The pancreas produces the hormone insulin. Insulin helps the cells in the body to absorb glucose (sugar). The cells will then convert glucose into energy that the body uses for various activities, such as muscle movement, digestion, brain processing and several organ functions.
If you have an insulin imbalance, it means you are producing too much insulin or less than what your body requires. This could be because your sugar level regulation by the brain (hypothalamus function) has been set by a fight/flight response. You will likely suffer from low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia) if you have excessive production of insulin. On the other hand, high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia), a common sign of diabetes, will occur if your body lacks insulin.
How can you know if your insulin is not in balance?
Observe your food and fluid intake pattern. You will likely crave sweet foods and even feel hungry most of the time if you have an insulin imbalance. This will make you gain weight and store more fat in your belly! You will also frequently feel thirsty requiring you to drink more than your usual fluid intake. Consequently, you will have to use the toilet more often, and mostly at inconvenient times, like during sleeping hours.
Why could you have this imbalance?
Many factors can influence this imbalance but one of the unseen factors is simply stress. Imagine you have an emotional stress load and this makes you seek comfort food e.g. chocolate, ice cream and sweet things… This then imbalances your blood sugar levels. If the stress is unresolved this comfort eating may go on unnoticed impacting your insulin production. Pinpointing subconscious factors can stop the need for comfort eating.
Moreover, insulin imbalance makes you irritable, nervous and confused. It also makes you feel weak and tired, particularly in the late afternoon. Other manifestations of insulin imbalance are lack of motor coordination, dizziness, headache, blurring of vision, abdominal pain, fainting and tingling sensation in the extremities.
Adrenal hormone imbalance
The adrenal glands produce the hormones cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, androgen hormones, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Cortisol (Hydrocortisone) – Cortisol regulates the body’s use of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats- the primary food nutrients used as energy sources by the body. This hormone together with corticosterone suppresses the body’s inflammatory response, which directly affects immune function.
Aldosterone – This hormone helps in regulating the body’s sodium and potassium levels as well as controlling the blood pressure and blood volume.
Androgen hormones – These hormones are used in producing male and female sex hormones.
Epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline) – These hormones help the body to cope with stress by regulating the “fight or flight” response.Hence, they are also called stress hormones.
Adrenal hormone imbalance happens when your adrenal glands are compromised, such as when you have adrenal fatigue. The primary symptoms that you will experience are evening or morning fatigue and body aches. Likewise, you will usually have difficulty sleeping and trouble coping with stress, considering that the adrenal glands produce your stress hormones.
Try to observe as well whether your allergies have worsened. Healthy adrenal glands help in regulating the inflammatory process, which inhibits the body from easily responding to allergens. If your adrenals are in trouble, then you should expect that you will be highly sensitive to many types of allergens, and you will experience allergic symptoms. Asthma attacks can frequently occur as well if you have such a respiratory disorder.
Moreover, adrenal hormone imbalance increases your risk of having recurrent infections. Remember, your hormone cortisol and corticosterone play an essential role in your body’s immune response system.
Adrenal problems affects your muscles as well. If you are persistently feel weakness or pain in your lower back, knees, legs or feet, your adrenal hormones might be out of balance. Mostly, you will complain that your feet, legs or calves are tired and painful. So, watch out for these symptoms Dizziness and headache related to a sudden drop of blood pressure when you change position (i.e. sitting to standing or lying) is another health problem caused by adrenal hormone imbalance. Ironically, when your blood pressure is checked, it will most likely be elevated, higher than the normal range. This blood pressure disorder will not be corrected by antihypertensive or diuretic medications, but by attending to the adrenal problem instead.
Adrenal disorder can make your blood sugar drop as well. So, expect that your craving for sweet foods will be heightened. Aside from sugar, you will also crave for salty foods. This happens when your adrenal glands produce lesser aldosterone. Your kidneys will excrete more salt through your urine. Moreover, since salt attracts water, you will frequently urinate, up to 20 times per day, which can make you dehydrated. Other symptoms of adrenal hormone imbalance are indigestion, poor memory, irritability and weight gain.
The thyroid gland produces hormones, known as thyroid hormones, which control metabolism, body temperature, growth and development. These hormones influence every cellular activity in the body. Hence, symptoms of imbalances often vary and affect multiple body systems. Thyroid hormone imbalance usually affects 1 out of 5 women. However, the majority of these women don’t even know they have this health problem as the symptoms are sometimes difficult to recognise.
Moreover, symptoms of thyroid imbalances are so similar to depression. If you have thyroid imbalance, you will feel burnt out or fatigued. You become forgetful, moody and even socially withdrawn. You will have low energy levels and lack interest in previously pleasurable activities such as your hobbies. You will have stubborn weight gain or weight loss. Likewise, you will have difficulty sleeping. These manifestations are similar to those of having depression. Now, let me ask you. Have you been taking antidepressant medication for several months already, yet you feel like your mood problem has not improved? Do you always feel tired or fatigued? Do you quickly gain or lose weight? Are you troubled by menstrual problems? Do you feel cold often? Do you quickly forget details? Does your heart beat rapidly or slowly? Do you have sleeping problems? Are your nails and hair brittle? Are you mostly constipated? Is your neck enlarged or swelling? If the majority of your answers are YES, you probably have thyroid hormone imbalance. Addressing your thyroid problem is a must, as the symptoms may not merely be indicative of depression.
Growth hormone deficiency
The pituitary gland produces growth hormones (GH), the hormones that control a child’s height. Moreover, it keeps our muscles healthy, maintains the size and overall health of our organs, tissues and bones, regulates the balance between the amount of bad and good cholesterol in our blood, and plays an essential role in the deposit and distribution of fat in our body. Therefore, we need sufficient amounts of growth hormones throughout our lifetime. However, our levels of growth hormones decline as we age. In fact, some people have extremely low levels of growth hormones because of a condition known as Growth Hormone Deficiency.
Low levels of GH will increase your fat deposits, particularly around your belly. You will likely experience symptoms of anxiety and depression as well, including fatigue, weight gain, poor concentration and memory, and low energy levels. You will also notice that you are highly sensitive to environmental temperature changes. Since growth hormones affect your muscles and bones, check yourself for poor muscle tone and decreased bone and muscle mass as well.
Sex hormone imbalance
Women have two primary sex hormones: oestrogen and progesterone, which are produced by the ovaries. These hormones regulate the development of female sexual characteristics, the reproductive process and menstrual cycle. You will experience breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, irregular or heavy menstrual flow, hot flashes, palpitations, fatigue, vaginal dryness, night sweat, headache and sleeping problems if you have any sex hormone imbalance.
Women who are in their menopausal period are mostly affected by these imbalances of sex hormones. However, research has shown that more teenagers and young women regularly complain of problems caused by hormones. Men can also experience hormonal imbalance, causing many of the same problems experienced by women. As a man ages, testosterone levels fall and oestrogen levels tend to rise. Studies have shown that the average 54 year old man has oestrogen levels higher than those of the average 59 year old woman!Hormonal imbalance in men can lead to urinary problems, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count and prostate problems, as well as many of the problems listed earlier, such as bone loss, inability to concentrate, poor memory, irritability and sleep problems. Hormone imbalance is also one of the main causes of prostate conditions, including prostate cancer
Overall, your hormonal imbalance symptoms differ according to the hormone which is insufficient or excessively secreted by the body. You are now aware of the various signs and symptoms of some imbalances in your hormones. Another significant matter is your vulnerability to developing any of the discussed hormonal imbalances.