How Hormonal Imbalances May Be Affecting Your Body

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You’ve been working out every day, eating a healthy, balanced diet, yet the weight is still not dropping. Sound familiar? It may be your hormones.

Hormones are produced by our endocrine glands, the adrenals, thyroid, pancreas and ovaries or testes.

These are incredibly important to the essential function of our bodies, as hormones act as a sort of ‘chemical messenger;’ sending out important warning signs and messages, through the bloodstream and to the organs and tissues. 

hormonal imbalances
Almost everyone will experience a hormonal imbalance at least one or two times

Essentially, our hormones help ensure everything is running smoothly in the body – and when there is an imbalance of hormones, either too many or too little, this can impact a whole range of important bodily functions.

 According to Medical News Daily, almost everyone will be affected by a hormonal imbalance at least once or twice in their lifetime. But for some, imbalances can be ongoing, and some may not even be aware of the issue.

Here are some of the different types of hormonal imbalances and symptoms to be aware of.

Thyroid

You’re experiencing:

  • Feeling cold in the hands, feet or all over.
  • Weight-gain, or weight loss resistance, even with a low calorie diet
  • Feeling tired and need excessive amounts of sleep
  • Difficult, infrequent bowel movements
  • Depression or lack of motivation
  • Hair loss or hair thinning

You may have: a thyroid imbalance

The main purpose of the thyroid gland is to “run the body’s metabolism,” according to James Norman MD from Endocrineweb, but the thyroid also influences almost all of the metabolic processes in the body.

how a hormone imbalance affects your body
The thyroid is located in the throat, and a hormonal imbalance can affect the body in multiple different ways

As such, people who do not produce enough of the thyroid hormone, called an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, can often have issues with a slow metabolism. This makes it very easy to gain weight, and can also lead to feeling sluggish or tired, as a drop in hormone levels can drastically affect energy levels.

Too much of the thyroid hormones, called hyperthyroidism, can cause the metabolism to speed up. This can cause people to lose weight quickly, become more sensitive to heat, and have irregular or fast heart palpations.

How is it tested? Through a blood test from your doctor.

Cortisol

You’re experiencing:

  • Cravings for salty or sugary foods
  • Low sex drive or mood irritability
  • Dizziness when standing up quickly
  • Easily fatigued, or waking up feeling exhausted
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood sugar issues
  • Chronic inflammation

You may have: A cortisol imbalance

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands on the kidneys and is known as the body’s “stress” hormone, helping to control mood, fear and motivation. Additionally, cortisol helps to manage how the body uses carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It also regulates blood pressure and increases the level of blood sugar (glucose) within the body.

Too much cortisol in the body can lead to a condition called Cushing syndrome. This can cause rapid weight gain, particularly around the middle or upper body, skin that bruises easily, diabetes and even osteoporosis.

signs of hormonal imbalance in the body
Hormonal imbalances can cause all sorts of discomfort and frustration

Too little cortisol can result in a condition called Addison’s disease, which can lead to extreme fatigue, weight loss and decreased appetite, darkening of the skin and low blood pressure.

How is it tested: A blood test conducted by a doctor, usually done twice a day – in the morning, when cortisone levels are at their highest, and again around 4pm when the levels are generally lower. Other tests may include a urine or saliva test.

Insulin

You’re experiencing:

  • Cravings for sweets
  • Lightheaded-ness
  • Feeling shaky, jittery or having tremors
  • Agitated, easily upset or nervous,
  • Poor memory
  • Waist girth is equal or larger than hip girth

You may have: An insulin resistance

Produced by the pancreas, insulin is responsible for controlling the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. When the cells in body fat, muscles and liver start to ignore or resist the signal for glucose to transition from the bloodstream to the cells, which gives the body energy, this causes insulin resistance.

When this happens, the body is forced to produce more and more insulin in order to keep up with the demand. Overtime, this can raise blood sugar levels, which can lead to developing Type II diabetes or heart disease.

Insulin resistance can occur from too much belly fat, lack of exercise and smoking, and It can often be signified by having a large waist – for women, over 35 inches, and for men, over 40 inches.

How is it tested? Doctors will first use a blood test, often followed by a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test.

Other hormonal imbalances can include estrogen, progesterone, testosterone or leptin imbalances.

How can we fix a hormonal imbalance?

Qualified nutritionist, PT and wellness coach Nik Toth, otherwise known as Bondi’s Lean Body Coach, says that one of the first things in addressing hormonal issues is looking at the gut and liver health.

“The liver is like a traffic controller for all our hormones, so if the liver is clogged up and eliminating caffeine and alcohol, pesticides and environmental toxins, then it can harder to balance hormones,” she said.

Hormonal imbalances
Addressing gut health can be key

“But first and foremost, gut health needs to be addressed, because the gut is supported by the liver as well.”

Gut health is important, because the gut is responsible for breaking down and absorbing the nutrients from food. This helps support energy production, hormone balance, skin health, mental health and toxic and waste elimination, according to healthline.

Click here for more reasons as to why gut health is so important.

Other ways to treat hormonal imbalances can include medication or hormone replacement therapies issued by doctors.

As always, with any health condition, seek medical advice and testing before embarking on any suggested remedies.

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Zoe Bradbury

CONTRIBUTOR

Zoe is a self-confessed health and fitness fanatic. She loves working out and being active, almost as much as she loves going out for brunch and eating avo toast.
If she’s not in the gym, you’ll usually find her online shopping, buying something she definitely does not need, or updating her Pinterest board with travel and adventure ideas for the future.
Her other loves include dark chocolate, coffee and cats, all enjoyed while watching bad (or really good?) reality TV

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