Hormones are messengers or chemicals that are produced in the glands of the endocrine system, and are sent to their destination through the blood stream. They are produced and required in a specific quantity. Sometimes due to certain reasons, the level of hormones in the body rises or falls unnaturally. This condition is known as hormonal imbalance. It can be observed in both, men as well as women.
Malfunction of any one of the glands producing hormones can lead to hormonal imbalance. Menopause is the most important cause of hormone imbalance in women. Similarly, use of birth control pills, stress, environmental pollutants, and use of certain cosmetics are other possible reasons. On the other hand, in case of men, aging is found to be a common cause. In their middle age, men also suffer from change or drop in testosterone (a male hormone) level which is known as andropause. It is considered to be similar to menopause in women. Physical trauma, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, etc., can also cause hormone imbalance in men as well as women.
Signs and Symptoms
Weight gain and mood swings are the common symptoms observed. Other symptoms in women include premature aging, memory loss, hair loss, PMS, bone and muscle loss, low sex drive, osteoporosis, etc. The presence of excess estrogen (a female hormone) in women increases the risk of contracting breast, uterine, and endometrial cancer. In case of men, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, and enlarged prostate are the prominent symptoms.
Treating Hormone Imbalance
Drugs and hormonal supplements are used to overcome the deficiency of specific hormones. Hormone supplements are available which can be taken with the doctor's prescription. On the other hand, hormone blockers help in blocking the function of the hormones that are produced in excess. Phytoestrogenic herbs help in treating deficiency of certain hormones. In some cases, it is found that the gland producing a specific hormone does not function properly, which results in the excess production of certain hormones. In this case, surgery is required to treat and correct the functioning of these glands.
The hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most advanced technique used for treating hormone imbalance. In this therapy certain drugs are administered to treat the symptoms and discomfort caused due to hormonal imbalance. Post menopausal women usually undertake this therapy so that their body can cope up with the change in hormonal level caused due to menopause. Hormone replacement therapy is very costly, but is also very effective in reducing the risk of heart diseases and osteoporosis in women in later life, in spite of its many side effects.
A change in lifestyle is also considered a potential treatment method. Men and women should remember that diet and exercise play a key role in the production and functioning of hormones. Therefore, it is essential to have a balanced diet and undertake regular exercise in order to maintain a proper balance of the hormones. Good sex life is also believed to help in proper functioning of the hormones. One should try to reduce stress by undertaking stress management techniques, yoga, and meditation.
Either of the aforementioned therapies or a combination of them is really effective in treating hormonal imbalance. It is recommended to consult the doctor for proper guidance and advice.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.