As we grow up from childhood and begin to develop, hormones once held dormant, begin to be released and cause many changes in physical appearance. There are also many internal differences as well. Female hormones are responsible for all the specialized development that a girl goes through in becoming a woman. The process usually takes around four years and in this time varying hormone levels can be difficult to adapt to. As the process begins, the hypothalamus begins to release hormones that will in turn trigger another endocrine gland, the pituitary gland, to release two other hormones. These two hormones are luteinising hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These are sent to the ovaries, which are then stimulated to create their own female hormones.
Female hormones are also necessary in regulating a women’s menstrual cycle, allowing her to give birth. The main hormones produced by the ovaries are progesterone and estrogen. These along with LH and FSH have a large role in a women’s natural cycle. Hormones take a drastic change when a woman becomes pregnant as well. Estrogen and Progesterone levels remain high in the body during this time. There are many different hormones as well. Each hormone involved in pregnancy serves a vital role in this complex cycle.
Symptoms of hormone imbalance in women may begin as early as the late twenties to the forties. Symptoms of hormone imbalance in women tend to increase as a woman ages, especially if ignored in the earlier years. Hormone imbalance symptoms can be any one or more of the following:
Symptoms of hormone imbalance are caused primarily by the incorrect relationship between progesterone and estrogen levels in the body. The two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, exist in a delicate balance. Variations in that balance can have a dramatic effect on your health, resulting in symptoms of hormone imbalance. The amounts of these hormones that the woman’s body produces from month to month can vary, depending on factors such as stress, nutrition, exercise and most importantly – ovulation or the lack of ovulation.
In the first 10-12 days of the menstrual cycle, only estrogen is produced in the female body. If ovulation occurs, then progesterone is produced by the ovaries. On day 28 or so, levels of both hormones drop, resulting in menstruation. However, if ovulation did not occur, you can still have the menstrual period, but the estrogen is never “balanced” by progesterone, which needed ovulation to trigger its production. And this results in symptoms of hormone imbalance appearing – you have estrogen but progesterone production drops to very low levels.
In the industrialized countries, women take birth control pills, are exposed to household chemicals at home, car exhaust and other environmental xenoestrogens. In addition, women often have stressful lives, eat processed foods or skip meals, take synthetic estrogen HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and have hysterectomies. All these factors can add more estrogen to the female body, resulting in excess estrogen which will cause hormone imbalance symptoms.