What is Hormone Imbalance?
Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. Produced in the endocrine glands, these powerful chemicals travel around your bloodstream telling tissues and organs what to do. They help control many of your body’s major processes, including metabolism and reproduction.
When you have a hormonal imbalance, you have too much or too little of a certain hormone. Even tiny changes can have serious effects throughout your whole body.
Think of hormones like a cake recipe. Too much or too little of any one ingredient affects the final product. While some hormone levels fluctuate throughout your lifetime and may just be the result of natural aging, other changes occur when your endocrine glands get the recipe wrong.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
Your hormones play an integral role in your overall health. Because of that, there’s a broad range of symptoms that could signal a hormonal imbalance. Your symptoms will depend on which hormones or glands aren’t working properly.
Common hormonal conditions affecting both men and women could cause any of the following symptoms:
increased sensitivity to cold or heat
constipation or more frequent bowel movements
unexplained weight loss (sometimes sudden)
increased or decreased heart rate
muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints
thinning hair or fine, brittle hair
decreased sex drive
nervousness, anxiety, or irritability
a fatty hump between the shoulders
purple or pink stretch marks
Symptoms in women
In women, the most common hormonal imbalance is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Your normal hormonal cycle also changes naturally during:
Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance specific to women include:
heavy or irregular periods, including missed periods, stopped period, or frequent period
hirsutism, or excessive hair on the face, chin, or other parts of the body
acne on the face, chest, or upper back
thinning hair or hair loss
weight gain or trouble losing weight
darkening of skin, especially along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
pain during sex
Symptoms in men
Testosterone plays an important role in male development. If you aren’t producing enough testosterone, it can cause a variety of symptoms.
In the adult male, symptoms include:
development of breast tissue
loss of muscle mass
decreased sex drive
decrease in beard and body hair growth
osteoporosis, the loss of bone mass