Surprising Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance

How do you know if you have a hormone imbalance? The symptoms of hormone imbalance may not be what you think.

I think most of us think of the reproductive system and the menstrual cycle when we think about hormones.

But symptoms of hormone imbalance are not just limited to problems with your menstrual cycle. Alissa Vitti, in her bestselling book WomanCode, emphasizes how interconnected everything is.

It’s not just about your endocrine system (the system that produces your hormones and sends them throughout your body); it’s about the interaction of your endocrine system with every other system in your body.

Hormones regulate

  • appetite
  • digestion
  • metabolism
  • growth
  • sleep
  • reproduction
  • stress
  • mood
  • body temperature

They regulate essentially every single one of your body’s systems, and each system interacts with and affects every other system in the body.

As a result, hormone imbalances may show up in ways that you don’t expect.

Here are some hormone imbalance symptoms you may experience in different systems of your body.

Metabolism and stress-related hormone imbalance symptoms

Excess stress can have a huge impact on your hormone levels. One reason is that pregnenolone, the hormone that is a precursor to cortisol (the stress hormone) is also a precursor to progesterone.

Progesterone is the hormone responsible for a healthy pregnancy. Low progesterone can make it impossible to carry a pregnancy to term.

So if all your pregnenolone is going toward making cortisol instead of progesterone, you’re going to see effects on your fertility.

Other effects of imbalanced metabolism and stress hormones include the following:

  • carb cravings or binging
  • sugar and chocolate cravings (I’ll bet I’m not the only one who relates!)
  • reliance on caffeine (e.g., coffee, soda, energy drinks)
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • waking up during sleep
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • facial or body hair
  • weight gain
  • weight loss

Elimination system hormone imbalance symptoms

I was blown away when I first began to understand how interrelated the digestive and endocrine systems are.

Here are some elimination symptoms that may indicate a hormone imbalance:

  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • oily skin
  • acne or cystic acne
  • dandruff
  • eczema
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • body odor
  • excessive sweating
  • bloating
  • changes in appetite

Menstrual cycle hormone imbalance symptoms

This is the category you probably think of when you think about hormones. Symptoms of an imbalance in this category include the following:

  • mood swings
  • PMS
  • irregular cycles
  • fibroids
  • ovarian
  • cysts
  • cystic breasts
  • breast tenderness
  • low sex drive
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • unexplained infertility (which in some cases is actually undiagnosed early miscarriage)
  • cramps
  • heavy periods
  • missing periods
  • migraines
  • depression

Let me know, what surprised you about those lists? What symptoms have you personally experienced that you didn’t know might be signs of a hormone imbalance?

Symptoms of hormone imbalance aren't limited to problems with your period or fertility. You might also experience issues with your metabolism, stress management, sleep, digestion, skin, and more. Take a look at these 40 symptoms that may indicate a hormonal imbalance.

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