Hormone imbalance is one of the most common issues that we see in our adult patients. In men we see declining levels of testosterone as well as increases in estrogen levels causing fatigue, loss of sex drive, weight gain and breast growth. In women we see PMS symptoms, menopause symptoms, weight gain and loss of sex drive. It should be noted that although these symptoms are common and widespread, they are signs of malfunction and are abnormal. Menstrual cramps, headaches and bloating although common, are not what is supposed to happen in a woman’s monthly cycle. In the same vein, hot flashes and weight gain should not happen at menopause.
The most common cause for hormonal imbalance is failure of our backup hormone supply, the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are our stress response system. They produce several hormones including a hormone known as pregnenolone. Pregnenolone will be converted into many hormones including: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol. When your body needs a little extra progesterone, it should be able to synthesize it from the pregnenolone. However, when you are under extended stress, most or all of the pregnenolone is used to make cortisol (the “stress hormone”) leaving you progesterone deficient. Therefore, controlling stress becomes a matter of lifestyle adjustments and control. When stress is controlled, hormone balance is easier to achieve.
Of course there are other factors that can lead to hormone imbalance including toxicity, nutritional deficiency and fatty acid imbalances but, stress is usually the culprit.