Have you noticed any hormonal patterns to your symptoms?


Testing hormone levels

When doctors investigate common symptoms like tiredness, they might test your hormone levels. Measuring hormones can be difficult because hormones are released in pulses throughout the day. Changes in these rhythms might not show up clearly on medical tests, even though they affect how the hormones function in the body.

Therefore even if your blood level is normal when tested, it can be helpful to understand if your symptoms fit with a hormonal pattern.

Stress Hormones:

One important stress hormone is called cortisol. It gets your body ready for action. Cortisol is linked to your daily rhythm. It’s highest in the morning to help you wake up and gets lower in the evening to help you sleep. This is your daily cortisol cycle.

When your body is stressed, this cycle can become flatter, so the morning peak isn’t as strong. When this happens, it might be hard to get out of bed in the morning and relax at night. Your sleep pattern can get thrown off. Cortisol is a strong anti-inflammatory so changes in cortisol patterns also effect immune function.

As part of the cycle of long-term bodily stress, the cortisol response may become weaker. Low cortisol levels are seen especially when fatigue and muscle aches dominate.

Reproductive Hormones:

Reproductive hormones, which are involved in the menstrual cycle, also follow a rhythm. In functional somatic syndromes, these rhythms can be out of sync. One common sign of this is irregular periods without a clear cause.

Irregular periods can also be due to peri-menopause, which has other common symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, hot flashes, dizziness, and sleep problems.

If you notice these patterns in your symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They might refer you to a gynecologist or try a hormonal treatment.

Thyroid Hormones:

The thyroid gland releases hormones that are central to how the body handles energy (the metabolism). Thyroid hormones change in response to what’s happening in your body. They’re especially sensitive to bodily stress, so many people see changes in their thyroid levels during or after a time of illness.

Getting back in balance:

In general, there’s no proof that replacing hormones helps people with subclinical hormonal changes. The hormonal feedback system is always adjusting itself, and introducing pharmaceutical hormones can push the system further out of balance.

To support the endocrine system, it’s often more promising to reduce bodily stress, support nutrition, and create conditions for natural rhythms to return, such as establishing a daily routine.

If you have symptoms that seem to fit with a hormonal rhythm, your GP might refer you to a specialist. For example, a gynecologist or endocrinologist.