Hormones are chemicals produced in the endocrine glands (pituitary glands, pineal glands, testes, ovaries, etc) that get directly in the blood and carry messages to different parts of the body through the organs and tissues. They play a role in your body's growth, metabolism, sexual and reproductive functions, cognition, and temperature.
Hormonal imbalances happen when someone has too much or too little of specific hormones that can have negative side effects on the body. They can happen to anyone at most ages, including children.
It’s important to look out for signs of hormonal imbalance. Dr. Staci L. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN have spent years treating patients in the Las Vegas, NV area for many obstetric and gynecological conditions, including problems with hormonal imbalances.
What causes hormonal imbalances in the body?
Many things can contribute to these imbalances, such as diabetes, stress, injuries, certain medications, and certain medical treatments. Problems with the thyroid (hyperthyroidism an overactive thyroid and hypothyroidism, and underactive one) can cause imbalances, along with tumors and even some cancer treatments.
Age plays a major part in postmenopause when the ovaries cease production of estrogen, affecting the entire body over time.
What signs should you look for?
Because hormones play a vital part in how many functions in the body operate it has a number of different effects on the body, including:
- Weight gain
- Heat and cold sensitivity
- Dry skin
- Sudden weight loss
- Weakness, pain, or stiffness in the muscles and joints
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Hirsutism (excessive hair in various parts of the body)
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sex
- Osteoporosis (loss of bone mass)
Imbalances in the hormones can cause a lot more problems in men and women, and signs will vary depending on what specific condition is causing it.
How can they be treated?
Different methods are used to test for imbalances because there are so many different symptoms and causes. Blood tests, pelvic exams, and ultrasounds are common methods, usually following a physical exam.
Once a patient is diagnosed it can be treated in many ways. For women, estrogen therapy, vaginal estrogen, hormonal birth control methods can be used depending on the cause. Anti-androgen medications can help reduce issues with acne, hair loss, and facial hair growth. Thyroid hormone medications are available, and there are treatments for low sex drive and even creams for excessive facial hair in women.
If you think you're dealing with the effects of hormone imbalance don’t hesitate to contact Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN to get help.