Understanding hormonal imbalance, symptoms and treatment


Dr Tharni Vasavan BSc (hons) MSc, PhD

Published: May 16th, 2022 | Last medically reviewed: January 10th, 2024

8 minute read

Are you experiencing symptoms?

Here’s what you need to know.


The majority (72%) of women feel their symptoms are dismissed by healthcare professionals, yet 64% of our users who thought something wasn’t right, had at least one hormone out of range.


Getting a diagnosis for a reproductive health condition such as PCOS can take over 2 years, however our at-home hormone and fertility test can flag 9 of the most common gynae conditions in 10 days.


The key is finding the right expert(s) to treat or manage your symptoms. That’s why we have a team of specialists in female health, medicine, fertility, nutrition and mental health to provide a science-backed eco-system of care.

Hormonal Imbalance

What is hormonal imbalance?

Our body is regulated by a number of hormones that need to work in perfect synchrony for us to be healthy. When there is even a slight tipover in this, it can cause a hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalances can be caused due to a disruption in the normal production, release or functioning of hormones. This can be caused by factors such as stress, genetics, certain medications, or underlying health conditions.

Even if one hormone is slightly higher or lower than it should be the effects can be huge, These imbalances can be temporary and may resolve on their own. While others can be long-term and will need appropriate treatment. Additionally, some may not impact your health but can have a negative impact on your quality of life.

Hormonal imbalance vs underlying condition

A hormonal imbalance can result in symptoms that could impact your physical and emotional wellbeing and can be hard to make sense of. Using specialist guidelines and the expertise of renowned gynaecology and fertility consultants, our online health assessment identifies which hormones we need to test in order to understand precisely what’s going on.

Understanding your reproductive health is essential to understanding your overall health, that’s why we don’t just look out for symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. This is why our online health assessment also checks for symptoms (and specific combinations of symptoms) associated with other reproductive health conditions which are not hormone-related.

Medical history

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

If you’re here, you’ve probably been experiencing symptoms that are getting in the way of you feeling your best. The fact that you’ve found us means you’re listening to your body and looking to do something about it, which is great, but what is it that your body is trying to tell you? Your body makes over 50 different hormones, which all contribute to the way the body functions. Depending on what hormone/hormones are out of balance, you could experience several different symptoms. Here is a rundown of the most common symptoms and what they could be signs of.

Pain during intercourse & heavy periods - These symptoms can be caused by common reproductive health conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids and polyps. Conditions such as these can’t be diagnosed by testing your hormones alone, however, our online health assessment will refer you for further investigation such as an ultrasound scan with one of our Private Gynaecologists

Other hormonal imbalance symptoms

Other symptoms someone with a hormonal imbalance could have:

  • Loss of interest in sex

  • Mood swings

  • Irritability

  • Weight changes

What to do next?

It might be that you’ve seen a doctor about your symptoms. It might be that you’ve seen several. Medical staff in the traditional healthcare system do a great job but it’s important to remember that they are still human. And more often than not they are short on time when trying to make a diagnosis.

Our online health assessment removes human error and takes each symptom you report along with your biometrics (personal details) and blood hormone results to make a quick, accurate diagnosis based on data. If further investigation is required to make a diagnosis, such as a scan, we can fast-track that process to get you the answers you deserve.

Managing your symptoms

Treatment for hormonal imbalance all boils down to what is causing your symptoms. Sometimes it’s possible to treat the underlying cause and other times it’s more about receiving treatment to manage your symptoms. For example, some hormone-related conditions, such as PCOS and menopause, cannot be “cured” in the traditional sense - so doctors usually offer options which aim to improve quality of life by reducing or alleviating symptoms. Depending on which hormone is imbalanced, treatment options can include lifestyle changes like diet changes, exercising and having a good sleep routine to medication such as hormonal or hormone replacement therapy, in some cases, surgery might also be recommended.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects the ovaries and can cause symptoms like irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain.

  • For those suffering from PCOS, medications that stimulate ovulation such as Clomid and Metformin may help to induce your periods, which is particularly useful if you are trying to conceive.

  • A doctor may also suggest using hormonal contraception to help with regulating your period.

  • Metformin is used to treat blood sugar control (which many people with PCOS have) and can therefore help with weight issues.

  • In some cases, a surgery called laparoscopic ovarian drilling may be suggested if you are trying to conceive.

  • Anti-androgen medication such as Spironolactone (and some forms of the pill such as Co-cyprindiol or Dianette) can be effective for improving symptoms of high testosterone such as acne and hirsutism (excess hair growth).

  • Cosmetic treatments such as laser hair removal are also often used by women with PCOS to manage hirsutism if they don’t respond well to medication or prefer not to use it.

