What is hormonal imbalance?

Hormones are an important part of controlling many of your body’s vital processes. They are produced by your endocrine glands and act as chemical messengers that travel through the body via your bloodstream. Hormones are responsible for regulating processes such as reproduction, metabolism, and more. 

When you have too much or too little of a specific hormone, you develop a hormonal imbalance. Even a small fluctuation of certain hormones can create a serious impact on your body. 

Hormones play a significant role in fertility and the development of babies. This means that a hormonal imbalance can have serious consequences for your.

Certain hormonal imbalances can affect your ability to get pregnant. Hormones regulate bodily functions such as maintaining your regular menstrual cycle, preparing your body for pregnancy, protecting unfertilized eggs, and ovulation

If just one of the processes necessary for pregnancy is out of balance, you may find it difficult to conceive. Hormonal imbalance can even lead to infertility.

Once you are pregnant, hormones continue to play an important role. Pregnancy hormones maintain the health of your baby, control its rate of growth, and even trigger the labor process. As a result, hormonal imbalance during pregnancy can cause problems including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, high or low birth weight, or even miscarriage.

Signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance

Your hormones fluctuate naturally during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, and other periods of life. However, if you are noticing unusual symptoms, you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance. 

One of the most common hormonal imbalances in females is a condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. Symptoms associated with PCOS and other imbalances include:

Irregular periods

One of the most prevalent signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance is an irregular menstrual period. An excessively heavy period, missed period, stopped period, frequent period, or unpredictable period may indicate that you have a hormonal imbalance. 

Excessive hair growth

Some women experience the excessive growth of hair on the chin, face, neck, or other parts of the body.

Acne

Another common sign of hormonal imbalance is acne. Acne typically develops on your face, neck, chest, or upper back. Acne sometimes occurs with melasma, or a darkening of the skin. 

Hair loss

Some women experience hair loss, which is a common indicator of hormonal imbalance.

Skin tags

In women, a hormonal imbalance can result in the development of skin tags. These are benign growths on the surface of the skin. 

Pelvic pain

Pelvic pain is sometimes an indicator of hormonal imbalance. Pelvic pain can occur during menstruation, sex, or on its own. 

Headache

Frequent headaches can be a sign of imbalance within the body. 

Excessive sweating

If you are experiencing an unusual excess of sweating or night sweats, you may have developed an imbalance of one or more hormones.

Changes in cervical mucus

The amount, consistency, and texture of cervical mucus naturally fluctuate throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. Dramatic or unusual changes in your cervical mucus can be a sign that something is amiss. 

Causes of hormonal imbalance

There are several causes of hormonal imbalance. A hormonal imbalance often develops as a result of an illness. Changes in lifestyle or diet may also be contributing factors. 

One of the most prevalent triggers for hormonal imbalance is issues with the thyroid or adrenal glands. Thyroid conditions can affect the production of certain hormones. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome is another common cause of hormonal imbalance. Irregular cycles and excessive hair growth are often indicators of PCOS. Women who have PCOS are more likely to face challenges with conception. If they do become pregnant, they must carefully monitor their hormone levels throughout pregnancy. 

Other causes of hormone imbalance include the following:

Diagnosis of Dehydration

It is important to reach out to your doctor if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant and experiencing any symptoms of hormonal imbalance or infertility. They can diagnose hormonal imbalance through a physical exam. Your doctor may also order a blood test that will be sent to a lab for analysis of your hormone levels.

Your doctor may also order additional tests, such as a:

If you are pregnant, your doctor will likely schedule regular blood tests and follow-up appointments to monitor your hormone levels over time. 

Treatments for hormonal imbalance

Depending on the type of hormonal imbalance you are experiencing, your doctor might prescribe medication or lifestyle changes. 

Treatments may include:

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Medically Reviewed on 3/10/2021
References
CDC: “PCOS and Diabetes.”

Endotext: “Endocrinology of Pregnancy.”

Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism: “Stress and hormones.”

Nursing Clinics of North America: “The endocrine basis of infertility in women.”

Nigerian Medical Journal: “Hormones in pregnancy.”

Polski merkuriusz lekarski: “Reproductive hormone metabolism in women with infertility due to polycystic ovary syndrome depending on the constitutional body types.”