8 Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance You Didn’t Know
Fatigue, low sex drive and headaches. Did you know these were symtpoms of a hormonal imbalance? Here are eight common signs you might be unaware of!
Hormones play a major role in your health. After all, they affect the functioning of most of your body’s organs. Thus, when your body isn’t working the right way, major trouble can ensue. Although some common symptoms of a hormonal imbalance are well known, most of them are very common. This makes them difficult to spot when we aren’t looking closely.
Moreso, a lot of symptoms of a hormonal imbalance get overlooked even by doctors! Before we delve into the symptoms, let’s establish what exactly are hormones, and what they do in our bodies.
The role of hormones
In short, hormones are chemicals in charge of stimulating cell function, thus regulating the physiological processes of any living being.
This means that hormones impact your metabolism, growth, and sexual functions. Even more, the American Cancer Society declared that a deficit in certain hormones such as estrogen drives endometrial cancer and influences the appearance of other gynecological cancers. Thus, it’s been long known that hormonal issues can deeply affect your quality of life.
Nevertheless, most people aren’t aware of the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Usual symptoms are often attributed to more common problems like flu or stress.
However, it’s important we learn the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance in order to recognize the problem as soon as possible. Getting proper treatment is key so you can avoid further complications.
8 symptoms of a hormonal imbalance
1. Excess abdominal fat
Excessive abdominal fat and muscle loss are a common symptom of issues with your endocrine system. Stress is usually another key factor.
While excess abdominal fat can be a result of bad eating habits, hormones usually play an important role. Being overweight changes our metabolism, making it even more difficult to get back in shape.
One of the first symptoms of a hormonal imbalance is usually excess fat in any part of the body, but particularly in the belly. If you’ve been eating healthier without seeing any results, consider checking your hormone levels.
Want to learn more?: 9 Tips to Boost a Slow Metabolism
2. Loss of sex drive
Sexual hormones are the main regulators of both men and women’s sex drive. In fact, MD Sarah Gottfried states that around 70% of all low sex drive cases can be classified as a symptom of a hormonal imbalance. Abnormal or unstable levels of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol can cause low sex drives in both men and women alike.
When your hormones aren’t working at their best, low libido is usually one of the first symptoms.
3. Cognitive difficulties
Memory loss, stress, and brain fog are cognitive symptoms of hormonal imbalances.
Generally speaking, the increase of cortisol, which is associated with stress and the development of certain diseases, is the main culprit for cognitive issues.
An easy fix for stress is adding meditation to your daily routine: it will lower your cortisol levels and improve your overall well-being.
4. Mood changes
Have you ever felt perfectly fine one moment and super angry the next? If so, you might have suffered from mood swings. Sudden mood changes, irritability, and anxiety can stem from improperly balanced hormones.
Women, in particular, are subject to this throughout their menstrual cycle and menopause. This is commonly known as PMS, mood swings are a common symptom.
Nevertheless, severe mood swings or constantly having them regardless of your menstrual cycle can be a symptom of hormonal imbalance and endocrine issues.
Men are also subject to mood swings, usually dependent on abnormal levels in their estrogen, progesterone or testosterone. It’s a good idea to have a mood diary where you write your mood throughout the day: this will help you spot patterns and match them to environmental factors.
5. Hot flashes and night sweats
Hot flashes and night sweats are often associated with hormonal changes that occur during menopause. However, they can show up at earlier ages due to imbalances in hormonal activity.
Though low levels of estrogen were thought to be the cause for early menopause, now it’s understood that it is mainly caused by a deficiency of progesterone or problems with the adrenal gland and thyroid.
6. Vaginal dryness
A decreased level of estrogen can cause changes in vaginal pH, which affects discharge and its natural lubrication.
Vaginal dryness directly affects your sex life, particularly because it increases sensitivity and causes pain during sex.
It is common in women going through menopause, though can also show up prematurely due to other types of imbalances. If vaginal dryness is a common problem for you, it’s best to consult with your general doctor.
7. Constant fatigue
Most people go through a period of chronic fatigue at some point related to stress, too much physical activity, or an ordinary illness.
But when the fatigue lasts, it’s probably caused by a deficiency in thyroid function, otherwise known as hypothyroidism.
This disorder affects the speed of your metabolism, and since the hormones decrease its activity, difficulties in your cardiovascular system and digestion can result.
Check out this article: 6 Simple Exercises to Relieve Bloating and Improve Digestion
Changes in hormonal activity can trigger serious headaches and recurring migraines.
These can appear in women during PMS, menopause or due to sexual hormonal imbalances.
Nevertheless, headaches also appear due to thyroid imbalances, whether from a hormonal deficiency, as mentioned earlier, or excessive hormone production (hyperthyroidism). Both men and women can be affected by this.
If you have these recurring symptoms, remember to have your doctor check if they’re related to abnormal hormonal activity.
If so, your doctor will recommend proper treatment to fix your hormonal imbalances.
How to balance your hormones
You should always consult with a doctor if you think you have symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Nevertheless, while you wait for your results, here are some simple changes you can do on your own:
- Eat a healthy diet
- Exercise at least 30 minutes four times a week
- Lower your refined sugar intake
- Learn to manage stress
- Up your lean protein intake
- Lower your red meat intake
- Drink green tea