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Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms
Updated on August 25, 2022
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Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms

Hormones are crucial to your body's functions. When these hormones become imbalanced, your body goes into disarray.

Hormonal imbalance affects your health and well-being.

Understanding the role of hormones and knowing the signs of hormone imbalance are essential. They can help you take the necessary steps to achieve hormonal balance and maintain good health.

Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 9

Do You Have a Hormone Imbalance?

Your body produces over 50 different hormones.1 When one or more hormones goes out of balance, symptoms can arise. These symptoms will vary for every person, depending on the affected hormone and its role.

For example, a man and a woman with low testosterone will have different symptoms. A person with high cortisol will also exhibit unique symptoms compared to someone with elevated thyroid hormones.

Signs and Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

  • Dry skin
  • Rashes
  • Thinning hair
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased thirst
  • Puffiness
  • Bloating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Breast tenderness
  • Neck bulge
  • Headaches
  • Vision changes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained weight changes
  • Brittle or weakened bones
  • Inability to tolerate heat or cold
  • Fertility issues
  • Impotence
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Irregular periods
  • Changes in urination
  • Changes in bowel movement
  • Deepening of the female voice
  • Decreased or increased appetite

Keep in mind: These are just common symptoms of hormone imbalance. If you want to know which type of imbalance you have based on your symptoms, you can continue reading below or take at-home tests.

Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 10

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What is the Endocrine System?

The endocrine system is comprised of several glands found throughout the body. These glands produce and secrete hormones or substances that allow cells and organs to communicate.

Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 11

Here are some of the glands and what they can do for you:

  • Thyroid gland — facilitates metabolism and the growth and development of your body, such as during puberty. It also regulates your sleep cycle and body temperature.
  • Adrenal glands — regulates blood pressure and glucose production for energy. It also helps you respond to stress and illness by regulating metabolism and your body's immune and stress response.
  • Pancreas — facilitates the digestion of foods in your stomach. It also regulates appetite and blood sugar levels.
  • Gonads — includes the testes and ovaries. Gonads facilitate reproductive development, sexual function, and fertility.

The most important gland is the hypothalamus. It controls your body's hormonal system by communicating with the pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland produces and releases hormones to hormones to different organs of your body. But only after it receives signals from the hypothalamus.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical substances that control many biological functions vital to your survival. Your body produces 5 types of hormones:2

  • Steroid hormones are released by the adrenal glands. They include aldosterone and the "stress hormone" cortisol.
  • Sex hormones or reproductive hormones are produced by your gonads. Namely, these are androgen, estrogen, and progesterone.
  • Thyroid hormones are produced by the thyroid gland. They are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
  • Brain hormones are released by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Some examples are oxytocin, serotonin, luteinizing hormone (LH), and growth hormone.
  • Pancreatic hormones are produced by the pancreas. They help maintain your blood sugar levels. Examples include insulin and glucagon.

The Relationship Between Hormones and Health

Hormones are vital to your overall health and daily function. They can affect many facets of your life, including your:

  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Body temperature
  • Libido
  • Sleep
  • Digestion
  • Metabolism
  • Sexual function
  • Fertility
  • Physical growth
  • Development
  • Sexual maturation
  • Mental health

Health problems, aging, stress, and an unhealthy lifestyle can cause hormonal imbalance. Likewise, imbalances can impact your health and quality of life.

Types of Hormonal Imbalances and Their Symptoms

Below, we talk about the different types of hormone imbalance and the symptoms associated with them:

Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 12

Hormone Imbalance in Women

Estrogen and progesterone are the two most important female hormones.

Together with the luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), they encourage ovulation and help women maintain a healthy menstrual cycle.

The female body also produces enough testosterone. It promotes a healthy sexual drive, menstruation, and fertility.

If these hormones become imbalanced, a woman may experience:

  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Hot flashes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Irritability
  • Excess body or facial hair
  • Acne outbreaks
  • Night sweats
  • Higher risk for pregnancy complications
  • Lack of sexual desire
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased bone density
  • Weight gain
  • Balding
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Breast tenderness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Many women who experience these symptoms have an underlying condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Companies like LetsGetChecked offer at-home tests for PCOS.

