Fighting back against chronic pain with a simple, creative, & healthy lifestyle. Inspiring others to become warriors.

Monday, February 26, 2018

9 Signs Something is Wrong with Your Hormones

According to the last blood test I had, I have less than 5% production of estrogen, 1% cortisol, .04% progesterone and literally, I heard nothing after that...something about my testosterone also being low and having Hashimoto's.

.04% progesterone?!?!  I'm (or I was at the time) 37 for Pete's sake. Seriously?!

So was it the pain that I was in? Or all the medicine for the pain that I was in?  What totally screwed up my hormones, adrenals, and thyroid?

What came first the chicken or the egg?

9 Signs Something is Wrong with Your Hormones

Two weeks ago I talked about the 5 side effects of chronic pain and illness that no one talks about.  Hormones were number two on that list.

If you are and have been stressed to the breaking point and beyond then you have altered your hormones.  End of story.

How?

Stress and emotions are very closely linked with hormones.

Stress makes your cortisol kick in.  Too much stress over a period of time puts a strain on your adrenal system.  Long periods of high stress, like several months to year or more, your cortisol hormone disappears and you enter adrenal failure.

In adrenal failure long enough your thyroid fails, and it becomes a chain reaction.

That's where I am.  My functional medicine doctor luckily got to me in stage 3 adrenal failure.  I have almost zero hormone production...and the signs were all there.

1. Headaches

Traditionally, testosterone and estrogen have been considered to be male and female sex hormones, respectively. However, estradiol, the predominant form of estrogen, also plays a critical role in male sexual function. Estradiol in men is essential for modulating libido, erectile function, and spermatogenesis.

As it is seen, estrogen is the main hormone in keeping the body fit and dips in estrogen first results in a headache.

2. Mood Swings and Brain Fog

A fluctuation in the hormones creates a blur in the brain like a fog hence the term foggy memory. Although it’s common during menopause it can be an underlying symptom of other hormone related issues.

Depression is a state of mind which makes you feel irritated, sad, anxious all at the same time for no fault of yours. Stress is the main culprit. There are major mood swings seen during this time. The imbalance in the hormone affects the brain chemicals.

I'm always been pretty goofy, I would say maybe bordering on happy go lucky, but my artistic brooding side keeps me from being completely in that category. I'm quick witted and funny.

This changed. I don't know if it was an overnight change (Note to self, ask #leohusband) or if it was gradual with the decline of my hormone production.

Either way.

I changed and not for the better. I wasn't quick on the uptake anymore. I didn't crack jokes nor did I understand them.  After my pain was in control, for the most part, I started sleeping and this symptom did not go away, we knew we needed to consult my doctor.


3. Insomnia and Tiredness

Tiredness is often mistaken as laziness. Being tired all the time need to be checked. Low levels of thyroid hormones rob you of your energy and make you sleepy.

The pain kept me up but after I got it under control, I still couldn't sleep. Mostly I would fall asleep between 10 - 12, depending on when my pain medication kicked in and then wake up around 2 or 3 every day, for over a year.

Once the worst part of my pain flares stopped, I still couldn't sleep.  With non-existent hormone production, you can't sleep, even with sleeping medication.


4. Food Cravings, Insatiable Hunger, Weight Gain, Inability to Lose Weight

There's hungry and then there's you just ate an 18 oz steak, sweet potato, green beans, and a salad an hour ago and you're still hungry.  You are not Michael Phelps.  You are not burning food that fast. No, but your hormone monster is demanding to be fed.

I did a great post on how to lose weight but if you are giving it you honest and true best effort and aren't you need to look further.  At your medicine and at your hormone levels.  Something there is off.  For me, it was my gabapentin and adrenal failure that kept me from losing weight.

5. Acne

Acne or two is not a worry, nevertheless, if it’s a persisting issue it can be a symptom of hormonal imbalance. Excess androgen overwork the oil glands clogging the pores creating breakouts.

6. Sexual Interest

I feel this is self-explanatory but I'm going to touch on it anyway. If you have an increase or decrease in this area, it's a hormone issue.

7. Hair Loss and Hair Thinning

Hair loss is common in men, high levels of testosterone increase the chances of balding.  However, stress can cause hair loss or thinning. If it's not genetic...it might be hormones and stress.  Hair loss is a major sign of hormone issues, especially if you are a woman.

8. Unexplained Prostate and Vaginal Issues

Estrogen levels increase significantly in the prostate with age. One of the leading causes of prostate issues in men is hormone imbalance.

Frequent infections, unexplained burning, loss of moisture, frequent ovarian cysts, all of these could be caused by hormone imbalances.

9. Men

Low semen, low libido, and erectile dysfunction

In a normal person, the follicle stimulating hormone and the luteinizing hormone work together in the reproductive system. In this case, the imbalance creates infertility due to low sperm count and mobility.

9. Women

PMS from hell and/or Long, Heavy, Irregular Periods (or worse both) 

PMS is a time when women notice severe hormone imbalance. I could tell something was off when I changed into a completely different person after ovulation.

The previous 20 years of PMS were nothing compared to the absolute depression, irritation, anger, and fatigue I felt post arachnoiditis.

Heavy Periods, we all have the occasional period that is really heavy, heck I thought my periods when I was on Warfarin (blood thinners for my Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT) were the absolute worst. I even have Severe Level IV Endometriosis, three surgeries to date for it.

Nothing I had experienced in the past compared to hormone depleted, adrenal failure periods.  6-8 weeks of heavy bleeding.


If you have any of the above symptoms I suggest talking with your doctor, preferably a functional medicine doctor.  Next week, I will discuss natural and homeopathic treatments for hormone imbalances.

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