You have probably heard about hormones since puberty. Most people associate hormones to an increased attraction to the opposite sex, or blame it for the cause of their acne. Let us take a look into what hormones really are and what they do.
Our endocrine system that is made up of our pituitary gland, adrenal glands, thyroid gland and pancreas, to name a few, is in charge of the manufacturing and secretion of our hormones. Hormones are, basically, chemical messengers or vehicles used by the body to send signals from one cell to another. As you know, our body is made up of billions of cells and we rely on hormones to keep things in check, make sure everything is running smoothly and according to schedule. It even plays a BIG role in our gender. It keeps our body in a state of balance called homeostasis.
If you search the internet about hormonal imbalance, you will find articles that talk about hormonal imbalances in women. It is important to state here that hormonal imbalances do not only affect women, but men as well. It is just more common in women.
So what is hormonal imbalance? As with anything and everything, too much or too little of something is bad or even dangerous. Any sort of fluctuation in our hormonal levels can affect us. It can actually occur in everyone, but most usually don’t even notice it, because the fluctuation is easily resolved soon after. But for those who have prolonged instability, (which, in some cases, is aggravated by aging) it can manifest in different ways such as:
• Erectile dysfunction (lacking testosterone)
• Breast enlargement (excess estrogen)
• Weight gain or weight loss
• Memory loss
• Bone loss
• Weight gain or weight loss
• Sleep problems
• Bone loss
• Hot flashes
What could be the cause of hormonal imbalance? There are actually many causes, but one of the primary roots is estrogen dominance, wherein, the level of estrogen in our body, male or female, is overpowering the other hormones. Estrogen is, of course, the hormone for female secondary sex characteristics. For women, if the level of estrogen is overpowering our other sex hormone, progesterone, a lot of problems may occur. Some of which are manifested by the mentioned symptoms above. These symptoms mostly manifest during the menopausal period. For men, the level of estrogen is overpowering their primary sex hormone, testosterone. Estrogen dominance can be aggravated by taking in hormonal pills and other factors in our environment and diet.
Does it lead to anything serious? Definitely! The instability of weight alone can cause obesity. Bone loss increases the risk for osteoporosis. The decreased or lack of regulation of blood sugar by the hormone, insulin, can cause diabetes. The decreased progesterone can lead to miscarriages during pregnancy. It can also lead to depression, high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer.
Am I sounding like this is completely unavoidable and incurable? Don’t worry! There is hope. If you are already exhibiting most of the symptoms, it is important to, first, consult your physician to get a proper diagnosis regarding your condition. Your physician will determine the best treatment plan for you and inform you on what to expect concerning your condition. However, if you want to face this problem before it has even begun, in hopes that you can “lessen the blow,” it is of primary importance to establish a healthy lifestyle where you exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and have healthy ways to relieve stress. Another way to prevent hormonal imbalances is to take immense care of your liver. Your liver filters the blood of any excess hormones and eliminates them in an effort to keep your hormone levels within normal range. So it is very important that your liver is in a perfect functioning state. If, at any instance, it fails to do its job because of damage done to it, your hormones can accumulate to dangerous levels.
At any rate, you will still most likely be advised that you should make changes in your lifestyle as stated above. Another is the use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT), but this is only used in extreme cases where the body is severely compromised. A good replacement for cases that are not so extreme is the use of herbal remedies. Use of non-estrogenic herbs, or herbs that do not contain estrogen or estrogen-mimicking substances, is said to be highly effective in regulating hormone fluctuations and lowering estrogen levels.
If you have any concerns about your health, your best option is to consult your physician. And remember, anything in excess or in shortage is bad for you.