Our hormones are crucial for a mentally and physically balanced life. They generally help with processes like metabolism, digestion and reproduction. Women experience more hormonal changes in their body than men which can affect their lifestyle or mental state. Here are 10 signs you may be experiencing hormonal imbalance:
1. Digestive issues
Hormonal imbalance could lead to episodes of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). There are three reasons for this:
- There are hormone receptors within the cell linings of the gastrointestinal tract;
- Low levels of serotonin, also called the happy hormone, are linked to digestive discomfort and IBS;
- When your hormones fluctuate, your digestive process also changes.
2. Food cravings
Hormonal imbalance can also lead to changes in your appetite. You may feel a greater urge to eat before your period starts. Again, blame it on the hormones. That’s because your body may be producing more ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone. This will drive you to grab more snacks during the day.
3. Weight gain
There can be many causes for weight gain, ranging from diet, age or genetics. Hormonal imbalance could also be a factor. If you are regularly exercising and maintain a healthy diet, but without losing any weight, then your hormones might be fluctuating too much.
For many women, headaches are part of their PMS routine. This usually occurs when estrogen levels drop. Make sure you keep a journal so that it’s easier to track down what triggers your severe headaches. You should be getting enough quality sleep, stay hydrated, exercise, and eat the right foods.
5. Brain fog
Brain fog is associated with poor concentration, memory lapse and for many women isn’t just a sign of aging. Hormonal imbalance might be what’s causing it. This is interrelated with low estrogen levels which puts women at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease as they get older.
6. Mood swings
If you noticed you are getting angrier, more irritable or more emotional before your period, then you might be dealing with hormonal imbalance. You could also feel more anxious or depressed during your PMS, another sign that there’s something out of balance.
7. Decreased libido
No one in their right mind would feel like being intimate with someone when they’re bloated, anxious and with a headache. Even though sex could relieve some of the symptoms (ironically), it’s hard to get in the mood. Again, lower estrogen can be the cause for some issues like breast tenderness or pain during intercourse.
8. Acne breakouts
Acne breakouts are more OK if you’re 15. If you’re 35, not so cool. If your face is clear throughout the month, but get a zit right before your period, then it could be hormonal balance. This time, it’s because an increase in testosterone.
9. Irregular periods
If you’re experiencing irregular periods on a regular (!) basis, then something is clearly not right somewhere. Make sure you always keep a journal and consult your doctor if other problems occur.
10. Sleep issues
Tossing and turning all night may be triggered by a hormonal imbalance. The same goes for the tendency to oversleep. All of this happens when there’s a decrease in estrogen in your body. Needless to say, poor sleep or lack thereof will greatly impact your immune system, energy throughout the day and mental state.
Many of these nasty symptoms could be addressed with some dietary changes and other activities like exercising, meditation or other relaxing activities.