These symptoms may indicate you have a hormonal imbalance.
Does it seem like your mood is as changeable as the weather? Have no energy or feel like your brain is in a fog? It could be due to your hormones.
Women naturally experience fluctuating hormone levels throughout their menstrual cycles that may cause physical and emotional symptoms. But some women find they feel “off” in ways that are unconnected to these normal hormonal fluctuations.
Here are 9 signs your hormones may be out of whack:
- Mood Swings: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may result in hormonal changes before and during your period that cause irritability, depression or anxiety. But if you find that your mood swings are off the charts or they don’t seem to coincide with your menstrual cycle, it may be a sign that your hormones aren’t in sync.
- Irregular Periods: Most women’s menstrual cycles last between 21 and 35 days. If your periods are longer or shorter than what’s typical for you or your period starts skipping months, it may be due to a hormonal imbalance.
- Poor Sleep: If you’re having trouble getting a good night’s sleep, it may be a result of changing hormone levels. A decrease in estrogen may contribute to sleep disruption, night sweats and hot flashes.
- Acne: Many women break out around their periods. But if you have acne all the time, it could be caused by high androgen levels, which can make oil glands go into overdrive. High androgen may be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can cause other health issues.
- Brain Fog: Women entering menopause may experience difficulties with memory and concentration, referred to as “brain fog.” This has been linked to declining estrogen levels.
- Fatigue: While being tired can be due to many causes, one possibility is that it’s caused by low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism).
- Headaches: A variety of health issues may cause headaches, but a decrease in estrogen is a common cause in women.
- Vaginal Dryness: Falling estrogen levels during perimenopause and a lack of estrogen after menopause may lead to vaginal dryness. This can cause pain during sex.
- Urinary Symptoms: As estrogen levels decrease, the urethra can become dry, inflamed or irritated. This can cause more frequent urination and increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
There are many potential causes of hormonal imbalance, including pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders or being under or overweight. Side effects of medications, such as fertility and cancer treatments, can also affect hormone levels. If you have any concerns about the symptoms you’re experiencing, talk to your doctor.
Although some causes of hormonal imbalance may require medical care, there are ways you can help your hormones stay more well-balanced, too. These include managing stress, eating a well-balanced diet, keeping a regular sleep schedule, and limiting caffeine and alcohol.
In addition to eating a well-balanced diet and participating in regular exercise, it is important to keep up with your routine healthcare. Visit your healthcare providers at least once yearly to have regular exams and tests, even if you are not sick. This can help detect problems early. You should still come for your annual GYN visit, no matter your age. Your annual checkup can cover all aspects of your health. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, turn to your healthcare providers with questions- It’s why we are here! Hormonal treatments may be an option. Talk with your physician about the pros and cons of different hormonal options.
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Date Last Reviewed: January 14, 2022
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD