Hormones play a very important role in maintaining the health of any woman’s body. When there are fluctuations in hormone levels, mood, sexual desire, fertility and ovulation are affected. In other words, hormonal imbalance has a negative influence on the reproductive system, thus justifying women’s behaviour at certain times.
Each month the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone are produced; when their levels are out of balance, health can suffer.
Hormonal disorders and the menstrual cycle
There are many factors that can affect hormonal balance and therefore a normal menstrual cycle. Contraceptives, stress, drug use, caffeine, alcohol or even a poor diet can contribute to a decrease in protein concentration and thus irregular ovulation.
Other factors that can disturb hormonal balance and menstruation:
- Functional disorders of the adrenal gland – It produces 35% of the total hormone required at menopause and almost 50% at postmenopause. So, by compromising the activity of these glands the whole hormonal balance is affected. Under the influence of stress, whatever the cause, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol which negatively influences the levels of estrogen, progesterone and DHEA.
- Eating disorders – Hormones do not cause eating problems, but hormonal imbalance can cause eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. When such disorders occur, thyroid hormones and growth hormones are affected; levels of oestrogen and DHEA are low and levels of stress hormones are high. These circumstances lead to the onset of amenorrhoea.
- Ovulation problems – These disorders are caused by high testosterone or prolactin levels. The first type of hormone stimulates male sexual characteristics and is responsible for excessive pilotility and libido oscillation.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome – The condition is frequently caused by hyperandrogenism. In this condition a major imbalance occurs because the level of luteinizing hormone is high and the level of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is low.
- Changes in cervical mucus (cervical mucus sheath) – Changes in cervical mucus include changes in its density and consistency or decreased production, including during ovulation.
Hormonal imbalances and postpartum period (after birth)After pregnancy, the body experiences various hormonal disturbances; for this reason, many mothers experience emotional and physical disorders, the most common being postpartum depression. This type of depression affects about 13% of mothers.
Another condition that occurs in 5-7% of women who have just given birth is postpartum thyroiditis – painless inflammation of the thyroid gland that can occur in the first 2-6 hours immediately after birth. The symptoms are similar to those seen in hyperthyroidism: heart rhythm disturbances, sudden and unexplained weight loss, nervousness, fatigue and increased sensitivity to heat.
In the second stage of the disease, manifestations approach those of hypothyroidism, including unexplained weight gain, hoarse voice, swollen face, constipation, fatigue and increased sensitivity to cold.
Diagnosis is determined by blood tests.