21 possible symptoms of a hormonal imbalance

Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on August 11, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.


Could a symptom you’re experiencing be due to a hormonal imbalance? To help you find an answer to that question, here we’ve provided a list of 21 possible hormonal imbalance symptoms—plus some natural approaches to consider trying to support your hormone health. (You can also use the at-home hormone test to check if 10 key hormones are balanced.)

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Common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance

If you’re wondering how to know if you have a hormonal imbalance, it may help to know some of the most common signs of hormonal imbalance, listed here:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Weight gain
  3. Increased body fat
  4. Irregular periods
  5. Cold intolerance
  6. Heat intolerance
  7. Hot flashes
  8. Night sweats
  9. Depression
  10. Sleep disturbance
  11. Low sex drive
  12. Mental fatigue
  13. Lack of concentration
  14. Headaches or migraines
  15. Bloating
  16. Indigestion
  17. Hair loss
  18. Infertility
  19. Skin issues
  20. Muscle pain
  21. Joint pain

Keep in mind that hormonal imbalance symptoms can be very different from one person to the next, and that experiencing any of the symptoms above doesn’t necessarily mean your hormones are out of balance: something else could be causing your symptoms. So be sure you speak with your healthcare provider if you have any unexplained symptoms.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the symptoms listed above—and provide a few tips that may help you get to the bottom of the symptom(s) you’re experiencing.

Weight gain

A variety of hormone-related conditions are associated with weight gain, including underactive thyroid and polycystic ovary syndrome. If you’re experiencing weight gain without any change in your diet or exercise regimen, discuss this with your healthcare provider as it could be a sign of a hormone level imbalance.

Headaches

Some women suffer from headaches due to hormonal changes. Consider keeping a notepad where you can write down the times and triggers of your headaches. This information may help your healthcare provider better understand what’s causing your headaches.

Insomnia

When your body begins to go through perimenopause and approaches menopause, your ovaries will gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone (both of which help promote sleep). If you suspect hormones may be at fault for a lack of sleep, speak with your healthcare provider and consider creating a calming bedtime routine. Wear cotton pajamas and sleep in cotton sheets to decrease night sweats. Also, try to get enough exercise and reduce your alcohol and caffeine intake.

Weak bones

During perimenopause and menopause, decreased levels of estrogen can lead to brittle bones and fractures. To improve these hormonal imbalance symptoms, practice weight-bearing exercise (like dancing or tennis) and eat a healthy diet high in calcium and vitamin D. In some cases, your healthcare provider may recommend hormone replacement therapy to bring your body’s hormones to a more balanced state.

Low sex drive

Falling levels of both estrogen and testosterone can lead to low libido. This is a relatively common symptom among women going through perimenopause or who have entered menopause. If you are experiencing this symptom, talk to your healthcare provider to learn about the different hormone imbalance treatment options available.

Heavy or painful periods

Changes in sex hormones can result in a number of unwanted symptoms. As such, a hormonal imbalance in women may lead to heavy or painful periods. If you have heavy or painful periods along with abdominal and lower pain, the frequent need to urinate, constipation, and/or painful sex, you may have non-cancerous growths called uterine fibroids. The exact cause of uterine fibroids is unknown, but they seemed to be linked to estrogen levels. Be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider to address this symptom.

Helpful tips for hormone imbalances

Here are some tips that can help support well-balanced hormones or alleviate the symptoms of an imbalance. Of course, if you do have a hormone imbalance, it's always a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider and learn what they recommend (whether it's hormone therapy or some other treatment approach).

Diet

If you suspect you may have a hormone imbalance, consider cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates like those found in chips, white bread, and sweets. Incorporate healthy fats like fish, nuts and seeds, and olive oil—as well as foods that are rich in vitamin D, like tuna, egg yolks, and fortified milk. Get enough protein, particularly in the morning, so that you can avoid overeating later in the day—and eat enough iodine (which can be found in fish, seaweed, iodized salt, and eggs) to support thyroid hormone balance. (Related: Thyroid Test)

To relieve menopause symptoms due to imbalanced hormones, foods containing phytoestrogens—like flaxseed and soy—can be a good go-to.

Exercise

Exercising is important for a multitude of reasons—including keeping your hormonal imbalance symptoms in check. Getting enough exercise may keep your cortisol levels in check, help relieve chronic stress, and have a positive impact on your insulin balance and blood glucose regulation.

Vitamins and other supplements

Making sure you’re getting enough vitamins and other nutrients is important for hormone health. Vitamin C, B6, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants all help support normal hormone levels—so check if the food in your diet is supplying you with these nutrients. If not, consider taking supplements (but check in with your healthcare provider first).

At-home hormone test

Whether you're experiencing a hormonal disorder like PCOS or approaching menopause, our at-home Women’s Health Test is an effective way you can check your levels for 10 key hormones—and may help you get to the bottom of hormone imbalance symptoms that are affecting you. The test is our most comprehensive hormone panel for women, and is easy to do from the comfort and privacy of home—with clear instructions, simple sample collection, prepaid shipping for sending your sample to the lab, and secure, online results.


What is a hormonal imbalance?

How to check if you have a hormonal imbalance

A brief guide to hormonal imbalances in women


References

1. Endocrine Diseases. Medline Plus. URL. Accessed August 11, 2020.

2. Menopause. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 11, 2020.

3. Headaches and hormones: What's the connection? Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 11, 2020.

4. Jehan S, Masters-Isarilov A, Salifu I, et al. Sleep Disorders in Postmenopausal Women. J Sleep Disord Ther. 2015;4(5):1000212. doi:10.4172/2167-0277.1000212

5. Uterine fibroids. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed August 11, 2020.

6. Marks V. How our food affects our hormones. Clin Biochem. 1985;18(3):149-153. doi:10.1016/s0009-9120(85)80099-0

7. Gawel MJ, Park DM, Alaghband-Zadeh J, Rose FC. Exercise and hormonal secretion. Postgrad Med J. 1979;55(644):373-376. doi:10.1136/pgmj.55.644.373

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