Hormonal Imbalance Symptoms

Last Updated: November 2, 2023

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Hormonal imbalance is a condition that occurs when the body produces too much or too little of a certain hormone. It can affect various bodily functions and lead to a wide range of symptoms. Hormonal imbalances can be caused by various factors and can be treated with several interventions.

Hormonal imbalance refers to a condition in which the production, secretion, or functioning of hormones in the body is abnormal. Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate various bodily functions, such as growth and development, metabolism, mood, and reproduction.

A hormonal imbalance can occur due to various factors, such as stress, diet, genetics, medication, or medical conditions.

Most common hormonal imbalance symptoms

  • Weight gain: One of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance is weight gain. This can be caused by an excess of certain hormones, such as insulin or cortisol, leading to increased fat storage in the body.
  • Mood swings: Mood swings are another common symptom of hormonal imbalance, and various hormonal imbalances can cause them. These can include changes in levels of estrogen, progesterone, or testosterone. Mood swings can lead to feelings of irritability, anxiety, or depression and can affect an individual's overall quality of life.
  • Hair loss: One common symptom of hormonal imbalance is hair loss, which can affect both men and women. Hormonal imbalances can cause hair follicles to shrink, resulting in thinning hair or baldness. Thyroid hormones play a role in hair growth, and imbalances in thyroid hormone levels can lead to hair loss.
  • Night sweats: Night sweats are characterized by excessive sweating during sleep, which can disrupt sleep and lead to fatigue during the day. Night sweats are often associated with changes in estrogen levels, such as those that occur during menopause or as a side effect of certain medications.
  • Acne: Acne is a common skin condition that hormonal imbalances can cause. Androgens, such as testosterone, stimulate oil production in the skin, which can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts. Hormonal imbalances can also cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the skin, exacerbating acne symptoms.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women

Menstrual cycle changes

Hormonal imbalances in women can lead to changes in the menstrual cycle, manifesting as missed periods, irregular periods, heavy bleeding, or painful periods. These changes can occur due to imbalances in estrogen and progesterone, the two primary sex hormones in women.

Estrogen promotes the growth and thickening of the uterine lining, while progesterone helps to prepare the uterus for the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Imbalances in these hormones can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle and lead to menstrual irregularities.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the growth of small cysts on the ovaries, which can lead to hormonal imbalances and a range of symptoms, such as irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and excess hair growth.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is believed to be linked to insulin resistance, which can lead to an excess of androgens, male sex hormones that are also produced in women.

Vaginal estrogen changes

Estrogen plays a crucial role in maintaining vaginal health in women. It helps to keep the vaginal lining thick and moist and promotes the growth of healthy bacteria that prevent infection.

A decline in estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, and an increased risk of vaginal infections.

This is a common symptom of menopause when estrogen levels naturally decline, but it can also occur due to other hormonal imbalances or medical conditions.

Adrenal gland hormone changes

The adrenal glands are small glands located on top of the kidneys that produce hormones such as cortisol, which help to regulate the body's response to stress. Imbalances in adrenal hormones can lead to various symptoms, such as fatigue, weakness, and mood changes.

In women, adrenal imbalances can also affect the production of sex hormones, leading to symptoms such as irregular periods and acne.

Menopausal symptoms

Menopause is a natural process when a woman's ovaries stop producing eggs and hormone levels decline. This can lead to various symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido.

These symptoms can be managed with hormone replacement therapy, which involves taking estrogen and progesterone to replace the hormones that are no longer produced by the ovaries.

Progesterone imbalance

Progesterone is a hormone primarily produced in the ovaries in women but is also produced in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands.

It plays a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle and maintaining pregnancy. Imbalances in progesterone can lead to symptoms such as irregular periods, mood changes, and decreased libido.

These imbalances can occur due to various factors, such as stress, diet, medication, or medical conditions. Hormonal therapies, such as progesterone supplements, can be used to manage these imbalances.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances in Men

Symptoms of hormonal imparlance in women and men

Sexual dysfunction

One of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance in men is sexual dysfunction, which can include decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and infertility.

Low testosterone levels can cause this, the primary male sex hormone responsible for maintaining reproductive health, sexual function, and muscle mass. Low testosterone levels can be due to various factors, such as aging, obesity, diabetes, and certain medications.

Muscle mass changes

Hormonal imbalances in men can also lead to changes in muscle mass. Testosterone plays a crucial role in the growth and maintenance of muscle tissue, so a decrease in testosterone levels can lead to a loss of muscle mass and strength.

This can be accompanied by fatigue, weakness, and decreased exercise tolerance. Other hormones, such as growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), also play a role in muscle growth and can be affected by hormonal imbalances.

Hair growth changes

Hormonal imbalances can also affect hair growth patterns in men. Androgens, such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), are the primary hormones responsible for male hair growth patterns, including facial hair growth and male pattern baldness.

An excess or deficiency of these hormones can lead to changes in hair growth patterns, such as excessive hair growth or loss.

Androgen hormone changes

Hormonal imbalances in men can also affect the levels of androgens, such as testosterone and DHT. These hormones are crucial in developing and maintaining male characteristics, such as muscle mass, body hair growth, and a deep voice.

An excess or deficiency of androgens can lead to various symptoms, including changes in sexual function, muscle mass, hair growth patterns, and mood.

Various factors, such as aging, genetics, obesity, and certain medications, can cause hormonal imbalances in androgens. Treatment for hormonal imbalances in men can involve hormone replacement therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication to address underlying medical conditions.

