Hormone disorders are conditions caused by too little or too much of one or more hormones in the body. Hormones are proteins that help tissues and organs perform specific functions. They control the breakdown and use of nutrients within the body; emotions and mood; sexual function, fertility, and reproduction; and overall growth and development.
Feel like you may have a hormonal imbalance? Find a Doctor at Dignity Health to diagnose and treat your hormone disorder. We offer expertise in women’s services at our Bay Area hospitals — Saint Francis Memorial Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz.
Common Types of Hormone Disorders
There are many types of hormone disorders, including:
- Hirsutism is the growth of excess hair, especially in places where women don’t usually have much hair.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can result in fertility problems, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and weight gain. This condition affects about 10 percent of women of reproductive age.
- Premature ovarian failure (ovarian insufficiency) causes a woman’s ovaries stop working before age 40.
- Thyroid disease, which can be caused by too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) and too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). Women develop thyroid disorders at five times the rate of men.
What Causes Hormone Disorders?
Hormone disorders occur when hormone levels are lower or higher or than normal. Things that can affect hormone levels include:
- Aging. A woman’s hormone levels change throughout her life. For examples, estrogen levels decrease as a woman approaches menopause.
- Genetics. Some hormone disorders are related to gene mutations that run in families. Polycystic ovary syndrome and diabetes may be related to genetic mutations.
- Medications. Some medications, such as steroids, can affect the production and secretion of hormones.
- Tumors. Tumors on the adrenal glands or ovaries can cause these glands to secrete excess androgens. Both men and women have androgens, but women typically have lower levels. Fortunately, tumors that affect androgen production are rarely cancerous.
Hormone Disorder Symptoms
Symptoms of hormone disorders include:
- Absent or irregular menstrual periods
- Changes in sex drive
- Excessive hair growth on the back, abdomen, chest, and face
- Hot flashes
- Weight loss or gain
Hormone Disorder Treatment in the Bay Area
When you visit one of our doctors, your treatment of hormone disorders will depend on the severity and type of disorder. Your reproductive goals, age, and medical history may also affect your options.
Common treatments for hormone disorders include:
- Lifestyle changes. Improving your diet, increasing physical activity, and losing weight if you are overweight can improve symptoms of some hormone disorders, including polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Medication. Hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills are used to restore hormone levels and control symptoms.
- Surgery. If a hormone disorder is caused by a tumor, your doctor may surgically remove it.
Trust our doctors to find a treatment that helps you feel balanced and in control of your health. Dignity Health provides compassionate care for hormone disorders in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.