Do you feel like your body doesn’t function properly? Do you suspect your hormones to be involved in it? Learn 10 warning signs you suffer from hormone imbalance.
Hormonal imbalance is such a thing. It can happen anytime in a woman’s life but can be tricky to notice.
When some symptoms are visible (like acne), others are less noticeable.
Therefore, it is average that women don’t even realize they suffer from hormone imbalance. In another way, some signs are so common that we tend to forget they aren’t normal.
Imbalances can happen anytime where there’s a change in hormones. It is, therefore, linked to puberty, the stop of a hormonal contraceptive, a pregnancy, or menopause.
It can also appear after other types of situations such as medical treatments or stressful times.
If you feel lost amongst the women’s hormones world and think that they might be the cause of your discomforts, you’re in the right place.
Let’s go through 10 warning signs you suffer from hormone imbalance.
10 Signs you suffer from hormone imbalance
Hormonal acne is probably the easiest to notice since it is visible (and sometimes, not just a little).
Contrary to “teenager” acne that typically appears on the forehead and nose, hormonal acne is, for the most part, found on the lower side of the face.
That includes cheeks, jawline, and neck, but also shoulders and back.
Even though it can come in different forms, hormonal acne is known for its cysts. They grow under the skin and can be very painful.
Hormonal acne surge when there’s testosterone dominance (1). The hormone is known to stimulate sebum production, which in large amounts, favors acne development.
That is also the reason why many women tend to have acne just before starting their periods.
Even though testosterone is pretty stable throughout the cycle, the fall of estrogens and progesterone before periods makes it the dominant hormone.
2. Recurrent UTIs
Nobody talks about it, but UTIs are linked to hormonal imbalance.
Hormones, particularly estrogens, play an important role in maintaining a healthy vaginal flora, particularly estrogens (2).
It has been proven that estrogens strengthen epithelial cells, which form the bladder lining (3).
Infectious bacteria first reaches the bladder. If the lining isn’t strong enough, the bacteria will be able to cross deep tissues. That’s where it will sit comfortably and develop into an infection.
After going off the pill, I had 3 UTIs in a row. I went through many antibiotics, MRI, neurological tests, only to find out they came from a hormonal imbalance.
Amazing, thank you for taking all my money.
3. Drop in libido
Low sex-drive is often linked to menopause. But a drop in libido can also happen at a younger age.
Although low libido is associated with several psychological factors, it is also closely linked with hormonal balance.
More than linked to a single hormone, sex drive is dependant on a balance between estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone.
They play an important role in sensitivity, lubrification, and orgasm. It only takes one hormone to be out of whack for your libido to be impacted.
4. Irregular, painful, and/or heavy periods
Period discomfort is probably the most common sign of hormone imbalance. So common, that it’s considered normal.
So this is the umpteenth time I’ll say it: Painful and heavy periods are. not. normal.
They’re rather the consequence of an imbalance between estrogens and progesterone. Many women suffer from excess estrogens and progesterone deficiency.
Although causes vary, your lifestyle has its share of responsibility. Indeed, an estrogen surplus can come from the disability of the liver to get rid of excess hormone produced by the body.
By being more and more exposed to processed food, we tend to eat fewer fibers.
Fibers contribute to eliminating hormone concentration and, therefore, reduce the risk of illnesses caused by excess estrogens such as endometriosis or breast cancer (4).
5. Mood swings
Your mood going from up to down in a few seconds (aka the reason why your man tells you’re bipolar) is a sign of disrupted hormones too.
It has been proven that low estrogen affects the mood and can cause depression (5).
This is also why women tend to be sad before their periods, after giving birth, or during menopause (6).
Now you have a written proof to show to your partner when he tells you you’re crazy (:
6. Cravings and weight fluctuation
Who never wanted to eat the world (and particularly sweets) just before having their periods? Us ending up eating a whole box of cookies doesn’t mean we should be more disciplined. No, no, no. Hormones have something to do with it.
Everything is linked to estrogens, and more specifically to estradiol (because yes, they’re several of them).
When it is too low, we tend to eat more. This has even been proven through several studies following women’s eating patterns through the menstrual cycle.
Yes, women do eat more during the luteal phase (before periods) than during the follicular phase (after periods). (7)
And this is actually normal since hormone levels fluctuate through the cycle (unless we’re talking extremes).
This shouldn’t encourage you to restrict yourself during these periods. What you also need to know is that you burn more calories just before and during your periods (because there’s a lot going on in there).
So it’s really quite a trade. And as I always say, listen to your body.
What can be worrying though, is when you have constant cravings. In this case, there might be a hormone imbalance which can lead to weight gain or the difficulty of losing it.
This is actually what happened to me when I was taking the pill. I was soooo hungry all the time and it was very difficult for me to lose weight.
When I went off of it, my hunger levels stabilized and I lost some pounds without doing anything really.
Not being able to get pregnant can be the result of different issues, hormone imbalance being one.
In order to get pregnant, your body needs to go through several processes:
2) formation of an egg
3) release of the egg
4) thickening of the uterine lining
It turns out that all those steps can hardly happen (correctly) if your hormones aren’t balanced (8).
8. Hormonal illnesses
While hormonal imbalance can cause infertility, infertility can be caused by illnesses such as endometriosis or PCOS.
What is interesting is that these illnesses are, in some cases, caused by a hormone imbalance.
This is the (not so legitimate) reason why the contraceptive pill is prescribed. They say it “helps to regulate your hormones” when it actually suppresses your cycle.
It just doesn’t act as a remedy but as a bandage.
If you want to learn more about why the pill isn’t a remedy for hormone imbalance, PCOS, or endometriosis, I wrote a blog post about it that you can read by clicking here.
9. Vaginal dryness
Although it is mostly associated with menopausal women, vaginal dryness can also be experienced at a younger age.
This happens when estrogens levels are too low. The hormone’s role is to maintain tissues humidified and produce cervical mucus (11).
10. Disturbed sleep
Finally, hormone imbalance can also disrupt your sleep patterns.
High levels of estrogens can cause difficulty to fall asleep and even insomnia. This is due to the fact that the hormone stimulates the nervous system (12).
In another way, excess estrogen could also lead to constant fatigue.
So if you find yourself counting sheep every night to fall asleep or if you feel like a zombie even after sleeping for 9 hours, you might suffer from excess estrogen.
Balancing hormones naturally
You get it, taking care of your hormones is so important and will prevent you from much discomfort.
Although many doctors will prescribe you the pill to “regulate everything”, I am here to remind you that hormones can also be balanced naturally.
In my opinion, it all starts by taking care of your lifestyle. We tend to underestimate the power of eating well, exercising, sleeping enough, and managing stress.
Yet the way you live and treat your body from the inside out has a massive impact on your general wellbeing and hormones.
I am by any means a doctor, but I can tell you that I went from a severe hormonal imbalance a few years ago where I suffered from 7/10 symptoms I mentioned.
But I managed to balance it out without taking any form of hormones. Today, I go through my cycle more smoothly than ever.
If you identify yourself with some of the signs I mentioned above, you might want to check my posts about balancing hormones naturally:
- How I Balanced Hormones (& Cured Hormonal Acne)
I hope this will help you acknowledge a potential hormone imbalance and help you have a better and healthier cycle!