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5 Signs Of Hormonal Imbalance You Need To Be Highly Aware Of

5 Signs Of Hormonal Imbalance You Need To Be Highly Aware Of

Have you ever just not felt right but couldn’t quite pinpoint the problem or experienced seemingly unrelated symptoms? From mood swings to abnormal weight gain, a hormonal imbalance can trigger a range of issues that alone may not be troubling, but when combined can truly hinder everyday life.

People often view hormonal imbalance as only impacting women, and while some signs may only be applicable to women, it is a condition that affects both sexes.

The following are five ways a hormonal imbalance may present itself:

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1. Inability to sleep well

Various stages of a woman’s life, such as her monthly cycle, pregnancy, or menopause, can cause drastic fluctuations in hormone levels. It goes both ways, however, as “sleep deprivation can also affect hormone levels in a sleepless vicious cycle,” according to WebMD.

In men, low levels of testosterone can cause fatigue during the day and disrupt his ability to sleep soundly at night. In another vicious cycle, inadequate sleep can also lower testosterone. This is partially because the majority of testosterone used during daily activities is restored during sleep.

2. Irregular menstrual cycle in women

Since what is considered an “irregular” menstrual cycle can differ widely from person to person, it is difficult for the medical community to define what it means; this must be determined by each individual and discussed with her doctor.

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However, the hormonal changes, especially an imbalance of progesterone, experienced during menopause and perimenopause (the stage leading up to menopause) could the be the culprit, since progesterone is the primary hormone responsible for regulating the level and length of menstrual bleeding.

The absence of an expected period during reproductive years, otherwise known as amenorrhea, can be caused by an under-active thyroid leading to a hormonal imbalance, though there are also other reasons for this. Always consult a doctor if you think experience amenorrhea.

3. Chronic acne

In both men and women, acne that persists beyond puberty and well into adulthood could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. These imbalances “trigger an excessive amount of sebum, or skin oil, to be produced by the sebaceous glands, acne symptoms appear on the surface.”

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Specifically, the timing of breakouts, acne’s location on your body, its texture and appearance, and past treatments’ affects can all help you to understand whether or not chronic acne is the result of fluctuating hormones. For women, if breakouts seem to flare up characteristically at a certain point in their monthly cycle, this usually signals a hormonal component.

4. Mood swings

Short-term, cyclical hormonal fluctuations are thought to cause variations in moods and emotions in women, namely in the reproductive years during premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, Nanette Santoro, MD. at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City cites evidence from studies of women experiencing PMS who show no hormonal imbalances.

Santoro asserts that “Some researchers believe that certain hormone metabolites in the brain cause the mood changes – or that some women just metabolize hormones differently.” Other stages characterized by hormonal changes, such as perimenopause, can also cause mood swings.

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In men, “Irritability as a result of a hormonal imbalance is a reality, especially between the ages of 40 and 60,” during what’s been coined Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS). High cortisol levels, the hormone closely related to stress and sleep regulation, may be mostly to blame, but low testosterone can also cause IMS.

5. Abnormal weight gain

For women entering menopause, weight gain is a common occurrence. Menopause causes estrogen levels to drop to a level no longer able to trigger menstruation, and “a decrease in estrogen can cause women in menopause to experience weight gain around the abdominal region and the hips.”

Conversely, high estrogen levels in men can lead to weight gain. Obesity in turn can raise estrogen levels, creating another feedback loop that can severely inhibit a man’s ability to lose weight.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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