Hormonal imbalances can affect individuals of any race or ethnicity. A number of factors can contribute to hormonal imbalances, including genetics, environmental exposure, lifestyle, and medical conditions. The most common imbalances are:
Excess androgens (male hormones)
The overproduction of androgens (male hormones) often results in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) . This is a common hormonal disorder characterized by the development of small cysts on the ovaries. The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but genetic factors, insulin resistance, and inflammation may contribute.
Decline of estrogen and progesterone
There are a few causes of decline in the production of estrogen and progesterone, leading to hormonal imbalances. The most common one is aging. Menopause is a natural biological process that occurs as women age. Research shows that the age of onset varies depending on race:
- Black women: 53-55 years old
- White women: 50-52 years old
- Latin women: 47-49 years old
Stress, excess body fat, poor liver function, and a poor diet and lifestyle all play a role in a surplus of estrogen in the body. For example, when the body is inflamed or resistant to insulin due to a poor diet, the level of estrogen in the body increases.
The most common health conditions in black women
When it comes to the most common conditions in black women, it is important to note that they are hormonal-related. Hormonal imbalances are diverse, and individuals may experience a range of symptoms and conditions. Additionally, the impact of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors on hormonal health can vary among individuals.
Breast Cancer (Hormone Receptor-Positive):
Hormonal factors, including estrogen and progesterone levels, play a role in the development of breast cancer. Hormone receptor-positive breast cancer is a common subtype, and black women may have a higher incidence of this type of breast cancer. Black women are 41% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. But contrary to popular belief, it is not because black women have a higher risk of breast cancer, but rather because they are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of the disease where chances of survival are significantly reduced. Regular breast cancer screenings and awareness are crucial for early detection and treatment.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Hormonal imbalances, particularly those related to insulin resistance, can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Black women may face a higher risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, emphasizing the importance of lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus that can cause symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding, pelvic pain, and pressure. Black women are more likely to develop fibroids, which can be influenced by genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This imbalance can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold intolerance. Black women may have a higher prevalence of hypothyroidism, and it is essential for individuals to undergo thyroid function testing for early detection and management.
If you suspect you have a hormonal imbalance or are experiencing symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and appropriate management.