Hormonal imbalance is something that many women struggle with. Unfortunately, most us don’t even know we have an imbalance. We tend to assume our grumpiness is due to lack of sleep and that our breakouts are because we’re not washing properly, but a lot of the time there are obvious signs that our hormones are out of balance and that it may be time to see a doctor. Here are 6 tell tale signs that your hormones have gone rogue.
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Oily Skin/Acne/Hair Growth
If your once-clear skin has become oily/congested and you’re breaking out regularly, you may have a hormone imbalance. You may also find your hair has become oily and that you are breaking out in places you never had acne before. Another sign is that you start to grow more hair on your face (ahhhh!). Sudden mustache and/or side burns? Yep, time to get a checkup.
Hormonal acne tends to flare up along the jawline and mouth. This type of acne is also more prone to congestion-type acne such as blackheads, milia, and oily plugs rather than inflammatory cystic-type acne. According to Web MD, a third of women will suffer from hormonal adult acne: “‘About a third of women will get adult acne, usually in their early 30s, even if they didn’t have breakouts when they were younger,” says Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Stuart Kaplan. ‘Starting in your late 20s, estrogen levels decline faster than testosterone.’ Because testosterone is an androgenic hormone, it increases masculine qualities (hence the new facial hair) and boosts oil production, plugging your pores and causing blemishes. The difference between adult acne and the teenage type? Small red bumps (not painful, cystic pimples) are more common when you’re older, according to Kaplan, and acne along the jawline or around the mouth are a telltale sign that you’re dealing with a hormonal breakout.”
If you are showing signs of hormonal acne, it’s best to go to your doctor and dermatologist sooner rather than later. If you don’t fix what’s happening internally, no amount of creams or topical solutions are going to clear up your skin. Treatments for hormonal acne include the prescription spironolactone, DIM (a naturally occurring estrogen metabolizing supplement), and hormone balancing herbs such as wild yam, passion flower, dong quai, licorice, red raspberry, black cohosh, and fenugreek. We prefer natural ingredients and have used both Solaray Female Hormone Blend capsules and Nature’s Way DIM-Plus with success. However, talk to you doctor to learn about the best treatment.
Perpetual Exhaustion & Poor Sleep
Constant exhaustion is also a sign of hormonal imbalance. If you have slept well and plentifully, yet you’re still waking up tired, you may have a hormonal imbalance. Insomnia and poor sleep quality are also a sign of hormonal imbalance. These two problems go hand in hand, so if you’re finding you’re exhausted constantly, it’s probably time to get a check up.
If you’re putting on the pounds, yet you haven’t changed your diet or fitness routine, your hormones may be out of whack. First and foremost you should get your thyroid checked. Persistent weight gain is often a sign something is off with your thyroid hormones. This can be a serious issue that could be cancerous if left unchecked. If you’re gaining weight for no reason, immediately see a doctor.
Depression & Anxiety
An occasional bad day is normal, but if you find yourself anxious and depressed for a prolonged period, it’s time to see a doctor. When hormones are out of balance, you will find yourself more on edge and anxious. This is especially common in perimenopausal women -usually women in their 40’s, but it has been shown to happen at younger ages as well.
“Anxiety during perimenopause is a very common issue. All too commonly it is treated by primary care doctors, psychiatrists and even gynecologist using SSRI medications like Zoloft or Prozac. But, alas, as I am fond of saying, these women DO NOT have a Zoloft deficiency. It is more likely that they have a progesterone deficiency,” Dr. Jennifer Landa, explained to Healthline.
“In a normally cycling woman, the hormones estrogen and progesterone exist in perfect harmony, rising and falling at set times in a woman’s cycle to control her bleeding but also to keep her feeling her best. Around age 30, but many times even younger, progesterone levels start to fall. The problem begins here because progesterone is a woman’s calming hormone.”
Extreme PMS +Unusually Painful Periods
If your periods start turning you into a three headed monster, it’s time to get a checkup. You may notice heavier bleeding, more painful symptoms such as cramping, sore breasts, and migraines. Your moods may swing rapidly and you may be unusually tired and non-social. A change in your menses and PMS symptoms is your body telling you something is off. Listen to it and get a checkup.
Loss of Libido
While it’s normal to go through sexual lulls (especially in long term relationships) if you find your sex drive is non-existent, something may be off with your hormones. While stress and a busy schedule can decrease libido, it may also be caused by a drop in hormones and low testosterone. Sex may also become uncomfortable due to dryness. If you notice a lack of moisture and discomfort, make an appointment with your OB-GYN for further investigation.