Jan 21, 2011

What is hormonal imbalance?

What are hormones?

Hormones are the body's chemical messengers. They travel in the bloodstream, sending signals in between cells. Hormones regulate numerous physiological processes such as growth and development, metabolism, fertility, reproduction, mood swings, pain control and activation or inhibition of the immune system. Some hormone also regulates the production and release of other hormones
Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, produce hormones. The major endocrine glands are pituitary, pineal, parathyroid gland, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, testes for men and ovaries for women. Hypothalamus is considered a neuroendocrine organ. Other tissues and organs such as bone marrow, heart, kidneys, duodenum, liver, skin, stomach, adipose tissue, placenta and uterus during pregnancy also produce hormones.

Examples of hormones include adrenaline, aldosterone, calcitonin, cortisol, growth hormone, human-chorionic gonadotropin, insulin, follicle-stimulating hormone, melatonin, progesterone, testosterone, thyroxine and serotonin.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormone release is regulated through a feedback mechanism, allowing the body to keep itself balanced. However, sometimes this delicate balance is disrupted, giving rise to hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance happens when there is excessive amount or deficit of a particular hormone in the body.

Causes of hormonal imbalance

Various aspects of modern-day living can trigger hormonal imbalance. Diet rich in saturated fats and caffeine, nicotine, alcohol in can induce this imbalance. On the contrary, low fiber content in food and deficiency of some essential minerals can also cause this kind of disequilibrium. Lack of physical exercise, sedentary lifestyle, stress , environmental factors like pollution or exposure to harmful chemicals can also be held responsible for this.
Other causes can be genetics, obesity, tumors, birth control pills, pregnancy and lactation auto antibody production and the natural process of ageing.

Some diseases and conditions manifesting with hormonal imbalance 

  • Diabetes - elevated blood sugar levels due to low production or poor reception of insulin, a hormone responsible for metabolizing sugars.
  • Gigantism - Overproduction of the growth hormone from the pituitary glands causes a massive and sometimes uncontrollable growth spurt, causing individuals
  • Hyperthyroidism presents with abnormally high level of thyroid hormones, causing palpitation and arrhythmia, tremor, intolerance to heat, irritability, difficulty sleeping and weight loss with increased appetite.
  • Hypothyroidism on the other hand is deficiency of thyroid hormones. Some of its symptoms are cold intolerance, weight gain, poor muscle tone and high cholesterol.

Hormonal Imbalance in women        

acne, thinning of hair and weight gain  on a woman with Polycystic Ovaries
  • Menopause is the permanent cessation of the function of the ovaries, which is production of estrogen and progesterone. This is the end of the reproductive period of a woman. A woman has reached menopause when she has not had a period for one year. Changes and symptoms can start several years earlier. They include change in periods - shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, with more or less time in between, hot flashes and/or night sweats, trouble sleeping, vaginal dryness, mood swings, trouble focusing, less hair on head, more on face.
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – is one of the most common female endocrine disorders affecting approximately 5%-10% of women of reproductive age (12–45 years old).Polycystic ovaries develop when the ovaries are stimulated to produce   excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens), particularly testosterone, either through the release of excessive luteinizing hormone (LH) by the anterior pituitary gland or through high levels of insulin in the blood in women whose ovaries are sensitive to this stimulus. The syndrome acquired its most widely used name due to the common sign on ultrasound examination of multiple (poly) ovarian cysts. These "cysts" are actually immature follicles, not cysts.Two-thirds of women with PCOS are overweight and most are insulin resistant. Symptoms include irregular or absent periods (oligo- or amenorrhea), infertility, unusual body hair growth (hirsutism), severe acne, darkened skin patches and rapid weight gain.

If you suspect you may have a hormonal imbalance, you should seek help from a health care practitioner. This is a health problem which should not be ignored because it can lead to serious complications in the future.


Reut said...

Very helpful information. Thank you for sharing it!

edad50 said...

Hi docmench, i had had homrmonal imbalance maybe 7yrs ago and i really lost all my hair. i thought at first it was allergy from the new shampoo ad conditioner i used, but when my hair still continue to fall despite the injections on the patches the dermatologist gave me, i thought "nausog or nakulam" ako...you know i became paranoid and had thought of many negative things due to that, kala ko kanser...then the dermatologist asked me to have a blood check ksi nga di ako nagaling... then we learned i am having hormonal imbalance. it was really scary. I had known at once or had read it somewhere i would have not been that scarred and paranoid. Your blog is full of information that i should have read saana noon pa...i'll keep following your blog for more knowledge and information.

docmench said...

Hello ma'am, edad50.Thanks for citing your case in light of my article on hormonal imbalance. Also thanks for leaving a comment and following.

Radialabs said...

Hormone therapy is a treatment option for women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Like chemotherapy, hormone therapy is a systemic therapy, meaning that is works throughout the entire body. Breast cancer hormone therapy should not be confused with hormone replacement therapy, which is used to replenish hormone levels in post-menopausal women. As the two therapies can easily be confused, let's take a closer look at each.I will be constantly looking online for posts which will help me. Thank you!

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