Not feeling great – what are hormone imbalance symptoms?

Most of the clients that I work with in my nutrition and women’s wellness practice come to me because of hormonal imbalances. Sometimes this is obvious, for example a woman who has missing or irregular menstrual cycles. Other times it is less clear, she just knows that something is not quite right and suspects it is hormone related. But what are hormone imbalance symptoms that you should be aware of as a woman?

What are hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers which govern many of the processes in your body. They are released from endocrine glands such as the hypothalamus, pituitary and ovaries. Hormones have many different roles in the body. They control your response to stressors, your digestion and metabolism and your reproductive function. Hormone imbalance symptoms can therefore show up in unexpected ways!

Your hormones have a huge effect on how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. As women we have a different life experience to men. Whereas men operate on a 24 hour hormonal clock, aligned with the sun (known as the circadian rhythm), women cycle with both the sun and the moon. Alisa Vitti calls this monthly cycle our infradian rhythm.

What are hormone imbalance symptoms?

So what are hormone imbalance symptoms that suggest something is not quite right? Here are some signs to look out for during your next period:

  • Severe painful cramps or back pain
  • Short period (3 days or less)
  • Long period (7 days or more)
  • Heavy period
  • Light or scanty period
  • Clots in period blood
  • Spotting between periods

Other symptoms can occur throughout your cycle, particularly during the pre-menstrual phase. Some of the most common hormone imbalance symptoms are:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Excessive breast tenderness
  • Pre-menstrual mood swings and irritability
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Lack of ovulation

These are symptoms that many women experience and we consider to be “normal”. However, if you experience these symptoms month after month, it could be a sign of hormonal imbalance.

what are hormone imbalance symptoms
Photo by Sora Shimazaki on

What is the meaning of hormone imbalance symptoms?

Hormone imbalance symptoms can be a sign of minor disruption in your body. Other times they can indicate a more serious or systemic issue. Hormone imbalances can be metabolic in nature, for example Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). They may be stress related, such as Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (HA). Or they can also be more mechanical, such as Endometriosis or Fibroids where there is a physical obstruction in the uterus causing symptoms.

What are hormone imbalance symptoms causes?

Our hormonal systems are extremely sensitive and interconnected. Therefore a small disruption in one hormone can lead to a cascade throughout the system. The three major causes of hormonal imbalance symptoms are:

  1. Diet and nutrition
  2. Lifestyle including movement, sleep, life balance
  3. Stress management

Often when you visit our GP for hormone imbalance symptoms, you receive a prescription for the contraceptive pill. Otherwise you may be diagnosed with PCOS or endometriosis and told you need surgery or lifelong medication to manage your symptoms. I believe firmly in making lifestyle changes FIRST and medical intervention should be the last resort or for severe cases.

How can I track hormone imbalance symptoms?

I recommend menstrual cycle tracking to all of my clients, regardless of whether they are experiencing hormone imbalance symptoms. It’s an empowering tool for you as a woman to know where you are in our menstrual cycle. Being aware of changes month to month helps you to understand how your lifestyle affects your hormonal health and therefore overall wellbeing.

Another option is to have your hormone levels tested via a blood test. A one off blood test can be used to diagnose certain conditions such as PCOS or HA. However, as your hormone levels change throughout the month, a single snapshot might not give you the information you need to see the whole picture. Other options are the Forth Female Hormone Mapping test and the DUTCH test. These are more expensive but give you much more information than a one-off blood test.

Ready to learn more about your cycle and hormonal health?

In September I will be hosting a FREE webinar about understanding your female body and your cycle. You will learn:

  • Your unique female anatomy (physically and energetically)
  • Key hormones and menstrual cycle phases
  • What a “normal” menstrual cycle looks like
  • Hormone imbalance symptoms to watch out for

If you want to join, send me a message with your name and I will add you to the guest list. I will be announcing the exact date and time shortly over on my Instagram and Facebook pages so make sure to follow me there!

Over to you…

If you would like to work with me 1-2-1 to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We will create a plan tailored to your individual needs and vision for your health. I will then be there for support, guidance and accountability as you work towards your goals!

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