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Are My Hormones Out of Whack or is Something Else Going On?

Are My Hormones Out of Whack or is Something Else Going On?

Hormones play an important role in the way our bodies work. Both women and men are impacted by more than 50 hormones, including insulin, cortisol, melatonin, thyroid hormones, estrogen and testosterone. Hormones are responsible for controlling many of our body’s functions, and when they’re out of balance, you’ll likely feel the repercussions.

Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system. They travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it. Hormonal imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream and can be the result of many things, from stress to side effects from medications to bigger factors like tumors, injury or trauma.

Because of their essential role in the body, even slight hormonal imbalances can cause side effects throughout the body. For example, if your thyroid hormones aren’t working right, you may notice muscle aches and elevated cholesterol levels in addition to fatigue and thinning hair. If your testosterone is low, you may notice increased body fat, hair loss and difficulty concentrating.

If you have a hormone imbalance, you’ll likely experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Unexplained or sudden weight loss
  • A hump of fat between the shoulders
  • Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness, or stiffness
  • Joint pain, stiffness or swelling
  • Decreased or increased heart rate
  • Sweating or increased sensitivity to heat or cold
  • More frequent bowel movements or urination
  • Constipation
  • Increased hunger or thirst
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression, nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
  • Thinning hair
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry skin
  • Infertility

That’s a long list! And many of these symptoms could be attributed to other conditions or issues. For example, we already know that fluctuations around a woman’s cycle can cause bloating and mood swings, but other hormones have similar effects.

It’s important to see your doctor about any symptoms you think could be hormone related. Many hormonal issues are treatable, and some symptoms could indicate something more serious. For example, ovarian cancer can present with symptoms similar to those that many women experience in menopause.

If you feel something may be off, start by making an appointment with your primary care doctor. During your appointment discuss your symptoms and the timeline along which they’ve occurred. Make sure you bring a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements you’re currently taking. Depending on your symptoms, additional testing may be required.

If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms above and would like to discuss it with a primary care physician, Baton Rouge General Physicians are available to help you. Call 763-4500 or click here to schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Stephanie Coleman
Family Medicine
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Ascension 
(225) 673-8983