These Signs Show You Clearly Have a Hormonal Imbalance

Natural hormonal changes can be difficult. There’s nothing wrong with an occasional flux, but a true imbalance has severe consequences, says Medical Daily. These are the more common symptoms of a hormone imbalance. One memory-related issue is actually quite treatable — but you need to recognize it (see page 10).

1. Weak nails

Cutting nails using nail clipper - close up

Weak nails could signal more than a nutrition problem. | MichalLudwiczak/iStock/Getty Images

Hormone issue: a cortisol imbalance

Adrenal glands secrete numerous hormones, and they can get fatigued just like you. Adrenal fatigue disrupts your cortisol rhythm, causing your glands to produce too much or not enough cortisol, according to Mind Body Green. Brittle nails that break easily are one signal that something’s off with your cortisol production.

Next: Growth is great — unless it’s in your mouth.

2. Growths on your lips and tongue

girl with a serious sore throat

Your tongue can tell you a lot. | patrisyu/iStock/Getty Images

Hormone issue: a disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia II

If growths appear around the nerves of your mucous membranes — like your tongue and lips — this could signal a rare, genetic disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia (type II). As your endocrine system overproduces hormones, this disease increases your chance of developing thyroid cancer to 95%. Medecine and surgery can help treat this disorder.

Next: You may want to lose weight but you don’t want to lose this.

3. Hair loss

Hair loss

It’s normal with aging, but hair loss can indicate other things too. | :Manuel-F-O/Getty Images

Hormone issue: too much testosterone

This hormonal imbalance often involves a drop in hair-growth-related hormones, like estrogen and progesterone, and a spike in hair-loss-related hormones, like testosterone. Although both men and women experience this imbalance, men deal with it more often because they naturally have more testosterone.

Next: The worst kind of nighttime activity

4. Night sweats

Bare Feet of a Young Woman on White Bed

No position is comfortable when you’ve got night sweats. | burakkarademir/Getty Images

Hormone issue: low testosterone or low progesterone

Both men and women may experience night sweats due to a hormone imbalance. It happens in men when testosterone levels are low; it occurs with women when progesterone levels are low and estrogen levels rise, says Medical Daily. This is reason enough to work on your stress levels.

Next: Your face will look funny with this odd symptom.

5. Thinning of the outer third of your eyebrows

woman plucking eyebrow

Overplucking isn’t the culprit with this eyebrow issue. |

Hormone issue: hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism

Abnormally sparse eyebrows often accompany other symptoms of an over- or underactive thyroid. If you’ve backed away from the tweezers and still notice your eyebrows significantly thinning, especially on the outer edges, check in with your doctor. With the right prescription, you can have your eyebrows back in a few months.

Next: Unless your arm is asleep you shouldn’t feel this sensation.

6. Tingling limbs

woman with leg pain sitting in the grass

This uncomfortable sign might also come with burning or tingling in your limbs. |

Hormone issue: changes in estrogen

This symptom is much more common in women. Many report feeling tingling in their extremities, especially around menopause. The Australian Menopause Centre says hormone fluctuations, especially changes in estrogen levels, are to blame for this uncomfortable feeling. In addition to that pins-and-needles feeling no one wants, you may also experience numbness or a burning or crawling sensation.

While you’re more likely to notice this symptom around menopause, that’s not the only time your estrogen levels can change, so be wary.

Next: Do you love caffeine a little too much?

7. Dependence on coffee

A person pours some coffee.

A whole pot of coffee is overkill for most people. | Sasha_Suzi/iStock/Getty Images

Hormone issue: insulin resistance

This hormonal resistance pattern can cause you to reach for four, five, or even six cups of coffee during the day. You may know insulin resistance in connection with type-2 diabetes, but it’ll also throw your body off-whack when your body creates ineffective insulin, resulting in fat storage and excessive caffeine consumption.

Next: Bigger isn’t better when it comes to your health.

8. A puffy face

Man looks in mirror

Swollen eyelids, cheeks, and other facial features could signal more than a hangover or bad night’s sleep. | Source: iStock

Hormone issue: hypothyroidism

When your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones, your face may appear swollen, according to Healthline. It may be easier to attribute puffy eyelids to a poor night’s sleep, but it should be taken seriously if you experience facial swelling in addition to other symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Next: Aspirin won’t help this hormone issue.

9. Migraines

Man suffers from migraine

You can’t get anything done with a horrible headache. | Source: iStock

Hormone issue: low testosterone or changes in estrogen

Waking up with serious headaches? For men, research suggests low levels of testosterone could be to blame. Testosterone replacement therapy isn’t viable for all men, but you can talk to your doctor about options. As for women, changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can trigger migraines, Everyday Health reports, so don’t be surprised if you start reaching for the Advil around menopause.

Next: This memory-related issue is treatable if you can recognize it.

10. Forgetfulness

Hormonal imbalance can cause brain fog.

Memory fog can be a sign of hormonal imbalance. |

Hormone issue: progesterone and estrogen fluctuations

Forgot the year you graduated high school? Your hormones could be to blame. According to WebMD, experts believe progesterone and estrogen changes can cause hormone-induced brain fog. This could be worse for menopausal women, as fluctuating hormone levels can cause unclear thinking.

