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How To Determine Hormone Imbalance: Signs And Symptoms
Updated on January 31, 2024
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How To Determine Hormone Imbalance: Signs And Symptoms

Determining hormone imbalance involves several procedures, such as hormone tests and thorough medical evaluations.

Some signs of hormonal imbalance include:

  • Mood swings
  • Changes in your weight
  • Irregular periods (for women)
  • Feeling tired all the time

If you’re experiencing one or more signs, see a doctor. They'll review your health history and might even order some tests, like blood or urine tests, to measure your hormone levels.

Hormones are crucial to your body's functions. When these hormones are knocked out of balance, your body goes into disarray. Understanding the role of hormones and knowing the signs of hormone imbalance are essential. So, testing for hormone imbalance is crucial. They can help you take the necessary steps to achieve hormonal balance and maintain good health.

Summary

Finding out if you have a hormone imbalance involves recognizing signs like mood swings, weight changes, irregular periods, and persistent fatigue. Consulting a doctor is important as they may order hormone level tests to address potential issues and restore hormone balance.

How To Determine Hormone Imbalance: Signs And Symptoms 4

Do You Have a Hormone Imbalance?

Testing is the first step to confirming if you have a hormone imbalance.

Your body produces over 50 different hormones.1 When one or more hormones are 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

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.

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Summary

Want to know if you have a hormone imbalance? Start with a test to know if they're off-balance. The symptoms depend on which hormone is affected, and you can learn more through testing.

Types of Hormonal Imbalances and Their Symptoms

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

How To Determine Hormone Imbalance: Signs And Symptoms 5

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). 

You can also get a female hormone test to see which hormones are imbalanced.

Summary

Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are important hormones for women. They regulate ovulation, menstrual cycles, and sexual health.

Hormone imbalances can lead to various symptoms, including irregular periods, fertility issues, hot flashes, and mood swings, often linked to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

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:

For girls with hypogonadism:

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

For 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)

For girls with hypergonadism:

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

For boys with hypergonadism:

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

Summary

Hormonal imbalances during puberty can show up as various symptoms. Girls with hypogonadism may have delayed menstruation and underdeveloped breasts. Boys may face muscle and voice development issues.

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 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

Summary

Testosterone is the key male hormone, influencing libido, muscle and bone growth, mood, and overall health. It also helps sperm development. Men with hormone imbalances may experience reduced sex drive, muscle loss, weight gain, mood swings, and more.

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.

How To Determine Hormone Imbalance: Signs And Symptoms 6

Here are some of the glands and what they 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.
  • Hypothalamus – Controls your body's hormonal system by communicating with the pituitary gland.
  • Pituitary gland – Produces and releases hormones to different organs of your body, but only after it receives signals from the hypothalamus.

The endocrine system works like a control center of the body, with different glands producing hormones.

These hormones have important roles, like helping you grow, managing stress, and controlling your blood sugar.

Summary

The endocrine system has glands that produce hormones, allowing communication between cells and organs. Key glands include the thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, and gonads.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical substances that control many biological functions vital to your survival. Your body produces five 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 imbalances. Likewise, imbalances can impact your health and quality of life.

Summary

Hormones are chemical messengers crucial for various bodily functions. They play a vital role in mood, appetite, temperature regulation, sexual function, and more. Hormone imbalance can result from stress, aging, health issues, or an unhealthy lifestyle.

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.

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.

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

Summary

Insulin manages your energy levels. Insulin imbalances can be linked to diabetes. You can do an at-home test to check your insulin levels but always discuss the results with your doctor.

Updated on January 31, 2024
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3 sources cited
Updated on January 31, 2024
  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 Brown
Kelly Brown
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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