You might not be aware of it, but when it comes to your health, mood, and overall functioning… hormones run the show.
Our endocrine system produces 50 hormones integral for healthy body functions. A slight imbalance of one hormone could be the cause of mood swings, headaches, increased sweating, or weight gain. These are the five most common hormone imbalances in both men and women.
Cortisol, otherwise known as the stress hormone, is produced in your adrenal gland to help regulate blood sugar, metabolism inflammation, and memory formation. It’s released during stressful times causing your digestion and reproduction systems to shut down temporarily.
If you’re producing too much you might experience symptoms like high blood pressure, mood swings, muscle weakness, weight gain, flushed, round face, and reduced sex drive. Too much cortisol secreted over an extended period of time can increase the risk of developing Cushing’s syndrome.
If your adrenal gland isn’t producing enough cortisol you may experience dizziness, fatigue, weight loss, muscle weakness, and mood swings. It can lead to Addison’s disease.
Estrogen is the predominant sex hormone in women. Though men secrete smaller amounts, they do not experience the same issues women do when there’s an imbalance. But in both men and women estrogen helps regulate cholesterol and bone health.
Women with too much estrogen can result in fatigue, depression and anxious feelings, weight gain, and breast lumps. In men, high estrogen levels can enlarge pectorals, cause infertility and reduce sex drive.
Low estrogen is typically the result of menopause in women. It leads to hot flashes, mood swings, an irregular menstrual cycle, and dry skin. Men experience a reduced sex drive and weight gain when they don’t secrete enough.
Insulin is produced in the pancreas and regulates your metabolic process. Too much insulin can result in hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. You can increase insulin by drinking a sugary beverage or eating high-carb food.
Low insulin is normally the result of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which leads to high blood sugar. Symptoms of high blood sugar include dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, frequent urination, hunger, and or weight loss.
Progesterone is crucial in women for menstruation and early stages of pregnancy. In men, it helps support fertility and balances the effects of estrogen. High progesterone in women is associated with anxiety, bloating, depression, and weight fluctuations. For men, high progesterone increases estrogen which results in depression, fatigue, and heart conditions.
Low levels in women can cause bone loss, fatigue, hair loss, and weight gain. Women with low levels experience irregular menstrual cycles, abnormal uterine bleeding, and weight gain which can cause miscarriages.
The main sex hormone in men is testosterone. It’s responsible for the physical changes during puberty.
Women also have smaller amounts of testosterone which supports bone health and reproductive tissue.
High testosterone levels in males can cause early development in children. In adults, high testosterone in men can lead to increased infertility at a young age.
Low testosterone in men includes low sperm count, mood swings, reduced sex drive, and enlarged pectorals. Women can experience fatigue, muscle weakness, reduced sex drive, and weight gain.
It’s normal for hormones to fluctuate as we age. However, if your symptoms persist or get worse discuss them with your physician to help manage the condition.
Understanding hormone function is one of the keys to sustainable health and well-being.