Women are no strangers to navigating the ups and downs of multiple life stages.
Puberty, sexual maturity, fertility, pregnancy, menopause—each stage spells change for female hormone levels.
Like our own private theme park that we did not sign up for. 🎢
But no matter what journey (or rollercoaster) you’re on, one common concern looms large: hormone imbalance.
After all, hormones hold sway on our mental, physical, and emotional health.
They control our metabolism, mood, sleep cycles, and sex drive.
Not to mention growth, development, and body temperature. 🤯
And then some.
So, if your body feels out of whack, out of sync, or entirely out of balance, chances are hormonal imbalance is to blame.
The good news is understanding the factors that can affect your hormones is a surefire way to empower you to take charge of your well-being. ⚡️
And landing here, you’re already one step closer to taking back the wheel.
To help support you on your epic quest for hormonal harmony, we’re looking at signs of hormone imbalance and potential causes.
In this article: 📝
- What are the 5 female hormones?
- What are signs of hormonal imbalance?
- Why would a woman’s hormones be out of whack?
- What happens when a woman’s hormones are out of balance?
What are the 5 female hormones?
Before we delve into the symptoms of hormonal imbalance and possible root causes, let’s do a quick plunge into women’s hormones. 🌊
Basically, hormones are chemical messengers that carry important instructions to different parts of the body through the bloodstream.
Their purpose? To coordinate hundreds of different bodily processes that are essential for keeping you thriving and healthy.
No big deal.
Think of them as the most important sidekicks of the body, primed to save the day by responding to signals that other key parts of the body send them—keeping the environment running smoothly in the process. 🦸
Hormones regulate everything from our mood and energy levels on the daily to our menstrual cycle and fertility.
So, if you’re feeling like Wonder Woman, you can thank those little puppet masters behind the scenes for keeping everything in sync.
Ready to put a face to some of your hormone heroes?
Here are the five hormones every woman should know.
This one needs no introduction.
Think of estrogen as your personal queen bee, just out there coordinating your body’s entire rhythm. 👑
One of two female sex hormones, estrogen is the most important hormone in the female body.
And it also plays a major role in heart health.
But it’s also a collective term.
“We have multiple different estrogens,” explains Chiropractor and Wellness Practitioner Dr Paige Enwright, “so if one of them goes out of balance, it can affect the others.”
“It’s not just one estrogen that we have to keep in control, there are three main ones: Estradiol is the main one when we are cycling, and then estrone is the main one during menopause.”
The second female sex hormone, progesterone is the calm, collected captain that takes the helm after ovulation. 👩✈️
Produced in the ovaries, it helps your uterus prepare for potential baby-making—its name literally means “promoting gestation.”
Once you’re pregnant, this pregnancy hormone stays elevated throughout to keep everything running smoothly week-by-week.
Not just for men, testosterone is the powerhouse that helps you maintain muscle mass and bone strength. 💪
And also a healthy sex drive. 🌶
Every bit a male sex hormone, the female body only produces a small amount of testosterone (between 15 and 70 ng/dL compared to the minimum 300 ng/dL produced in male bodies).
But when it’s balanced (for us), it’s enough to help us tap into our inner warrior and pull out confidence, energy, and fire to thrive.
4. Thyroid hormones
Consider your two main thyroid hormones—thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)—your metabolism maestros. 🕺🕺
This dynamic duo regulates your energy levels, your body temperature, and your metabolic rate.
Your thyroid hormones affect every cell and organ in your body, even down to how fast food moves through your digestive tract (thorough).
And they’re also essential for the healthy functioning of the female reproductive system.
Oh yes, when your thyroid levels are on point, it’s like being equipped with a turbocharged engine—giving you the vitality and energy to tackle anything. 🏎
All in a day’s work.
Last but definitely not least the famous stress hormone cortisol.
In the right doses, cortisol helps you regulate your body’s stress response, turning you into a zen master in the face of chaos. 🧘
It also suppresses inflammation, controls your sleep-wake cycle, and regulates your blood sugar.
But too much, and this steroid hormone can have a major impact on your sleep patterns, mood, and immune function.
Just ask any stressed-out parent.
What are signs of hormonal imbalance?
Now you know the players, it’s time to get familiar with the red flags that they’re not at peak performance. 🚩
Here are the most recognized symptoms and signs of hormone imbalance:
1. Irregular menstrual cycle
Probably the biggest telltale sign for women that all is not well.
Hormone imbalances can wreak havoc on the menstrual cycle, causing irregular periods, changes to flow, and even missed periods.
2. Mood swings
Hormones have a sneaky way of toying with our emotions, so if you’re feeling more up and down recently, it might be a sign you’re off balance.
Fluctuations in hormones can affect neurotransmitters in your brain, causing low moods, anxiety, and even depression.
3. Low energy and fatigue
Any disruption in adrenal function or thyroid levels can zap your energy levels—no matter how much sleep you’re getting.
So, if you’re feeling more sloth than superwoman, it’s worth getting your hormone levels checked.
4. Sleep disturbances
Speaking of low energy, sometimes hormonal imbalance can interfere with sleep patterns (not cool).
