What Is Hormone Imbalance?

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Hormone levels can be thrown off balance by lifestyle habits, environmental factors, or underlying medical conditions. Too much or too little of a particular hormone in your bloodstream can lead to symptoms or other health changes that require medical treatment.

Hormones are essential messengers because they help support many different functions of the body, including metabolism, reproduction, sleep, digestion, and more.

This article discusses the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hormone imbalances.

A woman holding a pill with a cup of water and pill organizer

Westend61 / Getty Images

What Are Symptoms of a Hormone Imbalance?

The body has dozens of hormones that regulate various systems, like breathing, mood, growth, and sexual development. Depending on which hormone becomes out of balance, it's possible to experience multiple symptoms.

Signs of a hormone imbalance include:

What Causes a Hormone Imbalance?

Hormone levels in the body naturally fluctuate (or change) throughout the day and your lifetime. People typically notice hormone-based changes during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause.

Sometimes, certain lifestyle factors or underlying medical conditions can cause hormone levels to run too high or too low, including:

How Is a Hormone Imbalance Diagnosed?

While you might notice signs of a hormone imbalance at home, you'll need an official diagnosis from a healthcare provider to inform a treatment plan. They will likely ask questions about your symptoms and medical history before performing a physical exam and potentially ordering lab tests to confirm any imbalances.

One test commonly ordered includes a blood test to check certain hormone levels. As the endocrine system releases hormones, the glands distribute them into the bloodstream. From there, the test results will provide information on which hormones may have lower- or higher-than-normal levels.

How Is a Hormone Imbalance Treated?

The treatment plan a healthcare provider recommends will vary depending on the underlying cause of the hormone imbalance. 

Some examples of treatment options include:

A healthcare provider may also recommend lifestyle adjustments to help support the medical treatment plan. This includes:

  • Managing your stress levels
  • Keeping up with an exercise routine
  • Incorporating mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet

While some supplements have been touted as beneficial for hormone imbalances, there’s not enough scientific evidence to officially recommend them as a treatment. Always check with a healthcare provider before stopping any prescribed medications or adding vitamins or supplements to your routine.

Managing Hormone Imbalances

Because hormones have a substantial impact on your body and overall wellness, any fluctuations have the potential to affect your overall health.

The good news is many hormone imbalances are typically manageable. But if not treated or regulated correctly, it's possible to develop additional chronic health conditions, such as:

Coping With a Hormone Imbalance

Hormones are a small but mighty part of our bodies. When they get out of control, the resulting imbalances can impact your overall health and quality of life. While some hormonal imbalances may not be entirely preventable, it is possible to cope by adapting the following strategies:

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Practicing stress management techniques
  • Incorporating healthy sleep habits
  • Managing any other health conditions you may have
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding triggers like warm temperatures 

While these lifestyle changes can help you cope with unregulated hormone levels, continuing your prescribed medical treatment plan is important. Check with a healthcare provider if you notice any new or sudden symptoms that concern you.


Hormones are responsible for many different bodily functions, including reproduction, mood, sleep, growth, and metabolism, to name a few. Sometimes, hormone levels become too high or too low, thanks to lifestyle, environmental, or underlying health factors. When this is the case, you might notice various symptoms, from weight changes to hair loss to fatigue, depending on the specific hormone affected.

Because some hormone imbalances can potentially lead to health complications, it's a good idea to seek medical treatment when you notice a pattern of symptoms. Treatment options may include hormone replacement therapy, hormonal birth control, prescription medications, or surgical procedures to treat the underlying issue. Lifestyle tweaks to incorporate optimal sleeping, eating, and stress-reduction habits will likely also be recommended.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. MedlinePlus. Endocrine disease.

  2. MedlinePlus. Hormones.

  3. Endocrine Society. Your health and hormones.

  4. Endocrine Society. Hormones and endocrine function.

  5. Russell G, Lightman S. The human stress responseNat Rev Endocrinol. 2019;15(9):525-534. doi:10.1038/s41574-019-0228-0

  6. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Endocrine diseases.

  7. MD Anderson Cancer Center. Hormones and cancer: What's the link?.

  8. Nemours. Endocrine system (for teens).

By Cristina Mutchler
Cristina Mutchler is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in national media, specializing in health and wellness content.