Have you’ve felt fatigued, cranky, or bloated lately? Has every month turned into one long PMS party for you and those around you? You, my friend, may be experiencing levels of hormone imbalance. Generally speaking, hormone levels stabilize after your period, however, various life aspects such as stress, poor diet, and anxiety are also culprits that can cause hormones to go out of balance.
So how can you tell if your hormones are off or if it’s just life that’s got you feeling like a “hot mess”? Alyssa Dweck, OB-GYN and MD at the Mount Kisco Medical Group in New York, shares the five red flags that suggest it’s time to check-in with your doctor.
Night sweats: Unless it’s unusually warm in your bedroom, or you are living in Arizona right now, waking up feeling hot and sweaty could be the result of lower estrogen levels and infrequent ovulation, also known as perimenopause. “Perimenopause can occur up to 10 years before you’re even near the age of menopause,” says Dweck, “so unless you’re having major menstrual issues before age 40, there’s a good chance your phantom sweating could actually be early menopause.” Either way, Dweck recommends making an appointment with your doctor to have your hormone levels checked out.
Fatigue: Exhaustion is one of the most common, and hardest symptoms for a doctor, since it has so many possible causes. “If you’re tired after a week of final exams or late nights at work, then you’re probably fine,” says Dweck. “But if you are constantly feeling worn out and notice weight gain, appetite fluctuations, and a change in bowel movements, it could be a sign of an underactive thyroid.” Yes, fatigue happens to everyone, be it from daily life stress like work or home life. But if yours doesn’t feel logical, then it’s time to get a checkup with your doctor.
Hair growth: “If you all of a sudden you grow a beard within a month or notice coarse, dark hairs popping up on your chest, back or arms, that is usually a sign of a testosterone-secreting tumor,” explains Dweck. Don’t freak out, these testosterone tumors are rare, Dweck says, and can often be treated with medication and or minor surgery.
Skin changes: That same stubborn zit is back again! While sudden breakouts could be caused by overindulging in sugary snacks, stress, or in one too many nights of forgetting to wash your face, they could be signs of something more.
“Adult acne or cystic acne around the lower half of your face could suggest a high level of testosterone,” says Dweck. Although not a life-threatening problem, breakouts can take a toll on your self-confidence. Nowadays, your doctor can prescribe medications that can help stabilize your hormone levels and clear up skin.
Hormones control the various metabolic activities of the body. They help to provide the proper amount of energy and nutrition your body needs to function. Hormones tend to get a bad rap, when in fact, if properly in-balance, can increase our stamina, libido, and lean muscle mass, as well as promote an overall sense of wellness.
With that being said, don’t you think it’s time to find a bit of balance in your life?