The first time you go ballistic because your child forgot his lunch again, you blame it on lack of sleep. Then, there is the intense irritation you experience as your husband uses a toothpick on a stubborn popcorn kernel (does he have to make those sucking sounds?). Finally, you realize that aforementioned lack of sleep is because it’s just so darn hot in the house these past several nights – never mind the fact that the thermostat is set at a cool 65°…
Wait a minute? Is that all just one big coincidence? Or could your hormones out of whack?
Hormone Imbalance Checklist – Is it Time to Talk to a Doctor?
In the big picture, hormones live at such miniscule quantities in our bodies, but they sure pack a powerful punch. When they get out of balance, it can be life altering. At best the side effects of hormone imbalance can be exhausting (mid-life insomnia, anyone?). At their worst, chronic and unchecked hormone issues can put you at risk for things like diabetes, early menopause or osteoporosis.
The following are 7 signs that your hormones are seriously out of whack, in which case it is worth a visit to your OB/GYN or primary care physician for a quick test and lab panel.
- Your hair is thinning. Hair thinning is a common side effect of menopause, and it is linked to lower levels of estrogen, which makes for slightly elevated levels of androgens (male hormones). Outside of menopause, thinning hair or hair that seems more coarse can be a sign of hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormones). Other signs of hypothyroidism include dry, flaky skin, bulging eyes, and an increased sensitivity to cold.
- You can’t seem to lose weight. Or, on the flip side, you can’t seem to keep weight on. While menopause and aging causes a normal slowing down of the metabolism, abnormally fast weight gain or weight loss is worth looking into. Hyper- or hypo-thyroid function could be a culprit – and that can begin to mess with other hormone levels if it isn’t treated.
- You experience chronic yeast infections. Lucky you! You have a yeast infection – – again! Yes, it’s true that yeast infections are a somewhat normal part of female life. However, they shouldn’t become a normal part of everyday life, if you know what we mean. Interestingly enough, diabetes (insulin imbalance) can go undiagnosed for quite some time because the symptoms seem so minor. These can include things like chronic yeast or bladder infections (the result of high blood sugar levels that feed sugar-hungry yeast and/or bacteria), inexplicable cravings for carbs or sweets, feeling shaky or dizzy when you get hungry, being thirsty more often than normal, having to pee more often than normal, feeling tired all the time or a tingly sensations in your hands and feet. While being overweight is a precursor for type 2 diabetes, sudden weight loss can indicate late-onset type 1 diabetes.
- Your sex drive has driven away. Remember when having sex was something you liked to do? Your current disinterest could be the result of general life exhaustion – or it can also be a sign that hormone levels are wonky. This is especially true if your lack of desire for sex is paired with reduced lubrication, thinner vaginal tissue or if sex has become painful or uncomfortable.
- Your irritability is off the charts. Sometimes, we get so irritable so often, we don’t even notice anymore…but odds are our family members have taken note and are steering clear. Just like hormone fluctuations cause PMS, non-menstrual-related fluctuations can take their toll on our moods as well. If you feel more irritable or cranky on a consistent basis – take stock. It could be your hormones.
Don’t take subtle changes in your well-being as “par for the course.” Schedule an appointment with your doctor and look into the matter. If it turns out you’re in perimenopause or menopause, you may decide to stay the course and see if things even out on their own, or you can look into various treatment options. Other conditions, like diabetes or thyroid issues, should be treated right away.
Overdue for your annual exam? Schedule an appointment with Women’s Health Associates so we can see where you’re at and get you back on track.