Hormone Health

11 Warning Signs of Hormonal Imbalances (and how to fix them fast)

Hormones play an essential role in the proper functioning of a woman’s body. These powerful chemicals are produced in the endocrine glands and released into the bloodstream.

Their sole purpose is to issue orders to your body’s organs. Without them, the body’s major processes — growth, metabolism, mood and reproduction functioning — would fail to operate as intended.

When hormones are in harmony with the body, our moods are pleasant, we have plenty of energy and can better fight off illnesses and infections. When hormones become unbalanced, the body sends out warning signs.

Sometimes, those alerts come in the form of mood swings that make us unpleasant to be around, or extreme fatigue that makes it difficult to get off the couch and enjoy life. Other times, they come in the form of more serious medical conditions like diabetes.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance depend on which hormones or glands are working improperly. Identifying which hormones are malfunctioning is imperative in correcting the issues.

What Is Hormonal Imbalance?

Women’s bodies are amazing. Just think about everything they do, including bringing new life into the world. When their bodies work as intended, it is a beautiful thing.

Sometimes, though, their bodies get a bit out of whack. When that happens, it can cause a lot of unpleasant issues, from hair growing in weird places to horrible gas and bloating.

Hormonal imbalances occur when there is either too much or too little of a specific hormone in the bloodstream. They are the body’s normal response to certain times of transition, such as during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.

  • Perimenopause is the beginning of a woman’s journey toward menopause, which officially marks the end of her reproductive years. Hormonal changes signalling a woman is in perimenopause can begin eight to 10 years before menopause starts.Oestrogen levels fluctuate, which can cause irregular periods.Among the common symptoms are hot flashes and sleep problems, decreased libido, and changing cholesterol levels. Even though oestrogen levels will be low towards the end of perimenopause, it is still possible for a woman to get pregnant, so be sure to continue using birth control during this time.
  • Menopause starts when a woman’s oestrogen levels are so low that her ovaries no longer produce or release eggs. A woman who has gone without a period for one year will likely be declared in menopause by her gynaecologist. Among the symptoms associated with menopause are night sweats, depression, fatigue, frequent urination, and vaginal dryness.
  • Oestrogen Dominance occurs when the body overproduces oestrogen. It brings with it an uncomfortable set of symptoms, like infertility, mood swings, and weight gain. If raging oestrogen levels are left unchecked, they can lead to more serious illnesses and diseases such as cancer and thyroid dysfunction. Dietary changes and medication are the most common treatments for oestrogen dominance.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can strike a woman anytime during her fertile years and involves the over-production of the male hormone testosterone. PCOS causes infertility, irregular periods, and the excessive growth of hair on the face and body. Medications like birth control pills and diabetes drugs can be used to treat it.
  • Endometriosis is a disorder that causes the tissue found in the lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterine cavity. It can grow on the bowels, ovaries, and pelvic tissue. While it is unusual for the tissue to spread beyond the pelvic area, it is not impossible. When hormonal changes that control a woman’s menstrual cycle occur, it affects the displaced endometrial tissue. It causes the tissue to grow, thicken, and then break down — a painful process when it happens outside of the uterus where it is intended. Eventually, the tissue that has broken down outside the uterus becomes trapped in the pelvis. When this happens, it causes scar formation, severe pain during periods, and fertility problems, among other issues.

Common Signs of Hormonal Imbalance

We have all heard the jokes about hormonal women. Raging one minute and crying the next. But hormonal imbalance is no laughing matter. It can cause real discomfort and pain for women.

The good news is, there are effective methods for controlling the unpleasant symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance. It is a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any supplemental regimen. Here are some natural suggestions for dealing with some of the most common symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

1. Abdominal Weight Gain

As we age, our metabolisms become slower, making it easier than ever to gain weight. And where does that weight like to hang out? Right around the mid-section, which is the worst place it could go. This can lead to health problems down the road, including heart disease and high cholesterol. Eating too many processed sugars and carbohydrates, combined with a lack of adequate exercise and high-stress levels, can lead to packing on the pounds. 

Sometimes, there is another factor at play when abdominal weight gain occurs later in life: hormones. PCOS, an underactive thyroid, and menopause are all contributing factors to the inability to keep weight off. 

Recommendation: In addition to a sensible diet and plenty of exercise, women who find they are gaining  weight will want to add Gymnema Sylvestre to their daily care routine. Supplementing with this herb can help reduce sugar cravings, promote the regeneration of damaged cells, and block the absorption of sugar in the small intestine. Consuming 300 milligrams twice daily is ideal for weight loss. 

2. All-Over Weight Gain

When the number on the scale keeps rising no matter how much you diet or exercise, it could be a sign of a sluggish thyroid. Metabolism is regulated by the thyroid. When the thyroid overproduces or underproduces hormones, extreme weight loss or weight gain can happen. Hypothyroidism, which leads to weight gain, is far more common. 

Recommendation: Consuming chamomile can help protect the thyroid. A Greek study offered some evidence of reduced risk of thyroid abnormalities among individuals who drank chamomile tea two to six times weekly. Another helpful herbal supplement is fennel seed. Studies have indicated it also boosts thyroid health and functioning.

 

3. Afternoon Fatigue

Occasionally feeling fatigued is normal. Maybe it is due to a night of less-than-optimal sleep or a common cold.

Other times, it is our body’s way of sending out an S.O.S. When getting off the couch seems like an impossible task, adrenal fatigue could be the culprit. If the body over-produces cortisol, unpleasant side effects occur, including weight gain and fatigue.

