Think of hormones as the chemical project managers for your body. Their role is to circulate around your body and act as signals to your organs to begin or cease their specialized functions as a response to your needs. Hormones are responsible for growth, sex organ regulation, and even stress management. Over time, your body and its hormone production levels change.
The aging process results in the decline of hormone production and this can lead to an imbalance. The result is a series of unpleasant symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, and weight gain. For women, estrogen is one of the key hormones, while for men, a lack of testosterone can make life difficult and below we discuss how each hormone impacts the onset of fatigue.
Women tend to feel the effects of hormonal imbalance during their perimenopause years, so symptoms can happen in women as young as 40 years of age. Generally, progesterone is the first hormone to fall and when this happens, estrogen becomes dominant. A mistake often made by physicians is to place women on estrogen only during hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and unwittingly contribute to a hormonal imbalance in the patient!
Irritability, mood swings, depression, and fatigue are among the most common symptoms of this imbalance. Weight gain around the hips and thighs can also be a contributing factor and some doctors believe there is a link between excessively high levels of estrogen in women and breast cancer. Your body also needs a certain level of DHEA and cortisol to maintain energy and metabolize sugar to keep insulin in balance. If you overproduce or under-produce these hormones, you’ll may feel as if you haven’t had a restful sleep. This causes a reduction in stamina and endurance.
An increasing number of men are suffering from testosterone deficiency syndrome and few physicians appear to have an adequate method of treating this very serious problem. Testosterone is the most important hormone for males and regulates muscle growth, hair growth, and sex drive. Men with a low amount of this hormone feel tired all the time and frequently experience ‘crashes’ in their energy level.
Andropause is the male equivalent of the menopause and causes a dramatic reduction in testosterone levels and if estrogen levels rise, this creates a hormonal imbalance. As well as the aforementioned problems, this imbalance can also cause gynecomastia or so-called “man boobs” and increase your body fat levels. Serious long-term problems include an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.
Adrenal fatigue is another condition associated with a hormonal imbalance and occurs when your adrenal glands function below their usual level, due to prolonged periods of stress. An inability to lose weight and constant fatigue are common symptoms.
It should be clear by now that hormonal imbalance effectively causes issues for the entire body but HRT can help reduce or remove the irritating symptoms that are making your life a misery. While all hormones play an important role, some are more prominent than others and if you believe you are suffering from an imbalance, contact your doctor today for testing. If you reside in Arizona, please feel free to contact Dr. Maturo directly for further information.