8 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance – Men and Women

Hormonal Imbalance
8 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance – Men and Women
Feeling tired is normal. Feeling tired all the time isn’t. Chronic fatigue is just one of many signs that you may have a hormonal imbalance, but luckily there are plenty of natural ways to correct it with the foods you eat.  
Other hormonal imbalance signs include depression, mood swings, and irregular periods for women.
Your hormones affect literally every organ in your body, so when they get out of sync it can have a major impact on your life.
At some point, whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re going to experience a natural fluctuation in hormone levels, but for millions of people a year, hormonal imbalances cause unnecessary health problems.
Let’s take a closer look at the signs of hormonal imbalance and the natural ways to get your health back on track.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers that help regulate every organ in the body and are made in the endocrine glands. From there your hormones travel throughout the body to affect your brain, heart, muscles, bones, and soft tissues.

Some of the most common hormones are:

  • Testosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Cortisol (stress hormone)
  • Insulin (processes sugar, associated with diabetes)

What Causes Hormonal Imbalances?

Oftentimes, the root cause of hormonal imbalance is inflammation. Chronic inflammation can damage and kill the cells in your endocrine glands. What’s surprising is that the inflammation that causes hormonal imbalances often starts in the gut before spreading throughout the body.
Inflammation that starts in the gut can kick your immune system into overdrive, causing a chain reaction of health problems.
Factors that can increase inflammation and make hormonal imbalances worse include:
  • Stress
  • Inflammatory diet
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Genetics
  • Poor reaction to medical treatments

How Stress Affects Hormones

Too much stress and the wrong diet can trigger an autoimmune reaction in your body and cause your body to attack its own tissues and glands. (1)
The good news is that in most cases hormonal imbalances are well within your control.
By eating low-inflammatory foods, reducing stress, and avoiding processed foods, you can strengthen your gut, reduce inflammation, and restore hormonal balance.

How Specific Hormones Affect the Body

Hormones can have a major effect on your sex drive, your appetite, and your sleep quality. Don’t neglect your hormones! They’re more important than you realize.
Hormonal imbalances can have a long list of short-term and long-term effects on your health.
For example, too much estrogen in women can increase the risk of breast cancer, while too little estrogen can lead to low mineral bone density and osteoporosis.
By the end of this article, you should have a solid grasp of how to recognize hormonal imbalance symptoms and be able to start taking steps to take to correct it.
For now, let’s gain a better understanding of the different hormones and their functions.

1. Melatonin

You might already be familiar with melatonin as a common sleep-aid supplement. Melatonin supplements mimic what the hormone melatonin does naturally when it’s secreted from the pineal gland.
Melatonin is partly responsible for maintaining a regular sleep cycle. When you’re healthy, your pineal gland releases melatonin at night to help you sleep and reduces melatonin levels in the morning to help you wake up.
Signs of melatonin deficiencty include:
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Restlessness
  • Brain fog
You can improve melatonin production by avoiding exposure to bright light close to bedtime and by taking the amino acid tryptophan, which supports both melatonin and serotonin production. (2)

2. Cortisol

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone of the body. When you produce too much cortisol, it can cause a chain reaction of hormonal imbalances throughout the body.
The adrenal glands are meant to produce cortisol in small doses during moments of high stress, like when a bear is trying to eat you, for example, but sustained cortisol production can have negative health effects, including:
  • Increased stress (3)
  • Poor sleep
  • Excess fat storage
  • Increased appetite
  • Poor concentration
  • Low energy
  • Decreased alertness
Over time, elevated cortisol levels can reduce your ability to produce other critical hormones, such as:
  • Testosterone
  • Estrogen
  • Progesterone
These imbalances can cause severe mood swings and migraine headaches.
Common signs of high cortisol levels include:
  • Increased appetite
  • Bloating
  • Acid reflux
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

3. Testosterone

Testosterone is primarily a male hormone, but both men and women need certain levels of it for optimal health. Low levels of testosterone in men can lead to low sex drive, mood changes, and softer body composition.
For men, testosterone imbalances are tied to a reduction in:
  • Alertness
  • Physical strength
  • Muscle mass
  • Energy levels
  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Sex drive
High testosterone levels in women have been linked to vaginal dryness, low sex drive, infertility and other reproductive complications.

