Imbalanced hormones cause a wide range of health issues that can affect the quality of your everyday life. An imbalance occurs when the body experiences a shortage or overproduction of one or more hormones. These chemical messengers are responsible for sending signals throughout your body so it can properly function. A disruption in that chain can leave you feeling off.
Unfortunately, the signs of a hormone imbalance could easily be confused with other health conditions. Knowing what signals to look out for is the first step in regaining control of your hormones and health. Here are six signs your hormones might be imbalanced.
1. You Notice Changes to Your Skin
Your skin is often the first part of the body to show signs something might be off with your hormones. Acne is one of the most common conditions associated with an imbalance, since fluctuations affect how much oil you produce. Breakouts that occur around your menstrual cycle are also a good indicator that the cause exists underneath the surface.
Itchy skin could be related to hormone changes during menopause or pregnancy. Melasma is one condition that is often linked to whacky hormones. This condition causes dark spots and discoloration on the face. This hyperpigmentation can be treated with prescriptions like tretinoin, hydroquinone, and azelaic acid.
2. You Experience Frequent Mood Swings
Both your mental and physical health can be impacted by hormone levels. Estrogen has a direct effect on the brain, specifically modifying serotonin, which is the chemical commonly considered as a mood booster. An imbalance in this female sex hormone might leave you feeling blue without a clear understanding of why.
This could lead to cases of depression or anxiety over time. Getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and limiting alcohol consumption can help. Writing down your feelings is another way to keep track of your moods and process emotions. Talk to your healthcare provider about other ways to improve your mental health.
3. You are Having Trouble Sleeping
Quality sleep is essential to overall health, and hormones play a big part in the process. How hormones affect sleep varies throughout different life phases. For example, the ovaries slowly produce less estrogen and progesterone during the perimenopause and menopause phase. Estrogen and progesterone promote a good night’s sleep, so falling levels can leave you tossing and turning at night.
Depleting estrogen is also linked to night sweats, which is a common issue for women going through hormone changes. Lack of sleep could easily lead to other issues like brain fog and chronic fatigue. This makes it harder to function in your day-to-day routine. If you’re having trouble sleeping, stick to a regular routine. It may be helpful to put away your phone an hour before bed.
4. Your Periods are Irregular and Heavy
Several hormones come into play during your period, and an imbalance often causes irregular cycles. Most women have a period every 21 to 35 days. Certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone might be too low if your period falls outside of that time frame. These issues could potentially be a more serious condition like polycystic ovary syndrome.
You may have fibroids if your heavy periods include abdominal pain, frequent urination, lower back pain, painful sex, and constipation. Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around a woman’s womb. The exact cause is thought to be associated with estrogen. A healthcare professional may prescribe medications to shrink your fibroids. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to remove these growths.
5. Your Sex Drive Isn’t What It Used to Be
Imbalanced hormones could also be to blame for low libido. Sexual function is just one of many processes controlled by your hormones. Testosterone is generally associated as a male hormone, but it is also made in a woman’s body.
You might have less of a desire to engage in sexual activity if your testosterone levels are lower than usual. Low estrogen levels could lead to vaginal dryness, which also doesn’t do any favors for your sex drive. Estrogen keeps vaginal tissue moist, and if levels drop, it could lead to irritation and discomfort.
6. You are Unexpectedly Having Weight Changes
A sudden change to the numbers on your scale might be due to a change in hormones. Unintentional weight fluctuations could be triggered by an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. This gland helps regulate body functions like temperature, heart rate, and metabolism.
This might be the cause if your weight changes aren’t associated with exercise modifications, diet changes, or other health conditions. Discuss your weight concerns with a healthcare provider. They can do a thyroid test to determine if that is the culprit of unexpected fluctuations.
Listen to Your Body’s Cues
Hormones serve as a message system in the body to make sure everything is functioning as it should. If something is off in that system you could notice several changes to your overall physical and mental health. Luckily the human body is amazing at sending signals when it’s producing too little or too much of a hormone.
Listen to your body’s cues so you know when to take action. Imbalanced hormones can easily be confused with other conditions, so keep track of your specific symptoms. Consult with your healthcare as needed. Balancing out your hormones is essential to feeling your best, so don’t ignore what your body is telling you.