LIFE

10 Signs You May Have A Hormonal Imbalance

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

Most women experience pretty drastic physical changes when they hit their 40s and 50s — and most of the time, these bodily shifts aren’t even visible.

A lot of the time, the substantial internal changes that women go through reflect changes in their hormones. While some of these symptoms might be caused by changes in diet, lifestyle, and the outside environment — like how insomnia can be caused by cigarettes — more often than not, these symptoms reveal a natural hormone imbalance. In an exclusive guide below, we outline some of the general symptoms that you should look out for if you suspect that you’re undergoing hormone changes.

These symptoms may very well be a side effect of perimenopause, a period when estrogen levels and egg production decline. Scroll down to read more about the signs you should look for, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Symptom #1: Headaches And Migraines

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

Headaches and migraines have long been linked to the female hormone estrogen. This powerful hormone controls the chemicals in the brain that causes or alleviates the feelings of pain. As such, a decline in estrogen levels can lead to headaches.

According to WomensHealth.gov, around two-thirds of women who regularly have migraines say that their symptoms gradually dissipate when they reach menopause. But for others, the symptoms worsen.

Symptom #2: Poor Sleeping Patterns or Insomnia

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

During both perimenopause and menopause, a woman’s ovaries stop producing as many progesterone hormones, which help promote sleep.

This can be highly unsettling, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, the disturbed balance in these specific hormone levels can cause difficulty in sleeping or the ability to fall asleep.

In addition, lowered estrogen levels can likely make you more likely to be influenced by environmental factors, which can lead to disruptions in your sleep.

Symptom #3: High Irritability

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

During different stages of menopause, fluctuating hormone levels can have a direct, but complicated, effect on how the brain arranges moods and emotions.

Thus, high irritability can very likely be one of the side effects of this strange, difficult period. After all, up to 50 percent of all perimenopausal women out there experience what is known as “emotional” symptoms.

These can include any kind of disturbance in mood, which can experience highs and lows pretty quickly.

Symptom #4: Excessive Sweating

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

Hot flashes are one of the most evident signs of both perimenopause and menopause. Everyone experiences this particular symptom differently, however.

Some women experience this symptom without sweating at all, but others sweat constantly, and even struggle with it at night.

According to WebMD, up to 75 percent of women experience hot flashes and both day and night sweats when they’re in a perimenopausal stage.

And for 25 to 30 percent of women, this symptom can be serious enough to affect their quality of life, says Dr. Valerie Omicioli, a professor of gynecology at the University of Maryland.

Symptom #5: Constant Fatigue

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

There are different levels of fatigue. One to look out for is crashing fatigue, which causes muscle weakness, exhaustion, and clearly reduced energy levels. This is different from mere drowsiness, which is what you feel when you want to sleep.

If you are experiencing symptoms that are more drastic than usual, make sure to get checked out by a doctor. You may have confused fatigue with chronic fatigue syndrome, which does not improve with rest. The illness can negatively impact physical and mental activity.

Symptom #6: Mood Swings

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

It’s not entirely clear what causes mood swings, but there is a strong connection between fluctuating hormone levels and changes in emotion.

The hormones that trigger ovulation and menstruation also help release serotonin, a chemical that helps you regulate your moods.

During menopause, these hormones decline, and in turn, so does the level of serotonin, says menopause expert Eileen Durward.

Unfortunately, the decline in these hormone levels isn’t always smooth. When serotonin levels are high, you’ll be in a better mood. However, a decrese in serotonin leads to worse moods.

Symptom #7: Indigestion

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

Problems with indigestion can also arise as a result of hormonal imbalance. When you go through perimenopause or menopause, the level of estrogen in your body declines, which means that the levels of cortisol are out of balance.

When estrogen levels are high, cortisol is low, and that’s how blood sugar and blood pressure are kept in check.

When estrogen levels are low, adrenaline can be “triggered” more easily. And according to Durward, this greatly affects your body’s digestive abilities.

You may build up more gas, bloat more easily, and become constipated.

Symptom #8: Sudden Cravings

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

When going through menopausal stages, our bodies’ main hormones — insulin, adrenaline, and cortisol — go through a turbulent ride.

While adrenaline and cortisol manage our stress levels, insulin controls our blood sugar levels and will rise when we consume too much sugar and processed foods.

When we experience a hormone imbalance, our bodies usually don’t have enough resources to produce large quantities of secondary hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, according to Dr. Marcelle Pick, a gynecologist.

These hormones are responsible for a larger network of properties, like metabolism, digestion, and, very importantly, appetite. A disconnect in this network will cause symptoms like weight gain.

Symptom #9: Sudden Memory Loss

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

There are so many things that can lead to short-term memory loss and brain fog. A big reason is thyroid dysfunction, but other causes include adrenal fatigue, stress, sleep deprivation, and unbalanced hormones.

According to expert Magnolia Miller, low estrogen levels directly impact our neurotransmitters, which can then affect our mood, stress levels, our memory, and our ability to think.

As a result, short-term memory issues arise.

Symptom #10: Changes in Your Breasts

Ways to spot a hormonal imbalance
LittleThings/Maya Borenstein

The decline in the estrogen hormonal levels will affect the skin in pretty sudden ways. Skin will become dry and less elastic. Breasts will lose firmness and fullness, and, in many cases, change cup sizes.

Furthermore, the dip in hormone levels will affect the breast’s connective tissues and muscles. According to experts at Healthline, some of the changes include a stretched appearance, nipple displacement, and lumpiness.

If you do feel something on your breast that feels too out of the ordinary (like an irregular lump or bump), do see the doctor for a checkup.

Please SHARE if you thought this information and tips for what to look out for helped!