Get To Know Hormonal Imbalance: It’s Time To Live Your Best Life

By: Farah Khan / August 5, 2021
Categories : Wellness

Anything a man does, a woman can do bleeding. This phrase never fails at giving us a burst of empowerment. As women, we carry a lot on our shoulders. From taking care of our families to chasing our careers, there isn’t a thing we can’t do. Motherly traits are embedded within us however, oftentimes we find ourselves neglecting our health through the hustle which leads us away from living our best life.

Beauty Insider believes that women should have the same value of care they place on their loved ones, on themselves as well. Afterall, sacrificing or neglecting our own health and wellbeing will do no good, not for ourselves or our loved ones. 

Do you often feel like you’re not your usual self? You’re not alone. 

A woman’s body is not only sacred but the complexity is part of the beauty. Sometimes we can sense that our body is going through some changes with night sweats, discomfort and heavy periods. These may all point to an issue with our hormones, with imbalances adversely affecting how we feel. We could learn to deal with it, but getting professional help will significantly improve our wellbeing and enable us to live our best lives.

What Exactly is Hormonal Imbalance?

Women and hormones are like two elements that intertwine with each other. So, what is exactly hormone imbalance? Hormones are powerful chemicals that send messages to your tissues and organs on what to do. They assist in controlling processes in your body, such as metabolism and reproduction. When these hormones are imbalanced, changes will be experienced in our bodies. With age comes natural fluctuation in hormone levels, but external factors such as stress can come into play and affect that all-importance balance in our levels of estrogen and progesterone.  

Causes of Hormonal Imbalance In Women

There are several causes of hormonal imbalance in men and women such as medication, hormone therapy, stress, eating disorders, irregular eating patterns, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, tumour, and trauma or injuries. Certain causes of hormonal imbalances that are unique to women include:

  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature menopause
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Birth control pills 

Signs of Hormonal Imbalance

When it comes to detecting the symptoms of hormonal imbalances, it can be quite difficult to decipher the various signs. Some common symptoms that you should look out for include irregular periods, premenstrual syndrome (that combo of headaches, moodiness, bloating), unusual menstrual cramps, body aches, vaginal dryness, hair loss, acne, headaches, night sweats, pain and discomfort during sex, and even discharge from the breasts are among the many signs of imbalanced hormones. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable, and may significantly disrupt our daily routines.

You must be wondering; What can I do when I experience these symptoms? There are no specific tests or diagnoses that we can perform on ourselves to know for sure what is causing these symptoms and if it’s truly caused by hormonal imbalance. We recognise the discomfort and recommend meeting with a gynaecologist to find the root cause and take action to overcome them. This will help you make a positive impact on your health and lead you to live your best life. 

How Do I Prepare for a Visit to The Gynaecologist? 

It is important to be prepared before you visit your gynaecologist for an assessment. This is to ensure that they are able to make an accurate and informed diagnosis based on your experience. Take note of your symptoms, describe them in detail along with the timeline in which you’ve started experiencing them. If you have been taking medication or supplements, make sure to inform your doctor of them too. 

Your gynaecologist may ask you some questions which may include the following: 

  • How long have you been experiencing these symptoms, and how often do they occur?
  • Do you take anything to relieve the pain or discomfort?
  • Does any of the medication or supplements you’ve been taking help ease the pain or discomfort?
  • Have you experienced fluctuations in your weight recently?
  • Are you experiencing any stress?
  • When was your last period?
  • Do you experience any pain or vaginal dryness during sex?

Although some questions or information may seem too personal, honesty is imperative so that your doctor can make informed decisions. Based on your answers, your gynaecologist will suggest undergoing certain tests to find out the cause of these symptoms. These tests may include a blood test, pelvic exam, ultrasound, and biopsy depending on your symptoms. 

Importance of Regular Trips to a Gynaecologist

Many think that regular visits to the gynaecologist are not necessary until one becomes pregnant. Elaborating, Dr Anthony Siow, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital shared that girls from the ages of 13 – 15 years can consider making their first appointment with a gynaecologist for general consultation on women’s health, the menstrual cycle and, in some cases, facts about fertility prevention and preservation.

