11 Signs That Your Hormones Might Be Out of Balance
There are many telltale signs of hormonal issues that most of us write off as “normal.” While symptoms such as fatigue, sugar addiction, and overeating can be caused by various factors, hormone imbalance is a common culprit.
The following key indicators are the body’s way of asking us to stop, check in, and assess.
1. The Vicious Cycle
If you find that you’re not able to go more than a couple of hours without eating, it’s time to take a look at your hormone levels. Hunger between meals either indicates that you’re not getting enough nutrients, or that your adrenals are fatigued and affecting your ability to keep your blood sugar up. In addition, some people with hormone imbalance may find that the more they eat, the more they crave. This can mean that meals are taxing your ability to manage your blood sugar on the higher side. Pay attention to your hunger signs and keep a journal handy to track the duration between meals.
2. Midnight Snacking
Those who are prone to waking up repeatedly throughout the night may also be taking in a diet that’s not satisfying the body’s needs. Cortisol levels are typically low at night, which allows our blood sugar to drop naturally (signaling the liver to release less of it into the bloodstream). While low cortisol levels are obviously ideal, many of us stay awake far past our bedtimes. The body then overcompensates for the drop in blood sugar, and urges us to snack to our heart’s content. Interestingly enough, high cortisol levels are further aggravated due to lack of sleep. Lack of sleep leads to a cycle of under-sleeping and over-eating. If you find that your belly is more likely to wake you up then your alarm clock, you may be experiencing hormone imbalance.
3. The Afternoon Slump
Some drowsiness after eating is normal, as the body uses a lot of energy to digest. However, if you find that you tend to slip into a food coma after lunch, thyroid and adrenal issues may be at play, which may cause sugar and cortisol levels to dip low. Overeating at lunch can cause inflammation as well, depending on the foods that you eat, which can then lead to fatigue and the dreaded afternoon slump.
When the hunger monster rears its ugly head, we’re prone to bouts of anger, snapping, and feelings of ungroundedness. In addition, the brain may become fuzzy, making it next to impossible to act, think, or talk straight (which can hanger us further!). If this is you, your blood sugar and cortisol levels may be out of whack, and causing exaggerated (and out of character) responses to the brain’s hunger signal.
5. Sugar Blues
Craving sweets after eating can be surprising, especially after enjoying a large meal. If you find that you must have a dessert after every meal, you may have a telltale sign of insulin resistance. Many sugar “addictions” are actually caused by issues with the adrenals (the gland responsible for hormone management), pancreas, and thyroid, lowering estrogen production and leading to insatiable cravings in an attempt to balance the body.
The inability to fall asleep easily can be due to a number of things, including high cortisol levels. When it reaches high levels, this “stress hormone” can do exactly what its moniker suggests…increase stress. If most of your days are spent in high-stress environments, elevated levels of cortisol may follow you into your rest times, highly impacting everything from digestion to moods.
8. Irregular Cycles
Aside from the usual suspects – hot flashes and irritability – the most noticeable indicator of hormone imbalance are fluctuating menstrual cycles. If you find that the time between your periods is longer and longer, or has drastically become shorter and shorter, your hormones may be fluctuating. Track your periods on a calendar to quickly catch changes in your cycle.
9. Lowered Libido
If your sex drive has taken a drastic dip, hormone imbalance may be the culprit. Lowered estrogen levels not only impact libido; they also cause painful intercourse, erratic sleep patterns, moodiness, and other factors that highly impact intimacy. Interestingly enough, too much estrogen can also impact your sex life since estrogen dominance lowers progesterone levels (which can cause depression and reproductive issues). The key is always, of course, balance.
10. Brain Fog
Have you ever experienced fuzzy thinking or clouded thoughts? Fluctuating hormones may be the cause, which is why many women are prone to brain fog during menopause and PMS. Inflammation, a sluggish thyroid, and many other hormone-affecting factors may be in play here. Studies have shown that memory is impacted by low levels of estrogen, as well, relating to the performance of the hippocampus (the memory center of the brain.)
11. Digestive Issues
Hormones can affect the digestive tract, causing a range of symptoms which include gas, nausea, bloating, and other unpleasantries. Some of the things we eat can lead to radical hormone imbalance, including excessive amounts of soy and genetically-engineered meats and dairy.
To find out more about hormonal imbalances, watch this video…
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