04 May Why are hormone problems so common?
We have a complicated relationship with hormones. They play a huge role in how we feel, impacting everything from our energy and mood to our mental clarity. And if you think hormones seem easily knocked out of balance for something so critical to our wellbeing, you’re not really wrong.
Today we’re going to talk about why so many people have hormonal issues, what type of problems may be attributed to hormones and where to start if you feel like you need some hormone help.
What are hormones?
Hormones are complicated and powerful chemical messengers that help to coordinate various functions in the body. They are interconnected and have to work correctly to orchestrate these functions. Hormones trigger menstruation to start and stop, regulate sleep, and even help control blood sugar. And it doesn’t take a large shift to create a significant change within the body. This is why small deviations in hormone levels can become problematic. It is also why hormones seem so dubious, but it’s not their fault.
Why do so many people have hormonal issues?
Your hormones are doing their best to keep you in balance, a feat that seems to be growing increasingly more difficult. One reason so many people struggle with issues related to hormones is stress. Stress is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to throwing hormones out of balance.
Stress triggers many chemical reactions in the body and can dramatically affect your hormones. In turn, you may experience everything from night sweats and leg cramps to elevated blood pressure. That’s right, stress alone is enough to throw your system out of balance and keep it there. So when you consider the amount of work and stress we all deal with, it’s easy to see why hormone issues are so prevalent.
Hormones are also interconnected in some tricky ways that create a negative feedback loop that keeps you out of balance. For instance, let’s say you are stressed out and can’t sleep well. In turn, you don’t create some hormones that are made at night while you rest like growth hormone and testosterone. You continue to sleep poorly, and stop exercising because you’re exhausted.
You start eating more junk food than usual because your energy is low and you don’t have time to make healthy meals. And remember, life is happening at the same time so you have to factor in work stress, financial stress, social obligation and family responsibilities. It doesn’t take long for this to lead to weight gain. The excess fat triggers estrogen issues and deepens your testosterone issues. Before long you have chronic sleep problems, no libido, no energy, excess weight, menstrual problems and many more unpleasant symptoms.
The point I’m trying to make with this example is that even something that seems as small as getting poor sleep can lead to significant hormonal problems. And with the number of stressors we face nowadays, it’s clear that hormone problems are going to become more and more important to address.
What symptoms may be related to hormone issues?
This article would turn into a book if I were to include a complete list of symptoms that could be traced back to hormone problems. They are behind the scenes of just about every body function and can cause a large list of symptoms when they aren’t working correctly. What may be more helpful is the following list of the top problems patients come in with that end up being related to their hormones:
- Hair thinning
- Heavy menstrual cycles
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Low libido
- Loss of strength
- Mood changes
- Skin thinning
- Weight gain
What can I do if I think I have a hormone problem?
First and foremost, take a breath and remember it isn’t your fault. All too often people, especially women, experience weight gain or mental fog and think it is their fault. You’re not unmotivated or forgetful, you need medical intervention to solve a very real and measurable problem. So if you think that your hormones may be off, it’s time to get some testing done. This is the starting point for measuring what is going on.
Lab testing and a thorough conversation with a skilled medical professional can discover the cause of the imbalance. From there there are many paths to take, from lifestyle changes and botanical medicine to bioidentical hormone replacement. Most importantly, you can get back to feeling like yourself and living the life you want.
If you’re ready to take charge of your hormones, I’m happy to help you get started on your journey. I offer telehealth for patients anywhere in the state of Arizona and specialize in helping people solve their hormone issues. You can also give me a call at (928) 440-3279 or send me a message using this form.