Hormonal Imbalance can affect both men and women in the following possible ways:
- PMS (women)
- headaches, foggy thinking
- UTIs (women)
- depression, anxiety
- hair loss
- low sex drive
- allergy symptoms
- sleep problems
- mood swings
- hunger cravings
- weight gain
I know what you’re thinking- so what symptom isn’t on the list? Good question, but there’s an even better answer. Every multi-cell organism has hormones. Hormones are essentially chemical messengers that transports a signal from one cell to another. Hormones are responsible for maintaining homeostasis and regulate all kinds of functions like sleep, eating, fertility, puberty… The thing is if your hormones are imbalanced, your whole body from your physiology to your mental state can be “wrong”.
I felt like things were not right. I mean when something feels wrong with my body, I’m the first one to know about it. It’s easy to forget about little nuisances because we get used to them, so taking a fresh look at your life can be helpful in evaluating your health.
In my recent posts I have explained how my OCD spikes during PMS. So much anxiety and craziness, I feel like there’s a connection between OCD and hormonal imbalance. Remember the magic word: Serotonin? Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is a hormone too, so is it so crazy to think that all this stuff is connected; that maybe a hormonal imbalance is causing or at least exaserbating my OCD? Nope, it sure isn’t!
How do you get a hormonal imbalance?
- Eating commercial foods – this means foods that are not organic and have been treated with pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
- Toxins – things like window cleaner, perfume, basically anything that is composed of synthetic chemicals.
- Hormone Therapy – this includes birth control (pills, patch…) , or hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Birth Control Pills/Patch
Women are often prescribed birth control not for prevention of pregnancy but for acne, mood swings or PMS. Can you see where I am going with this? Birth control is loaded with Estrogen, way more than your body needs by 10 times! This estrogen is commercially made from things like the urine of mares, and is used by the body, but not in the same way as your natural estrogen. The body gets the fake stuff in abundance and says “wow, this stuff works good, let’s stop making our own estrogen and just use this stuff.” This can really change your body’s natural chemistry and create an estrogen dominance. For many women, this can make their menstrual cycles much worse and cause many of the symptoms previously listed. Many women claim success with the use of birth control because maybe they had low estrogen to begin with, but the myth that birth control will work wonders on everyone is causing more harm than good.
I’m not saying to stop taking birth control! If you are experiencing unwanted side effects, talk to your OBGYN about a lower estrogen brand, or switch to a non hormonal method of contraception.
I mentioned how taking hormones can cause a problem and they can, but not when done properly. If you find out you have a hormonal imbalance, say low progesterone, you can supplement with natural progesterone cream made from phytoestrogens (plants). Natural is just that, natural! It is safe with no risk of blood clots or other nasty symptoms.
I recently sent away for a home saliva test ($60) and found out I have slightly low estrogen and very low progesterone. You can buy these tests online and take them at home. There are different tests for different hormones so it’s a good idea to take a symptom test online first and see which hormones are most likely the culprit. There are different tests for men and women.
I don’t take birth control, and I eat organically, so I am assuming that the anxiety caused by my OCD is throwing off my cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone, so when I am stressed (a lot of the time), I use up all this cortisol and my body runs out and converts my progesterone into more cortisol. Yikes! So my current treatment is to supplement with natural progesterone cream, and increase my intake of soy and other phytoestrogens. I am hoping that this will help with the PMS and decrease the stress in my life therefore getting my cortisol back to normal. If I can help my PMS, that’s a lot less OCD manifesting in my life.
When working on your hormones, and especially if you don’t have a dr. (like me), go slowly, do your research and give it about 3 months to see a difference (from what I read). Listen to your body. Your body knows and it will tell you.
I’ll post results after 3 months of treatment. Remember that your health is important, whether it be in dealing with your OCD or your physical health. Many times one health problem can cause another, so treat your whole body, not just the symptoms. Be safe!
Thank you for the thoughtful comments. I, too, was wondering if there is a hormonal connection to ocd. I’m currently on birth control pills, mostly to regulate and lighten my periods. I had ocd before going on the pill, and actually at first the pill seemed to help and make everything more steady. (i have thyroid issues, too, so i’m more likely to have an imbalance) But, lately, i’m wondering if i should give my body a break from the pill. I take several months back to back (w/ dr’s approval) because i get fierce migraines every time i go off then back on. I’m just now starting the “off” days — we’ll see how it goes! It’s a little tricky cuz we don’t have insurance. Otherwise i’d go off the pill permanently and see what happened. Then if my body went wacko i could get my hormones tested, etc. But right now that’s not an option.
