Hormones control how the body functions, from digestion, metabolism, and reproduction! They're also a major factor in regulating our stress and sleep cycles. This delicate balance keeps our hormones in check, too little or too much of one or more hormones can have a domino effect, where other organs, glands or systems produce unwanted symptoms.
What Are Hormonal Imbalances?
A hormonal imbalance is a condition that occurs when even just one hormone — estrogen, cortisol or testosterone, for example, is not at its optimal level and leads to significant changes within the body. Fluctuations throughout our lives and as we age are somewhat normal and in some cases, hormonal imbalance can be temporary, resolving over time. However, other imbalances may be chronic or long term and it's important to pay attention when something in our body just doesn't feel right!
Effects of a hormonal imbalance can be felt in both the short term and long term, it’s also important to remember that hormones are closely interconnected. This means each of the signs and symptoms we describe below may have more than one potential underlying root cause.
Here are 16 signs of a hormonal imbalance:
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss or difficulty maintaining a healthy weight
- Digestive issues
- Acne, dry skin or other skin issues
- Increased thirst or frequent urination
- Increased hunger or cravings
- Heart rate changes
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Puffy eyes
- Low mood or mood swings
- Low libido
- Brain fog
- Sleep issues
- Low energy
What could be some underlying root causes of hormonal imbalance?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to understand how your hormones may become imbalanced in the first place. Common causes can include:
- Stress: Stress is a significant factor when it comes to temporary hormonal imbalances. Today we live in fast-paced modern lives, meaning increased stress can play havoc with the body's delicate hormonal balance.
- Toxic Exposure: Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and heavy metals can also contribute to hormonal imbalances. EDCs are substances that may interfere with the body's endocrine system, for example plastics, pesticides, and personal care products. Heavy metals such as lead and mercury may similarly disrupt hormonal balance, often through exposure in the environment, eating fish high in mercury, using foil in the kitchen or having amalgam dental fillings are just some examples.You can access our FREE heavy metal detox protocol here.
- Diet: The food we eat has a direct impact on our hormones! Consuming highly processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy fats can lead to poor gut health and subsequent imbalances in hormones that regulate metabolism, appetite, and other bodily functions. A diet high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy fats, plays an essential role in how we function and feel. The Synergised membership platform provides you with healthy recipes that will help you remove digestive distress, reduce toxic load in your body and support healthy levels of inflammation. You can find out more here.
Poor sleep, too much or too little exercise, taking certain medications, such as birth control or steroids, can also affect your hormones and are all factors you should be considering if you think you may have a hormonal imbalance.
I think I have a hormonal imbalance, how do I identify this?
First and foremost you should be taking advantage of functional medicine lab testing such as the Comprehensive Hormonal Test. By running this simple at-home lab test, you’ll be able to check your sex hormones and your cortisol levels throughout the day, which will help evaluate the health of your diurnal rhythm. By gaining a better understanding of your hormone levels, you can detect any imbalances or deficiencies early on and take steps to correct them before they lead to more serious health issues. When you purchase the Comprehensive Hormonal you also receive a FREE 30-minute health coaching call with a Certified Integrative Health Practitioner. They will interpret your results and make appropriate, actionable diet and lifestyle recommendations based on your specific needs.
If you are experiencing any of the signs we have outlined today, it’s time to take the first steps towards restoring nutrient deficiencies and removing accumulated toxicities to rebalance your hormones and support optimal overall functions. Key resources can be found here:
Stopeck AT. Women's health: the struggle to restore hormonal balance. Am J Med. 2005 Nov;118(11):1181-2. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.08.037. Erratum in: Am J Med. 2006 Feb;119(2):191. PMID: 16271897.
Ranabir S, Reetu K. Stress and hormones. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jan;15(1):18-22. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.77573. PMID: 21584161; PMCID: PMC3079864.