You can also get a female hormone test to see which hormones are imbalanced. Here are some of our recommendations:

1

LetsGetChecked — Female Hormone Test

knowyourdna's top pick

Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 13

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2

Everlywell — Women's Health Test

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Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 14

Hormonal Imbalance in Teenagers

LH and FSH facilitate the sexual development of girls and boys during puberty. They get help from estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

Teenagers with underactive or overactive gonads may experience hormone imbalances and the following symptoms:

Girls with Hypogonadism

  • Does not menstruate in their teenage years
  • Breasts do not develop
  • Does not grow as fast as peers

boys with Hypogonadism

  • Lack of muscle development
  • Voice does not deepen
  • Sparse growth of body hair
  • Undescended testes
  • Impaired penis growth
  • Arms and legs are not proportionate to the body
  • Swollen breast tissue (gynecomastia)

Girls with Hypergonadism

  • Early-onset or irregular menstruation
  • Early breast development
  • Coarse body hair

boys with Hypergonadism

  • Excessive muscle growth
  • Increased sex drive
  • Spontaneous erections
  • Nocturnal emissions

Hormonal Imbalance in Men

Testosterone is the most important male hormone. Besides enhancing a man's libido and sexual performance, it promotes their overall health.

The hormone facilitates the growth of bones and muscles, and helps maintain their mood. The male body also converts some of the testosterone into estradiol (a female hormone) to support bone health.

Just as the luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones help women ovulate, these two encourage sperm cells to form and develop in men.

Men with imbalanced hormones may experience:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Gynecomastia or enlarged breasts
  • Inability to maintain an erection during sex
  • Muscle loss (atrophy)
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Decreased bone mass
  • Changes in body hair growth

If you suspect that you have a male hormone imbalance, we recommend getting this test:

LetsGetChecked — Male Hormone Test

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Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 15

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Signs You Have a Thyroid Problem

The thyroid gland produces triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones regulate many essential body functions.

If you have too much or too little of these hormones, you may exhibit:

Hyperthyroidism

  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fast heart rate
  • Inability to tolerate heat
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Muscle weakness
  • Shaky hands
  • Sweating
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping

Hypothyroidism

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Slow heart rate
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Muscle aches
  • Painful or stiff joints
  • Hair thinning
  • Puffy face
  • Dry skin
  • Hoarse voice

People with thyroid problems may also share common symptoms. Some of them are fatigue, impaired memory, depression, and goiter or enlargement of the neck.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you can take a thyroid hormone test to check for imbalances.

LetsGetChecked — Thyroid Hormone Test

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Warning Signs of Hormone Imbalance: The Most Common Symptoms 16

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Stress and Hormonal Imbalance

The body releases cortisol in response to illness and stress. The hormone helps your body cope with them more effectively.

Chronic stress exposes your body to elevated cortisol levels for prolonged periods. It causes:

  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Low energy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Digestive problems
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Poor memory
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weight gain or loss

In turn, this can lead to additional health problems and worsen pre-existing conditions. Hormonal imbalances may also result as a consequence.

You can take a simple cortisol test to check your hormone levels. If you have elevated cortisol, talk to your doctor and see if they can help you find ways to manage and reduce your stress.

Signs of Insulin Imbalance

The pancreas produces insulin to regulate your energy supply.

If you need energy, it releases insulin to convert blood sugar and fat into usable energy. The hormone also converts excess sugar into fat and stores it for later use.

When there is too much insulin in your bloodstream, it can lead to hypoglycemia. A lack of insulin and insulin resistance can cause hyperglycemia.

Depending on the type of insulin imbalance, you can have these symptoms:

Hypoglycemia

  • Pale and clammy skin
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Rapid change in behavior
  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Hyperglycemia

  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased thirst
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Fruity breath
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Comatose

Insulin imbalance can be caused by diabetes. You can take a diabetes test to check your insulin levels from home.

Keep in mind: At-home tests cannot replace the opinion of a medical professional. We recommend discussing your results with your doctor.

Resources

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  1. "What is the Endocrine System?" U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  2. "Hormones and Endocrine Function." Endocrine Society.
  3. Ranabir, Salam, and K Reetu. “Stress and Hormones.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 15, no. 1, 2011, p. 18, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079864/, 10.4103/2230-8210.77573.
Kelly Jamrozy
Kelly Jamrozy
Content Contributor
Kelly has experience working with clients in a variety of industries, including legal, medical, marketing, and travel. Her goal is to share important information that people can use to make decisions about their health and the health of their loved ones. From choosing the best treatment programs to improving dental and vision health to finding the best method for helping anyone who is struggling with health issues, she hopes to share what she learns through informative content.
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