Our hormones control and regulate different parts of our body. As soon as a change occurs, this whole system, skilfully regulated like clockwork, is disturbed: our physical and psychological balance is then compromised. This is called hormonal imbalance.
Why do we say a hormonal imbalance?
The endocrine system: conductor of the body
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Composed of several glands including the endocrine glands, the endocrine system coordinates and dictates the functions of our body.
These major glands are internal and are defined as follows:
- The hypothalamus ;
- The pituitary ;
- The thyroid ;
- The parathyroid glands;
- The cells of the pancreatic islets;
- The adrenal glands;
- The testicles for men;
- Ovaries for women.
Essential to the proper functioning of our body, these glands secrete hormones. A hormone is a chemical that travels through the blood to organs or tissues to transmit a biological message to orchestrate our basic bodily functions. If all our hormones scrupulously respect their missions, harmony reigns within our organism: heartbeat, strong emotions, body temperature, sleep cycles, assimilation of food, etc. But, as soon as their production is disturbed, it is a whole physical but above all psychological balance that vanishes: well-being and health are upset and it becomes important to determine where these dissonances come from.
More than 60,000 billion cells exchange information, all as complex as each other, in order to make our body work. Like a musical score, everything is ingeniously orchestrated to avoid the slightest false note.
When this happens, several symptoms appear and the most common are:
- Tiredness ;
- Headaches see migraines;
- Hair loss;
- Digestive disorders;
- Weight gain or loss;
- Mood swings;
- Irregular periods ;
- Excessive sweating.
Many causes can explain these hormonal disorders that occur throughout our lives regardless of our age or sex. However, certain periods remain more conducive to these disorders, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause. In men, the main disorder is characterized by a testosterone deficit: this is hypogonadism.
In the vast majority of cases, these disorders are not serious but they can cause more serious problems such as:
- Diabetes ;
- Obesity ;
Understanding hormonal imbalance in women
Female hormonal imbalances are frequently due to the thyroid glands and sex glands. To understand what is happening, we must then look at a woman's menstrual cycle and the fluctuations of hormones during this period.
The first periods appear during puberty. They will return cyclically on average every 28 days and will last approximately 3 to 5 days. During the first phase of the cycle, the pre-ovulatory phase, the endometrium thickens under the effect of estrogen . A peak occurs during ovulation in order to release the oocyte. If there is no fertilization, the rules appear. Otherwise, estrogen levels drop and progesterone takes over to prepare the uterus to accommodate the egg to implant there.
Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolism in various aspects like growth, muscle strength, digestion, vascular function etc.
Two problems exist:
Hyperthyroidism means that the thyroid hormones are produced in excess so the metabolism speeds up because of this overproduction.
Otherwise, hypothyroidism suggests a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Metabolism is sluggish and a slowdown in many bodily metabolic functions follows. This phenomenon more often affects women over the age of 50.
The causes of hormonal imbalance
Puberty and menopause, key moments in a woman's life
Many causes favor hormonal disorders but puberty and menopause are the two natural, particular causes responsible for these upheavals.
During puberty , the body changes in order to allow reproduction. This transition between childhood and adulthood is early in a girl: it will have repercussions on the personality and physique of the teenager. It can take about 6 years for this process to be completed. The overproduction of hormones favors the development of breasts, pubic hair, the change in appearance of the vulva as well as the labia majora, the hips round out and the first periods appear. This physical development will also lead to the activation of the apocrine glands, responsible for the intensity of perspiration and body odor. At the same time, the high production of sebum increases the appearance of acne because the skin is oilier. Good personal hygiene will reduce bad odors just as support and listening will be important during this delicate period of puberty.
An inevitable stage in a woman's life, menopause occurs naturally around the age of 45-50 when menstruation and fertility stop. Eh yes ! The ovarian follicles age and the ovaries will stop producing estrogen: the vaginal mucous membranes dry out and the vaginal flora is more vulnerable to infections. Before that, the gradual decline in hormone production will cause uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, irregular periods , decreased libido , urinary weakness, etc. On the other hand, the cessation of hormone production affects health since it increases the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease .
Pollution and endocrine disruptors
Nowadays, pollution and endocrine disruptors are all around us.
Pollution exists in various forms. Tobacco, global warming, heavy metals impact the activity of the thyroid glands. Endocrine disruptors , on the other hand, are chemical substances, invisible to the naked eye, which are present in many products of our daily life such as cosmetics, toys, textiles and even in food. The best known are bisphenol A (BPA), pesticides, parabens, phthalates, glyphosate etc. These molecules disrupt and mimic our hormones and transmit false information to our hormonal system. These disturbances can promote the appearance of diseases such as breast and ovarian cancers, but also weight gain that can lead to obesity or even infertility .
Simple gestures can limit exposure to these, for this, it is necessary:
- Promote “homemade” food as much as possible;
- If you are reheating a dish, avoid plastic;
- Reduce the number of cleaning products;
- Pay attention to the composition of your cosmetic products;
- Washable sanitary pads;
- Avoid tobacco-smoked atmospheres;
- Vacuum cleaner and mop will be your essentials to dust your interior.
The need to listen to your body allows you to detect the symptoms of a possible hormonal imbalance . The most difficult thing is to be able to take a step back from your lifestyle and not hesitate to consult your doctor or gynecologist to determine the causes of this hormonal disorder . Our hormones play an essential role as biological messengers to our organs. We must preserve this communication so as not to disturb our entire metabolic balance.