Hormone imbalances in women and how they can be affecting your period
Understanding hormones is important as a man or a woman since too much or too little of certain hormones can have a ripple effect across the body. Originally produced in the endocrine glands, hormones travel around the bloodstream of the body and tell tissues and organs what to do. At certain stages in a woman’s life like menopause or pregnancy, hormone changes are completely normal. Unfortunately, it’s very common for women to experience other hormone imbalances that can have serious side effects. We’ll break down some of the most common hormone imbalances, what they can mean for your period and how you can attempt to regulate them.
Common causes of hormone imbalances in women
There are a variety of possible causes for hormone imbalances that are specific to women and sometimes related to reproductive hormones. Common causes in these instances can include pregnancy, menopause, breast feeding, birth control, and PCOS (polycystic ovary symptom).
There are also a variety of other causes that aren’t specific to women’s bodies such as thyroid problems (hypo or hyperthyroidism), diabetes, stress, eating disorders, medications, injury or trauma among a variety of others.
Common signs and symptoms that you might have a hormone imbalance
Keep in mind, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms it doesn’t always mean you have a hormone imbalance. In women, some of the most common imbalances show themselves in some of these forms:
- Irregular periods: this could be either missed periods or frequent periods
- Hair loss
- Excessive hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body
- Night sweats
- Pain during sex
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood swings
- Trouble concentrating
How can hormone imbalances affect your periods?
Every woman is different but the most common ways that hormone imbalances can affect menstrual cycles is by causing irregularity. This could show up in missing periods, having too frequent of periods or period stopping and starting. A rule of thumb for what is considered “regular” for menstrual cycles are between 24-38 days apart. So, if you are having a period less than 24 days apart or more than 38 days apart your period is considered irregular. With the exception of the time leading up to menopause and the first few years of menstruation, if your cycle length changes by more than 20 days each month you’re also having an irregular period. Not only can irregular periods be a nuisance to your routine and monthly planning, but can make it even more difficult if you are trying to get pregnant or track periods for preventing pregnancy.
On top of causing period irregularities, hormone imbalances can also greatly accentuate certain PMS symptoms. It’s common for moodiness, anxiety, bloating, and fatigue to rise if your hormones aren’t balanced correctly.
Okay, I have a hormone imbalance. What’s next?
Make sure to consult with your physician to actually conclude that you have a hormone imbalance before seeking out treatments of any kind. If you find that you do, there are a variety of treatments to help you restore balance. There is a wide range but make sure to work with your physician to understand the underlying causes of the imbalance and what the best plan of action is for you.
Hormone levels change and fluctuate over time and your life stages and don’t remain static. This means it’s important to listen to your body and your symptoms.
There are both natural and medical ways to restore order and bring your hormones back to a balanced place including hormone therapy, lifestyle changes, vitamins, and supplements. If you’re struggling with irregular periods, most physicians will recommend hormonal birth control like an IUD, birth control pills, patches or shots.
If you’d like to go the more natural route and try to avoid hormone therapy if you can, there are some options that might do the trick! Improving your diet and working on eating clean and following a balanced meal plan can help and also calm other symptoms of PMS at the same time. Exercising and losing weight in certain women has also helped with period regulation.
While they won’t always help with more major symptoms of hormone imbalances, (which is where hormone therapy will come in) high-quality, natural supplements are a great option as a homeopathic option to introduce to your diet. They can also help by decreasing a lot of PMS symptoms at the same time. Check out this ingredient list for a holistic breakdown of some of the front-runners when it comes to upping your supplement routine and getting your hormones back in balance.