Hormonal imbalances happen when there is excess or lack of a hormone in the bloodstream. Because of their fundamental role in the body, even small hormonal imbalances can have side effects on the body.

Hormones are chemicals that originate from glands in the endocrine system. Hormones go through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, conveying messages that guide the organs and when to do it.

Hormones are important for controlling most major bodily processes, so a hormonal imbalance can influence a wide range of body functions. Hormones help to manage:

  • mood and stress levels
  • metabolism and appetite
  • reproductive cycles and sexual function
  • heart rate
  • general growth and development
  • sleep cycles
  • body temperature

Men and women both can be affected by imbalances in growth hormones, adrenaline, insulin, and steroids.

Women may also feel imbalances in progesterone and estrogen levels, while men feel imbalances in testosterone levels.

Symptoms

The hormonal imbalance symptoms depend on which hormones and glands are affected.

Symptoms related to the more usual causes of hormonal imbalances are:

  • instant weight gain or weight loss
  • changes in blood pressure
  • more or excessive sweating
  • irritability and anxiety
  • changes in sensitivity to cold and heat
  • unexplained and continual fatigue
  • changes in heart rate
  • brittle or weak bones
  • changes in blood sugar concentration
  • difficulty in sleeping
  • excessive dry skin or skin rashes
  • swelling in the neck
  • increased thirst
  • breast tenderness
  • depression
  • headaches
  • increase of the voice in females
  • needing to go to the bathroom again and again
  • bloating
  • infertility
  • changes in appetite
  • reduced sex drive
  • thinning, brittle hair
  • puffy face
  • blurred vision

Causes

Everyone will experience natural periods of hormonal imbalance or changes at specific points in their life.

But hormonal imbalances can also occur when the endocrine organs are not working correctly.

Endocrine glands are specific cells that produce, store, and release hormones into the blood. There are multiple endocrine glands located throughout the body that control various organs, including the:

  • adrenal glands
  • pancreatic islets
  • gonads (testis and ovaries)
  • thyroid and parathyroid glands
  • pineal gland
  • hypothalamus gland
  • pituitary gland

Some medical conditions are known to affect some, or several, of the endocrine glands. Certain lifestyle habits and climate factors may also play a role in hormonal imbalances.

Causes of hormonal imbalances comprise:

  • chronic or excess stress
  • exposure to pollutants, toxins, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including pesticides and herbicides
  • type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • phytoestrogens, commonly-developed in plant estrogens but also found in soy products
  • hyperglycemia (overproduction of glucagon)
  • anorexia
  • hypoglycemia (more insulin produced than there is glucose in the blood)
  • prader-Willi syndrome
  • an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • turner syndrome (women with only one functioning X chromosome)
  • overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
  • hereditary pancreatitis
  • over-or underproduction of the parathyroid hormone
  • iodine deficiency (goiters)
  • poor diet and nutrition
  • chemotherapy and radiation therapy
  • being overweight
  • cancers that involve endocrine glands
  • hormonal replacement or birth control medications
  • abuse of anabolic steroid medications
  • severe allergic reactions or infections
  • solitary thyroid nodules
  • endocrine gland injury
  • pituitary tumors
  • addison’s disease (less amount of cortisol and aldosterone)
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia (less amount of cortisol)
  • cushing’s syndrome (more amount of the hormone cortisol)
  • benign tumors and cysts (fluid-filled sacks) that affect the endocrine glands

Hormonal imbalances in women

Women normally  experience irregularity periods of hormonal imbalance throughout their lifetime, including during:

  • puberty
  • pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding
  • menstruation
  • perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause

Women are also at risk of growing various kinds of hormonal imbalance disorders than men because they have distinctive endocrine organs and cycles.

Medical conditions causing uneven irregular hormonal imbalances in women are:

  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • ovarian cancer
  • hormone replacement or birth control medications
  • primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
  • early menopause

Indication of hormonal imbalances in women are:

  • clitoral enlargement
  • heavy, irregular, or painful periods
  • deepening of the voice
  • osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones)
  • skin tags or abnormal growths
  • hot flashes and night sweats
  • thinning hair or hair loss
  • vaginal dryness
  • weight gain
  • breast tenderness
  • indigestion
  • constipation and diarrhea
  • infertility
  • acne during or just before menstruation
  • high hair growth on the face, neck, chest, or back
  • uterine bleeding not associated with menstruation

Hormonal imbalances in men

Men also experience characteristic times of hormonal irregularity during their lifetime. 

