12 Signs of hormonal imbalance self hormone imbalance in women symptoms

Women are no strangers to what hormonal changes can feel like. Birth control, your monthly period, or a seismic shift like during pregnancy or menopause can cause physical and emotional symptoms that bear the all too familiar hallmarks of hormonal control. But hormones impact way more than just our sexual and reproductive health, and when they’re out of whack, can make us feel all kinds of bleh.

The various hormones that help your body function work in tandem; the levels of one affect the levels of others. When one or more hormones are too high or too low, it can cause another to go berserk—technical term: hormonal imbalance. A hormonal imbalance isn’t a diagnosable health condition, but rather, an explanation for what could be causing you to feel less than your best. We’re talking about being not quite right but not having a definable or diagnosable disease, Erika Schwartz, M.D., an NYC-based doctor and author of The Hormone Solution and The 30- Day Natural Hormone Plan, tells SELF.


The thing we’re finally starting to understand is that everything is connected to each other and nothing operates in a vacuum. Feeling unwell (or just a little off) with no discernible illness to blame may mean it’s hormonal.

The hormones most likely to go off-kilter—and make you feel that way, too—are estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, testosterone, and insulin. Since hormones do so many things in our bodies and all have overlapping functions, knowing what’s causing what can be challenging—the whole idea of hormonal imbalance itself is kind of vague. But if you’re feeling any of the following, and can’t pinpoint any particular reason you should be, hormones might be the source of your woes:

Changes in weight, energy levels, and mood can be signs of a problem with your thyroid gland, which produces wide-acting hormone that regulates metabolic processes. Thyroid issues typically must be managed with treatment. Problems with insulin can be caused by the development of insulin resistance and potentially a predisposition to type 2 diabetes and obesity. And fluctuations in the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone can be linked to something as basic as your menstrual cycle to reproductive system conditions such as PCOS. All of these conditions are something you should see a doctor about. But even basic lifestyle factors can mess with your hormones and cause an imbalance.

Chronic stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, nutritional deficiencies, and chronic diseases can all throw off the natural balance of hormones, Taz Bhatia, M.D., integrated health expert, tells SELF. This can happen both suddenly and over a period of time. If there is a stressor or illness, it can be sudden. If the cause if nutritional, it can be more gradual, Bhatia says. Things like stress or a poor night of sleep can have an immediate effect but also worsen over time as multiple hormones are thrown off-kilter. A hormonal imbalance can happen to anyone, at any point in life, but the younger you are the more easily your body can deal with hormonal fluctuations, says Schwartz. If your hormones seem to be wreaking havoc on your health, doctors recommend you take a look at your habits first.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms above, Schwartz suggests a lifestyle overhaul before turning to medication. Take an inventory of what’s going on in your life, she says, and be as objective and realistic about your lifestyle as possible. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and reducing stress are all essential to keep our bodies—and hormones—healthy and balanced. Take control of your life and recreate hormone balance, Schwartz says. Our body is a beautiful thing. It can balance itself if we give it what it needs. If you get your habits on track and are taking care of your body, yet still experience signs of a hormonal imbalance, see your doctor to check if something else is going on.