Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

Female Hormone Deficiency Symptoms

What are hormones? 

Hormones are chemicals that coordinate various functions in your body by transmitting messages through the blood to your organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues. These signals instruct your body on what actions to take and when. Hormones are vital for life and overall health.

To date, scientists have identified over 50 hormones in the human body.

The endocrine system, comprising hormones and the tissues (mainly glands) that produce and release them, regulates numerous bodily processes, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Homeostasis (maintaining internal balance)
  • Growth and development
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Sleep-wake cycle
  • Mood

What are the different types of hormones?

Endocrine glands, located throughout the body, produce various hormones that regulate essential bodily functions. These glands include:

  • Hypothalamus: Regulates thirst, hunger, sleep, sex drive, moods, body temperature, and hormone release.
  • Parathyroid: Controls calcium levels.
  • Thymus: Regulates the adaptive immune system.
  • Pancreas: Manages blood sugar levels.
  • Thyroid: Controls heart rate and calorie burn.
  • Adrenal: Manages stress and sex drive.
  • Pituitary: Regulates growth.
  • Pineal: Controls sleep cycles.
  • Ovaries (in women): Produces female sex hormones.
  • Testes (in men): Produces male sex hormones.

Several types of hormones in the body are crucial for maintaining health. A hormonal imbalance in one or more of these glands can cause a variety of symptoms. Major hormones include:

  • Estrogen: Regulates sex drive in both men and women and the menstrual cycle in women.
  • Progesterone: Influences changes during pregnancy.
  • Testosterone: Regulates sex drive in both men and women.
  • Cortisol: Manages stress response.
  • Melatonin: Regulates the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles.
  • Serotonin: Controls sleep cycles, appetite, and mood.
  • Growth hormone: Oversees cell reproduction and growth.
  • Leptin: Signals when you’re full to control appetite.
  • Ghrelin: Signals when you’re hungry to control appetite.
  • Insulin: Responds to blood sugar levels.

Balanced hormones are vital for overall well-being, while an imbalance can lead to significant health issues.

What is a hormonal imbalance? 

A hormonal imbalance occurs when there is too much or too little of one or more hormones. This broad term can encompass various hormone-related conditions.

Hormones are powerful signals, and even slight deviations in their levels can cause significant changes in the body, leading to conditions that may require treatment.

Hormonal imbalances can be temporary or chronic (long-term). Some may necessitate treatment to maintain physical health, while others might not impact health directly but can adversely affect the quality of life.

What conditions are caused by hormonal imbalances? 

Numerous medical conditions stem from hormonal imbalances. For most hormones, having either an excess or a deficiency can lead to health problems. While many of these imbalances require treatment, some may be temporary and resolve on their own. Common hormone-related conditions include:

  • Irregular menstruation (periods): Hormonal imbalances can disrupt the menstrual cycle, leading to irregular periods. Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and amenorrhea are specific examples.
  • Infertility: Hormonal imbalances are a primary cause of infertility in individuals assigned females at birth, with conditions such as PCOS and anovulation contributing. Those assigned male at birth can also experience fertility issues due to low testosterone levels (hypogonadism).
  • Acne: Hormone fluctuations, particularly during puberty, can stimulate oil glands and contribute to acne.
  • Hormonal acne (adult acne): Changes in hormone levels can increase skin oil production, leading to adult acne, often seen during pregnancy, menopause, and testosterone therapy.
  • Diabetes: The most common endocrine disorder in the U.S., diabetes involves issues with insulin production or utilization. Common types include Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
  • Thyroid disease: This includes hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone levels) and hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone levels), both requiring treatment.
  • Obesity: Hormonal imbalances, such as excess cortisol or low thyroid hormones, can lead to weight gain.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance? Given the body produces over 50 different hormones, a hormonal imbalance can present a variety of symptoms depending on which hormone is affected. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is crucial to consult a healthcare provider if you notice persistent changes in your health.

Hormonal imbalance symptoms affecting metabolism include:

  • Slow or rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea or frequent bowel movements
  • Numbness and tingling in hands
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Intolerance to cold or warm temperatures
  • Dry, coarse skin and hair
  • Thin, warm, and moist skin
  • Irregular body fat distribution
  • Darkened skin in the armpits or the back and sides of the neck (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Skin tags
  • Extreme thirst and frequent urination

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

The symptoms of a hormonal imbalance can vary depending on which gland is affected and the sex of the individual.