Common reasons for hormonal imbalances in men include:

  • puberty
  • aging

Men are also at risk of growing various hormonal imbalances than women because they have distinctive endocrine organs and cycles.

Medical conditions develop hormonal imbalances in men are:

  • prostate cancer
  • hypogonadism (low testosterone)

Symptoms of hormonal imbalances in men include:

  • reduced sex drive
  • reduced muscle mass
  • osteoporosis
  • reduced body hair growth
  • erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • breast tenderness
  • low sperm count
  • overdevelopment of breast tissue

Treatment

Treatment for hormonal imbalances may vary depending on the personal symptoms and cause. Every person may require various sorts of treatment for hormonal imbalances.

Treatment available for women with hormone imbalances are:

  • Hormone control or birth control. For those who are not trying to get pregnant, prescriptions containing forms of progesterone and estrogen can help balance irregular menstrual cycles and causes. People can take contraception prescriptions as a pill, shot, patch, ring, or an intrauterine device (IUD).
  • Vaginal estrogen. People experiencing vaginal dryness related to changes in estrogen levels can apply creams containing estrogen straightforwardly to vaginal tissues to lower symptoms. They can also take estrogen pills and rings to lower vaginal dryness.
  • Hormone replacement medications. Medications are there to temporarily lower extreme symptoms related to menopause, such as night sweats or hot flashes.
  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa). This remedy cream may slow unnecessary facial hair growth in women.
  • Anti-androgen medications. Prescriptions that stop the dominating male-sex hormone androgen can help limit excess acne and excessive hair growth or loss.
  • Clomiphene (Clomid) and letrozole (Femara). These prescriptions help regulate ovulation in people with PCOS who are trying to become pregnant. Those with infertility and PCOS may also be given injections of gonadotropins to help grow the chances of pregnancy.
  • Assisted reproductive technology. In vitro fertilization (IVF) will be helpful for those with PCOS complications in getting pregnant.

Treatment options available for anyone suffering with hormonal imbalances are:

  • Metformin. A prescription for type 2 diabetes, metformin can help control or lower blood sugar levels.
  • Levothyroxine. Meds containing levothyroxine, such as Synthroid and Levothroid, can help boost symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Treatment options  available for men with hormonal imbalances are:

  • Testosterone medications. Gels and patches compromising testosterone can help lower symptoms of hypogonadism and other conditions that develop low levels of testosterone, such as late or stunted puberty.

Natural remedies

People have used organic supplements to treat hormonal imbalances for decades.

Although, there are no natural cures that have been constantly proven in clinical studies to manage hormonal imbalances and their causes, apart from lifestyle changes.

Natural supplements generally used for lower the symptoms related to hormonal imbalances include:

  • red clover, black cohosh, dong quai, and evening primrose oil for hot flashes caused by menopause
  • ginseng for irritability, anxiousness, and sleep issues developed by menopause
  • ginseng, and maca for ED

Lifestyle changes that can help lower the likelihood and symptoms of hormonal imbalances are:

  • maintaining a healthy body weight
  • not microwaving foods and drinks in plastics
  • eating a nutritious and balanced diet
  • buying fruits and vegetables that have not been sprayed with pesticides or ripening chemicals
  • exercising regularly
  • do not use cleaning products that include toxic chemicals, such as bleach
  • practicing good personal hygiene, focusing on washing areas with a lot of natural oils, such as the face, neck, back, and chest
  • use glass containers to keep and heat foods and drinks
  • replacing older non-stick pans with ceramic pans
  • use over-the-counter acne washes and medicated creams or tubes for minor to moderate acne
  • replacing older non-stick pans with ceramic pans
  • Keep away from triggers that cause hot flashes, such as hot weather and spicy, rich, or hot foods and drinks
  • avoiding packaged foods
  • reducing and managing stress
  • limiting sugary foods and refined carbohydrates
  • practicing yoga, meditation, or guided visualization

Outlook

Almost everybody encounters at least once or twice periods of hormonal imbalance during their lifetime.

Hormonal imbalances are more normal during pubescence, menstruation, and pregnancy. But many people experience continual, irregular hormonal imbalances.

Numerous hormonal imbalances are caused by external factors, such as stress or hormone medications. But, hormonal imbalances can also be developed by any medical condition that affects or includes the endocrine system or glands.

A person should consult a doctor about constant unexplained symptoms, especially those that cause pain, discomfort, or interfere with daily activities.