There are several symptoms that could indicate hormonal imbalance, so it’s hard to know whether you’re dealing with your hormones or another health issue. Hormones affect all the systems and cells in the body and some imbalances in hormone levels can be very severe and significantly affect your life.

It’s important to note that some hormonal changes are natural. For instance, a fluctuation of certain hormones is necessary for ovulation and menstruation, as well as the changes that occur during pregnancy. We also rely on changes in our hormones to increase or regulate fertility.

If you think you’re suffering from hormonal imbalance, here is some information to consider, regardless of gender.

1. Balance Your Cortisol

Cortisol is an essential hormone, but if you’re stressed or become sick, your cortisol levels could become imbalanced. The adrenal glands, which are located just above the kidneys, secrete cortisol. You can keep your cortisol levels in check by doing low-intensity exercises. Since stress affects cortisol, activities like meditation and yoga, as well as therapy and spending time with loved ones, can help your body produce the right amount of cortisol.

Symptoms of having high cortisol levels include sudden weight gain, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, and increased irritability. If you are noticing any of these symptoms or all of these symptoms consider getting your cortisol levels checked and also try doing some of the activities to help decrease those levels.

2. Irregular Periods

For most women, the menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days. However, about 25% of women will experience irregular periods at some point in life. Irregular periods are classified as those that last longer or shorter than usual or periods that are extremely light or heavy. Some women who have irregular periods may experience delayed ovulation or stomach cramping. Other women may have amenorrhea, which is the lack of a period for three months or more for a woman who is not pregnant. Menorrhagia, on the other hand, is too much menstrual bleeding, and dysmenorrhea is cramping and pain during periods. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, ask your physician about ways you can treat hormonal imbalance. Remedies can include dietary changes, birth control, and hormone therapy.

3. Lack of Sleep

If you wake up groggy or have a hard time getting to sleep at night, you may be suffering from hormone imbalance. For women, this may indicate that your ovaries are not producing enough progesterone. This hormone helps to regulate sleep patterns. One study involving postmenopausal women revealed that 300 milligrams of progesterone improved sleep patterns. It’s also important to note that decreased estrogen levels, which can occur during perimenopause and menopause, can also affect sleep. Estrogen dominance or scarcity can also lead to hot flashes and night sweats. Talk to your physician to see if estrogen therapy is right for you.

4. Chronic Acne

You may think of acne as a teenage problem, but many adults have to endure the horror of breakouts as well. Chronic acne is a condition that doesn’t go away with medications or other treatments. This type of acne occurs due to excess androgens. Androgens are primarily male hormones, but like testosterone, both men and women have androgens. The body can also produce too many androgens when insulin levels are too high. When there are too many androgens in the body, the oil glands of the skin work overtime. Androgens can affect the skin near the hair follicles as well. When skin cells and oil clog the pores, the result is stubborn acne. Anti-androgen medications or birth control pills are often used to treat chronic acne.

5. Low Sex Drive

One of the reasons many men seek testosterone therapy is low sex drive. Some men naturally experience a reduced sex drive as they get older. However, low testosterone can virtually take away a man’s sexual desire completely.

Testosterone is also important for semen production. Semen affects sperm motility and fertility. Testosterone is also essential for achieving and keeping an erection, even though testosterone alone doesn’t cause erections. However, the hormone does active brain receptors for the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a molecule that begins several chemical reactions that must occur for a man to have an erection. When a man has low testosterone, he will either have spontaneous erections or difficulty achieving erection overall.

Testosterone therapy can assist a man in terms of sexual health, but the therapy can also boost energy levels and hair loss. Men who are concerned about weight gain can talk to their doctors about this form of therapy as well.

These are just some of the health symptoms to look out for if you think you may need assistance balancing your hormones. Be sure to speak with your doctor before beginning any treatments or switching to a new hormone therapy.