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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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