A Consultant Gynaecologist, Dr Joseph Akinde, on Friday advised women to pay attention to hormonal imbalance and changes taking place in them at different times of their lives.
Akinde, the Chairman, Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, SGON, Lagos Chapter, made this appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
He said that timely intervention could go a long way in tackling some health issues that could cause the cells and organs to malfunction.
An online publication, medlineplus.gov, defines Hormones as “chemical messengers that are secreted directly into the blood, which carries them to organs and tissues of the body to exert their functions.
“There are many types of hormones that act on different aspects of bodily functions and processes.
“Some of these include: Development and growth. Metabolism of food items. Sexual function and reproductive growth and health. Cognitive function and mood. Maintenance of body temperature and thirst.”
Mr Akinde attributed the upward or downward movement of hormones to stress, health issues or use of some medications, noting that the shifts could happen at different times.
He explained that the change in hormones were mostly before and during menstrual period, puberty or pregnancy, or during menopause.
“For example, irregular periods can be an issue because most women’s periods come every 21 to 35 days.
“If yours doesn’t arrive around the same time every month, or you skip some months, it might mean that you have too much or too little of certain hormones (estrogen and progesterone).
“If you are in your 40s or early 50s, -the reason can be premenopause— the time before menopause.
“But irregular periods can be a symptom of health problems like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS); so, you need to see or talk to your doctor.
“Also, if you are not having enough sleep or if the sleep you get is not good, your hormones could be at play because progesterone, a hormone released by your ovaries, helps you catch sleep.
“If your levels of progesterone are lower than usual, that can make it hard to fall and stay asleep.
“Low estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, both of which can make it tough to get the rest you need,” he explained.
Mr Akinde, who is also the Medical Director of Living Spring Hospital, Ejigbo, a private medical facility, attributed fatigue and chronic acne to hormonal imbalance in women.
He explained: “Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalance because excess progesterone can make you sleepy.
“And if your thyroid (the butterfly-shaped gland in your neck) makes too little thyroid hormone, it can sap your energy, so, a simple blood test called a thyroid panel can tell you if your levels are too low or not.
“If they are, you can get treated for that,” he counselled.
Mr Akinde, however, identified vaginal dryness, loss of libido, breast changes, memory fog and mood swings, infertility and depression as other health conditions arising from hormonal imbalance.