Hormones are not something that can vary from high to low. They need to be in perfect balance. If not, you may begin to experience negative health symptoms.
Hormones deliver important messages to certain parts of the body. They are produced in glands, travel through the blood stream and talk to the cells in the body, telling them how to function properly.
Hormones have specific jobs that keep both your physical and mental health in balance.
Hormones and Their Jobs
There are many hormones in the body. Some consider the following to be the most important: Ghrelin, Leptin, Serotonin, Insulin, Prolactin, DHEA, Thyroid, Estrogen and Testosterone.
Ghrelin is called the “hunger hormone” because it has several functions associated with eating. It increases appetite. This is opposite of Leptin, which is the hormone that suppresses appetite. Both have a lot to do with weight gain or loss.
Nerve cells produce the chemical serotonin, which is also mostly found in the gut. When released, a feeling of happiness happens. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar levels. Prolactin is useful for the reproductive systems in men and women. In fact, this hormone helps women produce milk after giving birth.
DHEA helps produce other hormones such as estrogen, known as the primary female hormone. It helps the growth and development of female sexual characteristics. DHEA also produces testosterone, the primary male hormone. Testosterone aids in the development of male sexual characteristics and serves as an anabolic steroid.
These are a few of the hormones crucial for proper development. If any of these are imbalanced, you will experience the negative effects of hormonal imbalance.
Hormonal Imbalance Defined
While it can be normal for hormones to fluctuate, it is abnormal for them to be out of balance for long periods. When hormones are out of balance, it means you either have too much or too little of a certain hormone.
You may be surprised to learn that even just a tiny imbalance can be devastating to your physical or mental health. It’s important to work with a doctor who specializes in the treatment of hormones to determine is your symptoms are related to an imbalance.
Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
Feeling tired, much more than your usually tiredness, is an example of a hormonal imbalance symptoms. Other symptoms include weight changes, either gain or loss, especially if unexpected or happening without trying.
If you experience trouble digesting food, at any time from ingesting to producing bowel movements, you may have an imbalance. You should be able to eat food, have it move through your intestines without problems, and eliminated from the body normally, not too little or too often.
Your skin can tell you if you have hormonal imbalances also. If your skin is extremely dry, puffy, rashes, itchy or even show red areas, imbalanced hormones may be contributing. Furthermore, if you are experience unexplained anxiety or depression, irritability or changes in your sex drive, speak with your doctor about your hormones.
Other symptoms include hair loss, frequent urination, feeling too hot or too cold, mood swings and difficulty focusing or concentrating.
These symptoms could be caused by many different problems within the body. Each hormone within the body can be caused by a different issue. However, there are some more common causes of hormonal imbalances.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
Diabetes can be a result of an imbalance in the hormone insulin, and how estrogen and progesterone react to insulin. They regulate blood sugar levels and if these levels become too high and an imbalance occurs, you may experience negative consequences.
Other physiological causes of hormone imbalances include hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism; menopause; pregnancy; and cancer or tumors. There are even some medications that can cause an imbalance, which makes speaking with your doctor even more important.
You want to avoid long-term damage from these imbalances. The earlier you can find out if you have an imbalance, the better.
Determining if You Have an Imbalance
The first step to find out if you have a hormonal imbalance is to find the right doctor. Look for a physician or medical group that specializes in treating hormonal imbalances. This could be a family practitioner, an OBGYN, endocrinologist, or even a naturopath.
No matter what type of degree they have, they should also exhibit specific qualities. These include: spending adequate time with you, truly listening to your symptoms, considering you as an individual and not comparing your symptoms to the norm, and committing to working with you to find a solution.
They should consider both lab work and what you are telling them to create an individualized treatment plan. They should also teach you ways to stay healthy and maintain the balancing of your hormones.
Three Ways to Stay Healthy
Keeping balanced hormones means balancing other areas of your life as well. To stay healthy, you must do healthy things. Here are five tips to help get on track with staying healthy:
- Manage Stress. Stress can do serious damage to both your mental and physical health. Find ways to manage your stress. Stress can wreak havoc on hormones. Learn to meditate, take a yoga class or journal. The activity you choose should make you feel relaxed and take you away from the worries of your day.
- Sleep Well. During sleep, your brain and your body are working on repairs, healing itself from the stressors it encountered during the day, both physically and mentally. Getting a good night’s sleep can rebalance hormones that may be out of sync. And remember, quality of sleep is better than quantity of sleep.
- Eat Your Way to Healthier Hormones
There is much research on the dangers of processed foods and how they contribute to poor mental and physical health. Stay away from them, unless it is in great moderation. You don’t have to deny yourself a food you love, but you do have to avoid overindulging in that food.
Make balancing your hormones a priority so you can begin living your healthiest.