When people hear the word hormone, they often think of testosterone, estrogen, and sometimes progesterone. However, adrenaline, insulin, cortisol, thyroxine, melatonin, glucagon, and leptin are also hormones the body produces and needs to function properly (1). When the body experiences a hormonal imbalance, you could experience any number of symptoms from weight gain and fatigue to mood swings and digestive problems.
Hormonal imbalances are actually quite common. The symptoms of hormone imbalance can be as mild as slight mood changes to something as serious as full-blown headaches (2). Similarly, the treatments to balance hormones can be as simple as dietary changes, using essential oils or herbal remedies. Some cases require more intensive therapy such as medications or even surgery.
What are Hormones and How do They Work?
In very simplified terms, hormones act as messengers that influence cellular and organ functions. As with any type of communication or coordination effort, if one component is off, it can affect the entire system (3).
The endocrine system is known as the body’s primary regulatory system. Hormones are produced by various endocrine glands.
These glands are known as the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, thymus, adrenal glands, thyroid gland, parathyroid gland, pineal gland, kidneys, ovaries, and pancreas. Each gland in the body produce different hormones, and some fluctuation is to be expected as we encounter various scenarios or different stages in life.
Endocrine glands and the hormones they produce are responsible for the regulation and maintenance of all of the most important body systems. This includes the reproductive systems, growth and development, the body’s energy production and usage, as well as the systems that determine our emotional and physiological response to your environment, stress, and injuries.
Depending on the hormonal imbalance, the results can be minor or outright catastrophic. Your hormones may be out of whack due to an underlying genetic or medical issue, in which case outside intervention is usually needed. However, there may be a behavioral or environmental issue causing problems.