How do I know if my hormones are imbalanced?

In this video I will discuss how you would know if your hormones are imbalanced, by recognising some symptoms, the causes of hormone imbalance & the best way to check your hormones

My name is Michelle Cooke, Period & Hormone Naturopath.

What does hormone imbalance mean?

There are plenty of different hormones produced by different glands in your body but today I would like to zone in on the girly hormones specifically your sex hormones, reproductive hormones or girly hormones. This includes oestrogen, progesterone and one that is often left out is testosterone. This is not just a male hormone, women have this too, and it is just as important but of course the amount that we have is less than a man would have.

Hormone imbalance is simply when you have too much or too little of one or more of your hormones in the blood. Hormones are the messengers of the body instructing what to do and when to do it.

How would I know if my hormones are imbalanced?

Your body will try to let you know that something is not quite right, and that you have a hormone imbalance by creating symptoms & signs.

Oestrogen Excess

  • Heavy periods

  • Irregular periods

  • PMS

  • Sore boobs

  • Fibrocystic breasts

  • Fluid retention

  • Weight gain (around hips, buttocks & tummy particularly)

  • Low libido

  • Mood swings

  • Fibroids

  • Endometriosis

  • PCOS

  • Ovarian cysts

  • Acne breakouts (particularly in first half of cycle or around ovulation)

Oestrogen Deficiency

  • Dry skin

  • Hot flushes

  • Night sweats

  • Irregular periods

  • Amenorrhoea (no period)

  • Moody & irritable

  • Depression

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Weak or brittle bones

  • Sore boobs

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Headaches

Progesterone Excess

  • Weight gain

  • Tiredness

  • Depression

  • Sore boobs

  • Anxiety

  • Irritable

  • Acne

  • Bloating

Progesterone Deficiency

  • Short menstrual cycles

  • Irregular periods

  • Bloating

  • Tiredness

  • Brain fog

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Sleep issues

  • Spotting

  • Sore boobs

  • Fibrocystic Breasts

 Testosterone Excess

  • Increased muscle mass

  • Deep voice

  • Boobs reduce in size

  • Acne

  • Balding

  • Thinning hair

  • Enlarged clitoris

  • Excess body hair particularly face, chest, back or otherwise

  • Irregular periods

  • Mood swings

  • Absence of periods

  • Low libido

Testosterone Deficiency

  • Lack of motivation

  • Low libido

  • Tiredness

  • Loss of muscle strength

  • Loss of muscle mass

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Mood changes: anxious or depressed

  • Loss of bone density

  • Irregular menstrual cycles

  • Weight gain around the mid section

  • Vaginal dryness

  • Sleep issues

  • Hair loss

  • Dry and thinning skin

What causes hormone imbalance?


Shuts off reproductive hormones as a survival mechanism as it is not a safe time to reproduce. In order to make cortisol (our hormone to adapt to stress – pregnenolone is used which is the precursor to make progesterone as well

Nutrient deficiencies

Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Iron, Iodine

Poor liver function

That helps detoxify, break down and eliminate your hormones


There is no way for the hormones to find a way out of the body which leads to reabsorption.

Microbiome dysbiosis

There is not a healthy balance of good gut bacteria to break down and eliminate your hormones

Not consuming enough good healthy sources of cholesterol / fat

Coconut oil, organic butter, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, salmon or oily fish

Not eating enough

Your body will think that it is in starvation mode and will switch into essential body functions. This means it will switch off your reproductive hormones because it is not essential and not a safe time to conceive. Keeping you alive is a higher priority.

Thyroid Issues

Whether it is hypothyroidism (under functioning), hyperthyroidism (over functioning) or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (autoimmune thyroid condition) all of these result in hormone imbalance if not managed.

Inflammation in the body / Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation or eating foods that promote inflammation in the body will result in hormone imbalance. Also, as a consequence when you have hormone imbalance this causes inflammation in the body, so it is like a vicious cycle.

Blood sugar issues

If you have high glucose and / or insulin > inflammation > hormone imbalance

High testosterone:

These are some conditions or situations that can result in high testosterone.

  • PCOS

  • Thyroid issues

  • Insulin resistance

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

High oestrogen:

These are some conditions that have high oestrogen & also having too much oestrogen is a driver for that condition too (makes it worse)

  • PCOS

  • Fibroids

  • Endometriosis

  • Ovarian Cysts

Low progesterone:

These are some conditions or situations that can result in low progesterone levels.

  • Anovulation (ovulation didn’t occur)

  • Hypothyroidism

  • High cortisol (stress)

  • High prolactin (produced by pituitary gland)

Best way to check your hormones

The ideal way to work out exactly which hormones are contributing to your symptoms of hormone imbalance is to get a blood test done. I see time and time again the test being done on the wrong day. I always make sure that my patients get their test done on the correct day for accuracy.

-Oestrogen should be done on day 2 or 3 of your period to get an idea of the baseline hormone status

-Testosterone can be tested on any day

-Progesterone needs to be done 7 days after ovulation so if your cycle is 28 days it will tend to be on day 21

If your cycles are irregular testing progesterone can be more challenging so try to detect ovulation and count 7 days afterwards (look for fertile mucus, charting basal body temp you will see it rise 0.5 degrees after ovulation when you see the rise count 7 days from start of rise)

To look at other types of oestrogen there are 3 types only oestradiol E2 is done through a blood test you would need to get a salivary hormone test done through a naturopath to look at Estrone E1, Estriol E2. Or you could get a urine oestrogen metabolite test. Some types of oestrogen are protective and some are not so favourable in high amounts.

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