What are Hormonal Disorders?
Hormonal disorders are disruptions to the precise balance of hormones in your body. Hormonal disorders are also called endocrine disorders because endocrine glands produce hormones. Any small alteration to how endocrine glands function changes hormone levels in your body, shifting you out of balance. These hormone disorders impact organs and processes throughout your body.
Types of Hormonal Disorders
There are numerous types of hormonal disorders. The disorders vary by endocrine gland and the hormone types associated with each gland.
Hormonal disorder types:
- Diabetes — The most common hormonal disorder in the United States is diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) — This is the main cause of infertility. An excess of androgen hormones disrupts the fertility process.
- Cushing’s disease — The pituitary gland produces a surplus of pituitary gland hormones. The surplus triggers the adrenal gland to overproduce the cortisol hormone.
- Precocious puberty — Pituitary glands release sex hormones early, which leads to early puberty.
- Adrenal insufficiency — An underactive adrenal gland produces insufficient cortisol hormone.
- Multiple endocrine neoplasia I and II (MEN I and MEN II) — Inherited conditions where tumors grow on various endocrine glands.
- Gigantism — A growth hormone condition also called acromegaly. The pituitary gland releases too many or too few growth hormones.
- Hypopituitarism — The pituitary gland produces insufficient hormones.
- Hyperpituitarism — The pituitary gland produces excess hormones.
- Hypothyroidism — The thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones.
- Hyperthyroidism — The thyroid gland makes too many thyroid hormones.
The symptoms of hormonal disorders vary by which specific endocrine glands are malfunctioning and which specific hormones are out of balance.
Hormone imbalance symptoms that impact men and women:
- Muscle weakness
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Dry skin
- Vision issues
- Frequent hunger
- Frequent thirst
- Thinning hair
- Hair loss
- Rounded face
- Purplish stretch marks
- Pinkish stretch marks
- Reduced sex drive
- Frequent urination
- Frequent bowel movements
- Increased sweating
- Swollen face
- Irregular heartbeat
- Painful joints
- Stiff joints
- Muscle pain
- Muscle stiffness
- Sensitivity to temperature
- Fat growth between shoulders
Hormone disorder symptoms in males:
- Breast development
- Erectile dysfunction
- Tender breasts
- Reduced muscle mass
- Reduced hair growth
- Hot flashes
- Reduced bone mass
- Focusing issues
Hormonal disorder symptoms in females:
- Loss of hair
- Skin darkening
- Heavy periods
- Irregular periods
- Skin tags
- Body hair growth
- Vaginal dryness
- Increased acne
- Increased sweating
- Painful intercourse
- Vaginal atrophy
Hormonal disorders in children:
- Disproportionate growth
- Stunted body hair
- Underdeveloped muscle mass
- Enlarged breasts
- Reduced genitalia growth
- Voice that will not deepen
There is no single cause of hormonal disorders. Hormonal imbalances occur when endocrine glands malfunction. Females face unique causes associated with reproduction.
Hormonal disorder causes in males and females:
- Noncancerous tumors
- Cancerous tumors
- Cancer treatments
- Hormone therapy
- Certain medications
Hormonal disorder causes for females:
- Premature menopause
- Hormone medications
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
A single hormone imbalance test does not exist. During a routine appointment, your doctor will review your symptoms and medical history. Your doctor may ask you specific questions about your stress levels, sexual drive, sexual function, weight fluctuations, body hair growth, and menstruation.
Common hormonal disorder tests:
- Blood tests — These tests measure hormone levels in your body.
- Pelvic exam — Your doctor may check your pelvic region for abnormal lumps or other growths.
- Biopsy — Your doctor may test a sample of your tissue.
- Imaging scans — Your doctor might use an X-Ray, computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to capture images of the inside of your body. These imaging scans can help identify irregularities such as tumors or other growths.
- Sperm count test — This test analyzes the health of semen.
Doctors treat hormonal imbalance based on the specific cause of the condition.
Common hormonal disorder treatments:
- Medication — Certain medications can help regulate healthy hormone balance, help manage menstrual cycles, or stop unwanted hair loss and acne.
- Lifestyle changes — Eating a balanced, nutritious diet and engaging in regular exercise to lose weight can help normalize hormone levels.
- Surgery — If necessary, surgeons might remove tumors or other growths that impact your endocrine glands.
- Ongoing monitoring — During follow-up visits, your doctor will check your hormone levels and may adjust your medication.
If you or someone you love experiences any of the symptoms of hormonal disorders, please contact an endocrinologist at Baptist Health today.
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