Recommendation: We lead stressful lives, and sometimes the anxiety it causes pushes our bodies to produce too much cortisol. Supplementing with American Ginseng Extract can help promote normal cortisol production and restore energy levels. 

4. Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

Ask any woman going through perimenopause or menopause what they hate the most, and the answer is likely to be the hot flashes and night sweats. About 75 per cent of women going through the “change of life” experience hot flashes that last for up to two years. They are usually the last sign leading up to a woman’s final period. 

In addition to raising the temperature of the skin, hot flashes can elevate the heart rate. The result is not only feeling hot and sweaty but potentially also dizzy. Maca root extract can help alleviate hot flashes and other unpleasant symptoms of menopause. There is no recommended dosage of maca root, but most studies on its effectiveness for menopausal women have tested with 1.5 to 5 grams of daily intake. 

5. Perimenopausal and Menopausal Symptoms

Mood swings. Bloating. Restless sleep. Weight gain and fatigue. These are just some of the more irritating symptoms associated with the perimenopausal and menopausal phases in a woman’s life.
Periods can be a pain, and many women look forward to the day they no longer will have them. The transition period can be a bit rough, though. There are natural solutions to help ease the unpleasantness.
Maca root extract, chaste tree berry extract, and rosemary extract are some of the best supplements for supporting an easier changeover.  Studies support maca root’s therapeutic effects, suggesting it is a useful non-hormonal alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Recommendation: Women who are interested in avoiding the nasty side effects of HRT — headaches, moodiness, nausea, vaginal bleeding — may wish to try maca root instead.  Chaste tree berry also is popular for treating menopausal symptoms due to its ability to stimulate progesterone.
A recent study supports the notion that it can alleviate menopausal symptoms. If hot flashes are a nuisance, rosemary extract can help.
It is a calcium-rich plant and research suggests supplementing with calcium during menopause to help reduce symptoms. 

6. Mood Swings, Anger, and Frustration

In 70 per cent of women going through menopause, feelings of irritability were among their biggest complaints. While it is perfectly normal to experience mood swings, that does not mean women enjoy the process.

Why does menopause rage happen?

It is because oestrogen affects serotonin production, and serotonin is the hormone that regulates mood. Less oestrogen equals more moodiness.

Emotions eventually stabilise again once the process of menopause is complete, but that is of little comfort to women who are tired of dealing with moodiness. 

Recommendation: Ashwagandha extract can help ease women through the process, keeping moods a little more stable. Clinical evaluation of this natural herb supports its effectiveness in taming irritability, anxiety, and depression. 

7. Stress, Low Self-Esteem, and Low Confidence Levels

Stress is a normal part of life. For women going through menopause, it can feel like non-stop stress and anxiety, which can in turn prompt low self-esteem and low confidence levels.

When your body feels out of control — swinging through moods like a monkey in the jungle — it can be difficult to feel confident in yourself.

Recommendation: Regaining control can be as simple as supporting your daily regimen with Rhodiola, an adaptogenic plant known for balancing stress responses. 

Research demonstrates the plant’s ability to delay or mitigate these conditions when associated with menopause and hormone fluctuations. 

8. Bloating, Gas, Inflammation, and Chronic Digestive Symptoms

Remember the days when you could eat those spicy tacos or a supreme pizza with all the toppings without nary a negative effect on your body? Those days seem aeons away for women going through the change of life.
Even the most healthy, wholesome foods can trigger bloating, gas, inflammation, and chronic digestive symptoms that make it embarrassing to be around others after eating. 
Recommendation: Chamomile is long revered for its ability to soothe testy tummies. Whilst it is true that chamomile has its benefits, fennel extract is a literal saviour for your digestive tract, rescuing it from the grips of gas and bloating.
Fennel plants and seeds both contain components that can rid bacteria from the intestinal tract, reducing the likelihood of gassiness and upset stomach.
Adding them to your meals or tea is a great way to include them in your daily diet. 

9. Irritability and Cramping Before Menstrual Cycle

Perhaps the only thing worse than heavy bleeding is the irritability and intense cramping that happen right before getting one.
That cramping and bleeding — along with random bouts of irritability — can worsen as women shift from perimenopause into full-blown menopause.
Recommendation: Taking chaste tree berry extract can help control the hormones raging out of control and assist with heavy bleeding and painful cramping. A systemic review of the use of chaste tree berry for this purpose lends support to its effectiveness.

10. Decreased Desire...

The freedom to have relations without the added worry of pregnancy is a freeing feeling for many women. It is perhaps one of the biggest perks of finally reaching the other side of menopause.
Unfortunately, menopause often brings with it a reduced desire thanks to lower levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Recommendation: Maca root extract an acclaimed super herb because of it's due to its potent effects on desire — a claim backed by research. Consider adding it to your diet if decreased desire is an issue.
 

11. Increased Feelings of Hunger

Fluctuating hormones already have the potential to pack on pounds where we least want them. It can be difficult to control weight gain when faced with constant feelings of hunger.
During perimenopause, it is not uncommon for women to feel hungrier more often. This is due to the hormone leptin, which is supposed to help one feel full.
During perimenopause, the production of this hormone lessens, meaning women have difficulty determining if they are full, leading to overeating.
Recommendation: Supplementing with Gymnema Sylvestre is shown to help women get a handle on these mixed signals and stop overeating.

    A Final Word on Hormones

    It can be easy to sit back and let your hormones take control, blaming them for everything from a bad mood to low libido. While Perimenopause and Menopause are natural phases in a woman’s life, it does not mean they have to tolerate the unpleasant symptoms that hitch along for the ride.
    Eating right, getting plenty of exercise, and supplementing with the right vitamins and herbs can help you regain control of your life.

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