15 People Share Signs They Had a Hormone Imbalance
Editor’s note: Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health or diagnoses, please consult a doctor or medical professional.
Hormones are chemicals produced in the endocrine glands that travel through the bloodstream and assist in many bodily processes, such as metabolism and reproduction. A hormone imbalance can result from a variety of different conditions, such as hypothyroidism, a pituitary tumor or even stress. Those with an imbalance may experience a wide range of symptoms, depending on the specific condition or cause. Even small changes in your hormone levels could affect your entire body in a major way.
Diagnosing the condition causing a hormone imbalance can be difficult, as different types of hormones are tested in different ways, and many symptoms are common and found in other conditions, too. But knowing some of the signs and symptoms to watch out for could help make the diagnostic process a bit quicker. So, we asked our Mighty community to share the signs or symptoms that first indicated they had a hormonal imbalance and led them to seek a diagnosis.
Here’s what the community told us:
1. “I would sleep for 12 hours at night and still take two naps during the day. That’s fun explaining to your fellow 19-year-old friends… thanks hypothyroidism.” – Alane P.
2. “Irritability and fatigue for years. Doctors kept saying I was depressed and made me take antidepressant after antidepressant. Eventually added migraines, weight gain, hair thinning and memory issues. I even started lactating but doctors tried to say it’s normal for some women. It wasn’t until I started having vision problems and my eye doctor referred me for an MRI and asked my doctor for blood tests. Ended up finding a pituitary tumor.” – Christy P.
3. “Acne, facial hair, mood imbalance, anxiety, etc. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which causes hormonal issues.” – Jillian L.
4. “For hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) there are reportedly over 300 symptoms. For me, I experienced: fatigue, muscle aches and pains, brain fog, confusion, long recovery period, brittle hair and nails, sensitivity to cold (cold hands and feet), poor appetite, inability to lose weight, slow in movement, thoughts and speech, hoarse voice, thinned eyebrows, constipation, acid reflux, hormonal migraines, anxiety, dry and tight skin, heavy periods, joint stiffness and pain, hot flushes, depression, numbness in limbs, weight gain (two stone in under six months), inability to lose weight, very emotional all the time, wind, restless legs, constantly itchy and sore scalp, irritate periods, severe cystic acne and never waking up refreshed. Thankfully most have gone after trying a few different medications and settling on my optimal dose of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT).” – The Invisible Hypothyroidism
5. “I have endometriosis metabolic syndrome… I suffer exhaustion every now and then and I try to sleep more but I’m still weak.” – Zorhaida N.
6. “I have Addison’s disease – adrenal insufficiency. My tan kept getting darker even in the fall and winter as my pituitary went into overdrive. My gums turned dark, my knees started hurting, I lost [weight] and then I became irritable and constantly tired. The simplest task would leave me physically and emotionally exhausted. Luckily, my doctor ran a panel of blood tests. One day, a nurse from his office called and very politely told me to go to the nearest hospital immediately. They even had the route mapped out from my work. When an endocrinologist saw me, she said I should’ve had a crisis or even died months ago.” – Thomas B.
7. “I have Hashimoto’s disease and PCOS. I also have autoimmune insulin resistance. Prior to diagnosis, the first signs that something was wrong were: sudden and rapid weight gain that would not come off, hair loss, fatigue, swelling, enlarged and painful lymph nodes with no apparent (to me, at the time) cause, tendonitis, sudden onset of panic attacks at night and extremely dry skin on my feet – to the point of cracking and bleeding.” – Sara W.
8. “I began having heavy, heavy, heavy menstrual periods and a very short cycle. I got my hormones tested and it turns out that my progesterone is way low.” – Bethany R.
9. “Eighteen months of untreated Addison’s disease (adrenal insufficiency which involves a loss of production of cortisol, aldosterone and DHEA/testosterone) = sleeping for 14 hours a night, losing weight without dieting, loss of sex drive, difficulty putting on muscle, dizziness and chest pain on standing up (due to low blood pressure), hyperpigmentation (i.e. a deep tan and pooling of tan in creases and at joints), susceptibility to viruses and infections, reduced appetite for anything other than lollies and salty foods (body’s desperate attempt to create energy and rebalance electrolytes), headaches, nausea and sudden vomiting, and of course extreme fatigue.” – Carlie P.
10. “For hypothyroidism I had: fatigue, diarrhea, suicidal thoughts, horrible cramps (not menstrual), weight gain, dry skin and hair, I was freezing, lots of pain and migraines.” – Alana S.
11. “I have Addison’s disease. I had physical symptoms that I wasn’t aware of but I was also wasting away. I lost [weight] and muscle mass. I was extremely weak, nauseous, couldn’t eat, had trouble staying awake, memory loss. I was diagnosed with a low blood pressure condition a month before my Addy diagnosis.” – Angie P. N.
12. “I had cancer when I was 6 and was on chemo until I was 8. Because the doctors had been sure I was going to die they never really talked to my mom about long-term side effects that would be guaranteed. Killing my ovaries being a major one. As I inched towards teenage-hood and the bodies of all the girls around me started changing, mine stayed the same. At 13 my GP shared what we should have known. I started on estrogen and moved on to taking birth control pills. My body finally started catching up. I can never have babies as my eggs are too damaged. And I’ve only had a menstrual bleed about a dozen times… the first one when I was 37.” – Sara M.
13. “Migraine. Specifically a five-year-long nonstop migraine. Also had severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder and heavy periods. Doctors would not listen to me about the symptoms until I finally found an OBGYN who understood. So she finally gave me a hysterectomy at 33 years old.” – Kim B.
14. “I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2013. I experience the common symptoms of menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne and obesity, but I also noticed an increase of migraines and sleep issues. The biggest sign for me was the increased pelvic pain, think like a series of [awful] cramps on overload. As I aged the pain got worse every month. I had to see a handful of doctors before I was able to get on a treatment plan.” – Janine L.
15. “I have had tons of kidney stones and was diagnosed with normocalcemic hypoparathyroidism. I had two parathyroid surgeries and am now hypopara/hypocalcemic. I had my ninth stone surgery since February 2014 this morning.” – Brittany J.