How do you know your hormones unless you look at them! Keep track of your hormones or else hormones will abandon your body's efficiency.
The endocrine system is a series of glands that produce and secrete hormones which the body uses for a wide range of functions like respiration, metabolism ,reproduction ,sensory perception ,movements ,sexual development and growth.
In simple words, the endocrine system is a network of glands that secrete chemicals called hormones to help our body function properly. They travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages and tell the organs what to do and when to do it. They even tell our body whether we are hungry, sleepy, stressed or getting a little “frisky”, when to stop eating or when we need to wake up, when we need to calm down or when we’re not feeling so sexy.
Endocrine system consists of Hypothalamus gland, Pituitary gland, Parathyroid gland, Pancreas gland, Thyroid gland, Adrenal gland, Pineal gland, Ovaries gland and Testes gland.
How Hormones Work in the Endocrine System
Step 1 - Hormone secreted in the body travels through the bloodstream to target cells designed to receive its message.
Step 2 -Every target cells have receptors that only attach onto specific hormones, so that each hormone communicates only with specific target cells.
Step 3 -Hormones reaches its target cell, it locks onto the cell's specific receptors.
Finally hormone receptors transmit chemical instructions to the inner parts of the cell.
Lets move on to know about glands in endocrine system and which type of hormone releases for efficient functioning of our body!
1. Thyroid gland : It releases two hormones Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4), which helps in controlling the metabolism of our body.
2. Pituitary gland: It is considered as "master control gland," and also controls other glands and makes the hormones that trigger growth.
3. Hypothalamus gland : The hypothalamus gland is also considered as the master regulator of the endocrine system. It is responsible for maintaining the body's internal balance (homeostasis) by stimulating or inhibiting major bodily functions such as the heart rate and blood pressure etc.
4. Pancreas: This gland produces insulin that helps control blood sugar levels. by allowing the body to use glucose or sugar from carbohydrates in the food for energy or to store glucose for future use. Hence, this gland releases hormones to keep blood sugar level from getting too high.
5. Adrenal: Adrenal glands produce the hormones that control sex drive and also produces cortisol hormones. It helps us to stay healthy and energetic. Its main role is to control physical and psychological stress. High level of cortisol consistently causes high blood pressure, anxiety. and a low level of cortisol in the body causes alcoholism, a condition responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome etc.
6. Estrogen - It is a female sex hormone released by the ovaries. It is responsible for the reproduction, menstruation and menopause. And excess of estrogen in the female body increases the risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer etc. If the estrogen level is less in female body then it leads to acne, skin infections ,hair loss etc.
7. Progesterone - Progesterone glands plays an important role in maintaining pregnancy as when such glands levels drops menstrual cycle occurs. It also plays a role in sexual desire.
8. Testosterone - It is a male sex hormone. In males, it plays an important role in the development of male reproductive tissues; testes and prostate and also in building up muscles. If testosterone is secreted insufficient in men then it may lead to abnormalities including frailty and bone loss.
Hormonal Imbalance - Causes and Prevention
Hormonal imbalance occur when the glands do not produce the right amount of hormones i.e. releasing more or less hormones will result into hormonal imbalance when subjected to inadequate supplies of nutrients, inordinate stress and toxic influences.
Lets walk through an example of hyperthyroidism
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the base of our neck. It releases hormones that control metabolism.
It is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce, store, and release hormones into the bloodstream so the hormones can reach the body's cells.
The thyroid gland uses iodine from the foods you eat to make two main hormones:
It is important that T3 and T4 levels should be neither too high nor too low. As such fluctuations will result in hormonal imbalances.
When T3 and T4 levels are high in the blood, the pituitary gland releases less TSH to tell the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones which will further results in hormonal imbalance in the body. And such hormonal imbalance result in anxiety, moodiness ,sweating , hair loss, hand trembling etc.
When T3 and T4 levels are low in blood, then pituitary gland releases more TSH then body will suffer with sleep disorder, tiredness and fatigue, depression , joint and muscle pains etc.
Hormonal Imbalance in Women
Hormones have great impact on women’s health.
The women’s reproductive health is influenced mainly by two well know female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone and for every women female hormones are important components of reproduction, sexuality, overall health and well-being.
Lets move on to few effects due to hormonal imbalance in women -
Too much or too little of secretion and release of hormones like estrogen and progesterone result in irregular periods. Irregular periods can be a symptom of health problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Low estrogen can trigger hot flashes and night sweats, both of which can make it tough to get peaceful sleep.
An excess of androgens can cause our oil glands to overwork. Besides, it also affect the skin cells in and around our hair follicles. Both of those things can clog our pores and cause skin acne issues.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of a hormone imbalance which is result of hyperthyroidism diseases ( over secretion of thyroid glands in the neck)
The hormone helps vaginal tissue stay moist and comfortable. But if our release of our estrogen hormones drops because of an imbalance, it can reduce vaginal fluids and cause tightness
Testosterone are male hormone, but women’s bodies make it too. If testosterone levels are lower than usual then might have less of an interest in sex than anyone usually have.
Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of female infertility.. High levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can reduce a woman’s chances of getting pregnant while low levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), which stimulates the ovaries to release an egg and start producing progesterone, can also cause fertility problems.
What to do to prevent hormonal imbalance in women ?
