They’re moody. They’re mouthy. They’re dramatic. They know everything. They stay in their room all day. They stink. Literally.
Teenagers get a (not totally undeserved) bad rap.
The thing is, teenagers are incredibly complex — but simple — and intricately designed creatures created by a masterful Designer, hormones and all.
Ah yes. Hormones. Of course, that’s what we’ve been talking about for a while and we would be remiss if we left out the group that gets the most heat for their hormones. Especially, the imbalances.
Hormone imbalance in teenagers is really nothing to be afraid of or hide from. Just like their counterparts, being equipped with some knowledge and patience and getting their hormones in balance will make for a healthy, stable, and more peaceful teenager.
It’s important to note that puberty is, by definition, a massive hormone imbalance when viewed from everything that came prior in the child’s life. Massive increases in hormones are exactly what trigger the rapid physical transformations of teens (as well as their moodiness and emotionalism). That’s totally normal and doesn’t need to be “fixed.”
That said, some teens have imbalances that go beyond what’s normal and that deserve our scrutiny today.
Stress- Teenagers face an insane amount of stress these days. It’s true. And it’s not a cop-out. Extensive testing in school, social pressures, instability at home, getting into college… All of those are major contributing factors in hormonal imbalances. Add to that, death of loved ones, and the alarming rate of suicides of peers, and you’ve got yourself one stressed out teen.
Exhaustion- Teens are busy, now more than ever before. They go to school, sports practices, work, and then come home to do hours of homework that is getting more advanced and encrypted by the week. A huge number of teenagers are coming home to situations where they are the main caregiver for younger siblings for the majority of the week, piling on laundry, dinner prep, bath times, and more homework before they can even start on their personal responsibilities. To say that teenagers are overstretched and overtired is an understatement.
Chemicals- In food, in makeup, in over-the-counter beauty products and acne creams, in the air…Chemicals are everywhere. And they are severely disrupting teenagers hormones. To avoid these types of chemicals, stay away from farmed fish and dairy products and meats that have added hormones. Stay away from sodas and junk food. Buy organic beauty products and acne creams as well as cleaning products.
Mood Swings As stated before, moodiness will be a naturally occurring side effect of puberty, but extreme mood swings might be an indication of hormonal imbalance. Depression, insomnia, aggression, confusion, becoming more withdrawn, fatigue, emotional instability, and irritability are all indicators that something might be a little off. If you notice your teen staying in these moods, it may be a good idea to seek some help as they may be signs of something that needs to be addressed.
Irregular or worsening outbreaks of acne, bouts of nausea, asthma, breast swelling, hives, seizures, sore throat, sinus problems, and urinary difficulties are all telltale signs of hormonal imbalances. As is regular headaches or migraines and back pain. If your teen complains of these types of symptoms, listen to them. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or “PCOS”, is a condition that occurs in females with a hormonal imbalance. According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, it is most common in women in their 20s but may also affect teenage girls and it may cause menstrual cycle changes, skin changes such as increased facial and body hair and acne, cysts in the ovaries, and infertility. Women with PCOS may have problems with their metabolism also. The Center for Young Women’s Health states that around 5 to 10% of teens and young women experience it. Other symptoms of PCOS may include voice deepening, hair appearing on the chest, reduction of breast development and other emerging male characteristics. It’s vital to seek medical help should these symptoms present.
Although there are many normal side effects and symptoms that go along with puberty, it’s imperative that you watch out for certain signs that may indicate something serious going on with your teen. These include:
Withdrawal from friends and social activities
Poor hygiene or a lack of concern for appearance
Abandoning good friends in favor of a new social crowd
Sleeping too much or too little
Noticeable changes in weight or eating habits
Unusual mood swings
Tearfulness and a sense of hopelessness
Expressing thoughts of suicide.
None of the above are “just teenagers being teenagers”. They are red flags. They are cries for help. They may not act like they want you around, but teenagers are literally dying to be seen and heard.
Hormonal imbalance in teenagers is a very real thing. It can be frightening and downright debilitating in an already tumultuous, confusing time in a teenager’s life. Even though it may be met with resistance, try to make sure you’re spending time with your teen, engaging them, and really listening to, and investing in, them. They are transitioning into adults. They may be having a rough go of it. A little grace and a lot of patience coupled with some natural ways to help balance hormones will make their transformation much easier.