Though they are not as commonly hailed as the heroes of the body quite like the heart, brain, or skeleton, hormones are one of the most important parts of the body without a doubt. Hormones are incredibly important for a variety of health factors and bodily functions. If you are having symptoms of hormone imbalance or you simply want to learn more about the role of hormones in the body, then this complete guide to what hormones are and why they are so important will help you immensely.
Who Has Hormones?
Though you may have heard of one particular hormone being more important to their respective gender, everyone alive has hormones. They play a critical role in the body and a number of bodily functions. Men and women both have hormones and hormones are very important in both men and women. Though everyone does have hormones, some hormones are more important to particular genders. For instance, in men, testosterone is the hormone that is found most heavily. In women, that hormone is estrogen. That isn’t to say that men don’t have estrogen and women don’t have testosterone, just that they are less common than the dominant hormone for each gender.
On a scientific level, hormones are molecules in the body that are created by the endocrine system, which is the system that controls, produces, and communicates hormones to the rest of the body. The role of hormones is to send messages to different parts of the body to do their job. In many ways, hormones are very important for regulating the processes that your body goes through on a regular basis. This includes things like hunger, sex drive, and blood pressure. Most people associate hormones with specifically being important to sex and reproduction, but they are in fact crucial for every system in the body.
Though the endocrine system is responsible for creating and sending the messages that are hormones, the receiving systems have hormone receptor sites to receive and interpret these messages that are sent. Hormones go together with hormone receptor sites like two puzzle pieces.
How Does it Work?
It’s easy to understand the role of hormones from a big-picture, more abstract standpoint, but a little bit more difficult to understand exactly what is happening when hormones are created and sent to various parts of the body. For instance, hormones are reactionary molecules that are sent to your body’s systems when events happen. When you eat food, the pancreas will produce insulin, which is a hormone, to help regulate the blood sugar in your body. If you are involved in a high-intensity car accident, your adrenal glands might push adrenaline into your bloodstream to help you react to the situation as quickly as possible. When all of these systems are working well and your hormones are balanced, there’s no trouble within your body. However, if you are experiencing a hormonal imbalance, some issues can certainly be caused. Imagine not having the right hormonal reaction to a close call in traffic. This can cause big problems and also cause continuing side effects.
What is Hormonal Imbalance?
If you are experiencing the symptoms of too much of one hormone and not enough of another, then you may have heard of the term “hormonal imbalance” before. This term is pretty self-explanatory, but basically means that the hormones in your body are out of balance and you may have too much of one and not enough of another, or any other combination of imbalance hormones. When your hormones are not in balance with one another, it could be causing severe side effects.
The causes of hormonal imbalance are various, but there are some conditions that have proven to be more likely to cause hormonal imbalance. These include:
- Disorders in the thyroid
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
Those that are suffering from these conditions are particularly susceptible to hormonal imbalance and should be aware of the risks and prepared to meet them with a solution.
Hormones and Sex
Hormones are vital parts of hundreds of body processes, but the ones that they are most commonly associated with are those that include sex and reproduction. That is because they are very important to a number of key factors in a healthy sex life. The reproductive hormones are made by ovaries in women and the testicles in men. In the ovaries, you will find the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and androgens. As for men, the testicles are responsible for testosterone reproduction.
Many of the key parts of puberty and sexual development in men and women are influenced by hormones. This includes breast development, menstrual cycles, sperm production, pubic hair growth, and more. It’s important to know that hormone levels do tend to fluctuate with age. Generally, it is known that hormone levels will naturally decline with age. There is no way to stop this process and it is natural.
One of the most large changes in hormone levels during the life of a woman is during pregnancy. In pregnancy, the body goes so far as to create an organ. This organ is the placenta and it produces progesterone, which is needed for a healthy pregnancy.
Types of Reproductive Hormones
When it comes to reproductive hormones, you should know that there are several different kinds to be familiar with. Here are the most common reproductive hormones and a brief overview of what each of them is responsible for and where they can be found.
Androgens are an important hormone that is made from cholesterol. This hormone is present in women and created in the adrenal gland as well as the ovaries. Most individuals that are experiencing an imbalance of hormones having to do with Androgens have an excess of androgens that are at a higher level than what is supposed to be present in the normal healthy person. Those that are experiencing high androgen levels will experience a variety of symptoms such as excessive hair growth, increased acne, irregularity in menstrual cycles, and infertility.
There are a number of conditions that can increase the risk for higher levels of Androgen and these include:
- Cushing’s Disease
- High Prolactin Levels
- Tumors in the Ovaries
- Adrenal Tumors
As a very important hormone in the body, it is crucial that you address any of these concerns ASAP to avoid negative prolonged side effects.
Progesterone is one of the most vital hormones that are involved in pregnancy. For women that are in the middle of their menstrual cycle, progesterone will be low until they experience ovulation. When ovulation occurs, the level of progesterone rises. Progesterone is the hormone that is responsible for enabling a fertilized egg to implant and result in pregnancy. For anyone that is trying to get pregnant, balanced progesterone is very important.
Estrogen is most commonly associated in women, but is also present in men. Estrogen has the most to do with menstruation in women and also helps to regulate a number of other body functions that have to do with bone development, brain health, cardiac health, and conditions having to do with vascular and urinary tract. Another very important aspect of estrogen is that it is the hormone that has the most to do with our appearance. Estrogen has an impact when it comes to body fat as well as skin and hair health.
Testosterone is the dominant hormone present in men. Testosterone is crucial for several body functions as well as health that involves body composition, bone health, energy levels, and more. Men often experience low testosterone as they age and start losing 1% of testosterone a year from the age of 35. There are a number of factors that could lead men to have low testosterone and hormonal imbalance including external factors such as increased stress, lack of sleep, and poor diet.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Since hormones affect so many areas of the body, there are a number of possible side effects that could occur to let you know that you have hormonal imbalance. For many people, it starts with obvious side effects such as lack of energy, trouble concentrating, lack of sex drive, and other side effects that have you not feeling quite yourself. For many, if left untreated, this can lead to other long-term conditions such as heart disease and increased risk for a myriad of other conditions. Identifying the right symptoms of hormonal imbalance and treating them is crucial for preventing these side effects and possible long-term conditions.
Treatment for Hormonal Imbalance
The most common treatment for those experiencing hormonal imbalance is hormone replacement therapy, which is a treatment designed to introduce more hormones into the body to help negate the deficit that is being felt. For those that have excess of a certain hormone, the specialist may administer other hormones into the body to balance them out. This has been found to be a highly effective treatment for those that are experiencing hormone levels outside the normal range. If you believe you have a hormone imbalance contact us today so that we can get one of our specialist hormone doctors to check your blood and ensure your hormones are balanced.