Natural Remedies for Hormonal Imbalance

Medically reviewed by Dr. Stacy Hengisman MD and Felice Ramallo MSRD.

Having a hormonal imbalance can be extremely stressful: between doctor visits, expert opinions, and your own research, you may be left feeling overwhelmed with all the different options available to tackle symptoms. Medication, diet changes, supplements, exercise routines - the list goes on. But what’s going to actually be effective? And the question only becomes more complicated when you throw “natural” into the mix: do supplements count as natural when tackling a hormonal imbalance? And does natural mean less effective? In this article we’ll be covering topics like what a hormonal imbalance even is, the most common different types, what is a natural remedy, and the ones available that may be able to help manage symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Let’s dive in. 

What is a hormonal imbalance? 

In a nutshell, a hormonal imbalance is a broad term that covers a broad phenomenon: it’s what happens when your hormones are out of whack. We know that’s pretty vague, and that’s because there are numerous hormones in the female body and they interact in ways that we are only beginning to understand. The Cleveland Clinic sums it up well when they say, “with hormones, a little goes a long way . . . minor changes in levels can cause significant changes to your body.” 

Here is just a brief overview of the processes that hormones are responsible for in the human body: 

  • Metabolism  
  • Growth and development 
  • Sexual function 
  • Reproduction 
  • Sleep-wake cycle
  • Mood
  • Internal balance, aka homeostasis 
  • This covers things like blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, fluid and electrolyte balance, and body temperature 

Think of hormones as tiny chemical messengers that interact with each other, as well as different organs in your body, to trigger a chain reaction of different processes that (if things are going well) mean you are able to live your daily life with few issues. To go a little more in depth on exactly how they work, the two main things to know are as follows: 1) hormones communicate between endocrine glands, and 2) hormones communicate between an endocrine gland and an organ. 

An example of the first instance would be one gland in your body releasing a hormone and another gland changing its level of hormone that it is releasing in response - a perfect real life example that happens every day is the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland, with the former releasing TSH and the latter modifying its levels of T3 and T4 in response. An example of the second instance would be hormones communicating with organs directly, which is exactly what happens when your pancreas releases insulin, and your liver works to both restore and manufacture glucose.

As you can see from the examples above, because of their interactive and symbiotic nature, hormones are extremely adaptable and powerful - by the same token, they are also complicated and difficult to pin down if something isn’t quite right.

Types of hormonal imbalances  

Let’s talk about some common medical causes of hormonal imbalances. According to Medical News Today, medical conditions that “can affect hormone production” include:

  • Diabetes
  • The body does not produce enough insulin (fun fact: insulin is a hormone!)


  • Pituitary tumors (remember the pituitary gland helps tell the thyroid gland how much hormone it needs to make)


  • Cushing’s syndrome 
  • A condition in which the adrenal glands produce too much cortisol. 
  • PCOS
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism

Some of these conditions listed above are not necessarily borne from a hormonal imbalance; they are brought on by other factors, such as medications, stress, injury, and more, but they have a domino effect, triggering hormonal problems as they manifest.

Now let’s turn our attention to the final three on this list: PCOS, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. These are arguably three common hormonal imbalances in women, triggering both emotional and physical symptoms that can be difficult to tackle. We’ll briefly touch on what the above conditions are, and then go into natural remedies that may help alleviate symptoms. 


According to the CDC, PCOS affects 6% to 12% of women of reproductive age in the US. It can manifest as early as pre-pubescence, and it can cause devastating consequences, such as an increased risk of infertility, in addition to daily challenges. Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular (or absent) menstrual periods, elevated androgen levels (checked via a testosterone test), acne, androgenic alopecia, excess hair growth on the body, and cysts on the ovaries (despite this condition’s name, cysts are not a prerequisite for being diagnosed with PCOS). 


Hyperthyroidism describes an overactive thyroid (if you need help remembering the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, just think that hyper = ‘too much’, as in too much thyroid hormone). Hyperthyroidism currently impacts between 1 and 3% of the US population.

