We all know the times when we feel angry, frustrated, and emotional, and sometimes for no apparent reason. Although it is not an excuse, we often blame this on our hormones . Yes, hormonal imbalance plays an important role in that regard and many that you may not yet know.

What Causes a Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormones, in fact, play a very important role in women’s health and well-being. When hormone levels fluctuate, this can have an impact on your mood, sex drive, fertility, and ovulation.

Hormonal problems are common, so if you feel like you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance, then you are not alone.

13 signs of hormonal imbalance and what to do about it

There are certain causes that can pull your body’s natural chemistry, common culprits are menopause, pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, the birth control pill, and lifestyle factors such as inconsistent sleep patterns, stress, a bad diet and lack of exercise. Other causes can be thyroid problems or diabetes.

1. Sleep Disorders

Many women find it difficult to fall asleep especially just before their period. This may be due to the sharp drop in the hormone progesterone just before menstruation .

Progesterone levels drop after giving birth, too, but then you can hold your new mommy responsible for it. Progesterone has relaxing properties, so when your levels drop, it can make you feel restless.

If you want to choose a more natural approach to sleep disorders, you can read our articles: How to treat insomnia naturally , Foods that can help you sleep , or Sugar and salt for insomnia?

2. Persistent acne

Many women start out with breakouts before their period due to hormonal changes. However, if you suffer from deep cystic acne all the time, then androgens (male hormones like testosterone) could be the culprit.

Testosterone stimulates excess sebum (oil) production, which is then trapped under the skin and melts with acne-causing bacteria and dead skin cells. That leads to blackheads and pimples , and hence blemishes.

The higher a woman’s testosterone level, the worse the pimple. However, you should know that hormones will not always be the cause, it may be a bad diet, for that we recommend that you read our article: The cause of acne that doctors may never tell you

3. Brain fog

Are you constantly forgetting things? Such as where did you put your purse, keys, or the appointment you had the next day? If so, then this could be a hormonal problem.

If you’ve been experiencing a lot of stress recently, then your body is going to be producing high levels of cortisol which is the stress hormone.

Studies suggest that consistently high levels of cortisol can hamper your learning and memory abilities. You can read our article: 10 signs that you have high cortisol levels and how to lower it.

4. Constant appetite

Can’t get your hands off the cookies? If not, you should stop telling yourself that you are a pig. Yes, it is important to eat healthy and exercise, however, your uncontrollable appetite and cravings may be due to an imbalance of hormones.

Are you sleeping well? In one study, volunteers who were deprived of sleep saw their levels of the hormone ghrelin skyrocket – making them extremely hungry – while their levels of the hormone leptin, the hunger hormone, plummeted.

The hormone ghrelin stimulates appetite, and leptin and oxynomodulin suppress it.

This indicates why people who are chronically sleep deprived (getting less than seven hours a night) tend to be more overweight than those who get more hours of sleep. You can read our article: Leptin, how to control the hunger hormone to lose weight.

5. Digestive problems

Stress hormones affect us in different ways. Some may bring stress to their head, and have a tension headache , some may just feel grumpy and want to snuggle up on the couch with a box of chocolates.

However, some people put stress on their stomach . Cortisol production is naturally high in the early morning to help you wake up.

However, people who chronically stress their adrenal glands from an overproduction of cortisol , alter their cortisol levels so that cortisol is low in the morning when they wake up, rather than high.

Also, if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), then it could be due to abnormal serotonin levels. 90% of those affected are women, some whose IBS symptoms flare around menstruation.

The flow of estrogen and progesterone may also play a role.

6. Constant fatigue

We all have days when we are so tired that we are desperate for a nap. We suffer from chronic fatigue . However, if you feel exhausted every day, then you could be suffering from a lack of thyroid hormone, a condition called hypothyroidism . You are more likely to have this condition if you have gained 5 to 10 kilos that you cannot lose, not even through diet and exercise.

Thyroid hormones control the body’s metabolism , and when hormone levels are low, all systems slow down, including heart rate, mental function, and digestion.

Hence why hypothyroidism can make a person feel exhausted, brain foggy, and even constipated . If you are suffering from hypothyroidism, then you are not alone, as it is believed to affect at least 15 million adults in the US alone. Read our article: 10 signs that you have a thyroid problem.

7. Mood swings and depression

Most middle-aged women experience mood swings and feelings of anxiety in situations they used to calmly drive before. This is probably due to a hormonal imbalance, which could be related to menopause .

Read our article: Non-toxic natural solutions for menopause , or if you suffer from mild to moderate depression, we invite you to read our article: 10 tips to fight depression naturally after consulting with your doctor.

8. Weight gain

As women age, they tend to believe that being overweight is inevitable. But there may be a problem underlying the weight gain. The problem could be your fatigued adrenal system and therefore it is sending signals to your thyroid that there is a problem.

The thyroid then responds by slowing down your metabolism. So the pancreas also responds to the signal by thinking that it needs to conserve fat, and concentrates on storing fat in your midsection, back, and other places that are not suitable for your particular body type.

You can read our article: How to reset your hormones and burn body fat.

9. Headaches and migraines

As women enter middle age, they often find that they suffer from frequent headaches and even migraines . This could be due to hormonal imbalances around certain times of the menstrual cycle.

If you are suffering from headaches and migraines, then it can be helpful to keep a journal of when they occur.

This way you can figure out if they occur randomly or if they seem to follow certain triggers. For more information, see our article: Natural Headache Remedies.

10. Hot flashes and night sweats

If you frequently have hot flashes, then this could be due to an imbalance in hormone levels. Being too low in estrogen was once thought to be the question.

However, we now understand that the cause can also be a dominance of estrogen and too little progesterone, or other hormonal imbalances in your body that come from the adrenal glands, ovaries, thyroid, pancreas or the gastrointestinal tract.

These systems are not always kept in balance, and women are more prone to hormonal imbalances as they progress through changes towards midlife. You can see our article: How to reduce hot flashes caused by menopause.

11. Vaginal dryness

As menopause approaches, the decrease in estrogen levels causes changes in the vaginal wall . This can cause vaginal dryness, which can make sex uncomfortable. Lubricants are available that can ease your discomfort – talk to your doctor about your options.

12. Breast changes

As women age, high levels of estrogen can make the breasts feel tender and sore, which could lead to tumors, fibroids, and cysts. That is why it is important to have annual exams on your breasts.

Get to know your breasts better, getting into the habit of checking yourself for lumps or anything unusual. You can also learn more in our article: 5 Rare Signs of Breast Cancer .

While not every breast lump or change indicates cancer, it’s still the best way to be on the safe side of things and talk to your doctor if you feel anything suspicious.

13. Loss of libido

Hormonal imbalances can cause women to experience low sex drive. This could be due to low estrogen levels. You can read our article: Foods that contain natural estrogens.


If you suspect that you are suffering from conditions related to hormonal imbalances, then it is a good idea to visit your doctor to find out.

It is also recommended not to eat industrialized foods, especially dairy and meat from factory farm animals that are injected with hormones, such as chickens and cattle.

If it is to be consumed, it must be milk and organic meat, from free-range animals that are not given hormones.

Hormonal imbalances are well recognized today and age, and there are trained specialists such as obstetricians, gynecologists, and reproductive endocrinologists, who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of hormonal imbalances and abnormalities.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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