How to Manage Hormone Fluctuations

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Hormones are chemical messengers that control a variety of functions in your body. Hormones control almost every aspect of organ function, from metabolism to growth. Sex hormones control reproductive and sexual health, although they can also have effects throughout the body. Since hormones have such a wide-ranging impact, hormonal fluctuations can affect your overall health.

Hormone levels naturally change at certain points in your life—like during puberty and pregnancy—or as you age. However, in some cases, hormonal fluctuations can be caused by underlying health conditions.

Here’s an overview of hormonal fluctuations in males and females, including what’s typical and when you may want to speak with a healthcare provider. 

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What Are Hormone Fluctuations?

Hormone fluctuations are changes to hormone levels. Hormone levels naturally change throughout a person’s lifetime. For example, both males and females experience a surge in sex hormones during puberty and a decrease in sex hormone levels as they age. 

Hormone Fluctuations and Your Period

Hormonal fluctuations are particularly normal for females, who experience changing hormone levels throughout their monthly menstrual cycle. Through the first portion of the cycle, levels of the hormone estrogen climb, until ovulation. Then, estrogen levels fall, while levels of progesterone begin to rise.

Sometimes, hormone levels can change because of an underlying medical condition. Conditions including thyroid disease, diabetes, and even stress can change your endocrine system—the glands throughout your body that produce hormones—and cause your hormone levels to fluctuate.

In some cases, hormone fluctuations can also be caused by environmental toxins that affect the endocrine system. These are known as endocrine disruptors

Signs and Symptoms

Since hormones affect almost every body system, the symptoms of hormone fluctuations vary widely. However, there are certain symptoms that may point to atypical hormone fluctuations.

As always, if you feel that something is not right with your body, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider and advocate for the care that you need. 

 The signs and symptoms of hormone fluctuations can include:

Many times, these conditions come on over time. It can be helpful to keep a journal of symptoms to help your healthcare provider get an accurate idea about the symptoms that you are experiencing. 

How to Manage and Prevent Fluctuations

Hormone fluctuations are often part of the typical functioning of your body. However, generally speaking, staying healthy and active can help keep your endocrine system functioning well.

You can help to regulate your hormone levels and manage fluctuations by:

  • Eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly
  • Regularly visiting a healthcare provider (especially if you have a history or family history of endocrine disorders)
  • Getting adequate sleep, which is crucial for hormone regulation

Sometimes, however, hormone fluctuations require medical treatment. The treatment will depend on which hormone levels are too high or too low, and what the levels are. It also depends on what symptoms you are experiencing.

Oftentimes, treatment focuses on controlling symptoms, rather than just treating hormone levels independently.

If you are experiencing symptoms of hormone fluctuations, your healthcare provider will likely order testing to measure your hormone levels, in addition to talking to you about what symptoms are making you feel unwell. 

Medications to Treat Hormone Fluctuations

Depending on the cause of your hormone fluctuations, your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to help regulate your hormones. These can include:

  • Hormonal birth control: This can help regulate hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle.
  • Hormone therapy: Commonly used to control the symptoms of menopause, hormone therapy can include estrogen-only treatments or treatments that include other hormones. 
  • Testosterone replacement therapy: This is used for males who experience low levels of testosterone, which can delay puberty or interfere with sexual functioning.
  • Antithyroid drugs: These are used to treat people who have an overactive thyroid that produces too much hormone.
  • Thyroid hormone replacement drugs: These are used to help people who have an underactive thyroid that doesn’t produce enough hormone. 

If your thyroid is the source of your hormonal fluctuations, there are an array of treatments in addition to medication.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do hormone fluctuations cause moodiness?

Changing hormone levels are linked to mood swings. Particularly in women, it’s believed that hormone levels affect the sensitivity of the neurotransmitter systems. As hormone levels change, people can experience more or less activity in certain areas of the brain. This can lead to emotional symptoms or even mental health challenges like depression.

When should I seek medical attention for hormone fluctuations?

Hormone fluctuations aren’t problematic in and of themselves. If your hormone levels are changing but you still feel healthy and well, there’s no need to have your hormones measured.

However, if the symptoms of hormone fluctuations begin affecting your life, it’s a good idea to check in with a healthcare provider. If you’re suddenly having hot flashes that make it hard to sleep or are unable to have sex because of erectile dysfunction, a checkup is in order. 

Will hormone fluctuations affect mothers during pregnancy? 

Pregnant people experience lots of fluctuations in their hormone levels. This continues while they are nursing—if they choose to do so. The hormone fluctuations that occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding are normal and expected. However, they can cause symptoms like heightened emotions or depression.

A Word From Verywell

Hormones control nearly every aspect of your bodily functions. That means that when something goes wrong with your hormones—when you have too many, or too few—it can have a wide-ranging impact on your health.  

Some hormone fluctuations are typical—particularly during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, puberty, and with aging. During these times, you might notice symptoms like changes to your weight or sensitivity to mood. Unless these symptoms impact your functioning, you can likely control them through healthy eating, exercise, and waiting for them to pass. 

Sometimes, however, hormonal fluctuations require medical treatment. If you have symptoms like severe acne, sudden weight gain, or trouble sleeping, you should speak to a healthcare provider about whether hormonal fluctuations may be to blame, and what treatment options can work for you.

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Article Sources
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