Next: Fighting with your bathroom scale?

11. Weight gain

Hormonal imbalance might cause weight gain.

Unexplained weight gain may be a sign. |

Hormone issue: leptin resistance

If your body develops a resistance to the hormone leptin, your brain may trick itself into thinking you’re starving, which causes inappropriate fat storage. Jill Coleman, C.P.T., tells Prevention when your hormones are balanced, your metabolism will function properly, which helps keep your weight in a healthy range.

Next: Another scary issue with your limbs

12. Frozen shoulder syndrome

senior with painful arm during rehabilitation

Frozen shoulder can be completely disabling for years. | Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Hormone issue: low estrogen

This condition causes your shoulder to stiffen over time, according toWebMD. Thankfully, you eventually regain mobility, but the process can take up to three years. Those between the ages of 40 and 60 are most likely to develop frozen shoulder syndrome, but hormonal conditions increase your risk, too. If you have thyroid disease or diabetes, you may be more likely to get it.

Next: Is your sex life in trouble?

13. Low sex drive

elderly couple having coffee together

You may be able to blame your nonexistent sex drive on your hormones. |

Hormone issue: imbalance of estrogen and progesterone

Couples can attribute a fizzling sex life to a loss of connection, but hormones affect many women’s low libido. Dr. Sara Gottfried, M.D., explains the cause of a low sex drive in 70% of cases is hormonal. While rising stress levels and an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone can be a female’s culprit, fluctuating testosterone levels can be problematic in both genders.

Next: This is why you feel tired 24/7.

14. Fatigue

man rubbing his eyes while he works on a laptop

Your tiredness may not be as normal as you think. | iStock/Getty Images

Hormone issue: thyroid imbalance

If you’ve been sleeping at least eight hours and you still carry a huge mug of coffee around with you every morning, you may have imbalanced hormones. BodyLogicMD explains an imbalance can make women feel tired, especially around menopause. Fatigue may come on more gradually for men if it’s a sign of a hormonal issue. If you’re noticing you’re consistently drowsy, this is worth considering.

Next: An explanation for how big your belly feels right now

15. Bloating

Woman struggling to button her jeans

Having trouble buttoning your jeans? Consider this a sign. |

Hormone issue: progesterone imbalance

Hormone changes can disrupt digestion in either gender, leading to gas and constipation (aka bloat). However, Nanette Santoro, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist, tells Shape an imbalance involving progesterone is likely the culprit for women. While you sort out your hormones, avoid cruciferous and high-fat foods, which can make bloating worse.

Next: Does it feel impossible to shake the sadness?

16. Depression

man holding his head in sadness or pain

Your high levels of stress hormones could be the problem. |

Hormone issue: too much cortisol and adrenaline

If you can’t shake the dark cloud over your head, ask your doctor about a hormonal imbalance. According to, an excess of cortisol and adrenaline can lead to depression, as those with this mental disorder have an increased level of these hormones in their blood.

Next: You need a vital hormone to relieve this symptom.

17. Muscle loss

Active older man working out in the gym

Low testosterone can lead to muscle loss. | Liderina/iStock/Getty Images

Hormone issue: low testosterone

Muscle loss is a huge sign your hormones are out of whack. An imbalance involving too little testosterone in the body can lead to muscle loss, weight gain, and a loss in bone density, says Women can have this imbalance, too; age and stress have a lot to do with declining testosterone levels.

Next: There may be a medical reason behind your increasing anxiety. 

18. Stress

A couple receiving counseling

Counseling can greatly help you reduce your stress levels. | Vadim Guzhva/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Hormone issue: increased cortisol

The stress hormone, cortisol, can help you stay prepared and alert when faced with danger, for example. But the Calm Clinic explains an issue with your thyroid, the gland that produces hormones, can actually cause an overproduction. If cortisol is being produced at high speed, then your anxiety symptoms are going to skyrocket.

Next: Is your junk food habit ruining your hormones?

19. Cravings

a table of unhealthy snacks

Don’t give in to your candy and potato chip cravings. |

Hormone issue: adrenal fatigue or leptin resistance

If you’re craving sugar or salt more than usual, it’s time to pay attention. Mindbodygreen says hormone issues like adrenal fatigue, insulin resistance, or excess leptin are typical reasons you’re reaching for the junk food.

Next: This alarming symptom is more common than you think. 

20. Fibrocystic breasts

woman checking her breasts for abnormalities

Fibrocystic breasts are extremely common. |

Hormone issue: changes in estrogen and progesterone

If you suddenly notice your breast tissue feels tender, lumpy, or rope-like in texture, don’t panic just yet. The Mayo Clinic says you could have fibrocystic breasts, which over half of women experience. And many women actually have fibrocystic tissue with no symptoms whatsoever. If you’re in your 50s or around the time of menopause, the hormonal changes can cause this.

There’s good news for women past this age — you’re highly unlikely to get this annoying symptom. So if you’re over the hump of menopause and you notice breast tenderness or lumps, check with your doctor.

Additional reporting by Meg Dowell.