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Menopause or perimenopause can be a rough time in a woman’s life as estrogen levels decline often causing a host of symptoms. Weight gain, dry skin, food cravings, and irritability – these can all be clues that your hormones are in flux and your monthly cycle may be coming to an end. But these symptoms can also be precipitated by other factors when hormonal imbalance is not the primary cause – excessive stress, vitamin deficiencies, a poor diet, poor adrenal function, lack of exercise, etc.
So, how can you know if you are truly suffering from a hormonal imbalance or if your symptoms are actually related to something else? To help you answer that question, we’ve provided a simple test you can use to determine if you do in fact have a hormonal imbalance.
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Why does it matter if I am menopausal?
It is important to know if you have approached menopause because your risk of certain diseases increases. In particular, postmenopausal women are at a significantly higher risk for developing osteoporosis. The National Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that about half of all women over the age of 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
Why? One of the primary causes of osteoporosis is hormonal imbalances that interfere with bone forming cells. Since estrogen naturally preserves bone strength, postmenopausal women are at an extremely high risk for bone loss because estrogen levels in the body decline after menopause.
Hormonal Imbalance Self Test
Ask yourself these 15 questions. Do you have moderate to severe symptoms in the following areas? If the answer is “yes” to several or more, you may want to have your hormone levels tested.
- Are you over the age of 30? The first and most obvious sign that you may be going through menopause is your age. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 50 to 55; however, premenopausal symptoms can begin in women as early as their 30s and 40s.
- Do you crave sugar, salt, caffeine, or carbohydrates?
- Do you experience hot flashes?
- Do you suffer from depression symptoms, irritability, or mood swings?
- Have you noticed changes in your appetite?
- Do you sleep poorly and feel sluggish in the morning?
- Do you have thinning hair or dry skin?
- Are you overweight and putting on more and more belly fat?
- Do you experience bloating, headaches, water retention, breast swelling and/or mood swings in the week prior to menstruation?
- Do you experience irregular menstrual cycles, spotting, heavy bleeding or have painful periods?
- Do you often experience an irregular heartbeat?
- Do you have decreased libido?
- Do you often experience ringing in the ears, hearing “bells” or buzzing?
- Do you have frequent joint pains?
- Do you know you suffer from any of the following conditions: Infertility, endometriosis, low thyroid function, or exhausted adrenal function?
If several of these symptoms apply to you, now is a good time to go ahead and schedule an appointment with an integrative physician who specializes in hormone testing.
Based on the results of your hormone testing, your doctor can individually tailor a hormone regimen specifically designed for you. (Before you begin hormone replacement therapy, it is important that you understand the differences between conventional and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.)
Remember, if you are postmenopausal your chance of ending up with some type of fracture of the hip, wrist or vertebra is one in two because many such women fail to take the preventative steps necessary to rebuild healthy bones. Don’t let this happen to you.
If you think you may be approaching menopause and are already suffering from symptoms of hormonal imbalance, make an appointment with a doctor today so you can protect your health in the future.
 National Osteoporosis Foundation – Why Bone Health Is Important.
Originally published in 2012.