal Imbalance, how can it be Treated?

Your medical history, age, physical exam and a saliva hormone test can help determine if you have entered menopause or perimenopause or if you are experiencing some other type of hormonal imbalance. There are many types of hormone replacement therapies available and your urogynecologist will help you find the best program for your health needs and lifestyle.

If you suspect your life is being affected by a hormonal imbalance, call the expert team at Coyle Institute. We're here to listen, and we respect that you know your own body and know when something is amiss. Set up your consultation today and get back on the road to feeling like your vibrant self again!