A hormone imbalance can have an adverse impact upon many different bodily systems. During this brief article the topics to be discussed include the causes of hormonal fluctuations, common associated symptoms and methods you can employ to help ease symptoms and maintain healthy hormone balance.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that help the body perform various functions including but not limited to growth, sexual and reproductive maturation, cellular formation, mental capacity and the healing process. Hormones are produced by the endocrine system, which is a collection of organs and glands that synthesize and secrete these important substances.
Common hormones include testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, human growth hormone, insulin, thyroxine, adrenaline, cortisol, serotonin and melatonin. When these chemicals are produced and regulated properly, the body functions normally. However, if any one of the preceding substances is under- or over-synthesized, almost any part of the human anatomy could be subjected to deleterious effects.
The Causes of Hormone Imbalance
Hormone fluctuations could be precipitated by numerous medical conditions. In many instances, hormonal problems occur due to damage or disease of a hormone-producing organ or gland such as the pancreas, testes, ovaries, thyroid, pituitary, thymus or adrenals. However, chemical irregularities might also be elicited by other issues like:
The Aging Process
As both men and women grow older, their systems naturally produce and secrete diminishing concentrations of numerous hormones. This is especially true of sexual and reproductive substances like testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.
In the late forties or early fifties, all women begin to undergo a natural process known as menopause. During this process, the ovaries cease to produce vital hormones and, eventually, an impacted individual will no longer be able to bear children. Some men experience a similar process known as andropause, in which their testes experience a rapid decline in testosterone production.
Chronic exposure to excessive tension often triggers the release of the “stress hormones” (adrenaline and cortisol). This occurrence might not only impact several internal systems but may also decrease bodily concentrations of other vital substances such as the sexual and reproductive hormones.
Poor Lifestyle Choices
A healthy diet and exercise can play an important role in hormone regulation. A sedentary lifestyle, obesity, consuming an unhealthy diet and partaking in potentially dangerous activities like excessive alcohol intake, smoking or ingesting illicit substances has been known to cause significant hormone irregularities.
Health maladies like certain types of cancer and autoimmune disorders may precipitate hormone imbalance.
Specific prescription drugs might also impact the endocrine system.
Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance
The physical manifestations of hormone imbalance may vary depending upon the specific hormone in question. Almost any internal system could be impacted, such as the digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, central nervous and reproductive tracts. However, many hormone imbalances precipitate certain common symptoms including: weight gain or loss, fatigue, muscle loss, an increased accumulation of body fat, mental and emotional issues (anxiety, mood swings and potentially depression), sleep disturbances, digestive disorders and body temperature irregularities.
Decreased sex drive is quite common to many hormonal imbalances, especially in reference to sexual and reproductive hormones (testosterone, estrogen and progesterone). Low libido might also precipitate other issues like sexual performance problems that cause relationship challenges.
Bringing Hormonal Fluctuations Back into Balance
Before initiating any remedial endeavor, those experiencing any strange symptoms or physical manifestations that might suggest a hormone imbalance should consider getting a full medical evaluation from a health care professional. A doctor could perform the necessary examinations geared towards ruling out more potentially serious illnesses. However, if a hormone imbalance is suspected, numerous therapeutic protocols might be indicated. Should more severe symptoms be present, affected individuals might need to be prescribed medications or undergo procedures like hormone replacement therapy.
Though thought to be relatively effective, hormone therapy is, however, associated with certain potentially serious health risks. Prior to undergoing such treatment, a prospective patient and said individual’s physician are advised to weigh the benefits and risks.
In instances where the imbalance is mild to moderate, employing natural hormone-regulating techniques might prove effective. Such methods include:
Obtain Proper Rest
Failure to receive at least seven to eight hours of sleep per evening may eventually precipitate the release of excessive concentrations of stress hormones.
Consume a Balanced Diet
Many nutritional and healthcare professionals suggest that eating a proper diet rife with fruits, vegetables and healthy fats and free of potentially health-threatening substances like sugar, salt, trans fat and caffeine can be crucial to maintaining healthy hormone balance.
Steer Clear of Hazardous Materials
It may be impossible to avoid every single environmental allergen or toxin. That said, medical professionals caution that substances such as pesticides, cleaning products and even plastic containers are sources of chemicals known as hormone disruptors, which interfere with the body’s ability to properly create and release vital hormones. It is strongly advised that people limit their contact with such products.
Physical activity is believed to stimulate the healthy release of hormones.
Augment the Diet Using Supplements
Nutritionists and health care professionals suggest supplementing their diet with products containing natural herbal extracts and nutrients.