As many as 80% of women experience hormone imbalance during their lifetimes. But women aren’t the only ones who experience hormone imbalances – men do too! Both men and women can be affected by imbalances in insulin, steroids, growth hormones, and adrenaline. Women may also experience imbalances in estrogen and progesterone levels, while men are more likely to experience imbalances in testosterone levels.
Hormones regulate many bodily processes such as metabolism, appetite, sleep, reproductive cycles, sexual function, mood, and stress levels. Hormones play such a vital role in the body, yet they do their work silently.
Many people don’t know the signs or symptoms of hormone imbalance. It can be extremely confusing, even for medical doctors, as symptoms often creep up on a person so slowly that it’s difficult to discern if a change has occurred at all.
However, it’s important to know the potential symptoms of hormonal imbalance so you can spot the problem during its early stages and get help from you doctor!
Here are thirteen signs of hormonal imbalance:
When your progesterone levels drop, your sleep may be affected. Look out for trouble getting, and staying, asleep.
2. Chronic Fatigue
Everyone gets tired sometimes but feeling tired often and being unable to recover from your daily activities may point to a problem with your hormones. If your progesterone levels are too high, you may feel like sleeping more, but tiredness can also be a sign of a thyroid problem.
3. Memory Problems
Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can make it harder to think clearly and remember things. Your thyroid hormone levels may be to blame here but be sure to talk to your doctor about any memory problems you’re having so they can check thoroughly for the cause.
4. Stubborn Acne
Persistent acne can have a hormonal component. It may signal that too many androgens are circulating in your bloodstream, causing your oil glands to produce too much oil, which then clogs your pores.
Headaches that appear during the same time of the month may suggest your estrogen levels are dropping during that time.
6. Stomach Problems
If your hormones are fluctuating, it can cause stomach pain, bloating, nausea, or even diarrhea and constipation.
7. Night Sweats
Sweating can also be caused by hyper- and hypothyroidism.
8. Increased Appetite & Weight Gain
When estrogen levels are low, the hormone that controls appetite—leptin—can go awry. Cravings for salty and sweet foods and feelings of intense hunger when your body doesn’t need to eat may also be caused by imbalances in the adrenals, thyroid, and pancreas.
9. Depression & Mood Swings
Sudden changes in your estrogen levels can also affect the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin, scrambling your moods and leaving you feeling down.
10. Low Libido
When testosterone levels diminish, it can drastically affect how interested in sex you are.
Women may notice additional symptoms such as
- Vaginal Dryness
As estrogen levels drop, it can prevent your vagina from lubricating effectively. It can be normal for this to happen from time to time, but if this problem reoccurs often, it may be a good idea to involve your doctor check your hormone levels.
- Irregular Periods
If you’ve been skipping periods or they are starting and finishing at different times each month, i t can indicate that your estrogen or progesterone levels are not where they should be naturally.
- Breast Changes
Breasts that feel denser and thicker than usual may suggest higher estrogen levels, just as less dense-feeling breasts may indicate the opposite.
- Hot Flashes
Hot flashes and night sweats are caused by low estrogen levels and may appear during the period before menopause, otherwise known as perimenopause.
There are many causes of hormone imbalance. The most common ones we see are chronic stress, thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, poor diet and nutrition, being overweight or obese, and exposure to toxins or endocrine disrupting chemicals.
The good news is there are many natural solutions to hormone balance. Often, the first step is to get your hormone levels checked. At Alliance Integrative Medicine, we use the DUTCH hormone tests to evaluate your hormones. We correlate your test results with your symptoms and then work with you to come up with a plan to utilize nutritional supplements, lifestyle modifications, and AIM treatments to alleviate symptoms and get you back to feeling your best.
If you have any questions about hormone imbalances or would like to consider a DUTCH test, speak to your provider to see which test option is best for you.