  • You may be offered lifestyle and dietary advice to help with common PCOS symptoms such as weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

  • Support with mental health, such as medication, counselling, CBT and mindfulness, can also be used to improve symptoms of anxiety and low moods, both of which are frequently seen in women with PCOS.’

Read our blog for everything you need to know about PCOS .


A hormonal imbalance that results from menopause is often treated with (HRT). HRT usually comes in the form of oestrogen (combined with progesterone if you haven’t had your uterus removed) and effectively replaces the estradiol which your ovaries have stopped producing as they reach the end of their functional ability.

Many women have reported an improvement in menopause-related symptoms with HRT, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood. Some doctors may also be able to prescribe testosterone therapy for low libido, however, this medication is not licensed for use on postmenopausal women in the UK. Non-hormonal treatments such as lifestyle modifications, eating a balanced diet and exercise are also helpful for symptom management.

Menopause can also result in low moods and anxiety, in which case mental health support should be offered to help with these symptoms and vaginal moisturisers or lubricants are available to help with the symptom of vaginal dryness. Other medications which do not contain hormones, such as SSRIs and Clonidine can also be prescribed to alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

Read our blog on everything you need to know about menopause.

Under or Overactive Thyroid (also known as Hypothyroidism)

An underactive thyroid occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones. An overactive thyroid happens when the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones.

Symptoms that result from a thyroid hormone imbalance (under or overactive) can usually be resolved with medication. Medications such as Levothyroxine and Carbimazole will normalise how your thyroid is working, therefore alleviating your symptoms.

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea

Hypothalamic Amenorrhea is a condition where menstruation stops due to a disruption in the hypothalamus, located in the brain which regulates hormone production. It can be caused by factors like excessive exercise, stress low body weight or extreme calorie restriction.

Hypothalamic amenorrhea-induced symptoms can also be resolved by treating the root cause of the condition. The cause of hypothalamic amenorrhoea can vary from one individual to another, however, there are certain groups of people (such as athletes and those with eating disorders) who are more at risk of developing it.

Resolving this condition will resolve the associated symptoms, therefore treatment can include options such as mental health support, dietary and exercise advice, as well as medications such as hormonal contraception if the condition doesn’t resolve.

Endometriosis & Fibroids

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue similar to the tissue lining the inside of the uterus - called the endometrium grows outside of it.

Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the uterus.

People with endometriosis and fibroids often have debilitating symptoms, particularly related to pelvic pain and heavy periods.

Treatments for Endometriosis and Fibroids:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen) are recommended as a first-line option for pain relief.

  • Hormone-related medications, such as hormonal contraception, GnRH analogues and aromatase inhibitors have been shown to effectively relieve pain by suppressing cycling estradiol levels which contribute to the growth of endometriosis and fibroids.

  • Tranexamic acid is a medication that can be used to reduce heavy periods. People with endometriosis or fibroids may also opt to have surgery to improve their symptoms.

Medical history

How can Hertility help you?

Hertility is more than a hormone test , we give you answers with tailored pathways to care. When it comes to symptoms, we believe in a personalised approach to management and treatment. A symptom that is debilitating to one person might not even be noticed by another so there really is no one size fits all. That’s why we have a team of experts in female health, medicine, fertility, nutrition and mental health to provide a science-backed ecosystem of care.


What conditions are caused by hormonal imbalances?

Irregular periods

Hormone imbalances can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle by affecting the production and regulation of hormones involved in the menstrual process. This can lead to irregular periods or even the absence of periods altogether.


Hormonal imbalances can increase the production of sebum, an oily substance that can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts. Hormones like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone can also influence the activity of oil glands which also contributes to acne development.

Weight issues

Hormonal imbalances can sometimes contribute to weight gain or difficulty losing weight. For example, imbalances in hormones like insulin, cortisol, and thyroid hormones can affect metabolism, appetite and fat storage, potentially leading to weight issues.


Hormone imbalances can interfere with the regular ovulation process, which is necessary for fertility. Without proper ovulation, it can be difficult to conceive. Hormonal imbalances can also affect the lining of the uterus, making it less receptive to implantation.

If you are concerned about your fertility, taking the Hertility Hormone and Fertility Test could help provide valuable answers.

Written by

Dr Tharni Vasavan, BSc (hons) MSc, PhD

Contributed to by

Bríd Ní Dhonnabháin BSc (hons) MSc,Ruby Relton BSc (hons) MSc,Zoya Ali BSc (hons) MSc

Medically reviewed by

Dr Benjamin Jones, MBChB BSc (Hons) MRCOG PhD

Published May 16th, 2022

Last medically reviewed January 10th, 2024


Here's what we'll cover

Are you experiencing symptoms?

What is hormonal imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance vs underlying condition

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance

Managing your symptoms

How can Hertility help you?