Aging can lead to shifts in hormone levels. Before using hormone replacement therapy to restore your body’s balance, it’s important to first identify signs of hormone imbalance.
As we age, our body’s chemical makeup continues to evolve. For women this can be the onset of menopause, while there is increasing evidence that men, too, experience their own collection of hormone-related difficulties sometimes referred to as male menopause or andropause. Regardless of gender, the symptoms associated with a dip in hormones can range from uncomfortable to life altering. While hormone replacement therapy can offer a solution or at least a way to lessen many of menopause’s menu of unpleasant side effects, the first step towards alleviating the problem is identifying the cause. Some symptom are unique to the gender they’re found in, but here are some non gender-specific signs that may indicate that you have a hormonal imbalance:
- Hot Flashes and Night Sweats. Hot flashes are so synonymous with menopause they’re referenced across pop culture as the butt of jokes and even as the central topic of a Las Vegas musical, but for the women who suddenly start sweating through their pajamas or need to stick their head in the office fridge just to get through day, hormone-induced heat waves aren’t so funny.
- Mood Swings. Mood swings are most commonly thought of as an almost cartoonish swing from laughter to tears and often back again, but this can refer to any alteration in mood from what you might experience normally. Hormone imbalances can cause irritation, depression, anxiety, and unusual levels of stress, all of which can make you feel distinctly unlike yourself.
- Weight Gain. There are a lot of reasons you could be gaining weight, but if you adjust your exercise regime and examine your diet and you’re still packing on unexplained pounds, it could be a hormone imbalance at work.
- Low Libido. It’s completely normal for your sexual appetite to wax and wane depending on a number of factors, but if you experience a prolonged and unexplained lack of libido, low hormone production could be at fault. One study of men experiencing andropause found that a shocking 91 percent reported feeling a drop in their sex drive; a similar study by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States reported that 45 percent of women surveyed experienced a decreased libido after the onset of menopause.
- Depression. Depression often has a biological cause, and hormone imbalance can be one of them. Researchers have found a link between the severity of testosterone depletion and the severity of the corresponding depression in men, and lack of estrogen can cause similar feelings of hopelessness or sadness in women.
- Lack of Energy. A busy lifestyle can make you feel rundown, but if you find yourself nodding off during lunch or dragging your way through your typical day-to-day routine, you might need to take a look at your hormone levels.
- Insomnia. Sleep disturbances can be both a cause and effect of hormone imbalances; your body needs the correct combination of hormones to rest, repair, and rejuvenate, and poor rest due to hormone issues can lead to a number of ailments including weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and more.
- Skin Problems. Remember puberty? That pre-teen onslaught of hormone caused all kinds of life-altering changes, not the least of which was acne and other skin issues. The decrease in hormone production that often accompanies menopause or andropause can also show up on your skin, either via breakouts or through the less of skin thickness, elasticity, and the plump, dewy visage that often leads mature women to consider the positive effects of medical aesthetics.