We all want to look and feel our best every day. Especially as we age and get into the middle of our life – we should feel like we’re in our prime.
But often, we spend most of our days feeling tired, lacking energy, and not knowing why. Sure, life is busy – kids, work, the general bustle of daily living – but even with that, we should be feeling more vitality and vigor.
One big but often overlooked cause of general fatigue is unbalanced hormones. Hormones are the messenger system for your body – they send signals through your bloodstream to your organs and your tissues, and help control important biological processes like reproduction and metabolism.
So, as you can imagine, when these important hormones get out of balance – whether you have too much or too little of one or more – your body feels the difference and reacts. Here’s a great outline of the many possible symptoms of hormone imbalance: weight gain, dry skin, fatigue, decreased libido, and depression are all possible signs you’re experiencing a hormonal imbalance.
Men and women can often have different symptoms of hormonal imbalances since each gender has a different balance of hormones. For women, hormone imbalances are usually related to fertility hormones, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder found in women affecting about 10% of the population. For men, low testosterone is the leading hormonal imbalance.
But there are so many possible symptoms – how can you tell if your fatigue and low libido is just due to the exhausting demands of everyday life or something bigger? It’s a very important question, as it can mean the difference between a life full of energy and promise, and one spent feeling tired all the time.
So, first, make a list of the symptoms you’re experiencing, no matter how small. Have you lost or gained weight recently, even just a little bit? How are your energy levels day by day? Are you having issues with sexual function, and how do those occur? Are you planning to get pregnant soon? What are your stress levels like? Preparing all of these answers in advance will help you decide what’s most important and give you a written record of your symptoms.
Once you’ve gotten all your symptoms and any additional questions you have written down, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor. If you don’t have a primary care doctor (and you should, for all the reasons we’ve written about here [link to blog about finding a PCP]), this is the time to find one. Look for one with an office that also specializes in hormone testing and treatment, as we do here at Emerald Medical Care in Sarasota. That way, you can get your care, your testing, and your treatment in one convenient place.
The tests your doctor will do varies by your particular symptoms, but the most common one is a blood test. Since your hormones use your bloodstream to travel around the body, they’re usually easy to detect by testing a sample of your blood. Your doctor might also perform a pelvic exam or an ultrasound to get a clearer picture of what’s going on – PCOS, for example, is often marked by cysts on the ovaries, which can be seen on an ultrasound.
Once your doctor has run the tests and figured out what’s going on in your body to cause a hormonal imbalance, it’s time for treatment. Treatment may involve hormonal birth control or estrogen therapy for women, testosterone therapy for men, or thyroid hormone therapy for anyone with a thyroid hormone issue.
And then you have hopefully found answers, clarity, and – most importantly – relief from whatever is keeping you from feeling your best and living your most healthful life.
Want more information about your hormones and how you can make sure yours are in balance? Give Emerald Medical Group a call today and schedule an appointment to learn more.
- Image attribution.