The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include restlessness, nervousness, increased sweating, anxiety, brittle hair and nails, weight loss, increased appetite, difficulty sleeping, racing heart rate, thin skin, muscle weakness, bulging eyes, and frequent bowel movements.


Hypothyroidism is essentially the opposite of hyperthyroidism: it means your thyroid isn’t producing as many hormones as it needs. It affects around 4% of the US population.

The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include: fatigue, feeling cold a lot of the time, dry skin, memory problems, depression, slow heart rate, weight gain, fertility problems, heavy or irregular menstruation, feeling weak, muscle or joint pain, hair loss, and constipation. 

What is a natural remedy 

For the purposes of this article, we’ll count anything that doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription as a “natural remedy.” We’ll also emphasize solutions that are accessible, affordable, and have research backing either their benefits for one’s general health, or in particular for a specific hormonal imbalance. 

Natural remedies for a hormonal imbalance 

  • Supplements - note here: supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and so what goes in them and their safety is not regulated. It’s important that you consult with your doctor before taking supplements. 
  • Research indicates that supplementation of vitamin D in women with PCOS  may improve menstrual regularity (after 3 months of supplementation) - to make sure you take the right amount (if you are deficient), be sure to ask your doctor to conduct a vitamin D test.
  • B vitamins such as B12 may be helpful in treating PCOS naturally.   B12 may help in mood regulation.  It is thought to aid in mood regulation by its action on serotonin. Again, it is best to be tested first by a doctor before supplementing with B vitamins to make sure they can guide you toward the right dosage amount. 
  • One study found that omega 3 supplementation was associated with “decrease[d] lipid profiles” and decreased “interval between periods” in women with PCOS - the researchers believed that these data suggest that “by improving metabolic parameters” menstrual status could become more regular. 

  • Diet 
  • This brings us to what goes in your fridge (and pantry and freezer!). Food is the source of much of our energy. A study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal found that a diet which had an “exclusion of all animal foods was associated with half the prevalence of hyperthyroidism compared with omnivorous diets,” while another study focused on examining diet and hypothyroidism found that “a vegan diet tended to be associated with lower, not higher, risk of hypothyroid disease.” Though neither of these studies’ results should be seen as prescriptive - afterall, meat, fish, eggs, and milk can very much carry nutritional value, and there is more research to be conducted on this topic - it is worth paying attention to the fact that the above studies found diets that emphasize increasing the consumption of plant-based foods have promising evidence in being potentially protective against hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. 
  • Exercise 
  • Research indicates that high strength training, and cardio are beneficial to helping prevent insulin resistance. This is great news, given that  insulin resistance is thought to be of increased risk in women with PCOS, so exercising as a way to help lower this risk is beneficial.
  • There is also evidence to suggest that exercise could increase hormone receptor activity.
  • While there are no studies supporting the claim that exercise will ‘fix’ your hormonal imbalance, according to research, exercise is correlated with some general benefits to your hormonal health, and it is certainly associated with other huge pluses, such as better sleep, reduced anxiety, reduced risk of disease, strengthened bones and muscles, and much more, including lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.
  • Fermented food and drink 
  • Scientists and researchers are just beginning to understand how critical the gut may be in multiple functions in the body, including hormone secretion, inflammation, mental health, weight, the development of autoimmune disorders, and more. Researchers believe that the gut microbiome plays a role in regulating hormones by “modulating insulin resistance and feelings of fullness.”
  • As such, protect your gut health by eating more fermented foods and drinks (such as kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi), and possibly reduce your intake of high fat or sugar foods (which are thought to harm the production of ‘good bacteria’ and help the production of ‘bad bacteria’).
  • Consider also working more fiber and complex carbohydrates into your diet (good prebiotics, ie food that helps the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut), such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grains.

Interested in learning more about hormonal health? Check out our recent article on tips for prioritizing your hormonal health in everyday life.