Hormones are a part of the endocrine system, and they play an important role as your body’s chemical messengers. They help regulate various functions, such as your sleep cycle, metabolism, heart rate, and libido.
You don’t have to be pregnant or going through puberty for your hormones to get out of balance. Women and men of all ages experience hormonal changes, and even the slightest imbalance can throw off your whole day. In this blog, Moisés Irizarry-Román, MD, of No Mercy Sports Medicine explains what the symptoms are and how they differ in women and men.
How your body reacts
The endocrine system is composed of glands that emit hormones. Carrying messages to your organs and tissues, hormones play a vital role in how your body functions. And when they become unbalanced, this can lead to a variety of side effects and make you feel out of whack.
Changes in men and women
Weight gain or weight loss is one of the most common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. You may have experienced this during puberty as you put on a few pounds. Similarly, as we age, our metabolism may not burn off calories like it used to. Hormonal changes can make you feel more hungry at times or not hungry at all.
Changes in the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone can greatly affect your sleep cycle. Perhaps you find yourself waking up throughout the night when you used to sleep soundly. If a hormonal imbalance occurs in your adrenal gland, you may feel energized at bedtime, making it harder for you to fall asleep.
If you’ve noticed a decrease in your sex drive as you age, you’re not alone. Testosterone gradually decreases in your 20s, and as a result, you might not feel desire like you did in your youth. Men age 50 and older may experience erectile dysfunction, which can make sex uncomfortable. Women who’ve reached menopause may also experience negative affects during sex, such as vaginal dryness, which can make sex painful rather than pleasurable.
Changes in men
Men are most often affected by hormonal imbalances during puberty and then gradually as they age. However, underlying medical conditions, such as prostate cancer, can also cause changes. They may notice they have reduced muscle mass, and places that were once firm may now have more cushion. Even if a man stays physically fit, he may find it harder to build muscle and retain it than when he was younger. Men can also experience less body hair growth as well as balding, which can be attributed to a hormonal imbalance.
Changes in women
Women experience many changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, which can all be tied to a hormonal imbalance. Because of this, women are often met with more symptoms.
Many women can experience hot flashes when their hormones fluctuate. They may feel an incredibly hot sensation that can cause them to sweat or even feel nauseous. Some women may experience hair growth they didn’t have before, such as on their neck, back, or chest. Other women may encounter constipation, indigestion, and diarrhea.
How to regulate your hormones
Although you can’t stop aging altogether, there are ways you can help regulate your hormones. Eating a balanced diet packed with fruits, vegetables, and lean meats is one of the best ways you can balance your hormones. Exercising for at least 30 minutes 3-5 times a week can also keep your hormone levels in check.
Even those who have a healthy lifestyle can experience negative symptoms from hormone imbalances. If you’re not happy with the symptoms you’re experiencing, hormone replacement therapy may be able to help you feel normal again. Dr. Irizarry-Román can create a custom plan to replenish your hormones to healthy levels again.
To learn more about hormone imbalances and hormone replacement therapy, book an appointment online or over the phone with No Mercy Sports Medicine today.