He added that from the age of 25, women can start seeing a gynaecologist for a women’s health screening, pelvic ultrasound and PAP smears. They should return for annual checks if they are sexually active, as well as for regular PAP smears every 3 years.

Routine health screenings aside, here are some reasons you should visit a gynaecologist. 

To Look Out For Your Menstrual Health

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According to Dr Siow, a woman’s menstrual cycle can be an indicator of how healthy her reproductive system is.

“Symptoms such as a menstrual flow that is excessively heavy, or too light, inconsistent, or has stopped completely, may be signs of a menstrual issue. This is where a gynaecologist will be able provide an accurate diagnosis and propose a suitable treatment plan. In most cases, medication alone will be able to help regulate the menstrual cycle and get it back on track,” he said.

To Get Screen for Cancer 

Pap smear screening is very important. 

This is because the human papillomavirus (HPV) causes the majority of cervical cancers. This viral infection has over 100 strains and is passed through skin-to-skin contact, so you don’t actually need to have sexual intercourse to contract it. It is found present in 70% of normal couples and most people will get some variety of it at some point.

In many cases, a HPV infection could sneak up on you and then go away without you realising it or causing any problems. However, some high-risk HPV strains can lead to abnormal precancerous cell changes in your cervix, and do so without any obvious signs. 

“Precancerous changes in the cervix occur many years before cancer develops, which leaves a large window of opportunity for screening and detection,” explained Dr Chia Yin Nin, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital. 

Beyond the basic Pap smear tests, Dr Chia shared: “HPV testing has proven to be a better screening tool, and is now recommended for women aged 30 and above every 3 – 5 years. As cervical cancer is caused by high-risk HPV subtypes, HPV screening offers an even earlier point of intervention. Precancerous changes can be easily treated, and early treatment can not only save a woman’s life but also her womb.”

To Confirm a Pregnancy

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We all know pregnancy tests can be inaccurate. Test 1; negative, test 2; positive, test 3; negative?! Which one do you believe? A gynaecologist will be able to give you a definite answer on the first test. Besides that, if you are trying to start or expand our family a gynaecologist can guide you through that journey. Why haven’t I gotten pregnant when we’ve been trying to conceive for months? What methods can I try? Are we fertile? Can I still get pregnant at my age? All of these questions can be answered by your gynaecologist through a fertility test. The abundance of myths surrounding fertility and the support available for couples trying for a baby will surprise you!

For Birth Control Advice

Birth-control

Being sexually active and wanting to avoid unwanted pregnancies would have led you to opening your web browser to get information on birth control. 

Like many of us you might have found yourself overwhelmed by the huge wave of information and options you have. Selecting the right one for you can be daunting. To ensure that you get the right information for the right decision, the best place to be is at the gynaecologist’s. These medical specialists will be able to guide you through pros and cons of contraceptive options and help you select the right type based on your health, lifestyle, and comfort. At the gynaecologist, there really isn’t a limit to the questions you can ask and you’ll get a direct answer too (scrolling for hours on Google can be tiring, we know!). 

To Detect STDs 

Std

Diseases that are caused by certain types of bacteria or viruses can stay in the genitals and cause Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). If you are sexually active, there is always the risk of catching something from your partner(s). Should you notice symptoms such as abnormal vaginal discharge, pain, itching or other trouble signs that something may not be all right, a trip to the gynaecologist will help to ease the worry away. They would be able to detect if there’s an underlying health concern and advise necessary treatments if needed.

Live Your Best Life 

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Through Gleneagles Hospital’s ‘Live Your Best Life’ campaign you are encouraged to prioritise your wellbeing while caring for our family and loved ones. So, whether you want a pap smear, mammogram, or simply need advice, why not pay a visit to a gynaecologist at the hospital by making an appointment!

Ready to live your best life? Get started here and find out how Gleneagles Hospital is on your side in helping you ease your health concerns!