4. Estrogen

Estrogen is the primary sex hormone for women, and it has a massive impact on:
  • Menstruation
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Hair growth
  • Muscle mass
Both men and women produce estrogen, but women produce it in much larger amounts.
Common signs of estrogen imbalance in women include:
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Vaginal dryness or irregular periods

5. Progesterone

Progesterone is another important female sex hormone that the body uses to balance estrogen levels, balance mood, and influence sleep. It’s made in the ovaries, the placenta, and the adrenal glands.
Common signs of progesterone imbalance in women include:
  • Heavy periods
  • Severe PMS symptoms
  • Depression
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Changes in appetite

6. Leptin

Leptin’s job to signal the rest of your body that you’ve had enough to eat when you’re stomach is full and directs fat metabolism. (4) It’s easy to see how problems with leptin production might cause you to gain weight.
Leptin also helps regulate sex hormones as well as several other important hormones throughout the body.

7. Thyroid hormones

In a lot of ways, thyroid hormones are the most important hormones in the body. They affect the inflammation response and literally every body system. (5)
Thyroid hormones impact your:
  • Weight
  • Sleep quality
  • Energy levels
  • Body temperature
  • Libido
  • Metabolism
Thyroid disorders can be strongly affected by diet. Certain vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, can have negative effects on thyroid production when eaten raw. Always cook broccoli and cauliflower thoroughly if you suspect you may have a thyroid condition.
Common signs of thyroid hormone imbalance:
  • Thinning hair
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss

8. Insulin

Insulin helps the body process sugar by reducing glucose levels in the blood. When you have too much sugar in your diet, insulin production can become fatigued.
Health consequences of chronically high insulin levels can include:
  • Diabetes
  • Changes in appetite
  • Reproductive issues
  • Elevated estrogen
Eating a low-sugar diet and eliminating processed foods are two of the best steps you can take towards healthier insulin production.

8 Signs You May Have a Hormonal Imbalance ̶  Men and Women

Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, and thyroid hormones like TS3 and TS4, all have extreme effects on overall health.
As these hormones circulate throughout the body, imbalances can lead to a variety of major health problems.
Here are some of the most common hormone imbalance symptoms:

1. Chronic Fatigue

Are you having a hard time getting up in the morning, and no matter how much coffee you drink, you always feel like taking a nap throughout the day? Chronic fatigue is one of the most notorious hormonal imbalance signs. It isn’t normal to feel like a sloth all day. For many people experiencing this symptom of hormonal imbalance, eliminating foods like wheat, bread, and grains can help stabilize energy by reducing blood sugar spikes.

2. Insomnia and Difficulty Sleeping

Elevated cortisol and reduced melatonin levels can be disruptive to the sleep cycle. A normal, predictable sleep pattern is referred to as your circadian rhythm. The natural ebb and flow of hormones like melatonin help regulate sleep patterns, but when you have hormonal imbalances, consistent sleep can go out the window. One natural trick for getting a better night’s rest is to eat a teaspoon of raw honey before bedtime. Raw honey has the ideal ratio of fructose to glucose to refuel your liver with glycogen, a critical nutrient for the production of melatonin. (6)

3. Digestive Health Issues

When your stress hormone production spirals out of control, it can weaken the gut lining and open the door for increased inflammation throughout the body. Irritable bowel disease, leaky gut syndrome, bloating, gas, and slow digestion are all potential signs of hormonal imbalance. Eating foods that are high in sugar and low in fiber can make problems worse. Strengthen your gut with a low-inflammation diet that’s high in a healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and wild-caught fish like sardines and salmon.

4. Weight Gain

Not everyone who gains weight does so because of a hormonal imbalance, but when you persistently pack on the pounds with no noticeable changes in your lifestyle or diet, it may be a sign of hormonal imbalance. Many women who struggle to control their weight have underlying hormonal imbalances. (7) Emerging insulin resistance can be part of the problem. Sugar can make insulin issues worse so it’s always best to lay off the sugar and carbs if you can. Eliminate processed foods as well.

