While we might think of sex hormones in light of all things reproduction, the reality is that in both men and women, these important chemical messengers influence everything from metabolism to moods to libido.
In short, our sex hormones, and their balance with one another, are a pretty big deal when it comes to how we feel day-to-day.
When the levels of our hormones are higher or lower than optimal, or when they are rising and falling out of sync with one another, we may find that we don't feel our best, and it's hard to explain how or why.
This is what we call a hormone imbalance, and it’s more common than you might think in this day and age.
Here are 5 telltale signs you may be experiencing a hormone imbalance.
1. Heavy, painful, OR irregular periods
Ok so periods aren’t exactly meant to be a super fun few days you look forward to each month, but you shouldn’t be dreading them either.
When our hormones are nicely balanced, our period comes and goes each month without much fuss, and certainly no drama.
Experiencing PMS before your period, or having a rough time when it arrives is a sure sign your sex hormones are in need of some love.
Keep an eye out for the following signs of hormone imbalance:
- PMS-type symptoms that show up in the days to week before your period, such as mood swings, bloating, breast tenderness, sugar cravings and fatigue.
- Period cramps around the lower back and abdomen that have you reaching for a hot water bottle and Panadol.
- Irregular periods - the kind that come and go as they please.
- Missing periods (known as amenorrhea).
- Heavy periods that leave you feeling wiped out and depleted.
2. Weight gaiN
Realising that last season's jeans no longer fit is generally not a great feeling, and is even worse when you can’t understand why. The same goes for giving weight loss your all and seeing no change at all.
The single biggest cause of weight loss resistance is hormones, meaning that almost anyone who struggles with their weight, is also struggling with their hormones.
Don’t get us wrong, calories in/calories out do matter, but hormones matter too. Maybe even more.
Keep an eye out for the following signs of hormone-related weight loss resistance
- Stubborn weight around the hips and thighs, often an imbalance related to our lovely feminising hormone that gives us our curves.
- Weight gain around the middle, which can be related to insulin, cortisol or testosterone.
- Significant weight fluctuations throughout your cycle.
- Diagnosed PCOS, or other signs of excess androgens such as acne, irregular or absent periods, and unwanted body hair.
3. Mood Swings
If you’ve ever had a meltdown over something relatively minor, only to get your period the next day, you’ll be well aware of the impact fluctuating hormones can have on how we think and feel.
Our key sex hormones oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone have close relationships with key neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and GABA.
This means that when our hormones are out of balance, the chemicals in our brain that relax us, help us sleep, and generally make us feel good can be out of balance too.
Keep an eye out for the following signs of hormone imbalance:
- Moods that swing from one extreme to the other.
- Feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
- Feeling irritable - small things annoy you more than they should.
- Difficulty falling asleep at night, particularly in the last week or two of your cycle.
- Generally feeling down and lacking motivation.
4. Skin concerns
You feel like you’re doing all the right things when it comes to your skin. You eat well, stay hydrated, and your skincare routine is on point. Your skin however, doesn’t really care.
Skin concerns can be complex, and are often more affected by what’s going on on the inside, rather than the outside—including the balance of our hormones.
Keep an eye out for the following signs of hormone-related skin concerns:
- Acne along the cheeks, jawline, chin and neck - weren’t you meant to shake zits off in your teens?
- Oily skin and hair that demands to be washed almost every day.
- Dry, thin and sensitive skin, or skin that seems to be ageing in a hurry.
- Your skin always breaks out before your period, in fact, that’s generally how you know it’s en route.
5. Low energy and libido
Feel like your ‘get up and go’ has got up and left? Sometimes the signs of hormone imbalance aren’t so easy to put your finger on.
We’ve spoken to many women who generally just feel a bit “out of balance,” or like they’ve “lost their mojo,” and aren’t sure whether something’s wrong, or if this is just what happens as you get older.
If this is you, we’re here to tell you that you are not broken, and this is not your life now. Low energy levels, motivation and libido can all be signs of imbalance in the body that can be restored with the right support.
Keep an eye out for the following:
- Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, or starting the day without a good dose of caffeine.
- Feeling a wave of sluggishness mid-afternoon that seriously makes you wonder how you’ll make it through the rest of the day.
- You can’t remember the last time you were ‘in the mood’ - your sex drive has totally gone on vacay.
Feeling unsure about your hormone balance?
Our Cycle Quiz is your 'step one' for gaining clarity into your body, and is designed to give you an idea of where your hormone balance may be at
Want to go deep?
Testing your hormones is the fastest and easiest way to find out what’s really going on in your unique body. The Eve Test Complete can tell you just that while also empowering you with diet, lifestyle and nutritional recommendations to support hormone balance in your unique body.
Want to just get started with tailored support?
Our new range of supplements have been specifically formulated to target the issues you’ve told us affect you the most.
- Period Pal works to balance our natural sex hormones to support drama-free cycles,
- Chill Pills bring feelings of calm at times you need them the most, and
- Take Me With The Pill replenishes the key nutrients, minerals, probiotics and antioxidants you need to thrive while taking hormonal contraception.
Because we get it. Hormones, and more specifically; hormone imbalances, can be confusing. But they don’t have to be.