Causes And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance

Causes And Symptoms Of Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones are messengers in the body that control the functions of the body, like metabolism, reproduction and even emotions. The endocrine glands make hormones which travel through the bloodstream towards the tissues and organs. Therefore, hormones play an important role in carrying messages between cells and organs. The hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas, thymus, thalamus, ovaries and testes are the different glands that produce the hormones which work together to manage the body’s hormones.

When hormones are in proper balance, they help in the body’s mechanism, but when the level of hormones are too high or too low, hormonal imbalances occur. The cause for hormonal imbalance depends upon the hormones or glands which are affected and an improper diet is one of the causes of hormonal imbalance.

Food plays an important role in the balance of hormones. The enzyme aromatase, which is found in fat tissue converts testosterone into estrogen. When the percentage of fat is high, it leads to a low testosterone-high estrogen ratio. Testosterone is essential to gain muscle and burn fat and as the levels of estrogen increases, it interacts with insulin, which causes fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Factors That Disrupt Hormonal Balance

When the body is stressed (may be physical or mental stress), it starts using up progesterone and transforms it into the stress hormone cortisol which leads to a disturbance in the estrogen-progesterone ratio.

When men age, their testosterone levels decline and when women age, both estrogen and progesterone declines. But as progesterone levels decrease faster, compared to the estrogen levels, it causes hormonal imbalances. Therefore, this is the reason why women who undergo menopause have hot flashes and mood fluctuations.

Adrenal Glands:
These glands produce cortisol that helps in regulating the cardiovascular system. When there are high levels of cortisol due to high stress levels or overuse of corticosteroid medications, leading to Cushing syndrome. The most common symptoms are weight gain, obesity, muscle weakness, high blood pressure and mood fluctuations (more irritability, anxiety).

Thyroid Issues:
Hypothyroidism occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. This leads the pituitary gland to boost TSH that increases thyroid hormone production, resulting in high TSH levels. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid hormone makes too much T4 and T3. Grave’s disease, excess iodine, or thyroiditis causes antibodies to stimulate the thyroid to secrete more hormones. High T3 and T4 can cause a high metabolic rate resulting in weight loss, rapid heart rate and hand tremors.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):
This condition causes an imbalance in the hormone levels of a woman and results in irregular menstruation cycles. Women who have PCOS are insulin-resistant and are more prone to develop Type 2 diabetes.

Other Conditions When Hormonal Imbalances


  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Hormone replacement therapy


The symptoms vary in men and women depending on the hormones which are affected.

Women may have issues like the following:

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Infertility
  • Skin tags
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Hair loss
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Difficulty in losing weight
  • Excessive hair on face and chin
  • Acne on face
  • Loss of libido
  • Recurring mood fluctuations
  • Sleep problems

Men may have issues like the following:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Decrease in body hair growth
  • Development of breast tissue
  • Loss of libido


The treatment for hormonal imbalance depends upon the particular hormone. There are hormone replacement therapies (available in injections, tablets and skin patches), birth control pills, diabetes medications (like metformin) and thyroid medications which are used for treating hormonal imbalance. The cause for hormonal imbalance depends upon the hormones or glands which are affected and an improper diet is one of the causes of hormonal imbalance.

The cause for hormonal imbalance depends upon the hormones or glands which are affected and an improper diet is one of the causes of hormonal imbalance

Tips To Avoid Hormonal Imbalance

Having a healthy balanced diet like more amount of fibre in the diet, less saturated fat, having at least four to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, opting for whole grain foods instead of refined food, etc. restores balance in the hormone system.
Exercise can also help in regulating the hormone levels which can strengthen even the endocrine system.
Maintaining ideal body weight and normal body fat percentage helps in normal hormonal balance.
Insulin is a hormone that has several functions and high insulin levels are linked to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Many researchers have shown that aerobic exercise, strength training, and endurance exercise helps in increasing insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.
Stress also creates hormonal imbalance by affecting cortisol and adrenaline levels. Meditation, yoga, laughter clubs helps in managing stress. Also, getting in at least seven to eight hours of proper sleep helps in maintaining hormonal balance.

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