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Hormonal imbalances in teenage girls: Things to know

Imbalance of hormones may result in symptoms such as dysmenorrhoea, irregular periods, sudden weight gain, acne, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and impact every aspect of a teenager's life.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
February 27, 2021 10:00:45 am
hormonal imbalance, hormonal imbalance in teenagers, hormonal imbalance in adolescence, hormonal imbalance among teenage girls, health, parenting, indian express newsNormal physical and sexual development wouldn’t be possible without teenage hormones. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Dr Megha Tuli

In different stages of human development, hormones are an essential part. Problems occur when this impact causes imbalance and adolescents during some of their most vulnerable years may face problems with growth, metabolism, puberty and overall well-being.

Normal physical and sexual development wouldn’t be possible without teenage hormones. At the beginning of puberty, hormones are released by your brain, called the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). The pituitary gland is triggered to secrete follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH) into your bloodstream. Estrogen is being produced by FSH and LH when they instruct the ovaries, one of the primary female sex hormones.

The reason for hormonal imbalances can be too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream. Even small hormonal imbalances can cause side-effects throughout the body, because of their essential role.

The imbalance of hormones may result in symptoms such as dysmenorrhoea, irregular periods, sudden weight gain, acne, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety, fatigue, depression, and impact every aspect of a teenager’s life.

Dysmenorrhoea

Pain associated with menstruation is called dysmenorrhea. Majority of women who menstruate go through some pain for more than 2 days each month. Usually, the pain is mild. But for some women, the pain can tend to be so severe that it keeps them from doing their normal activities for several days a month.

Irregular Periods

Irregular cycles are very common, especially in the first few years of a girl having her period. While girls get their periods on a schedule, each month the cycle can take different amounts of time. For instance, after 24 days one month and after 42 days the next, a girl might get her period. These are called cycles that are abnormal.

Irregular cycles can also be triggered by hormone imbalances. Thyroid hormone levels that are too low or too high, for example, may cause issues with cycles. Some girls have extra androgen, a hormone that can cause facial, chin, chest, and abdominal hair growth. Extra androgen can also make girls gain weight and have cycles that are irregular.

Sudden weight gain

There are many factors that can induce rapid weight gain: a disruption in thyroid hormonal function, for instance, can lead to rapid weight gain. In certain situations, however, rapid weight gain is a sign of getting off track with extra calories, eating, and exercise. As a parent, you need to keep a close watch when your child’s eating habits suddenly lead to excess weight gain.

Acne

The exact cause of acne is not clear, but a role can be played by hormones called androgens. During puberty, androgens tend to rise in both boys and girls. Androgens make oil glands of the skin get larger and create more sebum.

Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as cramps, nausea, and irritability. At least 20% of adolescent girls experience mild to extreme premenstrual symptoms that impair their functioning, and during puberty, premenstrual disorders such as PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) also occur. If you have PMS symptoms, you should eat a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. To ease bloating, lower salt in your diet.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a common system of response that lets the body know when it is in danger. But when it’s out of proportion to the situation, anxiety becomes an issue and interferes with the ability of an individual to work. An overly anxious teen could withdraw from activities because she’s too scared or anxious, and with reassurance, her anxiety doesn’t go away. Some type of cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common medication a mental health professional may use, and depending on how young the child is, it can include educating the parents as well.

Fatigue

In adolescents, most fatigue and sleepiness are due to lifestyle problems, particularly too little time spent sleeping. Physicians are able to screen for, evaluate and treat these common conditions in adolescents.

Depression

Teen depression is a severe issue of mental health that causes a constant feeling of sadness in activities and lack of interest. It influences how your teen thinks, feels and acts, and can trigger issues that are mental, functional and physical. Symptoms can vary between adolescents and adults while depression can occur at any time in life.

Treatments are available for teen hormone imbalance

Due to the hormones involved and the nature of the imbalance, care can differ. Supplements and lifestyle changes can provide relief from symptoms in many cases. A quick saliva test can be the first step to getting to the root of the problem if you think your teen has a hormonal imbalance.

(The writer is Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology & Cosmetologist, Motherhood Hospitals)

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