Did you know that nearly 80% of women suffer from symptoms due to a hormonal imbalance and that men can also suffer from gradual hormonal imbalances as they age? The truth is, hormonal imbalances are often very difficult to deal with and are hard to detect. They tend to manifest themselves into various symptoms over time as the body develops and changes over the years.
In both cases, exposure to toxins, diet, lifestyle and more can make huge impacts on the progression of these imbalances in how they affect our mental health and whether they turn into future disease. Here is more about the causes and effects of hormonal imbalances and how acupuncture can play a helpful role as treatment.
Key Factors for Women
For women, both the causes and effects of hormonal imbalances are often intertwined with one another. While age, menopause and adrenal hormones are key factors, many other factors like prolonged stress, dieting, exposure to synthetic hormones (from birth control methods) and xenoestrogens (found in household, personal hygiene products and cosmetics) can also have an impact on hormonal imbalances.
Repeated exposure to these chemicals and stress on the body is enough to worsen hereditary problems or trigger new diseases as a response over time.
Some associated health conditions with hormonal imbalances include:
- Fibromyalgia — affecting the soft tissue and musculoskeletal system
- Digestive bowel disorders — referring to a host of disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Endometriosis — A pelvic pain condition where tissue gets caught outside of the uterus
- PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- PMS/PMDD — Premenstrual symptoms that can range from mild to extremely severe
- Adrenal Fatigue — Feelings of exhaustion and depletion
- Thyroid issues – Including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism (explained below)
Key Symptoms Women Face
Women can experience a wide number of symptoms related to hormonal imbalances, including but not limited to:
- Anxiety and depression
- Excessive exhaustion during hormone changes
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
- Increased risk of breast cancer
- Issues with ovulation (fertility)
Key Factors for Men
For men, aging is a key factor. A man can lose up to 14% of his testosterone for each decade he lives, which contributes to an imbalance. Some associated conditions related with hormonal imbalances in men include:
- Andropause — a form of menopause men experience as their testosterone levels decline
- Adrenal fatigue — manifested stress over a prolonged period of time affects the production of the stress hormone cortisol, causing excessive exhaustion and feelings of depletion
- Hypothyroidism — underactive thyroid glands that do not produce enough thyroid hormones to function that slows body metabolism
- Hyperthyroidism — an overactive thyroid gland resulting in too many thyroid hormone levels (shown through an abnormally increased metabolism)
Key Symptoms Men Experience
The following symptoms that many men face are not part of the aging process but part of a greater hormonal imbalance that gradually presents itself.
Some problems include:
- Low libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Memory loss
- Increased body fat
- Depression and anxiety
- Mood swings and irritability
- Sleep problems (sleep apnea, night sweats, insomnia)
- Heart palpitations
- Constipation or increased bowel movements
How Can Acupuncture Help?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, hormonal imbalances and their related conditions and symptoms, are connected to the functioning of the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolism and our emotions. When it isn’t functioning properly, it can throw the body out of balance and our hormones along with it.
Acupuncture has a regulating effect on the body. It removes excess heat caused from dilated blood vessels, thus reducing blood pressure. Liver detoxification in particular, is highly important in eliminating the factors that cause hormonal imbalances to regulate levels of estrogen and progesterone in women and declining rates of testosterone in men. Your acupuncturist will determine what exact treatment is needed for you. With a combination of acupuncture, the appropriate diet, the right amount of exercise, sleep and hydration you will see immediate changes in your body’s equilibrium as symptoms start to lessen, become manageable or disappear altogether!
Are you suffering from any of the health conditions or symptoms mentioned above? Please come in and see us for an appointment today!