Are you getting your eight hours every night but still feel sleepy throughout the day? If so, you might be one of the millions of people worldwide suffering from a hormone imbalance.
Dr. Pavinee Maneepairoj, a wellness specialist at the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort recommends that people who feel “tired all the time” get a thorough work up from a physician who understands fatigue management. “Conventional medicine often lacks the time and patience to sift through the issues to get to the root cause of the problem,” she says, “and often discounts the critical that role, exercise, stress and diet play in hormone balance.“
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and the endocrine system is the factory that produces them. Hormones regulate everything from sleep to menstruation to mood, and if if you have a hormone imbalance, then chances are your mood, sleep patterns, libido, appetite and energy levels are out of balance too.
One of the most common symptoms of hormone balance is fatigue. According to a report in the New York Times, fatigue was either mislabeled or misdiagnosed up until the 1980s. Today, researchers and doctors alike recognize the correlation between our fast paced, always-on, urban lifestyles and the rise in conditions related to hormone imbalances. Key hormones that affect mood and energy levels include:
This is the body’s stress hormone and having the right balance of cortisol is crucial to keep your energy levels in check. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that chronic stress was more likely to blame for cortisol imbalances than a problem with the adrenal glands that produce it. This research clearly points to lifestyle, especially stress, as a culprit for adrenal fatigue.
An overactive or underactive thyroid can often be the underlying cause of fatigue, particularly in women. This hormone controls the body’s metabolism (how food is converted to energy). Just like a car engine, an overactive thyroid will cause you to burn out and an under active thyroid won’t get you started.
Testosterone is best known for its role in developing male sexual characteristics, such as hair growth, muscle mass and libido, but it is produced (in smaller amounts) by women too, and low levels of production have been linked to both fatigue and weight gain.
Estrogen comes in three forms – estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), estriol (E3). Maintaining the correct ratio of these three elements is important for both men and women, although women are more susceptible to estrogen imbalances. Studies have linked low estrogen production to certain types of cancer and heart disease, although more common symptoms include hot flashes, insomnia, painful sex, night sweats and fatigue.
Dr. Pavinee says that fatigue or ‘low energy’ is a common complaint of people these days, and while not life threatening fatigue affects quality of life and should be addressed sooner rather than later.
If you are not feeling your best, make an appointment to visit the Lifestyle Medicine Clinic at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort.