Both men and women can experience low levels of hormones, which can be caused by medical conditions, age and, for women, pregnancy and menopause. If your hormonal levels--testosterone, for men and oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone for women--are low, you may not know it but you are probably experiencing the side effects.
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When a woman enters perimenopause and then menopause, her oestrogen levels may dip drastically or, conversely, they may run amok and she will experience oestrogen dominance, which is just the opposite of having low hormones. Fluctuating hormones can take their toll on a woman, resulting in hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats and a whole host of other symptoms that aren't very pleasant. Hormones start to decline when a woman is ending her time as a menstruating woman because she is no longer of child-bearing age and doesn't need oestrogen and progesterone for reproductive purposes. Unfortunately, oestrogen, in particular, is helpful to a woman's health in many ways, aside from reproduction, so when it declines her general health can take a hit. Oestrogen keeps the heart, bones and blood vessels healthy in additional to keeping the reproductive system fit. It also has an effect on a woman's brain, her hair and skin health, her breasts, the urinary tract, mucous membranes and pelvic muscles. When oestrogen starts to decline during the menopausal years, the aforementioned parts of a woman's body will feel and show the effects, according to Womentowomen.com.
Oestrogen and Progesterone
Oestrogen level declines in conjunction with the diminishing of the other sex hormone, progesterone. When a woman is no longer ovulating regularly the egg follicles no longer need to burst open to release a fertilised egg. Oestrogen provokes tissue growth, whereas progesterone tells the body to get rid of it. If ovulation doesn't occur, progesterone is out of work. As regular menstrual periods and ovulation become a thing of the past, oestrogen and progesterone fade into the sunset, which results in a woman with low hormones.
Thyroid and Adrenal Disorders
According to Christianet.com, aside from menopause, an under-active thyroid can result in diminishing hormones levels, whereas an overly active thyroid can increase hormones levels. Other conditions that can mess up your hormone levels include adrenal gland diseases and disorders.
Low hormone levels during pregnancy can create a problem, according to Americanpregnancy.org. A low hCG hormone level during pregnancy can mean a possible miscarriage or blighted ovum, ectopic pregnancy or miscalculation of the date of conception. If your hCG levels aren't what they should and need to be to sustain a pregnancy, you may experience cramping, bleeding or possibly a miscarriage. If you experience any of these conditions, contact your doctor immediately. Medications that can interfere with your hCG levels are those medicines that contain hCG, which are used in fertility treatments.
If a man is suffering from osteoporosis or sexual dysfunction, it could be that he has androgen (testosterone) deficiency, according to Health Msn.com. Men who have androgen deficiency see a physician more than twice as often as men who do not suffer from this condition, which indicates that androgen deficiency can result in a myriad of health problems and concerns that prompt men to seek medical attention. According to Seekwellness.com, andropause is a condition in which a man's testosterone (hormone) levels decline, which can result in indifference to sex and erectile dysfunction. When a man's testosterone level diminishes, he may notice changes in his strength, due to loss of muscle tissue and mass, and increase in body fat, as well as a change in his moods. As is the case with women when their oestrogen levels decline, a man, who suffers from andropause, can develop osteoporosis or porous bones, which fracture easily.
CFS and Fibromyalgia
If you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, this can result in low adrenals, low thyroid and low growth hormone, which are just some of the numerous hormonal deficiencies seen in these conditions, according to Holtorfmed.com.
According to Dr.spock.com and Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, if a girl exercises excessively, has an eating disorder or low body weight this can have a negative effect on the pituitary gland. When this happens, the necessary signals aren't sent to the ovaries. Girls who fit any of the above descriptors are found to have low oestrogen levels. They do not menstruate and they do not ovulate. If a girl is found to have a low oestrogen state, the blood level of the pituitary hormone FSH will be tested. This hormone instructs the ovaries to produce oestrogen and to prepare eggs for ovulation. When there aren't any eggs being produced by the ovaries, an egg obviously can't be released. When this occurs, according to Dr. Spock, the pituitary sends out even more FSH, attempting to get the ovary to respond.
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