Ask any woman struggling with skin issues and she’ll likely mention the frustrating battle against hormonal imbalance. This tricky medical condition can be quite a challenge to manage.
For some it might be temporary, however, others deal with a lifetime of restless nights, mood swings, irregular periods, and a bushy face and chest.
Linda Magazi of Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape struggled with health issues before being diagnosed with hormonal imbalances. During her twenties, she battled an irregular menstrual cycle, hairy legs, a large chest, and an overgrown moustache.
“Mood swings are a part of this complicated condition. Sometimes you feel great one day and then the following day you’re exhausted and uninterested in anything,” Magazi says.
She adds that she was diagnosed by a gynaecologist, who suggested that she take standard family planning pills, and that was the end of it.
Magazi says she was further told that having a hormonal imbalance might lead to infertility and anaemia.
When Thabisa Mbelu of Gonubie, Eastern Cape, experienced irregular menstrual cycles, gut health issues, and skin problems seven years ago, she was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance.
As the years went by, she began to gain weight. She then discovered that she was iron-deficient and that an imbalance in her hormones was linked to this.
“I use an over-the-counter medication called Ovral. They have been working wonderfully to control irregular periods.”
Mbelu says she also has to take iron supplements while she is not taking Ovral’s. She adds that not taking them might cause dizziness, mood changes, and fatigue.
Is there a link between skin and hormone imbalance?
According to Dr Katlego Lekalakala, who operates #Keready mobile clinics in Johannesburg central, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it is very sensitive to issues such as hormone imbalance and can reflect what is going on inside.
Excessive oil production and/or acne may be caused by low amounts of oestrogen and progesterone and excessive levels of androgens, explains Lekalakala.
When oestrogen levels are low, such as during pregnancy, itchy skin might appear. Furthermore, she says dry skin might indicate a thyroid issue or low oestrogen levels.
Rosacea, she notes, is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that can be worsened and induced by hormone imbalance, as seen in menopause with low oestrogen and progesterone levels.
Although the exact cause of eczema is unknown, she notes that there are indications that a hormonal imbalance may be responsible for initiating the symptoms.
Effect on fertility
According to The Fertility and Gynaecology Academy, numerous hormones play a critical part in fertility, and hormones function together in a carefully regulated system, meaning an imbalance in one might cause disproportion in others.
It is best to consult a gynaecologist or fertility specialist if you suffer from hormone imbalances.
How can one balance hormones effectively?
According to Lekalakala, hormonal therapy is not a quick solution. It may take several weeks to a few months for people to begin noticing changes in their symptoms.
She suggests that one can begin by making changes to their lifestyle and diet.
Lekalakala explains that hormonal treatment is a broad diverse approach that depends on the specific symptoms present. In the case of skin conditions, the treatment typically involves hormone replacement therapy.
This can be administered through either oral pills or injections and may include the use of contraceptives. In certain situations, it may be necessary to undergo surgery, radiation, or laser therapy to effectively manage symptoms, she adds.
Lifestyle changes can only help
“Lifestyle changes such as sleeping well, increasing fluid intake, managing stress, weight reduction, decreasing alcohol consumption, staying away from smoking, and a high fibre diet can improve your overall health and assist with hormonal balance.”
She emphasises that for persons with diabetes, when insulin levels are extremely low, it is critical to maintain a healthy lifestyle to balance their hormones.
A patient needs to go to a doctor for a consultation for a hormone imbalance to be discovered, according to her.
A detailed history of symptoms and medical history will be collected, followed by an examination. A pelvic ultrasound may also be conducted in some instances. Blood will be obtained to examine hormone levels as well.
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