Understanding Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. Produced in the endocrine glands, these powerful chemicals travel around your bloodstream telling tissues and organs what to do. They help regulate a lot of your body’s major processes, 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 major effects throughout your entire body. Think of hormones like a cake recipe. Too much or too little of any one ingredient affects the final product.

While some hormone levels go up and down throughout your lifetime and might just be the result of natural aging, other changes happen when your endocrine glands get the recipe wrong.

Signs or Symptoms in Women

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

Your normal hormonal cycle also changes naturally during these phases:

Symptoms of a hormone imbalance specific to females include:

Causes Unique to Women

Many causes of hormone imbalance in women are related to reproductive hormones. Common causes include:

Treatment Options for a Hormone Imbalance

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

Estrogen therapy

If you’re dealing with hot flashes or other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, your doctor may suggest 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 may want to try applying an estrogen cream, tablet, or ring.

Using this local therapy treatment helps eliminate many of the risks associated with 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. Types of hormonal birth control include the:

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

Anti-androgen medications

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

These effects include:

Metformin

Metformin is a type 2 diabetes medication that may aid some women with PCOS symptoms. The FDA hasn’t approved it to treat PCOS, but it might 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 come with some major side effects, such as severe nausea and changes in blood pressure. Speak with 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 doesn’t remove existing hair.

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