As women, we’re influenced by our hormones more than we might like to admit. Even the smallest shifts in hormone levels can transform our bodies, moods, skin, energy levels, and more.
Your hormone levels fluctuate naturally with your cycle, and while it can be hard to settle into a rhythm when your hormones are constantly changing, normal fluctuations in hormones aren’t usually too bad.
However, if you have a hormone imbalance — too much estrogen, not enough progesterone, or another hormonal shift that affects many women — you may feel like your hormones are controlling you, and you may even start to dread parts of your cycle. You don’t have to worry, though; there’s plenty you can do to balance your hormones.
But first: how do you know if you have a hormone imbalance?
As an integrative physician, I’ve spent more than a decade working with women, many of whom had hormone imbalances. In this article, I’ll cover the five most common signs of hormonal imbalance that I see in my practice, and what you can do to correct them.
If you’re tired and achy and you feel like you can’t get through basic tasks during the day, you might have a hormone imbalance.
Hormone-related fatigue can happen for a few reasons. One of the more common causes is low progesterone. If you only feel exhausted at the same specific times each month, there’s a good chance that your progesterone is out of balance and it’s leaving you fatigued. Keep reading for tips on balancing your progesterone levels.
If the fatigue is constant, there’s a chance that you aren’t producing enough thyroid hormones. Talk to your physician and get your thyroid checked out, especially if you also have symptoms like cold hands or sudden weight gain.
2. Irritability or anxiety
Losing your temper, getting sudden mood swings, feeling anxious about things that wouldn’t usually bother you — these are all symptoms of low progesterone.
Progesterone influences your brain chemistry and is a strong regulator of mood and anxiety. When your progesterone is low, your brain has a harder time regulating your emotions, which is why you may end up feeling anxious or getting frustrated by what would normally be small things.
3. Trouble sleeping
It’s not random when you wake up between 1 AM and 3 AM every morning. That’s a classic sign of a hormone imbalance.
While fatigue, irritability, and anxiety are all symptoms of low progesterone, trouble sleeping is often a symptom of high progesterone. It’s possible to have both, as progesterone fluctuates throughout your cycle.
Trouble sleeping can also come from chronic stress. Stress causes you to release cortisol, which makes you feel on edge and wired, sometimes late at night. If you wake up in a cold sweat or you have racing thoughts that keep you from falling asleep, cortisol from chronic stress may be the culprit.
4. Weight gain
A lot of my clients come in with sudden weight gain, despite regular exercise and a healthy diet. Weight gain is another key sign that you may have a hormone imbalance. Weight gain often happens when your estrogen levels are too low or your testosterone levels are too high. When the ratio of the two is off, you can gain weight and struggle to lose it.
Low thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) can also cause weight gain by slowing down your metabolism.
5. Hair loss
Low estrogen can also cause hair loss. When your estrogen is low, another sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) becomes disproportionately high, which can cause your hair to thin and fall out.
Hair loss is also a symptom of hypothyroidism. If your thyroid hormone levels are low, you may start to lose hair and gain weight.
Don’t worry, though! There’s plenty you can do to balance your hormones naturally.
How to balance your hormones naturally
A lot of different things influence your hormones. Diet, exercise, stress levels, and sleep all play central roles in your hormonal balance. The good news is that those are all things you can change. By shifting your lifestyle, you can get your hormones back into balance and feel your best.
If your hormones are out of balance (or you think they are), this simple guide to balancing your hormones may help.
I also recommend trying Hormone Helper. It’s a special blend of nutrients that feed your hormone production. Hormone Helper supports healthy thyroid, estrogen, and progesterone levels and can help you feel your best.