According to abbreviationfinder, HI stands for hormonal imbalances. Hormones are messenger substances in the body that certain cell structures are responsible for producing. If the sensitive processes there become imbalanced, this is referred to as a hormone fluctuation. A temporary hormonal fluctuation does not necessarily lead to hormonal imbalances in every case. However, this may be the case.
What are hormonal imbalances?
The human body can be compared to a sensitive control circuit in which switching elements send signals to one another, regulate and control one another. The most important hormone-forming instances are located in various places in the body, such as in the adrenal cortex, in the thyroid gland, the pancreas or in the hypothalamus, a part of our brain, and the pituitary gland, also a part of our brain.
They adapt the organism to environmental influences, including stress or anxiety. They control our metabolism of fats or sugars, when we feel hungry and when we get tired. Our bone growth and processes such as aging are also under the influence of hormones. It is therefore understandable that fluctuations in this control loop lead to highly sensitive reactions. Different sources mention 30-43 vital hormones. Not all are fully explored.
If the body permanently produces too little or too much of just one of the most important hormones, this can already have noticeable effects on the body, depending on the cause. When the thyroid is underactive, the entire metabolism can slow down, which can lead to effects such as weight gain, fatigue and even depression.
There are hormonally diverse disorders of fat metabolism or fertility, mood, sleep rhythm or behavior. Causes can be a genetic predisposition, environmental influences, stress or organic diseases, biochemical processes also influence our hormone regulation when taking medication, tumors or other organ-damaging influences.
A disease of the kidneys can also affect the hormone-producing adrenal cortex, and a genetic defect can also limit the function of the pancreas or thyroid. A lack of the corpus luteum hormone progesterone can prevent young women from wanting to have a child. In women over 40, the reduced formation of this hormone often leads to exhaustion and unwanted weight gain.
From body temperature to intestinal motility to the oxygen content of our blood. Hormones determine a large part of our daily life and our well-being. This control circuit is as complex as it is sensitive. If it is temporarily out of balance, it may go past us almost unnoticed. It is beneficial to consciously pay attention to the connections between our lifestyle and our well-being.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
There are a number of signs that can indicate hormonal imbalances. For example, some people suffer from food cravings or sleep disorders. Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty or menopause, can cause chronic fatigue and weakness. Many people suffer from hair loss or skin irritations, which are often associated with severe discomfort.
Emotional changes can also occur. Mood swings and depression occur, especially in the case of longer-lasting hormone disorders. Many sufferers also suffer from hot flashes and night sweats. An excessive appetite can lead to weight gain, while the typical lack of appetite manifests itself in weight loss.
In addition, hormonal imbalances can cause many other symptoms and ailments. Possible are headaches up to longer-lasting migraine attacks, gastrointestinal complaints and muscle pain. In women, hormonal imbalances often manifest themselves in greatly prolonged menstrual cycles, weakened menstrual bleeding and other menstrual problems.
Bleeding and chest pain can also occur. Confusion and irritation are also typical symptoms of a hormonal disorder. In men, a hormonal imbalance can manifest itself as erectile dysfunction. Infertility can be caused by a hormonal imbalance. The physical changes are often expressed by an increasing feeling of illness, which apparently has no underlying cause.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of hormonal disorders normally goes through several stages. In most cases, hormonal fluctuations or their pathogenic effects are difficult for a layperson to assign to the hormones. In most cases, the patient first goes to his family doctor, who, if the assessment is correct, will refer him to a specialist for hormonal disorders – an endocrinologist.
The daily diagnostics of an endocrinologist include laboratory tests of blood samples as well as the ultrasound device and talking to the patient about his living conditions. Factors such as weight gain or loss, sleep disorders, restlessness, stress or depression give him the first clues for an accurate diagnosis and possible therapy options.
The most common diagnoses include thyroid disease and diabetes. A clinical picture often includes several of these disorders, especially when the course of the disease has gone unnoticed for a long time and several organs are already affected in the interaction of the hormonal control circuit. People with a disturbed sugar balance often also suffer from lack of drive alternating with hectic activity, stress, sleep disorders and being overweight, drink and exercise too little. So cause and effect are equally intertwined. It is important to find out about this in the diagnosis.
Hormonal disorders can lead to a wide range of symptoms and complications in humans. As a rule, there are also large differences in male and female patients. Hormone imbalances primarily lead to a general feeling of illness. The affected person feels tired and listless and usually no longer actively participates in life.
Furthermore, it can lead to anxiety or inner restlessness, with many patients also suffering from sleep disorders. There is stress and discomfort in various organs in the patient’s body. The quality of life is extremely limited by the hormone disorders and everyday life is made more difficult for those affected. Furthermore, there is also psychological stress, so that most of those affected also develop depression and other behavioral disorders.
Since the treatment of the disorders is causal in most cases, complications can arise here that depend on the underlying disease. In most cases, however, an operation is necessary to eliminate the disorders. If the hormonal imbalances are the trigger for the tumour, it may have spread to other regions of the body.
When should you go to the doctor?
If you suddenly notice symptoms such as inner restlessness or mood swings, there may be a hormonal imbalance. A doctor’s visit is indicated if the symptoms persist over a longer period of time. Serious complaints such as depression or exhaustion should be clarified quickly in order to avoid complications. If the symptoms occur during puberty, pregnancy or menopause, it is not absolutely necessary to consult a doctor. In most cases, the hormone balance normalizes itself again as soon as the physical and psychological changes are over.
Individuals who are feeling very unwell due to hormonal imbalances should still speak to a doctor. This is especially true when there are physical problems. Cancer patients in remission should talk to their doctor. It is possible that a recurrence has formed or there is another side effect that needs to be clarified. If the symptoms mentioned occur after taking medication, medical advice is also required. In addition to the family doctor, you can talk to a specialist in internal medicine or a naturopath. The medical emergency service can provide first aid measures.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of hormonal fluctuations and disorders primarily focuses on restoring the affected person’s hormonal balance. This can only be done taking into account his current living conditions and possibilities.
In some cases, balancing results are already achieved through the administration of hormone preparations. Organic causes such as tumors or tissue injuries must be surgically repaired. In the case of psychological causes of hormone disorders, the advice of a specialist in psychology or psychiatry is consulted. Therapeutic treatment can also be applied in this area.
There are also naturopathic approaches to healing hormonal disorders. Some diseases can be treated with mutually complementary means. Teas, massages, medicinal herbs, infusions, hormone injections or tablets can also be part of the healing plan, as can the determination of possible stressors in talk therapy, a stay at a spa, regular ultrasound diagnostics or a change in diet and drinking habits.
Movement therapy, neurological clarifications in the magnetic resonance tomograph or an analysis of the body’s own proteins can also lead to a successful therapy plan. Some hormonal disorders may require lifelong treatment. For example, a person whose thyroid tissue is increasingly being destroyed due to a hormonal autoimmune disorder must take thyroid hormones from the time of discovery, eat and drink very consciously, exercise regularly and check their blood count up to four times a year.
Since hormonal processes usually have long-term effects, it can take several months to more than a year before the body adjusts to a hormone preparation supplied, until it has found the right dosage together with the endocrinologist and the body’s hormonal system gradually prepares itself for normalization can adjust hormone levels.
Outlook & Forecast
Although hormones control and regulate many of the body’s vital processes and do so reliably most of the time, they are relatively susceptible to fluctuations. Hormone disorders of this type can regress spontaneously or take on a chronic course and remain unchanged for years or decades. The prognosis always depends on the hormone affected and the cause of the hormone imbalance.
During puberty, for example, hormone fluctuations are relatively normal and usually harmless, since they level off on their own after a few years. Of course, until they do, they can have unpleasant effects such as oily skin and acne, severe menstrual cramps in girls, or aggressive behavior in boys. Depending on how severe the effects of such a temporary hormonal imbalance are, a decision can be made to take countermeasures. However, they will settle on their own with and without medical intervention.
It is different when physical triggers result in hormone disorders, for example disorders of the thyroid gland or the genitals. Such hormone disorders not only take a chronic course, but can also have sensitive effects on health. Hormone fluctuations in the sex hormones lead to infertility, for example. If hormone replacement therapy is an option, it usually takes a few weeks to months until the patient is properly adjusted and symptoms improve within the scope of their individual possibilities.
Of course, it is not possible to protect yourself against tumors or hereditary hormone disorders. Hardly anyone is able to banish the environmental stressors of traffic noise, everyday work or general existential fears from their lives. However, we can influence a lot of our lifestyle, which is useful for a healthy hormone balance.
We can do without too many irritants such as drugs, sugar or concentrates. We can choose whether we move a lot, whether we are with people who are good for us and whether we are careful with our emotional life. Because these factors already have a considerable influence on a healthy metabolism and a functioning hormone system.
In the case of hormonal disorders, the aftercare measures usually depend very much on the exact characteristics and the cause of the hormonal disorders, so that no general course can be given. In general, the underlying disease must be treated in the first place so that these disorders can be completely eliminated. The sooner a doctor is contacted, the better the further course of this disease.
Furthermore, the underlying disease should of course be prevented so that the hormone imbalances do not occur again. The treatment can be carried out with the help of medication, whereby the person concerned is dependent on regular intake and also on the correct dosage. If you have any questions or are unclear, always contact a doctor first.
Even with side effects or interactions, professional advice is the best way to alleviate the suffering as quickly as possible. If the hormone imbalances are caused by a tumor, it must be removed. Even after the removal, regular examinations by a doctor are necessary so that the hormonal imbalances do not recur. The life expectancy of those affected may also be reduced or limited.
You can do that yourself
Hormonal imbalances usually go back to normal on their own. If the hormone imbalance has psychological causes, the problems disappear as soon as the living conditions improve again. Stress and similar triggers can often be remedied with small lifestyle changes. A change in diet is just as effective as regular exercise in the fresh air and a good night’s sleep.
Missing hormones can be supplemented by appropriate preparations. Substances such as testosterone and progesterone are available as tablets and creams and can already counteract a slight hormone imbalance. In addition, some natural remedies such as Maca root or coconut oil help. Vitamin D also influences hormone levels and can be released, for example, through diet and sunlight.
If these measures have no effect, there may be a serious cause. Menopause may be imminent in women and midlife crisis may be the underlying cause in men. Pregnancy or taking a certain medication can also be the cause. Those affected cannot do much themselves and should therefore speak to a doctor. Medical advice is indicated, especially if the hormonal imbalance is accompanied by symptoms.