Keeping hormones balanced is a very important aspect of health for women. There are several different hormones that are important, and if the levels of different hormones aren’t balanced, then a woman may experience symptoms.
What are the signs of hormonal issues in women? How can you test for female hormone problems, and are there any possible treatments?
What are female hormone disorders?
There are a huge number of different hormones that are important in the function of a woman’s body. Some of these include:
When the levels of any of these hormones are too high or too low, this can potentially lead to symptoms of hormone disorders in females.
These are not the only hormones; there are many other hormones in the female body. The levels of any hormone can potentially become imbalanced and cause problems.
Female Hormone Imbalance Causes
There are a huge number of potential causes of female hormone imbalances. Some of the more common ones include:
- High estrogen: obesity, liver problems, drinking too much alcohol
- Low estrogen: eating disorders, diseases that damage the ovaries
- High testosterone: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Low testosterone: problems with the adrenal gland
- Hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone): Hashimoto’s disease, thyroiditis
- Hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone): Graves disease
- High cortisol: stress, taking steroid medications
- Low cortisol: autoimmune disease, certain types of cancer
It’s normal for a woman’s hormone levels to change during certain parts of her life. For example, during pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels normally go up significantly, and other hormones (such as relaxin and human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG) are also produced. Many of the changes that a woman experiences during pregnancy are related to these changes in hormone levels.
After a woman goes through menopause, her levels of progesterone and estrogen normally go down dramatically. Testosterone levels also decline after menopause. Even though the drop in hormone levels is normal with menopause, many women experience symptoms at this time, especially during the period when hormone levels are dropping rapidly.
Female Hormone Imbalance Symptoms
There are a huge number of possible symptoms of hormonal problems in females. Some of the more common symptoms include:
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Changes in mood (anxiety, depression, or mood swings)
- Hair loss
- Changes in bowel habits (constipation or diarrhea)
- Reduced sex drive
- Trouble sleeping
- Unexplained weight changes (gain or loss)
- Excessive growth of hair on the body or face
- Hot flashes
The specific symptoms will depend on the particular type of hormonal imbalance that a woman is experiencing.
The symptoms of many different hormonal conditions can overlap, and the levels of different hormones can impact each other. It’s very difficult to know what type of hormonal imbalance a woman is experiencing without testing. The best way to check for a hormone imbalance is with a blood test.
If you’re concerned that you may have a problem with your hormones, you can go to your doctor and tell them about your symptoms, and they’ll order the blood tests that you need. You’ll then need to go to a laboratory to have blood drawn. The timing of many hormonal tests is important, so you may need to go early in the morning on a particular day of your menstrual cycle.
Another option, which many people find more convenient, is to order a home testing kit. You’ll get the kit delivered to your home, and take your blood sample yourself through a fingerprick. You’ll then mail the sample back to the lab, and get your results online in a few days.
If you choose home testing, and you get any abnormal results on your hormone tests, then you’ll need to make an appointment with a medical professional to discuss treatment. In most cases, you’ll need treatment for a hormonal imbalance.
Female Hormone Imbalance Treatment
Once you know that you have a hormone imbalance, then it’s time to consider treatment. The treatments for hormone disorders in females depend on the woman’s specific medical situation.
In general, if it’s clear what’s causing your hormone imbalance, then the treatment will be focused on this condition if possible. For example, if you have PCOS, then there are medications that can help to address the issue and bring your body back into balance.
If your levels of a particular hormone are too low, you may benefit from taking some extra of that hormone. For example, if you have hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone), then taking extra thyroid hormone may help relieve your symptoms.
The specifics of hormonal imbalance treatment for females will depend on the specific hormones that are out of balance, and the cause of that imbalance. It’s important to talk with a medical professional to ensure that you get the right treatment for you.
Hormone Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/tracking/topics/HormoneDisorders.htm. Accessed 25 Dec 2022.
Hormonal Imbalance. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22673-hormonal-imbalance. Accessed 25 Dec 2022.