Warning Signs of Low Hormone Levels
Hormones play a vital part in controlling how our body operates, from the stress hormone, cortisol, to sleep-inducing melatonin. When our hormones get out of balance it can affect our mood, energy levels, sleep patterns, libido and more.
We look at some of the more common hormone imbalances and highlight the warnings signs that may indicate a hormone deficiency.
Low estrogen levels in older women usually indicate that menopause is taking place. Low estrogen is no fun at all. It can play havoc with a women's life, affecting her memory, mood and even her body temperature. Some women suffer more pronounced symptoms of menopause than others, but hot flashes, night sweats, unaccustomed anxiety levels, loss of libido, vaginal dryness and moodiness are typical.
Low estrogen levels can cause weight gain, hair loss and an inability to concentrate. They eventually right themselves if the cause is menopause. However, if you are suffering from these symptoms at times other than pregnancy or menopause, you probably need to get your estrogen levels checked by a physician.
Low hormone levels don't just upset your daily living; they can upset your sleep patterns too. Melatonin, estrogen and progesterone all play their part in controlling how easily we fall asleep, and whether we stay asleep. If you wake up from a night's sleep feeling heavy-eyed and weary, perhaps your sleep cycle is being disturbed by a hormone imbalance.
Try taking a low dose of melatonin (3-5mg) and see if your sleep patterns improve. You will soon feel a totally different person if you can regulate these hormones safely and naturally to ensure a good night's sleep.
Ghrelin and Leptin Levels
Your appetite and weight are controlled by various hormones including ghrelin, leptin and insulin. When your hormone balance is correct, ghrelin controls your hunger and signals when you have an empty stomach. It also adjusts your metabolism and fat-burning ability accordingly.
Leptin is produced in the brain when we sleep and sends messages telling the brain whether you need to increase or decrease your appetite and hunger. You can just imagine the problems when these hormones are out of balance as you struggle with cravings or an out-of-control appetite.
Recent medical reports published in the journal "Menopause" found that ghrelin and adiponectin increase during menopause and leptin and insulin decrease. The report also found that low levels of leptin were associated with weight gain.
The hormone cortisol is produced by the body during periods of stress and can impair the body's ability to fight colds and germs. As well as inhibiting the immune system, excess levels of cortisol cause fatigue and tiredness, hunger and a craving for caffeine. Excess cortisol is often the cause of weight gain.
A cortisol imbalance can be addressed by lowering the stress in your life. Take steps to avoid stressful situations or learn relaxation methods and deep breathing techniques to help you manage stress-induced cortisol.