Hormone levels change frequently. From day-to-day variations to major shifts, your body is in a state of continuous hormonal flux throughout your life and, over time, key hormone levels naturally begin to fall. But short-term and long-term hormone changes can occur at any age and for a variety of reasons.
The body strives for homeostatic balance, but it’s not always possible to achieve. Illnesses, medical treatments, and environmental stressors can all cause hormonal upheaval and trigger uncomfortable symptoms. Here are some of the most common signs of hormone imbalance to look for.
7 Signs of Hormone Imbalance
Hormones have a widespread influence throughout the body and affect your physical, emotional, and cognitive well-being. When they are in balance, your body systems can operate efficiently. But when certain hormone levels are too high, too low, or fluctuating back and forth, you may experience a number of surprising symptoms.
The 7 of the most common signs of hormone imbalance are:
Unexplained Weight Gain or Loss
Gaining a few pounds during the holidays or losing a few when you take up a new exercise routine is expected. But when you don’t know why you’re gaining or losing weight, something may be amiss with your hormones. Several hormones may be involved in weight gain, loss, or redistribution, including estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid hormones.
Forgetfulness is one of the most common cognitive symptoms experienced by people with hormone imbalances. Others include inattentiveness, brain fog, and lack of concentration. Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are all associated with a broad range of cognitive functions. Thyroid imbalance may particularly affect memory and concentration.
Mood Changes and Anxiety
Depression, mood swings, and anxiety may be signs of hormone imbalance. While many psychiatrists check for thyroid dysfunction when diagnosing mental health conditions, testing your sex hormone levels is less common. If you are not finding success with your mental health treatment plan, it may be time to take a closer look at your hormone levels.
Lack of energy and motivation are signs that something may be wrong. Low estrogen and testosterone may both result in loss of energy, and hypothyroidism can cause overwhelming fatigue. When low energy is impacting your quality of life, hormone dysfunction should be considered as one possible cause.
Sex and thyroid hormones are intricately tied to sexual function for both men and women. Hormone imbalances and age-related hormonal decline may cause a variety of sexual symptoms, including loss of desire, lack of lubrication, and erectile dysfunction, as well as fatigue and mood symptoms that contribute to low sex drive.
Sleep disruptions and insomnia may be signs of hormone imbalance or fluctuation. This is especially common during significant hormonal changes, such as menopause, but can occur any time there is a shift in sex hormone levels. Additionally, too much and not enough thyroid hormone may both impact your sleep.
For women, menstrual irregularities may be a symptom of hormone imbalance. Changes in cycle length/flow and cessation of menstruation may be signs of a hormonal abnormality. Estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones may each be implicated in menstrual irregularities.
Taking Action to Correct Hormone Imbalance
Signs of hormone imbalance shouldn’t be ignored. Because these signs are often nonspecific and easily attributed to other causes, it can be tempting to brush them off. But in addition to the immediate symptoms that diminish your quality of life, hormone imbalances can have serious consequences for long-term metabolic, cardiovascular, neurological, and musculoskeletal health. If you are experiencing signs of hormone imbalance, it’s time to make an appointment.
Hormonal health is complex. To ensure you get the clarity and support you need, connect with a knowledgeable and compassionate practitioner who will review your symptoms and order appropriate diagnostic testing. Once you have a diagnosis, hormone imbalances are often very treatable. With the guidance of your doctor, you can choose from a variety of innovative treatment options to ensure your treatment plan meets your needs and fits into your lifestyle.
Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. Reach out to an expert who will help you find answers and put you on the path to recovery.