Hormonal dysfunction is a health problem that decreases or increases te production of hormones related to metabloism or reproduction. In some women, the dysfunction may be relted to hormones that are usually linked to menstartion. The symptoms experienced include weight gain, acne and excess hair in the body. In men, the hormonal dysfunction is usually related to testosterone hence causing symptoms of erectile dysfunction or infertility.
Hormones are chemicals produced by the glands and they circulate through the bloodstream as they act on different tissues and organs in the body. Symptoms of hormonal dysfunction depend on the affected gland and are usually diagnosed by evaluating the amount of hormone in the bloodstream.
In case one experiences the symptoms of hormonal dysfunction, it is important that they make an appointment with the doctor so as to start the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
1. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
The thyroid is a gland located in the neck beneath the adam’s apple and it produces thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which are all responsible for controlling metabolism in the body. They also influence various functions in the body such as heartbeat, fertility, bowel rhythm and calorie burning. Another hormone that may be altered and that influences the thyroid is the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Hyportheyrodism ocuurs when the thryroid decreases production of hormones, causing symptoms such as drowsiness, hoarse voice, cold intolerance, constipation, weak nails and weight gain. In advanced cases, swelling of the face and eyeleads may occur, a condition known as mysema.
In hyperthyroidism, the thryroid increases production of hormones hnec causing symtpoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, nevourness, anxiety, insomnia and weight loss. In severe cases, there mightt be projection of the eyeballs a condition known as exophthalmic goiter.
What to do: If you experinec symptoms of thryroid dysfunctions, an evaluation should immediately be made by an endocronologist. Treatment is usually done with thyroid hormones such as levothyroxine. For women over 35 years of age and men above 65 years, preventive examinations are recommneded every 5 years. Pregnant women and new borns should also undergo prventive tests.
Diabetes mellitus, also called type 2 diabetes, is a condition in which the pancreas slows down or stops the production of hormone insulin which is responsible for removal of glucose from the bloodstream and bringing up cells to perform their functions.
Symptoms of diabtes mellitus include increased gluose in the bloodstream because the pancreas doe not produce insulin. This causes increased headtime, increased urge to urinate, increased hunger, blurred vision, drowsiness and neusea.
What to do: One should take the approprate diet as guided by the nutritionist, do physical activity, lose weight and do rigorous folow up with the endocrinologist. Treatment of diabetes melittus in most cases require insulin injection but only when prescribed by a doctor as the does are cutomised for each person.
3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
This is the most common hormonal dysfunction in women. It is caused y an increase in testosterone, leading to the production of cysts in the ovaries and this usually starts at puberty.
The cysts cause symptoms such as acne, deepening of the voice, absence of menstruation, decreased development of the breast and increased amount of hair in the body. They can also increase stress in women and cause infertility.
What to do: The treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome is based on symptom relief, regulation of menstruation or treatment of infertility. Contraceptives may also be used but is necessary to make a follow up with the gynaecologist.
This is the stage in a woman’s life in which there is an abrupt decrease in production of estrogen leading to an end to menstruation, which marks the end of the reproductive phase of a woman. It usually happens between 45 and 55 years buit can happen earlier before the age of 40
The most common symptoms of menopause are hot flashes, insomnia, fast heartbeat, decreased sexual desire, vaginal dryness and difficulty concentrating. Menopause can also cause osteoporosis, which is characterized by greater fragility of the bones.
What to do: Hormone replacement may be neccesary however only after he gynaecologists assess the need for hormone replacement. This is because it may be contraindicated such as in suspected or diagnosed breats cancer.
Andropause is also called androgen deficiency syndrome. It is considered as male menopause as it involves the natural process of the body to gradually decrease the production of testosterone.
Symptoms of andropause can occur at any age but are more frequent after 40 years. They include decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, decreased volume of testicles, decreased strength and muscle mass, insomnia and swelling of the breasts.
What to do: It is often not necessary to carry out any treatment, as the symptoms are subtle. Simple measures like a balanced diet and moderate physical activities can help restore testosterone levels to normalcy. However, it is important to do an evaluation and follow-up with the urologist doctor to help reduce symptoms.
How the diagnosis is made
The diagnosis of hormonal dysfunctions is based on symptoms and laboratory tests by dosing hormones in the blood.
In some cases, ultrasound may be performed in thyroid dysfunctions in which thyroid ultrasound is performed and in polycystic ovary syndrome, transvaginal ultrasound. In andropause it may be necessary to perform an ultrasound of the testicles or analysis of sperm.