What are Hormones?
A person creates as many as 50 types of hormones that coarse through the body. Hormones play a huge role in helping the body function properly. They are molecules that come out of the endocrine glands in the body. They send out messages to the rest of the body to ensure that all the body parts are doing their job. If hormones are not balanced and fluctuate often it can adversely affect an individual’s health. Often times, hormone imbalances are caused by surrounding circumstances. These imbalances are prevalent during periods of puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Hormonal imbalances can affect anyone – young or old, male or female.
The Importance of Hormones
There are many types of hormones because the body consists of different types of glands. Some of the major endocrine glands are the adrenal gland, the hypothalamus gland, and the reproductive glands (ovaries and testes). The adrenal gland creates hormonal secretions called cortisol and androgen. These two substances help the body function in many ways. They regulate blood sugar, stress, cardiovascular activity, digestion, and deal out the stored fat in the body to the appropriate location. The hypothalamus gland acts as a liaison and connects signals created by glands in the endocrine system to the nervous system. It helps monitor the body’s overall inner balance, also known as homeostasis. This gland releases hormones that are responsible for heart rate and blood pressure regulation. The hormones from the hypothalamus gland also maintain the body’s appetite, weight, temperature, sleep cycle, and fluid-electrolyte balance. The reproductive glands produce hormones in the ovaries (for women) and the testes (for men). These types of gender-related hormones are crucial to the proper development of the body. For women, ovaries make hormones called estrogen, which plays a vital role in puberty and the fertility process. There are 3 major kinds of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. For men, testes produce hormones called testosterone. Testosterone plays the role of helping boys grow correctly and when they become men it will help with reproduction as well. Other important kinds of glands found in the endocrine system include the thymus, pancreas, and thyroid.
Indicators of a Hormone Imbalance
There are certain symptoms that may indicate a hormone imbalance in the body. These symptoms are insomnia, weight loss or gain that can’t be explained, fragile bones, blood pressure fluctuations, bloating, a decrease in sex drive, dry skin, blurry vision, anxiety, depression, and thinning hair. Seeing a general physician can help determine if you need to seek further treatment from an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a highly trained doctor that focuses on diagnosing and treating diseases related to chronic and improper hormone levels in the body. The general physician will run specific tests to determine the problem and treat it appropriately. These types of tests involve the process of collecting the patient’s urine, blood, or saliva to check different types of hormones and see if there are any deficiencies. Hormones like thyroxin, progesterone, insulin, estrogen, cortisol, TTH, and testosterone levels can be checked with these tests. There are also some types of imaging equipment, like an MRI or ultrasound, that can help diagnosis hormone irregularities in the body.
Types of Hormone Imbalance Disorders
Some types of hormone imbalance-related diseases are diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), acromegaly, Cushing’s Disease, and Addison’s Disease. Diabetes is a widespread condition that affects many people and occurs when there is a deficiency in insulin and the body cannot process glucose in the body efficiently. If left untreated, it can cause serious health issues such as kidney damage, increased risk of stroke, and blindness. There are several kinds of diabetes: Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes that affects people. It is brought on by detrimental lifestyle habits, like making poor dietary choices. Type 1 diabetes is acquired at birth and occurs when the pancreas in the body is unable to produce insulin (or too little of it) to regulate glucose. Pre-diabetes is a mild form of Type 2 diabetes that can worsen over time if left unchecked. Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women and can cause severe health problems for the fetus and mother.
Hyperthyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland makes too many hormones and disrupts the natural balance of what is considered optimal to the body. Because of the imbalance, weight loss, nervousness, excessive sweating, and a rapid heart rate may be experienced. Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism and is a condition in which the thyroid gland makes too little hormones. This can lead to dry skin, constipation, chronic exhaustion, and depression. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a disorder that afflicts women and can lead to infertility. This condition is an overproduction of androgens that disrupt the natural formation of eggs and ovaries. Acromegaly, also called gigantism, is a hormone problem associated with growth. Hormones found in the pituitary gland can produce too little or too many hormones. If there are too many hormones in the system, the person’s body parts and bones grow too fast and this results in an abnormal appearance of the body. Cushing’s Disease is another hormone disorder that involves the overproduction of hormones in the pituitary gland. With Cushing’s Disease, excessive ACTH is made, which means too much cortisol is produced. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and if its overproduction becomes chronic it can lead to health problems, like easy bruising of the skin, weight gain, and muscle weakness. Addison’s Disease is the opposite of Cushing’s Disease. With Addison’s Disease, the body does not produce enough cortisol and this causes fatigue, depression, dehydration, and weight loss.