One of the main culprits? The sleep promoter progesterone.
Changes in progesterone levels—especially during menopause—can mean the difference between drifting off easily and cursing the ceiling way past midnight.
5. Brain fog
Struggling to concentrate? Keep forgetting where you put your keys? Forget what focus feels like? 😶🌫️
Hormones influence brain functions, so if you’re feeling extra hazy (and you’re running out of sticky notes), you know who’s to blame.
6. Skin problems
In the midst of low energy and little focus, the last thing you need is a skin rebellion.
Hormone imbalances tend to manifest as acne, oily skin, dry patches, and breakouts.
It’s typically down to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone—think of it as an SOS message from within.
7. Weight gain or weight loss
Maybe you’re experiencing rapid weight loss and an appetite that won’t quit.
Or your jeans haven’t got the memo that your workout and nutritional game are on point.
Thyroid imbalance can impact your metabolism in the wildest of ways.
And changing estrogen and insulin levels can also tamper with how your body stores and uses fat.
Feel the frustration but find comfort in knowing that it could be hormones to blame.
8. Hot flashes and sweaty nights
Sounds provocative, but when it comes to hormone imbalance, it’s a little less steamy and a lot more uncomfortable.
Think sudden heat, a flush face, and a hot sweat, but with zero climax. 🥵
Menopause usually gets the rep for this, but hormonal imbalance at any age can cause hot flashes.
9. Low libido
Feeling nothing but fizzled-out fireworks and passion only for sleep?
Hormones are a huge part of our sex drive, and if they’re not in harmony, it’s enough to send your libido packing. 🧳
10. Digestive woes
Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone can have a big impact on the digestive system. 🧻
You may already be familiar with their work during your monthly periods (hello, bloating and diarrhea).
But tummy troubles caused by hormone imbalance can also look like gas, constipation, and unpredictable bowel movements.
11. Hair loss
Hormone imbalance can disrupt your natural hair growth cycle, resulting in more shedding than a husky in springtime. 🐕
Hair loss is often down to a decrease in estrogen and progesterone—and a boost in androgen levels to compensate.
12. Tender breasts
Ah, sore boobs, the not-so-subtle reminder that our hormones are in flux.
Hormone imbalances can cause breast tissue to become extra sensitive, extra swollen, and oh-so-tender to the touch.
When taking off your bra no longer brings you sweet relief (outside of premenstrual discomfort), it may be time to investigate. 🕵️♀️
Why would a woman’s hormones be out of whack?
Hormone imbalance occurs naturally throughout your life—puberty, your menstrual cycle, perimenopause, menopause.
It’s all part of the ebb and flow of womanhood.
And then there’s the other factors and chapters that our bodies aren’t prepared for.
Lifestyle, environment, and health conditions can all take a toll on your endocrine system.
Knowing exactly what causes hormone imbalance sometimes requires a little detective work, but some common culprits include:
- Chronic stress
- Hormonal birth control
- Unhealthy diet
- Weight gain
- Overactive or underactive thyroid
- Eating disorders
- Hormone therapy
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list—each woman’s hormonal journey is unique.
If anything, these common causes may give you some sense of direction as you work to get your body back to feeling balanced.
And if any of these possible causes of hormone imbalance resonate with you, it’s worth reaching out to a healthcare professional for guidance on the next steps.
What happens when a woman’s hormones are out of balance?
When your hormones are balanced, you feel ready and willing to conquer the world.
Your body is an unstoppable force, your mood is manageable, and your vibe is untouchable. 💃🏻
But when your hormones are out of whack, it feels more like a chaotic dance party where nobody knows the steps. 🤷♀️
Exactly what happens when your hormones are imbalanced depends on whether you have too much or too little of a specific hormone.
And while we’ve listed the many signs of hormone imbalance, the real concern lies in what each symptom may represent.
Often it can be a sign of a medical condition that needs treatment, such as type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Left untreated or undiagnosed, this can mean an increased risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes insipidus, and even chronic mood disorders like depression or anxiety.
And one of the most common impacts of hormone imbalance in women? Infertility.
It’s also one of the biggest red flags that something’s off. 🚩
Symptoms of a reproductive hormone imbalance can include missing or irregular periods, excess body hair, low libido, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness. 🏜
As for the cause, PCOS and autoimmune disorders like lupus and thyroid disease can increase the difficulty of conceiving.
It’s important to note here that while there are many factors that contribute to hormone imbalance, none of them are your fault.
What is important is knowing the root cause and the next steps to take.
So, if you’re confident your lifestyle is optimum and you’re doing everything right for your health, but you still feel off, it’s time to heed what your hormones might be telling you.
They are our most effective messengers, after all, responding to the key signals that our body is giving them.
With hormone imbalance, symptoms can vary in intensity and combination.
But no matter what you’re feeling, it’s an experience shared by many women on Peanut—so you know you’re in excellent company to offload and feel seen.
If you do suspect a hormone imbalance is at play (with a sneaky suspicion of the cause for good measure), contact your doctor.
No better person can help you unravel your hormone mystery and bring you back to yourself.