Hormone imbalance is widespread in the female population: as many as 80% of women experience it during their lifetimes.
But women mustn’t be blamed for ignoring the symptoms of hormone imbalance. They can be extremely confusing, even for medical doctors, and often creep up on a person so slowly that it’s difficult to discern if a change has actually occurred at all.
However, it’s really important to know what the key symptoms are so you can spot a problem during its early stages: imbalances can damage the body permanently if not attended to in good time. Their effects can also be felt on a physical, emotional and mental level, making them widespread.
Hormones play such a key role in the body, yet they do their work silently. Until something goes awry, we may not even know they’re there, keeping our sleep/wake cycles regular, maintaining our energy levels and driving a healthy libido.
Here are the thirteen signs of imbalance to keep an eye out for.
When your progesterone levels drop, your sleep may be affected. Look out for trouble getting, and staying, asleep. Estrogen and testosterone deficiency can contribute to this as well.
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, low cortisol and generally low sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone and testosterone) .
3. Memory Problems
Decreases 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 there are too many androgens (such as testosterone or dihydroepiandrosteidione) 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 an increase in the symptoms of food sensitivities, stomach pain, bloating, queasiness or even diarrhea and constipation. Many times GI issues are worse just before menses.
7. Irregular Periods
If you’ve been skipping periods or they are starting and finishing at different times each month, it can indicate that your estrogen or progesterone levels are not where they should be for optimal function.
8. Breast Changes
Breasts that feel denser and thicker than normal may suggest higher estrogen levels, just as less dense-feeling breasts may indicate the opposite.
9. Hot Flashes And Night Sweats
Hot flashes and night sweats are caused by low estrogen levels and may appear during the period before menopause, otherwise known as perimenopause. They may also continue well after the menopausal transition.
Sweating can also be caused by hyperthyroidism or an elevated cortisol.
10. Increased Appetite
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 really need to eat may also be caused by imbalances in the adrenals, thyroid, and pancreas.
11. Depression & Mood Swings
Sudden changes in your estrogen levels can also affect the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin, disrupting your neurotransmitters and leaving you feeling anxious, depressed and irritable.
12. Vaginal Dryness
As estrogen levels drop, it can prevent your vagina from lubricating effectively. It’s normal for this to happen from time to time, but if this problem reoccurs often, it may be a good idea to get your doctor to examine you and check your hormone levels.
13. Low Libido
When testosterone levels diminish, it can drastically affect how interested in sex you are. Estrogen also plays a role in libido and sexual response as well.
There are many natural solutions to hormone balance. Often, the first step is to get your hormone levels checked. From there, you can take advantage of the many nutritional, lifestyle, hormone interventions and other treatments available to you.