I also think that having a baby can cause your hormones to go crazy just like what happen to me I got my ocd after I had my girls and I think there is a connection there.
i most definitely agree.
Totally totally agree. I used to keep a journal of the degree of anxiety caused by odd and it always spiked during Pms. I’m on the pill because I have endometriosis in one of my ovaries. I don’t know what to do want more. If odd is related to hormonal changes then what do we do?
it does seem that we as women have limited options in terms of birth control and our hormones. Women’s health research is often not at the fore front, but none the less, we do have options! birth control works by literally disabling your hormonal system, and releasing synthetic estrogen on a perfectly times schedule (assuming you take your pills on time). The thing is that birth control pills flood the body with literally ten time the estrogen dosage needed for preventing fertilization. manufacturers do this in case people forget to take a pill one day (the idea that you have enough estrogen from one day to cross over into the next day). this doesnt mean people should feel comfortable skipping a dose. the idea is again, that the hormone levels remain constant. however, the thing is that the synthetic stuff does not always translate in our bodies, hence the side effects: weight gain, acne, anxiety, depression, etc… for me, i found relief in using a natural progeterone cream that the got from wild yams. my progesterone was “off” resulting in not fun symptoms including ocd. if you find the pill is making your symptoms of ocd worse, i wouldnt rule out other options like natural hormone replacement therapy, especially if your reason for taking the pill is not to prevent pregnancy. i also got great relief from nixing sugar. sugar acts like a hormone in the body. stay strong!
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Thank you for this info! I have suffered from “something” since I can remember. I’ve always been anxious person, a control freak, a “perfect person” if you will. But I have always attributed it to genes. My dad’s side of the family is a little “gotta have it my way or no way” and my grandmother and her sisters (and probably even further down the line) all suffered from OCD, among other mental health diseases. I have always joked that I have OCD knowing that I do, but literally within the past year to 2.5 years it has completely changed my life!! I went off BC in Aug of 2009 to try to get pregnant. We were successful within only a couple of months and it was a great pregnancy. I did of course have my “issues” heightened but I was able to cope just fine. I went on back BC almost immediately after having my son. I thought I suffered from PPD at one point & took 1 Prozac pill & never wanted it again! After further research I found that it was most likely Post-Pardum OCD (as opposed to Post-Pardum psychosis…the bad one!). Well, I went off BC (Mirena IUD) again last March to try for #2. I pretty much experienced a change almost immediately. I started having PMS which I never really had, my silly “preferences” became “I NEED to do that or I will have a panic attack…like labels facing out and t-shirts being folded a certain way. I experienced a miscarriage in October and the OCD has shot thru the roof since!! I could write a novel about all of the types of OCD I have and the compulsions and obsessions and rituals, but I’d just prefer to say…I’ve got them all, all but the germs and cleaning (because if I start to clean I will never finish because it will never be perfect enough). I had a near mental breakdown today and decided to get help for the first time. I am getting my hormone levels checked next week and talking to my GYN/Psychiatrist. I call him that because he has the most amazing bedside manner! He called me from his personal cell phone on a beautiful Saturday afternoon just to check on me and my mental state after my miscarriage…and I had only been to see him 2 times!! Anyway, I’m hoping he can give me a referral to a Dr. that specializes in mental health. Money Issues…I literally had a woman tell me, “your insurance is based on reimbursement, we only take REAL insurance!!” No wonder there are so many mentally ill people in this country…freaking money!! <See, wrote a novel Again, thank you for this!
Alison, thanks for writing! So much has been going on! I can’t begin to tell you how many storied I have heard of women dealing with OCD related to their birth control and out of balanced cycles. I can just short of promise that your symptoms will improve as your hormones get back in check. Birth control litterally works by shutting down one’s own hormonal system. When one goes off of it, the body “reboots” and goes back to its on levels, but they may be out of wack if they have been dormant a while. good job on getting things checked out!
Thankyou for writing this article! I was put on birth control for acne as well. Everything was good while I was on birth control but as soon as I came off it I was a mess. I had developed OCD that had basically taken over my life. It was so bad that I was put on zoloft, which helped tremendously I was pretty much back to old self (i’m guessing because of the serotonin). But I decided to get off zoloft because it is extremely important to me to be able to balance my hormones without artificial drugs. Eventhough my OCD is back i’m determined to find natural ways to get my hormones back to where they originally were before I started birth control since that was the cause of this chaos. Anyway thankyou so much for the article!
Hiii… I am confused for my behavior plz reply me back….. When ever I see a shirtless man i feel white discharge and i don’t feel good.. I feel exhausted.. My mood used to swing … There are lots of time in a day feel really happy and after some time my mood become change….. Plz help me… I need help