Understanding Women’s Hormone Imbalance

Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. Produced in the endocrine glands, these powerful chemicals travel around your bloodstream instructing tissues and organs what to do. They help control a lot of your body’s major processes, including metabolism and reproduction. When you have a hormone imbalance, you have too much or too little of a particular hormone. Even small 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 may just be the result of natural aging, other changes happen when your endocrine glands get the recipe wrong.

Signs or Symptoms in Females

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

Your normal hormonal cycle also changes naturally during these stages:

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance specific to females include:

Causes Unique to Women

Several causes of hormone 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 triggering it. Some common treatment options are described below.

Estrogen therapy

If you’re experiencing hot flashes or other uncomfortable symptoms of menopause, your doctor may suggest a low dose of estrogen

Be sure to discuss 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 estrogen cream, tablet, or ring.

Using this local therapy treatment helps eliminate a lot 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. Kinds 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 exist 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 might help 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 libido in premenopausal women. Addyi is a pill, and Vyleesi is a self-administered injectable medication.

These medications might include some major side effects, such as extreme 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 designed specifically for excessive facial hair in women. Applied topically to the skin, it helps slow new hair growth, but it doesn’t eliminate existing hair.

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