Skip to main content

We’ve updated our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. By using this site, you agree to these terms.

Bloating, fatigue, hair thinning — what’s going on? Learn about the symptoms of hormonal imbalance and when to see a doctor.

Hormones, produced by the endocrine glands, control many of your body’s functions. When one of them is out of whack, it can cause serious effects throughout your whole body.

What causes a hormonal imbalance?

Produced by the glands in the endocrine system, hormones travel through the bloodstream to communicate with tissues and organs, telling them how to function. Hormones help regulate many bodily systems including:

  • Growth and development
  • Blood pressure
  • Metabolism
  • Blood sugar
  • Reproductive cycles
  • Mood

“Too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream can have wide-ranging effects on your body,” says Dr. Carol Myers, an internal medicine doctor at Geisinger. 

Many different factors can affect how hormones are produced. Naturally occurring changes including pregnancy and menopause can alter your hormone levels. Age, lifestyle, certain medications and health issues can also be factors in hormonal imbalances.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

Hormonal imbalance can have many different signs, depending on the hormone(s) involved. Along with the sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, you have more than 50 of these messenger chemicals traveling throughout your body.

You may notice several different signs if something goes awry, but the symptoms are nonspecific. Some symptoms of a hormonal imbalance include:

  • Dry skin
  • Thinning hair
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Sweating
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain
  • Sudden, unexpected weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Infertility

Symptoms may also be different for men and women. 

A hormonal imbalance in women can result in:

  • Low sex drive
  • Pain in the abdomen during your period
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Irregular periods
  • Skin rashes
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Men can have these symptoms:

  • Low sex drive
  • Thinning hair
  • Loss of muscle
  • Erectile dysfunction

Testing, treatment and follow-up care

If you think you might have a hormonal imbalance, talk to your doctor. 

“Because these symptoms are so general and can be related to a myriad of different disorders, having a detailed conversation with your doctor is a good first step,” says Dr. Myers.

Depending on your symptoms, your doctor can suggest the best testing or refer you to an endocrinologist, a specialist who focuses on the endocrine system.

Blood and urine tests can target certain hormone levels, depending on your symptoms. Your doctor can also order imaging tests to determine whether a tumor might be causing changes in your hormone production.

Treatment can include medication, including hormone therapy, and lifestyle changes. The good news is that, in many cases, a hormonal imbalance can be managed or even reversed with proper treatment.

Next steps: 

Meet Carol Myers, DO
Where’d my libido go? 4 causes of low sex drive in women
How to ease your menopause symptoms
Annual health screenings: Your key to better health

Content from General Links with modal content