Studies show that millions of people suffering from hormonal imbalance are unaware of the condition because they do not recognize the symptoms. Hormonal imbalance is a condition that affects more than 80% of women in the United States. The imbalance in men often manifests in a decrease in testosterone levels.
Thankfully, health researchers and practitioners conduct lab tests to help develop hormonal treatment, therapy, and management. Below is a guide to help you learn more about this condition and hormone lab tests.
What Is a Hormonal Imbalance?
To understand what hormone imbalance is, you should start with understanding what hormones are. The body creates hormones, tiny chemical messengers tasked with telling different organs and tissues what to do. The body produces hormones in the endocrine glands.
Hormones are vital to how the body systems function, such as metabolism and reproduction. that is why even the slightest change in the hormonal levels in the body can result in issues that significantly impact the entire body.
When a person is diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, their body might have too little or too much of a particular hormone.
What Medical Conditions Affect Hormones?
Many different conditions can affect hormone balance, including:
- Thyroid complications
- Pituitary tumors
- Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's thyroiditis and Grave's disease
- Ovarian cysts
Furthermore, increased production of the growth hormone in the pituitary gland causes gigantism (acromegaly) in children.
Risk Factors for a Hormonal Imbalance
Studies show that lifestyle factors and increased toxin intakes are the leading causes of increased hormonal imbalance complications. Some of the other prevalent factors for this condition include:
- Unhealthy eating and poor diets
- Excess stress and depression
- Old age
- Lack of enough exercise
- Obesity or being overweight
- Consumption of toxins found in artificial food products
Causes of a Hormonal Imbalance
Hormone imbalance can be triggered by various things depending on the type of hormones and glands affected. Research associated such outcomes to issues like:
- Certain medications
- Trauma or injury
- Pituitary gland tumors
- Eating disorders
- Cancerous or benign tumors
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Cancer treatments like chemotherapy
Congenital disorders can trigger a decrease in certain hormones. Some of these disorders include complications such as:
- Addison's disease
- Thyroid nodules
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormone imbalance condition in females of reproductive age. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause have also been found to trigger the imbalance in some women.
Signs And Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance
The body needs hormones to function correctly, meaning hormones are an essential part of your health. Subsequently, you can experience various symptoms depending on the increase or decrease in the production of certain hormones. Nevertheless, men and women will share signs of hormonal imbalance, which include:
- Irregular heart rate
- Unexpected weight loss or gain
- Joint pain, swelling or and stiffness
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Sweating and increased sensitivity to heat and col
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Depression, anxiety, or irritability
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance for Females
The signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women include:
- Acne on the face, chest, or back
- Hair loss
- Excessive hair on the chin, face, or other body parts
- Night sweat
- Vaginal dryness
- Heavy, irregular periods, or missed period
- Painful sex
Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance for Males
Some of the common signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
- Difficulty with concentration
- Decrease in body hair
- Development of breast tissue
- Breast tenderness
- Loss of bone
Children with hormonal imbalance usually experience delays in puberty. Boys have a lack of development in muscle mass or a voice that doesn't deepen. Girls will have a lack of menstrual periods and breast development.
Diagnosis of a Hormonal Imbalance
It is best for persons who believe they have a hormonal imbalance or notice the signs and symptoms to check with their doctor. The doctor will inquire about their medical history, ask about the symptoms they are experiencing, and do a physical exam.
Blood tests are often done to diagnose a hormonal condition in people. The doctor can recommend further testing depending on the symptoms the person is experiencing.
Lab Tests for Hormonal Imbalances
A hormonal lab test often starts with a baseline blood test panel for both men and women. It will include a cortisol test that measures the cortisol (a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland) concentration in the blood. A DHEA exam can also be done to measure the DHEA-sulfate count in the blood.
Checking estradiol levels is also essential. It is a test that measures the sex hormones counts in women while also assessing ovarian function.
Men's and women's hormone test panels can include checking the luteinizing hormone or LH and FSH level or follicle-stimulating hormone. They are hormones that play a crucial role in maintaining normal reproductive system functions in men and women. For instance, assessing the testosterone levels can help determine elevated levels in females and low testosterone levels in males.
Experts also recommend checking the thyroid-stimulating hormone to determine if the thyroid is underactive or overactive. When testing patients ' blood sugar levels, checking blood glucose and insulin levels is done, especially when ascertaining their risk of developing diabetes.
FAQS About Hormonal Imbalances
Q: Which specialist is the best to consult about a hormonal imbalance?
A: It is wise to start with your family doctor. The doctor can run tests and refer you to an endocrinologist if they find or suspect you have hormone complications.
Q: Can hormones affect our mental health?
A: Fluctuating progesterone and estrogen hormone levels in women can lead to issues like depression and erratic moods.
Q: What is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy?
A: A natural hormone therapy technique uses compounds with the same structures as those the body produces to help address a hormonal imbalance problem.
Hormone Lab Tests with Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable. They are an ideal option if you want precise readings to help make informed decisions about your health. With Ulta Lab Tests, you will get the following benefits:
- Secure and confidential results
- No need for health insurance
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- No need for a doctor's referral
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Order your hormone lab tests today and get results securely online within 24 to 48 hours for most tests.
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