Hormones can affect a lot that goes on within our bodies. Everything from our appetite to our heart rate may be determined by hormones.
But what are they?
Can they be influenced to help your body be healthier?
Both are good questions and we will discuss these issues and much more in this article.
What are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals produced by the endocrine system. These chemicals are sent to different parts of the body and deliver messages from the brain.
Hormones will then travel to other organs and parts of the body. They tell your body what needs to happen, when, and for how long these processes should last.
These hormone messages tell our bodies what to do with our metabolism, sleep cycles, our moods, body temperature, our growth and development, reproductive cycles, sexual function, and much more.
You may already know the names of some common hormones.
Estrogen, testosterone, insulin, and progesterone are a few pretty common hormones that you may have already heard of.
Our bodies need the right balance of hormones to stay healthy and operate at its best.
Surges of certain hormones can cause unhealthy shifts within our bodies.
Now keep in mind, this can be a natural part of our growth and development.
For example, we all experience a hormone shift during puberty. Some hormone surges are cyclical shifts or happen throughout a person’s life.
For example, we know that women typically go through a common, hormonal cycle every month. Menstruation is a normal and expected hormone imbalance.
Additionally, menopause is another hormonal shift women experience.
Many women may even have effects during these cycles such as; bloating, fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes, and even certain types of acne.
In addition, men also experience hormone cycles and shifts. Male hormones shift during puberty. After that, men experience small hormonal cycles each day.
Male testosterone levels peak at the beginning of each day and slowly decrease throughout the day. Men sometimes experience more libido in the morning due to this.
While shifts and cycles are a normal part of Hormones. Unexpected shifts that are not a part of our development or growth is where the negative effects of hormone imbalances can come into play.
These imbalances may even create health risks that can become very serious if left unmanaged long-term.
Therefore, it's a good idea to understand a bit more about hormones in general, and how they affect your body.
That way, it may be easier to recognize when we are experiencing a natural hormonal shift or cycle or when you are not.
Symptoms Of Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalances can have a large range of symptoms. Symptoms will depend on what hormone is imbalanced and whether there is too much of it or too little in the body.
Keep in mind, it may also depend on genetic makeup and how long someone has been dealing with the hormone imbalance.The severity of the imbalance can affect things too.
Some people can be more sensitive to certain hormones and not so much to others.
Symptoms of the possibility of a hormone imbalance include:
- Change in appetite which can result in weight gain or weight loss.
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irritability and anxiety
- Dry skin
- Blurred vision
- Increased thirst
- Decreased sex drive
- Breast tenderness
- Changes in blood pressure
Causes and Risks of Hormone Imbalance
Symptoms of hormone imbalance can happen for a lot of reasons. If your endocrine glands, thyroids or other organs, aren’t working optimally for some reason, this can cause an imbalance.
Less than optimal performance can happen for many reasons like lifestyle choices, medications, treatments, genetic factors and other factors that you have no control over at all.
Common causes of hormonal imbalances are included within these categories below:
• Extreme or chronic stress
• Poor diet and nutrition
• Lack of exercise
• Excessive alcohol consumption
Medications and Treatments:
- Certain medications
Genetic Factors and those outside of your control:
- Cushing syndrome
If hormone imbalances go unchecked for a while, they can lead to an increased risk of developing more serious health concerns and issues.
How do I fix a Hormone Imbalance?
The best option is to go to your doctor.
Describe to them your symptoms and for how long you have had those symptoms.
Tell them about the types of medications, supplements, and vitamins you’re currently taking.
Your doctor can perform tests and possibly give you personalized, specific advice for your situation or prescribe you medication to help fix the problem.
Hormone therapy is used by professionals to treat a multitude of things, such as; imbalances due to cancer, those who have gone through chemo, radiation, had glands removed or women who have experienced menopause.
Hormone therapy is commonly administered through nasal spray, medication, gels, patches or creams.
Just listen to your doctor.
What About Natural Remedies Like Hormone Supplements?
A lot of people try different natural remedies along with lifestyle changes to try and manage their hormone issues. These natural remedies could include:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Managing stress.
There are simple ways to get more exercise, such as taking the stairs at work. Along with eating better, like packing a healthy snack instead of hitting the vending machine.
You can also take vitamins and hormone supplements.
Try Supplementing Your Hormone Health
Hormone supplements can be made from cruciferous vegetables, roots, trees, herbs, probiotics, and vitamins.
And hormone supplements that contain probiotics keep your gut healthy. There is research that suggests there is a link between gut health and hormone balance.
There are many types of supplements that people take for issues like under-active thyroids and weight loss, or sleep and stress problems.
And although you should always follow your doctor’s instructions first, there are all-natural supplements to possibly help you.
As we talked about earlier, hormone imbalance can become serious if steps are not taken to correct it.
Although simple symptoms, such as an increase in thirst, or dry skin, may have no correlation. They can also mean something more serious is going on with your body under the skin.
By paying attention to your symptoms, working with your doctor, making small, simple lifestyle changes, and using the right supplements for you, you can work to possibly start to restore your hormone balance.