Puberty isn’t the only time your hormones can wreak havoc on your life. Your hormones regulate many vital functions in your body, from your metabolism to your reproductive system. The symptoms of an endocrine disorder can be subtle at first, but specific imbalances often come with telltale signs.
At her practice in Columbia, Missouri, Dr. Bonnie Friehling has been providing nutritional health coaching, including hair mineral analysis, for many years, developing tailored treatments for her patients to improve health and wellness and correct hormonal imbalances.
The importance of hormones
Many people become aware of their hormones during puberty, when things are changing rapidly and you’re experiencing numerous side effects. However, your hormones have been at work since you were born, and they’ll continue to affect your health throughout your entire life.
Growth hormones are responsible for healing wounds and helping children grow. Your metabolism controls how your body processes food and energy. Even feelings of fatigue and hunger are affected by hormones, and fluctuations can change your mood rapidly.
Women experience more hormonal fluctuations than men, often caused by periods, pregnancy, and menopause. Men typically experience fewer hormonal highs and lows, but they can be affected by endocrine disorders just as much as their female peers.
Signs of a hormonal imbalance
There are plenty of endocrine disorders, and diagnosis is often a process of elimination. Your symptoms can help narrow things down, so make a note if you’re struggling with any of the following signs of a hormone imbalance:
- Irregular periods, including days of long, heavy flow, or a cycle that’s infrequent or absent entirely
- Hair loss, which can occur in both men and women regardless of age
- Sudden weight loss or gain, especially if your eating habits haven’t changed
- Chronic acne, which can occur in teenagers and adults
- Fatigue, even when you’re getting good sleep and eating well
- Mood swings and depression, which might indicate a hormonal problem, rather than a mental one
- Loss of libido, or a sudden disinterest in sex and intimacy
- Increased sweating, such as night sweats or hyperhidrosis
Even seemingly innocuous symptoms like dry skin and thirst can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, if they’re persistent and frequent enough. To get a proper diagnosis, observe yourself closely and mention any unusual symptoms to your doctor.
Diagnosis and treatment
If you suspect you might be experiencing a hormonal imbalance, bringing it up with a doctor is the first step to uncovering the issue and finding solutions. Keep a brief journal or list of problems you experience often, and be prepared for some diagnostic tests during your visit.
Common causes of hormonal imbalances include:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Certain medications
- Cushing syndrome
Treatment can vary depending on your symptoms and what’s causing them. Dr. Friehling works with you to determine the root issue behind your hormone imbalance, and corrects it with lifestyle changes, nutritional therapy, and other forms of holistic medicine.
To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Friehling by calling 573-446-1200, or visit the contact page for more options.