hormonesHormones have a wide variety of crucial roles all over the body, and for the most part, our bodies are able to carefully maintain the optimal balance of hormones needed to keep us feeling healthy, without us even having to give a second thought to our hormone production.

However, when we experience an imbalance of hormones, we sure do know about. Lethargy, irregular periods, poor sexual function, loss of libido, weight loss and gain, muscles mass loss, mood changes and mood swings, depression and migraine are just a few symptoms of hormone imbalance.

To give you an example of why hormones are so important, here’s a breakdown of some of the most important hormones and the roles they have in the body:

  • Estrogen – a hormone responsible for the female menstrual cycle, but which is also essential for male health in small quantities.
  • Progesterone – a hormone which balances estrogen for women and is necessary for various functions including menstruation and reproduction.
  • Testosterone – crucial for men, this hormone helps to maintain healthy male sexual function amongst other things and is also found in the female body in much smaller doses.
  • Thyroid – thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones help to regulate vital functions such as breathing, weight maintenance, nervous systems, heart rate and body temperature.
  • Cortisol – a hormone which helps us to cope with stress but which can be depleted with chronic, long term stress and makes it difficult to cope in stressful situations.

How do my hormones become unbalanced?

Your body’s natural hormone balance can be affected by many different things, but most commonly it is age and lifestyle that cause hormones to become unbalanced.

Age

Our age impacts our hormones in a serious way. As teenagers, we go through puberty and our hormones go a little haywire as we develop into adults. A similar thing happens as we get older, though women tend to notice it more acutely when they go through menopause and have to deal with acne, mood swings, fatigue, irregular periods and IBS among tother symptoms.

Men experience similar problems when their levels of testosterone deplete in their 50s, 60s and 70s, although the process tends to happen much slower and for most, changes to the body aren’t quite as sudden and dramatic than they may have experienced during puberty. However, mood changes, hair loss, fatigue, reduced muscle mass and erection problems can all occur for men who are seeing a reduction in testosterone as a result of getting older.

Lifestyle

Our diet, activity levels and mood can all impact our hormone levels. Stress is often a major cause of hormone imbalance, with men and women experiencing problems if they find themselves stressed out by their hectic lifestyle. Lack of sleep can also lead to hormone problems, as can certain deficiencies in crucial vitamins and minerals.

How can I improve my hormone balance?

It is possible to create a healthy balance of hormones by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Certain foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, can provide the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain good hormones, whilst supplements such as Vitamin D3 can have a similar effect. It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, get plenty of sleep and to reduce stress levels in order to keep your hormone balance in check. Your doctor will be able to make recommendations to you as to which areas of your life you could change in order to achieve a better hormone balance.

Sometimes, it is necessary to maintain a healthy hormone balance with the help of prescription medications and treatments. For women going through menopause and experiencing very severe and uncomfortable symptoms, hormone replacement therapies such pellets, patches, creams or oral medications are incredibly effective solutions. Pellets, which are inserted beneath the skin the hip area, are particularly effective because they can be adapted to suit the specific needs of each individual and provide the optimum balance of hormones.

If you’re worried about hormone balance at any stage of your life, and no matter if you’re a man or a woman, there are plenty of methods to get things back into balance to help you feel like yourself again. Be sure to speak to your doctor to find out exactly what’s happening with your hormone levels.