9 signs you may have a hormonal imbalance

Hormones are natural chemicals produced by glands in your endocrine system. They travel in the bloodstream controlling your body’s essential processes – from growth and aging to metabolism and reproduction.

These processes work properly as long as your hormone system is healthy and balanced. But if there becomes too much or too little of a certain hormone, it causes hormonal imbalance and gets in the way of your body’s proper functioning.

Fluctuations in your hormone levels can happen for plenty of reasons – sometimes, it could be certain medications, hormone therapy, constant stress, or even physical injury. And when your hormone system is off-balance, it can lead to further health issues – both physical and mental.

Let’s look at 9 common ways how your body can show you that your hormones are out of sync.

1. Unexplained weight change

If you suddenly gained weight without increasing your calorie intake or physical activity level, that could be caused by fluctuations in hormone levels – for example, there can be a problem with thyroid hormones that regulate your metabolism.

And this works in the opposite direction too – if you suddenly lost weight but didn’t change anything in your lifestyle – hormonal imbalance may be the one to blame.

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2. Persistent weight gain

If you follow a weight-loss training plan and eat healthy food taking into account your calorie and macros requirements, but still keep gaining weight (or can’t lose it no matter how hard you try) – you may need to check your hormones.

For example, you may have excess insulin or low levels of thyroid hormones which keep you from getting rid of those extra kilos.

3. Problems with hair

Your hair health is another indicator of your endocrine system’s state.

If you’re taking good care of your hair, but it keeps being brittle, dry, and thin or falls out for no apparent reason, then it would be better to find out internal reasons than spending hundreds on hair masks or beauty procedures to no avail.

For example, your thyroid hormones could be out of balance, making your every day a bad hair day.  

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4. Problems with skin

Skin is your largest organ, and often, it’s the first to suffer if your hormone system is thrown out of balance. Adult acne as well as oily, dry, or hypersensitive skin are all among the symptoms of changes in hormone levels.

For example, elevated testosterone can be causing your acne outbreaks by increasing sebum production. Excessive oil along with dead skin cells clog your pores and lead to inflammation.

5. Fatigue

If you constantly feel tired and exhausted (even when you have just woken up from a good night sleep), this could be a symptom of hypothyroidism that happens when your thyroid hormones are underproduced.

At the same time, hyperthyroidism – or overactive thyroid – can also affect your energy levels and make it difficult for you to get through the day, feeling drained all the time.

6. Heavy, painful, or irregular periods

If your menstrual cycle is irregular, and your periods are extra heavy or painful, the reason could be fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels.

In general, unexpected changes in your menstruation, whether your periods suddenly become longer or shorter, lighter or heavier, may be a signal of some internal changes – so check your hormones to find out the cause.

Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

7. Night sweating

Occasionally waking up sweating in the middle of the night could be caused by an extra warm blanket or anxious anticipation of some important event of the coming day.  

But if you continuously struggle with excessive perspiration during your sleep to the point when your clothes are soaking wet and you need to change your sheets, this can also be connected to problems with the endocrine system.

8. Poor quality sleep or insomnia

If it’s typically difficult for you to fall asleep, you tend to wake up during the night, and then feel tired in the morning – that’s another reason to check your hormones.

For example, the stress hormone cortisol is the one playing a major role in your sleep-wake cycle (along with melatonin). And elevated cortisol can cause a variety of health problems, including poor-quality sleep and insomnia.

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9. Anxiety or irritability

Being grumpy and feeling anxious from time to time is normal, and arguably, could be even inevitable sometimes.

But regular and dramatic mood swings, constant irritability, and never-ending anxiety can be among the phycological symptoms of a disrupted hormone system.

For example, when testosterone, serotonin, and thyroid hormones are out of balance, it can cause mood disorders and make you suddenly feel all spectrum of emotions in 10 minutes for no apparent reason.

There are many other symptoms that can be a sign of endocrine imbalances – from headaches to infertility, so we should never underestimate the role that hormones play in our health and wellbeing.

Remember, that keeping your hormones in check is key to keeping all your body processes functioning properly.

If you have any symptoms of hormonal imbalance, we highly recommend getting a consultation with a healthcare professional, who’ll direct you to proper diagnostics and create a treatment plan for you.

At the same time, you can start taking care of your hormone system by managing your stress, developing a healthy sleep routine & diet, and including physical activity in your daily life. Read our full article on 4 ways how you can start balancing your hormones naturally here.

Photo by Matt Reiter on Unsplash

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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