Understanding Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. Produced in the endocrine glands, these powerful chemicals travel around your bloodstream instructing tissues and organs on what to do. They help control a lot of your body’s major functions, including metabolism and reproduction.

When you have a hormonal imbalance, you have too much or too little of a particular hormone. Even tiny changes can have serious effects throughout your entire body. Think of hormones like a cake recipe. Too much or too little of any one ingredient affects the end product. While some hormone levels go up and down throughout your lifetime and might just be the result of natural aging, other changes occur when your endocrine glands get the recipe wrong.

Signs or Symptoms in Females

In women of reproductive age, the most common hormone imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Your normal hormone cycle also changes naturally during these stages:

Symptoms of a hormone imbalance specific to females include:

Causes Unique to Women

Several causes of hormonal imbalance in women are related to reproductive hormones. Common causes include:

Treatment Options for a Hormonal Imbalance

Treatment for a hormonal imbalance will depend on what’s causing it. Some common treatment options are explained below.

Estrogen therapy

If you’re dealing with hot flashes or other unpleasant symptoms of menopause, your doctor may recommend a low dose of estrogen

Be sure to talk about the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with your doctor. 

Vaginal estrogen

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness or pain during sex, you might want to try using an estrogen cream, tablet, or ring.

Using this local therapy treatment helps eliminate a lot of the risks linked to systemic estrogen, or estrogen that travels throughout the bloodstream to the right organ.

Hormonal birth control

Hormonal birth control can help regulate your menstrual cycles. Sorts of hormonal birth control include the:

It may also help improve acne and reduce extra hair on the face and body.

Anti-androgen medications

Androgens are male sex hormones that exist in both women and men. Women with high androgen levels may choose to take medication that blocks the effects of androgens.

These effects include:

Metformin

Metformin is a type 2 diabetes medication that might assist some women with PCOS symptoms. The FDA hasn’t approved it to treat PCOS, but it may help lower androgen levels and encourage ovulation.

Flibanserin (Addyi) and bremelanotide (Vyleesi)

Addyi and Vyleesi are the only medications that are FDA approved for the treatment of low sexual desire in premenopausal women. Addyi is a pill, and Vyleesi is a self-administered injectable medication.

These drugs might include some serious side effects, such as severe nausea and changes in blood pressure. Talk to your doctor to see if either one could be right for you.

Eflornithine (Vaniqa)

This prescription cream is made specifically for excessive facial hair in women. Applied topically to the skin, it helps reduce new hair growth, but it does not remove existing hair.

For further information about Dr. Stengler’s practice and his clinic in Carmel Valley, California, please visit our website at MarkStengler.com or give us a call at (760) 274-2377