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Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers. They travel in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They work slowly, over time, and affect many different processes, including:

  • Growth and development
  • Metabolism – how your body gets energy from the foods you eat
  • Sexual function
  • Reproduction
  • Mood


Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries.

Hormones are powerful. It takes only a tiny amount to cause big changes in cells or even your whole body. That is why too much or too little of a certain hormone can be serious. Laboratory tests can measure the hormone levels in your blood, urine, or saliva. Your health care provider may perform these tests if you have symptoms of a hormonal disorder.  Home pregnancy tests are similar – they test for pregnancy hormones in your urine.

When these delicate hormonal systems become disrupted, it can lead to a wide range of health issues and imbalances. Understanding what causes hormonal imbalances and recognising the signs can empower you to seek timely medical attention and regain your well-being.

What does it mean to have a hormonal imbalance?

Hormones play a vital role in regulating our growth, emotions, appearance, and overall functioning. Nevertheless, as we age, the levels of hormones in our bodies diminish, often leading to a hormonal imbalance. This imbalance can significantly impact our well-being and accelerate the ageing process. When hormones are imbalanced, it means that certain hormones are either overproduced or underproduced. This disruption in hormonal coordination can result in a range of symptoms, including fluctuations in weight, energy levels, and sleep patterns. In more severe cases, hormonal imbalances can even affect blood pressure and blood sugar levels, potentially leading to serious conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

What hormones should you focus on? 

The hormones that women should focus their attention include…

  • Oestrogen: As the primary female sex hormone, oestrogen is predominantly synthesised by the ovaries. Beyond its crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle, it also supports various functions, including maintaining bone density and modulating mood.
  • Progesterone: Another hormone produced by the ovaries, progesterone plays a vital role, particularly during early pregnancy.
  • Testosterone: This essential hormone is responsible for developing lean muscle mass, facilitating fat burning, and enhancing libido. While primarily produced in the testicles for men, the ovaries also release small amounts into the bloodstream.
  • Cortisol: Known as the body’s stress hormone, cortisol is essential in maintaining normal blood sugar levels and supporting the immune system. However, elevated cortisol levels can have detrimental effects, including feelings of fear, panic, and depression, as well as memory impairment and immune suppression.
  • Thyroid Hormone: Produced by the thyroid glands, thyroid hormone is responsible for balancing crucial bodily functions such as breathing, heart rate, metabolism, and body temperature.
  • DHEA: Though lesser-known, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) holds great importance. As a hormone precursor, it triggers reactions that lead to the production of other hormones like testosterone and oestrogen. It plays a pivotal role during puberty and serves to protect against stress while maintaining the immune system throughout life.

Hormonal imbalance: Signs and symptoms  

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Acne
  • Puffiness of the face
  • Unusual body hair growth
  • Skin pigment changes
  • Frequent urination
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Bloating
  • Low mood, anxiety, and irritability
  • Brain fog or poor memory
  • Night sweats and hot flushes
  • Hair loss, dry hair, and skin
  • Rapid ageing 

Is there a test that can identify hormonal imbalances?

A blood test is one of the most common ways to test hormone levels. This test can detect testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and thyroid levels. You should order a test that’s specific to your gender, as a women’s hormone test will look for different levels of sex hormones than a men’s test.  Hormone testing will help establish any issues, allowing you to determine whether you’re producing the right hormones at the correct times, as well as highlighting any problems that need to be addressed.

A few easy steps to help improve your hormonal health

Manage your stress

Reducing stress is one of the most crucial ways to keep hormones in balance. The stress hormone cortisol has been linked to brain fog and even memory issues. The best ways to lower high cortisol levels are exercising regularly, meditating, or even just going for a walk and spending some time in nature.

Avoid excess alcohol

Too much alcohol harms your health and can upset your hormonal balance.

Consume a nutrient-dense diet

Maintaining a well-functioning defence system for your body is essential to safeguarding your glands and achieving hormonal balance. The key lies in prioritising a daily intake of whole plant-based foods and an ample amount of dietary fibre while avoiding overeating.

Embrace fresh, unprocessed foods, and opt for a diet rich in high-quality protein and low in refined carbohydrates. Incorporate beneficial fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and oily fish into your meals to support your overall health and hormonal well-being.