When a teenager throws a fit around for not being allowed to do something they want or a young girl sits sulking for no reason, the culprit, according to the parents, is invariably hormonal imbalance. The adolescence is a very delicate transition period, where a child steps into the world of adulthood.
Mother nature is busy with her work, which causes many physical, emotional, and mental changes in a young child. These changes take place due to the hormonal secretions that help a child to enter puberty. These changes may lead to a hormonal imbalance, which has a major impact on their mood and behavior. A sad and depressed teen in the morning may suddenly turn bubbly and happy in the evening. This is where the old saying "blame it on the hormones" may have originated from.
In today's world, symptoms of hormonal imbalance in teenagers are becoming very common, as teenagers today are exposed to hundreds of chemicals. These chemicals are not only present in the polluted environment, but also as preservatives, food coloring agents, and flavoring agents in foods and drinks. Chemicals are also present in the form of pesticides on fruits and vegetables, plastics, beauty products, etc., that enter their system and cause a lot of problems. Teens tend to live on a junk food diet rather than having balanced food that includes fresh products, which also affects their hormones.
Other cause of hormonal imbalance is stress. With the competition in schools and colleges increasing, teens are under a lot stress. It's not just the study that takes a toll, but to be the best in everything they do causes stress. Peer pressure, parental pressure, sibling rivalry, acceptance among friends, etc., are just a few other daily problems that cause stress in teens. This stress causes over or under secretion of hormones in their bodies, leading to an imbalance.
This stress puts additional pressure on the adrenal glands, which regulate all the hormones in the body. These glands are disturbed by the stress levels, which causes hormonal imbalance. This leads to several emotional as well as physical problems in teenagers. Adrenal glands produce a large amount of cortisol, which decreases the production of progesterone. This leads to retention of fats, causing many teenagers to gain weight and further increasing the chances of obesity.
Symptoms in Teenagers
One of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in teenagers is irritability. The symptoms also include some behavioral as well as physical changes. These go away after the body gets adjusted to the sudden rush of hormones. However, if these symptoms continue to occur for a long time, it needs medical attention. Treatment may be helpful in making the life of the affected teenager more normal and less stressful.
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance in teenagers include the following:
- Frequent headaches
- Back pain
- Asthma attacks
- Abdominal bloating
- Abdominal cramps
- Emotional liability
- Sinus problems
- Suicidal thoughts
- Change in sex drive
Symptoms in Children
With changes in lifestyle, children too are becoming prone to hormonal imbalances that occur when there is something wrong with the gland that secretes them. The glands either produce too much or too less of the hormone required. This can happen due to environment, heredity, or stress factors. The symptoms in children include anxiety, inability to concentrate, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain, hyperactivity, poor social skills, etc. Hormonal imbalance may lead to some children growing up too slowly and some growing up too fast. For example, some children tend to be shorter than other children of their age,while some are too tall. Girls may begin their menstrual cycle as early as 9 years, while a few girls get late periods.
Symptoms in Girls
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in girls tend to play havoc in their lives. They tend to experience symptoms like acne, mood swings, oily hair, dry skin, menstrual cramps, etc. These signs are a part of normal growth period of a young girl.
Some other symptoms of an imbalance in ormone levels in girls include the following:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Late menstrual cycle
- Heavy bleeding
- Excess weight gain
- Acanthosis nigricans
- High levels of insulin in blood
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Emotional sensitivity
- Swelling of breasts, accompanied by pain
- Dry and lifeless hair
- Abdominal cramps
- Development of facial hair due to excess production of androgen hormone
Symptoms in Boys
Boys too undergo the period of puberty just like girls, who tend to have menstruation and develop some physical as well as mental maturity. Similarly, boys develop a cracked voice, facial hair, acne, and a heavier body. However, hormones can make a young boy's life difficult too just as in the case of girls. There are certain symptoms in boys that parents should watch out for, as early recognition will help you in seeking some medical intervention for your son. This will make matters better for you as well as your confused teenager.
The symptoms for hormonal imbalance in boys include:
- Gynecomastia, due to excess production of female hormone estrogen, that causes development of larger breasts in boys
- Hypothyroidism, causing delayed puberty
- Hypogonadism, that causes problems with the testes, leading to delayed puberty
- Weight gain
- Deficiency of testosterone, leading to erectile problems and the size of reproductive organs to decrease
- Excessive mood swings
- Increase in irritability and rage
- Night sweats
- Decrease in stamina
- Hot flashes
- Sleep problems
- Poor concentration
- Increase in fat near the abdomen
- Excessive hair growth on most parts of the body
As a parent or guardian, one should watch out for these symptoms, as early treatment will help in reduction of complications later on. Most of these symptoms disappear once the body settles down with the sudden influx of hormones. However, if they persist for a long time, you need to consult a health care professional. Teenagers tend get a bit of "high" or "kick" from these imbalances, and it is up to the parents or guardians to understand and find ways to help the teens get their raging hormones in control.