The presence of male and female sex hormones influences the sexual development of a person. While both sexes have male and female sex hormones, there is a predominance of male sex hormones (androgen) in men and female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in women. Women, therefore, should have more estrogen and progesterone than androgens in their ovaries.
Sex hormones contribute to the differences in the physical appearance of men and women. Androgens, for example, are related to masculine traits like large muscles and a low-sounding voice. When a woman's body produces more androgens than estrogens, the disturbance in her hormonal balance may lead to a condition known as hyperandrogenism.
Hyperandrogenism is usually occurs from over production of male hormones in a woman's ovary and is associated with other health problems. Studies show that the conditions that list hyperandrogenism as a symptom may also be the underlying causes of hyperandrogenism. Two health issues that are closely linked to hyperandrogenism are polycystic ovarian syndrome and diabetes.
Polycystic Ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts in the ovaries of a woman. These cysts may produce an excessive amount of the male androgen hormone leading to hyperandrogenism. While it is not clear what triggers the formation of ovarian cysts, many women with PCOS also display insulin resistance and problems with metabolizing carbohydrates in the blood stream.
Your body produces and secretes insulin into your blood stream to convert sugar and carbohydrates into energy. When your body is unable to metabolise carbohydrates, high levels of insulin may remain in your blood stream and stimulate the production of androgens. Thus, it no longer comes as a surprise that studies show a frequent and close association among hyperandrogenism, polycystic ovary syndrome and disorders of carbohydrate metabolism.
In rare instances, ovarian tumours that secrete androgens in the ovaries may also cause hyperandrogenism.
Signs and symptoms
A woman suffering from hyperandrogenism may exhibit some or all of the following signs:
1. Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) in the face, chest, abdomen and pelvic area.
2. Acne on the face and back.
3. Muscle enlargement
4. Deepening of a woman's voice
5. Absence or irregular menstrual period
6. Reduced breast size and enlargement of the clitoris
While proper medical advice is recommended for the correct diagnosis and treatment of hyperandrogenism, there are ways of preventing the disorder using natural means:
You should be able to eat a diet that is free from food additives and chemical ingredients that may disrupt the normal activity of your hormones. It is best to reduce your intake of meat and dairy products while increasing your consumption of foods that nourish your liver such as dark green leafy vegetables, lemons, beets and carrots. Include essential fatty acids also known as Omega-3 and Omega-6 that are found in flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil and fish oil. For some women who are overweight, shedding a few pounds may also correct hyperandrogenism and prevent its recurrence.
Antioxidants play an important role in maintaining hormonal balance. Eat more fruits and vegetables that are naturally high in antioxidants and Vitamins-A, C and E such as pineapples and berries.