The word “hormonal” is used much more than it is understood. Hormone imbalance symptoms come in many forms. Further, hormone imbalance in women can look different than a hormone imbalance in men.
What exactly are these hormone issues? The infamous, invisible mood changers? Or the mysterious aches or fatigue we might feel? Is “hangry” a hormone? Is sleep-deprivation a real source of crankiness? Does chocolate help or hurt during that time of month?
In this article:
In simplest terms, a hormone is a chemical secreted by any gland in the endocrine system (endocrine literally means to “sift” or “sort”). A gland sends these chemical messages, known as hormones, throughout the body to initiate basic functions. These chemical triggers can also be associated with good and bad emotion.
An animal in the wild needs these hormonal hints to sort out when to take care of its body amidst the constant life and death distractions of its environment. As humans, we have a plethora of mental and physical distractions to deal with—late nights at the office, drinks with friends, relationship troubles, rush hour traffic, artificial food additives—all in all, a lot more ways to miss a simpler signal that says “eat! sleep!” And though we consider ourselves more evolved, we must remember that our bodies are more than just transportation for our busy heads!
When these silent agents of the body are imbalanced, they can cause a lot of commotion in and outside the body. In fact, poor emotional health often indicates physical distress masquerading as bad feelings. We can blame hyperactivity in children on that extra scoop of ice cream, but we forget that a double-strength caramel latte in place of lunch results in something much worse than a fit of giggles in adults.
Not sleeping well? Living on ramen and soda like a college kid? Chalking up that weight gain to middle age? Many problems we brush off as “just how it is” come from hormone production being too high or too low. The trouble with that is these imbalances can be cumulative, starting out with a bad habit, getting worse and worse until you end up with a thyroid condition, heart disease, chronic weight gain or weight loss, and the most common yet equally dangerous ailment: irregular sleep.
Here are the top five hormones related to how the body regulates itself:
There’s a pattern with these hormones. They require sleep, exercise, and a whole food diet. When one hormone is out of sync, it affects the rest of the body. With how busy people are today, it’s not our first inclination to maintain good sleep, exercise and eat a healthy diet. It’s so easy to grab some fast food and push through a long day with some caffeine. But taking time for yourself pays off in the end.
Though we aren’t born with instruction manuals, (wouldn’t that be nice!) you can still listen to your body and do what it says, when it says. Hormones and glands are just one part of our intricate inner workings. We drive around in a pretty miraculous biological machine that fixes itself when treated well and given the right fuel.
It may take some time and practice to turn up the volume of that silent voice, but it’s well worth listening to.
Remember, your family relies on your good health as much as you do! Take some you-time, get in touch with your body’s rhythms and get back to a better you!
Sarah Cole is a writer, cat lover and avid tea drinker from a growing family of six. She loves green spaces, her new blender, and is saving up for a whirlwind tour of Italy with her girlfriend, Tivis.
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