Hormone imbalances are much more common than previously thought. As an integral part of your overall health, hormones affect a broad range of processes — coordinating and controlling reproduction, energy production, sexual characteristics, growth, and development.
Together, hormones act as chemical messengers that influence everything from sleep and hunger to mood and weight. When everything is going right, hormones coordinate activities throughout your body without conscious effort on your part.
However, hormone imbalances occur when your body produces too much, or too little, of a hormone. This throws things out of whack, and it isn’t always obvious that the imbalance is the cause. You may feel that something is off but can’t quite put your finger on it.
Board-certified endocrinologist Dr. Jonathan C. Cheng and the team at A New You Health and Wellness — The Woodlands specialize in diagnosing and treating hormone imbalances. We are committed to helping you feel and function better with our hormone therapy services.
It’s wise to know the warning signs that suggest your hormones may be out of balance. If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss them with a qualified professional.
Warning signs of estrogen imbalance
Estrogens are female sex hormones produced primarily in the ovaries. They regulate reproduction, ensure vaginal health, and play a role in bone formation. High or low estrogen can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Estrogen declines naturally as you age, but when levels fall below normal, bothersome symptoms can arise, such as:
- Night sweats and hot flashes
- Hair loss
- Low libido
- Vaginal dryness
- Memory problems
- Trouble concentrating
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment for relieving symptoms related to low estrogen.
On the other side of the coin, estrogen dominance refers to estrogen levels that are higher than normal. Testosterone and progesterone help to balance estrogen, but low levels of either of these hormones can result in elevated estrogen. Persistently elevated estrogen levels raise your risk for blood clots and stroke.
Warning signs of testosterone imbalance
Testosterone levels peak between ages 18 and 20 and remain high before starting to decline around age 40. Like female sex hormones, male sex hormones regulate reproduction and play a key role in male sexual characteristics. Testosterone influences everything from libido and muscle mass to strength and fat distribution.
Nearly 40% of men age 45 and over have below-normal levels of testosterone, and this imbalance can strike at an even earlier age. More men are experiencing low testosterone as early as age 30. Symptoms include:
- Loss of libido
- Decline in lean mass
- Loss of body hair
- Changes in mood
- Lack of stamina
- Difficulty getting or maintaining an erection
- Problems sleeping
- Increased body fat
- Loss of bone mass
As with estrogen replacement for women, hormone replacement therapy can restore men’s testosterone levels so you feel like yourself again.
Warning signs of thyroid hormone imbalance
Your thyroid is a small but mighty butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. It acts as the master control center of your metabolism, controlling energy input and output.
When it’s working properly, it regulates body temperature, activates your nervous system, and controls how many calories you burn each day. Too little (hypothyroidism) or too much (hyperthyroidism) thyroid hormone can cause problems.
Warning signs of hypothyroidism include:
- Constipation and fluid retention
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Memory problems
- Elevated cholesterol
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain and stiffness
Signs of excess thyroid hormone include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood swings
- Nervousness and anxiety
- Heat sensitivity
- Persistent thirst
- Frequent urination
Thyroid hormone replacement restores levels that are too low while hyperthyroidism is commonly treated using radioactive iodine to shrink the thyroid gland.
Help for hormone imbalance
Hormone imbalance can have a major impact on your life, affecting your productivity at work and even your ability to carry out your day-to-day activities. If you’re experiencing symptoms of hormone imbalance, contact our office in The Woodlands, Texas, to schedule a comprehensive evaluation, or request an appointment online.