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What Are Hormones?

What Are Hormones?

By Mike Kocsis | 7 minutes read | Last updated: April 28, 2023
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  • Medically Reviewed by Dr. George Touliatos

    Evidence Based Research

    Hormones are one of the most important parts of the body. They’re 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 is for you!

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    Who Has Hormones?

    Everyone has hormones in varying degrees. They play a critical role in the body and a number of bodily functions. Though everyone does have hormones, some hormones are more important to particular genders. For instance, men need higher amounts of testosterone and women, oestrogen. Having said that both men and women need testosterone and oestrogen.

    Defining Hormones

    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 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. It’s harder 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, the pancreas produces insulin. Insulin helps 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?

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    When your hormones are not balanced, it can cause severe side effects. These side effects can impact many areas of your life and can become debilitating. 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:

    • Diabetes
    • 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 the 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 largest 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

    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 a 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
    • Tumours in the Ovaries
    • Adrenal Tumors
    • PCOS

    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

    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

    Estrogen is most commonly associated with women but is also present in men. Its key role is 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 the 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

    Testosterone is the dominant hormone present in men. It 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 many side effects to let you know that you have a 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.

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    Treatment for Hormonal Imbalance

    Hormone Replacement Therapy is the most common treatment for those experiencing hormonal imbalance. It’s designed to introduce more hormones into the body to help negate the deficit that is being felt. For those that have an excess of a certain hormone, the specialist may administer other hormones into the body to balance them out. HRT is an effective treatment for those that are experiencing hormone levels outside the normal range. Click the button below if you think you may be experiencing 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.

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    Evidence Based Research

    This article has been researched and written based on scientific evidence and fact sheets that have then been crossed checked by our team of doctors and subject matter experts.

    References, sources and studies used alongside our own in-house research have been cited below, most of which contain external clickable links to reviewed scientific paper that contain date stamped evidence.

    Our team of healthcare experts and GMC registered doctors are licensed to UK GMC standards. We strive to provide you with the latest evidence based, researched articles that are unbiased, honest and provide you with accurate insights, statistics and helpful information on the discussed topic to ensure you gain a better understanding of the subject. You can read more about our Editorial Process by clicking here.

    We value your feedback on our articles, if you have a well-researched paper you would like to share with us please contact us.

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    About the Author: Mike Kocsis

    Mike KocsisMike Kocsis has an MBA with a focus on healthcare administration and is an entrepreneur and medical case manager for Balance My Hormones Ltd which offers medical services in the UK and Europe. Mike has over 20 years of experience in the healthcare sector, much of that working with people who have hormone imbalances. Mike has appeared on podcasts and radio and is an expert speaker on the subject of hormone imbalance. He specialises in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) and Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and has helped thousands of people suffering from hormone imbalances recover and regain control of their lives. You can follow him on LinkedIn and on the Balance My Hormones YouTube Channel.

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    Last update: April 28th, 2023
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    Both oestrogen and testosterone are primary sex hormones that play many crucial roles in the body. Testosterone is mainly associated with male physiology, while oestrogen is predominantly found in females. However, these hormones exist in both sexes, albeit in different concentrations. Proper balance between these hormones is essential for the overall well-being of a person. […]

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