A scientific study of the effects of hormonal imbalances
Regulating many of the day-to-day functions of our bodies, hormones are responsible for everything from mental and physical wellbeing to sleep patterns, growth and development, metabolism, and sexual function.
It’s natural for our hormone levels to decrease with age. However, just because it is natural, it doesn’t mean it’s always pleasant. Hormonal deficiencies or imbalances can sometimes lead to unwanted symptoms that impact upon quality of life and accelerate the aging process.
Hormonal imbalances can affect men and women of any age, although most people with symptoms are in their 40s or 50s – this being the time that the body experiences a significant drop in hormone levels.
The team of specialist endocrinologists here at BioID Health recently conducted a survey of people who were experiencing symptoms typically associated with a hormonal imbalance.
In this blog, we will discuss the findings of our survey, including the most common symptoms, and how sub-optimum hormone health typically affects the lives of sufferers.
The most common symptoms of hormone imbalance
There are many symptoms that are commonly associated with hormonal imbalances, including:
- Hot flushes
- Sleepless nights
- Anxiety or irritability
- Brain fog
- Weight gain
- Changes to skin and hair
- Vaginal dryness
- A decrease in libido
Anxiety & Irritability due to Hormone Imbalance
Our survey showed that the most common symptoms by far of hormonal imbalance are anxiety and irritability, with a huge 95% of our respondents suffering with these problems (see Fig 1).
During the perimenopause, menopause or andropause (when testosterone levels decrease in males), you’re likely to find that your moods fluctuate. Circumstances that you used to handle with ease can make you rather anxious, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and irritated with situations that you previously would have taken in your stride.
However, anxiety and irritability are only one aspect of the mental health problems that can arise due to hormonal imbalances.
Mental health problems as a result of hormone imbalance
Your hormones can have a powerful influence on your brain and mental wellbeing. When your hormone levels are balanced, you tend to feel more positive and energetic, with a stable mood and better focus.
If, however, your hormone levels are not optimised, you may experience symptoms that are commonly associated with psychiatric illnesses, such as depression.
Our survey showed that a staggering 91% of people with symptoms of a hormonal imbalance had noticed an impact on their mental health (See Fig 2).
Depression is extremely common in individuals suffering from a hormonal deficiency or imbalances. The symptoms of depression can vary, but typically include:
- An overwhelming feeling of sadness / hopelessness
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
- Low libido
- Lack of motivation
- Trouble focussing
As the symptoms of depression are the same whether your condition is associated with a hormonal imbalance or not, it’s wise to get your hormone levels checked before commencing a course of anti-depressants.
Here at BioID Health, we can optimise your hormone levels to what they were in your 20s and 30s, at the peak of your health. This is likely to massively improve your mental health in a natural way, hopefully avoiding the need for anti-depressants.
Insomnia caused by hormone imbalance
The second most common symptom of hormonal imbalance is insomnia (see Fig 1, above).
During perimenopause, menopause and andropause, hormone levels can fluctuate dramatically. In women, this can cause night sweats and hot flushes, which can prevent restful sleep. In addition, lower levels of progesterone in women, and testosterone in men, can cause irritability, making it less easy to relax.
75% of our survey respondents reported suffering with insomnia as a result of their hormonal imbalance. If, like these people, you’re struggling to get enough sleep, we recommend that you request a hormone blood test to check your levels.
Many people are apprehensive about using sleeping tablets to treat their insomnia. This is understandable, as they are not natural, and can easily become addictive.
BioID Health supply bioidentical hormones that are derived from plants and are chemically indistinguishable from the ones your body produces naturally. By optimising your hormone levels to what they were at the peak of your vitality, you could soon get back to enjoying a healthy sleep pattern, without the need for sleeping pills.
Changes to skin and hair caused by hormone imbalance
As hormone levels decrease during perimenopause, menopause and andropause, your skin can become dry, thin, and can appear loose. Additionally, you might start to notice excess hair on your face, and less on your scalp.
71% of our survey respondents reported changes to their skin and hair due to hormonal imbalance (see Fig 1 above).
The good news is that by undertaking bioidentical hormone treatment with BioID Health, these individuals can optimise their hormone levels and reverse these changes.
When you get in touch with our specialist doctors, we can perform a blood test to identify whether a hormonal imbalance is the cause of the changes to your skin and hair. We will then design a bespoke treatment plan to optimise your hormone levels to what they were in your 20s and 30s.
This can result in fresh hair growth on the scalp, no more hair growing in new and unwanted places, and improvements to the texture and elasticity of your skin.
Hormone imbalance causing brain fog
Brain fog was the fourth most common symptom of hormonal imbalance reported on our survey, which surprised us somewhat, as our clients mention this more frequently to us than any other symptom.
However, the percentage of respondents suffering with brain fog was still very high, at 62.5% (see Fig 1 above).
Brain fog is the term that is commonly used to describe a lack of ability to focus, which is commonly associated with hormonal imbalances. A highly typical symptom of the perimenopause and menopause, brain fog can be extremely frustrating, leading to issues at work, which we will now discuss in further detail.
Hormonal imbalance causing problems at work
Whilst 20% of women going through the menopause are fortunate enough to experience no symptoms at all, the other 80% can suffer from extremely unpleasant symptoms.
Our survey showed that 58% of respondents found their ability to go to work or carry out their job effectively was impacted by their hormonal imbalance (see Fig 3).
Whilst both men and women can be affected by hormonal imbalances, women inarguably suffer more frequently in the workplace as a result of symptoms caused by the perimenopause and menopause. Inflexible work expectations can mean that managing symptoms is just too difficult – often leading to missed chances for promotions and training.
If you are having difficulty in focussing at work due to brain fog, or finding that hot flushes are unbearable due to the lack of air conditioning in your office, it’s a good idea to book a blood test to check your hormone levels.
Whilst traditional HRT can often come with unpleasant side effects, bioidentical HRT is different, and could mean an end to your problems at work. Read on to find out how.
Why is bioidentical HRT different to traditional HRT?
Many people who are experiencing the symptoms of hormonal imbalance due to perimenopause, menopause or andropause will initially turn to their GP for advice.
The results of your blood test may be described by your GP as being in a ‘normal range’. These values are taken from the hormone levels in the general population, including individuals between ages 18 and 90.
This could lead to your GP informing you that you are ineligible for HRT as your hormone levels are ‘normal’.
Our bioidentical HRT is different, as we understand that these levels may not be ‘normal’ for you. We aim to optimise your hormone levels to what they were when you were a young adult, at the peak of your vitality. As the levels of bioidentical hormones we prescribe will be tailored to your body’s exact needs, the risk of side effects is greatly reduced.
The other major difference between traditional HRT and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is that the latter are manufactured from plant sources, which are then chemically engineered to mimic your body’s own hormones.
On the other hand, standard HRT is often made from synthetic chemicals – some of which are derived from animal sources, and can include the urine of pregnant horses. Your body may not react well to these unnatural hormones, and they can cause a range of negative side effects.
Book a hormone blood test today
If you are experiencing any symptoms that are commonly associated with a hormonal imbalance, we advise that you book a consultation with our highly trained clinicians.
Following your consultation, which should take around 45 minutes, you will receive an email inviting you to book an at-home blood test. Once we have your results, we will provide you with a bespoke bioidentical hormone treatment plan, and deliver your hormones directly to your door. You’ll have the opportunity to follow-up with us after one month of commencing your treatment, with a second blood test at 6-8 weeks to check your progress.