Symptoms in females:

  • Mood swings
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Infertility
  • Abdominal or back pain during menstruation
  • Low sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Brittle bones
  • Hirsutism (excessive hair growth)
  • Skin rashes

Symptoms in males: When a male has low testosterone levels, their symptoms typically include:

  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Thinning hair and reduced hair growth
  • Tenderness in the chest area

How to fix a hormonal imbalance

Treating hormonal imbalances depends on the specific condition and its underlying cause. Here are some common treatment options tailored to address hormonal imbalances in both females and males:

Treatments for Females:

  1. Hormonal Birth Control: Helps regulate irregular menstrual cycles and manage symptoms with estrogen and progesterone in forms such as pills, patches, rings, shots, or intrauterine devices (IUDs).
  2. Vaginal Estrogen: Creams, tablets, or rings applied directly to vaginal tissues to alleviate symptoms like dryness associated with estrogen changes.
  3. Hormone Replacement Therapy: Temporarily reduces severe menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
  4. Eflornithine (Vaniqa): Prescription cream to slow excessive facial hair growth in women.
  5. Anti-Androgen Medications: Block male-sex hormones to manage severe acne, excessive hair growth, or hair loss.
  6. Clomiphene (Clomid) and Letrozole (Femara): Stimulate ovulation in women with PCOS who are trying to conceive. Gonadotropin injections may also be used to enhance fertility.
  7. Assisted Reproductive Technology: In vitro fertilization (IVF) can assist women with PCOS-related infertility.

Treatments for Males:

  1. Testosterone Medications: Gels or patches containing testosterone can alleviate symptoms of hypogonadism (low testosterone) and conditions like delayed puberty.

Other Treatments:

  1. Metformin: Used for PCOS and diabetes to lower androgens and regulate blood sugar levels.
  2. Levothyroxine: Medications like Synthroid and Levothroid treat hypothyroidism by supplementing thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment plans should be personalized based on individual symptoms, medical history, and specific hormone levels. Consulting with a healthcare provider is crucial to determining the most effective approach for managing hormonal imbalances.

Ready to Feel Like Yourself Again?

Are you experiencing a range of bothersome symptoms possibly linked to a deficiency in one or more of your female hormones? If you’re eager to bypass these challenges and regain a sense of balance, happiness, and wellness during your middle years, consider Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT).

Whether you’re navigating menopause or dealing with troublesome PMS symptoms before reaching menopause age, BHRT could offer the solution you’ve been looking for. Countless women have embraced BHRT and experienced significant relief from their symptoms.

Take charge of your well-being today. Schedule a comprehensive evaluation with your doctor to explore how BHRT can help you combat the unwelcome effects of aging and reclaim a healthier, more vibrant life.

There’s no better time than now to invest in your health and well-being. Reach out to your doctor today!

Frequently Asked Question

What are the most common female hormones, and how can deficiencies affect me?
  • Estrogen: Regulates the menstrual cycle, bone health, mood, and libido. Deficiency can lead to irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, and bone density loss.
  • Progesterone: Supports pregnancy, regulates menstrual cycle, and impacts mood. Deficiency can cause irregular periods, infertility issues, mood changes, and sleep disturbances.
What are some risk factors for female hormone deficiency?
  • Age: Hormone levels decline with age, especially during menopause.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders can affect hormone levels.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep can impact hormone production.
How are female hormone deficiencies diagnosed?
  • Symptom Evaluation: Doctors assess symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes, mood changes, and others.
  • Blood Tests: Measure hormone levels (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.) to identify deficiencies.
  • Medical History: Includes discussions about menstrual history, reproductive health, and any relevant medical conditions.
What are some treatment options for female hormone deficiency?
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): Prescribed to supplement estrogen or progesterone levels. Available as pills, patches, creams, or injections.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Improve diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and ensure adequate sleep.
  • Herbal Supplements: Some herbs like black cohosh or red clover may alleviate symptoms, but efficacy varies.
  • Alternative Therapies: Acupuncture or mindfulness techniques can help manage symptoms.