Causes of hormonal imbalance

Hormonal imbalances can result from dysfunction in various endocrine glands and hormones, such as the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, and sex hormones. Understanding the causes and symptoms of hormonal imbalances is crucial in diagnosing and treating these conditions.

  • Endocrine glands: The endocrine system produces and secures hormones in the bloodstream, which regulate various bodily functions. The endocrine system includes several glands, such as the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and sex glands, with each producing specific hormones that control different functions in the body.
  • Thyroid gland: The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism, energy production, and body temperature. An overactive thyroid gland, called hyperthyroidism, can produce excess thyroid hormones, leading to weight loss and rapid heartbeat. On the other hand, an underactive thyroid gland, called hypothyroidism, can lead to a deficiency of thyroid hormones, causing unexplained weight gain and fatigue.
  • Pituitary glands: The pituitary gland, also known as the master gland, produces several hormones that control other endocrine glands. Any dysfunction in the pituitary gland can lead to a hormonal imbalance. For example, an excess of growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland can result in acromegaly, a condition characterized by excessive growth of bones and tissues.
  • Sex hormones: Sex hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, play a crucial role in the reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. Any disruption in the production or function of sex hormones can lead to hormonal imbalances.

Medical conditions that affect hormone production

  • Underactive thyroid: An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a medical condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone regulates the body's metabolism and energy levels. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid can include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, depression, and sensitivity to colds.
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency: Another medical condition that affects hormone production is primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), also known as premature ovarian failure. POI is a condition in which the ovaries stop functioning normally before age 40, leading to low estrogen levels and other sex hormones.

Lifestyle factors that affect hormones

Barry Sears, American biochemist and author, says, “to control your hormones is to control your life.” The below factors can help you better regulate hormone levels:

Diet and nutrition

Diet and nutrition are essential in regulating hormone levels in the body. Certain nutrients, such as protein, healthy fats, and fiber, are important for the production and synthesis of hormones.

For example, the body requires adequate protein levels to produce hormones such as insulin, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone.

Additionally, healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, are essential for producing hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.

Conversely, a diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fats can disrupt hormone production and lead to imbalances.

Exercise and physical activity

Exercise and physical activity also play a crucial role in regulating hormone levels. Regular exercise can help to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce cortisol levels, which can help to balance hormones.

Exercise can also help to stimulate the production of growth hormone and testosterone, which are important for muscle growth and repair.

Environmental toxins

Environmental toxins are another factor that can disrupt hormone production and balance.

Chemicals found in household products, plastics, and pesticides can mimic hormones in the body and interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system.

These toxins can lead to hormonal imbalances and various health issues, such as infertility, cancer, and thyroid disorders.

Limiting exposure to environmental toxins, such as using natural household products and eating organic foods, can help to promote hormone balance and overall health.

Diagnosis of hormone imbalance

  • Blood tests are a common method used to diagnose hormonal imbalances. Hormone levels in the blood can be measured to determine if they are within the normal range. The types of hormones that are tested depend on the suspected hormonal imbalance. Blood tests can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of hormone replacement therapy.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive imaging technique that can visualize the brain and other organs and check for abnormalities causing hormonal imbalances. An MRI may look for tumours or other abnormalities in the pituitary gland or hypothalamus, which can affect hormone production.

Treatment options for hormonal imbalance

Hormone replacement therapy

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment option for hormonal imbalance that involves using synthetic hormones to replace those lacking or imbalanced in the body.

HRT can alleviate symptoms associated with menopause or other conditions, such as low testosterone levels in men.

It can also help reduce the risk of certain health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

Estrogen therapy

Estrogen therapy is a hormone replacement therapy that uses synthetic estrogen to alleviate symptoms of menopause or other conditions related to low estrogen levels.

Estrogen therapy can be administered in various forms, such as pills, patches, creams, or vaginal rings. It can help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.

Testosterone therapy

Testosterone therapy is a treatment option for men with low testosterone levels, which can cause symptoms such as low sex drive, fatigue, and decreased muscle mass.

Testosterone therapy can be administered in various forms, such as injections, gels, or patches. It can help alleviate these symptoms and improve quality of life.

Anti-androgen medications

Anti-androgen medications are a type of medication that can be used to treat hormonal imbalances by blocking the effects of androgen hormones, such as testosterone.

These medications often treat conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or hirsutism. They can help reduce unwanted hair growth, acne, and other symptoms associated with excess androgen hormones.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes can also be an effective treatment option for hormonal imbalances. Simple changes in diet and exercise habits can help improve hormone balance and alleviate symptoms.

For example, following a healthy diet and reducing sugar and processed food intake can help regulate insulin levels. Regular exercise can help reduce cortisol levels and promote the release of endorphins, which can improve mood.

Managing stress through techniques such as meditation or yoga can also help reduce cortisol levels and promote relaxation.

Environmental toxins can also disrupt hormone balance, so reducing exposure to toxins such as pesticides, plastics, and chemicals in household products can also be beneficial.


Hormonal Changes and Catabolic/Anabolic Imbalance in Chronic Heart Failure and Their Importance for Cardiac Cachexia - AHA

Hormonal Imbalance: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment - Cleveland Clinic

Hormonal imbalance: Symptoms, causes, and treatment - Medical News Today

Hormone Imbalance - ScienceDirect

Hormonal Changes and Sexual Function in Aging Men* | The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology Metabolism - Oxford Academic

Pubertal Hormonal Changes and the Autonomic Nervous System: Potential Role in Pediatric Orthostatic Intolerance - Frontiers


The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any health-related changes or if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.