5. Mood Disorders Like Anxiety, Depression, and Irritability

Chronic inflammation in the gut can spread through the bloodstream to the brain, where it can disrupt both hormone and neurotransmitter production. An inflamed brain is often an anxious brain. There are lots of ways to address anxiety and improve overall mental health naturally, but one of the best ways is to exercise regularly and ditch the sugar. Making lifestyle choices that reduce stress can help correct hormonal imbalances by lowering cortisol production.

6. Low Sex Drive

For both men and women, a low libido can be a sign of hormonal imbalance. (8) If you haven’t been yourself lately in the bedroom, you may have an imbalance in testosterone or estrogen. One of the most impactful things you can do to restore your sex drive is to get a better night’s sleep because that’s when the body replenishes its sex hormone levels.

7. Gaining Belly Fat

Belly fat is a sign of elevated cortisol levels in both men and women. When your endocrine system is under stress, your body thinks that it needs to store fat for future use. The primal brain thinks that it needs to prepare for a long winter, or some other strenuous event, but really the adrenal gland is fatigued and confused. Ashwagandha root is an Ayurvedic herb that can support adrenal fatigue and restore cortisol levels to normal.

8. Food Cravings

Food cravings are another hormonal imbalance symptom. If for some reason you’re constantly craving food despite no real changes in your lifestyle, it might be a sign of hormonal imbalances in the body. This could be due to insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue, or other hormonal imbalances. Cut out sugar, wheat, dairy, and alcohol, and chances are you’ll feel some improvement in your symptoms.

Women: Most Common Signs of Hormonal Imbalance

Although there are many of similarities in how women and men utilize hormones, there are also plenty of significant differences.
Night sweats and hot flashes are often one of the earliest signs that something is wrong. This doesn’t mean that it’s time to start hormone replacement therapy. Instead, keep track of what you eat and how you feel afterward. High-fiber diets, like vegan and low-fat diets, may lead to lower concentrations of estrogen in the blood. (9)
Here are some of the most common signs of hormonal imbalances in women:
  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Severe PMS
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Depression
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Poor memory
  • Fibrosis
  • Low sex drive

Men: Most Common Signs of Hormonal Imbalance

With guys, a lot of the symptoms of aging are actually due to a reduction in growth hormone and testosterone production. Hormonal imbalances can happen at any age, but beginning at age 20 your growth hormone levels can fall by as much as 14 percent every 10 years. (10)
Here are some of the most common signs of hormonal imbalances in men:
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low sex drive
  • Hair loss
  • Poor memory
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Increased body fat
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Depression
These symptoms don’t have to be part of the aging process and can often be corrected with natural treatments.

7 Steps to Balance Hormones Naturally

Here’s some practical ways to help you balance hormones naturally:
1. Reduce inflammatory foods: avoid inflammatory foods like trans fats, sugar, dairy products, grains, and hydrogenated oils.
2. Eat a nutrient-dense diet: consume the majority of your calories from nutrient-dense produce like avocado, kale, and spinach, then fill up on high-quality protein like salmon, sardines, and eggs.
3. Eat healthy fats: healthy fats like coconut oil, sardines, salmon, nuts, are low-inflammatory foods and can help restore hormone levels.
4. Stay hydrated: drink at least eight 8-ounce cups of water a day.
5. Eat probiotic foods: probiotic foods help reduce gut inflammation and strengthen the microbiota to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Eat plenty of fermented foods like kimchi, high-fiber foods like artichoke, and prebiotic foods like chicory root, bananas, onions.
6. Reduce caffeine and alcohol intake: limit your caffeine to preferably to 1-2 cups of tea a day.
7. Get plenty of fiber: eat around 30 grams of fiber a day from foods like raspberries, psyllium husk, and avocados.
Mainstream medicine relies heavily on hormone replacement therapies, insulin injections, birth control pills, and thyroid medications to correct hormonal imbalances, but these treatment strategies can have several major drawbacks:
  • They only mask symptoms rather than correcting the underlying cause.
  • People can become dependent on pharmaceuticals.
  • Patient risk factors may increase due to the severe side effects of many prescription drugs.
That’s why it’s best to try natural methods for reducing inflammation and restoring hormone levels with diet and nutrition. To get the best treatment for your hormonal imbalances, contact us at Complete Care Health Centers and see one of our providers today.
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