Treatment Options for Hormone Imbalances
Those with a hormone imbalance can treat their symptoms with specified medications and natural methods as well. Metformin is a drug that comes in pill form that helps treat PCOS and Type 2 diabetes. Vaginal estrogen, hormone birth control pills, estrogen therapy, and testosterone therapy are other options used by doctors to treat persistent hormone fluctuations in the body.
There are effective natural alternatives (instead of just traditional medical treatments) to consider as well. The first method is learning to manage and cope with stress. Stress can really affect a person’s hormone levels. Stress can lead to heightened hormone levels and cause overeating and belly fat growth. This can lead to obesity and a series of other health issues. It can also increase levels of adrenaline and cause feelings of anxiety and high blood pressure. There are several ways to reduce stress. Activities such as yoga and meditation can soothe the body and mind. Getting a massage and listening to music can calm the body as well. Take a stroll at the park or lay on the beach. Reserving 10-15 minutes a day to do something enjoyable and relaxing can drastically lower stress levels.
Another way to balance hormones naturally is to consume foods and beverages that are good for the body. Eating foods cooked with healthy fats instead of trans fats is recommended. Healthy fats include coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil. Foods loaded with trans fat cause insulin resistance in the body and increase the storage of fat in the belly. Insulin resistance can cause hormone imbalances. It is important to include plenty of fatty fish in the diet because of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish display helpful effects on overall hormone health in the body. Good pescetarian choices include salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Eating these types of fish can also decrease stress in the body and help lower insulin resistance caused by a hormone imbalance. Eat a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, lean proteins, and whole-grain foods will help strengthen the body and decrease the chances of hormone imbalances from occurring. Garlic, turmeric, broccoli, and avocados are some good examples of foods that can stave off hormone imbalance. Including lean proteins and eggs in your meals is particularly helpful in balancing out hormone problems. This is due to the fact that protein contains important amino acids that help keep the muscles and bones strong. Protein also helps keep a person feeling fuller. Stay away from highly processed foods and snacks. Limit fast foods like fried chicken and french fries. Avoid sugary drinks, like cola soda and sweetened tea because they are loaded with sugar. Too much sugar in the bloodstream can lead to a high blood sugar level and damage blood vessels. Drink water and green tea to cleanse the body and reduce the chances of hormone irregularities developing in the body. Green tea contains antioxidants that help regulate insulin levels in the body. Remember not to overeat or undereat. The body and its hormones function best when approximately 1,200 calories are consumed each day.
In addition, getting a good night’s rest consistently is a great way to balance hormones naturally. High-quality sleep can help keep hormones in the body at a good balance. Getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is ideal. Including exercise into your daily routine is another way to balance out hormones. When you exercise, the body produces more hormones that are good for the body and as a result, you feel better. Your body will be less prone to insulin resistance hormones building up and you will be less stressed as well. Types of exercises to try are strength training, endurance exercises, and aerobic exercises. Do sets of pull-ups, squats, and lunges. Go swimming, cycling, or stair climbing. Not only will you increase your stamina level, but you will keep the hormones in your body steady and balanced. The key is to exercise regularly and not to give up. Certain types of natural supplements can alleviate symptoms of hormone balance too. These types of supplements contain hormones that are derived from plants and work to mimic your body’s hormones. These natural hormones are called bioidentical hormones and can help fix hormone deficiencies in the body. Examples of natural herbs that can help reduce symptoms of improper hormone levels in the body are ginseng and red clover. These types of herbs can increase the amounts of hormones that are lacking in the body.
Get In Touch with us for More Information
To learn more about how to balance hormones naturally, we encourage you to call and reserve a spot in a free seminar at Naples Vitality. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and provide resources to help you optimize and improve your health. Contact us today!