Healthy lifestyle such as exercise, meditation, balanced diet, drinking less alcohol and quit smoking will have strong control over cortisol hormones.
To improve our libido as well as boost our mood and energy levels its recommended to consult a women’s health expert about trying testosterone as part of your hormone replacement therapy.
An unexplained weight gain, with no change in diet or exercise levels must consult an expert in women’s health to check for conditions such as thyroid problems or ovarian cysts. Besides, with medication consistently adhere to healthy life style and exercise to reduce obesity.
Often women do not realize due to falling estrogen hormones they have brittle bones until they suffer a fracture and consult doctor for medication. Hence it is important to adopt healthy lifestyle changes to improve our bone health with a healthy diet including sources of calcium and vitamin D and high fiber intake foods
A study in Chronobiology International notes that exposure to any bright artificial lighting at night may confuse the body, causing it to suppress the hormone melatonin, which can negatively affect many functions and mainly result in sleep disorder. So avoid to use cell phones or any electronic gadgets before sleep to prevent sleep disorder issues.
A study in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology suggests that the simple act of listening to music reduces stress and efficiently control release of adrenaline and cortisol hormones.
Healthful fats may help maintain a balance of hormones involved in appetite and metabolism. Besides, fiber also play an important role in strong health as it helps to regulate hormones such as insulin.
Hormonal Imbalance in Men
A hormonal imbalance can occur at any point in a man’s life even in his early 30s.
Hormonal imbalances in men occur when testosterone levels decline and estrogen levels progressively incline.
This decline in testosterone can lead to symptoms such as a lack of energy and fatigue, mood changes, osteoporosis, hair loss, muscle weakness, brain fog, decreased sexual performance, elevated blood sugar and abnormal heart Conditions.
Furthermore if the ratio of testosterone to estrogen has been thrown out of alignment or not in exact proportions then this will lead to gynecomastia, or breast enlargement.
While gynecomastia itself is not physically harmful but it can be emotionally distressing and take a toll on your self-esteem. Luckily, surgery is sometimes an option but it is essential to medically correct the hormonal issues.
Besides hormonal imbalance due to a dip in testosterone also affects sex drive and on flip side high estrogen levels may interfere with sexual desire and performance.
One of the most important organ the liver helps us to metabolize used hormones and eliminate them from the body. Men with liver disease have been shown to develop gynecomastia and spider veins as a result of the liver’s inability to metabolize oestrogen i.e. in simple words hormonal imbalance in oestrogen hormones.
Liver health can be enhanced by avoiding alcohol, saturated fats and excess toxins such as: caffeine, drugs, chemicals, pesticides, additives and solvents.
How to prevent hormonal imbalance in men ?
To avoid hormonal imbalance in men its necessary to mainly control release of hormones such testosterone, estrogen, oestrogen, cortisol, Triiodothyronine (T3),Thyroxine (T4) in the body.
Moreover for all the hormones to function efficiently healthy lifestyle is important. Healthy body is part & parcel of healthy lifestyle. Therefore, high quality, nutrient dense food is the best place to start and must aim to work as naturally as possible with food by avoiding highly refined and processed foods.
And other foods like consumption of arginine which can be found in a range of food such as turkey, pork, nuts, legumes, and whole grains to prevent erectile dysfunction
Arginine is an amino acid that produces nitric oxide, which naturally dilates the blood vessels thereby helping maintain blood flow to the sexual organs.
But its really important to avoid excess sugar in the diet which will increase demand on the pancreas to produce more insulin, which may lead to insulin resistance. Constant fluctuations in blood glucose levels have a detrimental effect on hormones which will result into hormonal imbalance.
Hormonal Imbalance in children
Hormones play a significant role in the development and overall health of a child.
In simple words it means that abnormal functioning of any endocrine gland in the body can have dramatic implications on growth, development, moods and even character formation of the child..
Some of the health issues that cause hormonal imbalance in children are:
Infection or injury of an endocrine gland will affect its hormone production.
Failure of a gland to activate another gland to produce hormones. For example, the failure of the hypothalamus gland can hinder the production of the growth hormone which is produced by the pituitary gland
Hereditary is also important reason behind hormonal imbalance in children. Suppose parent is suffering with hormonal imbalance then high chances then moves on to the child too.
Some psychological issues that arise due to the hormonal imbalance among children includes anxiety, hyper activity, mood swings, poor social habits inability to concentrate etc.
Delayed puberty. No breast development by the age of 13 and no periods by the age of 16 are the sign of delayed puberty in girls and no enlargement of the testicle by the age of 14 and absence of the facial hair are the sign of delayed puberty in boys.
Overproduction of growth hormone by pituitary gland results in the abnormal growth of body parts resulting in Gigantism
The hormonal imbalances in children can be prevented by healthy lifestyle but on flip side it is even necessary to consult endocrinologist pediatrician for better and efficient results.
Indeed! From sleeping to cell repair, from appetite to metabolism, from blood pressure to pain regulation, everything is highly influenced by the hormones .
Nearly everyone experiences at least one or two periods of hormonal imbalance during their lifetime. Hormones affect a wide range of bodily functions, and even small imbalances can have significant consequences.
Our hormones dictate virtually every part of our life: from our state of mind to our behavior, body shape, eating habits and even our reaction to stress. You can only live a happy and healthy life if our hormones are balanced.
Referred links -