What effect do hormones have on your body?

Without hormones your body would not be able to function; it’s as simple as that. They are the messengers that travel through your blood stream to the tissues and organs of your body, and give them all of the instructions that they need. This is why so many processes that happen in your body, such as reproduction, growth and metabolism, are reliant on the right levels of hormones being present.

Problems with the way your body is behaving could be to do with your hormones being unbalanced. Hormone testing can be carried out, to see whether this is the case. Here are some of the ways that hormones affect your body.

  • Oestrogen

If you are a woman reading this article, you may not be too happy with oestrogen, as it’s the hormone that is responsible for menstruation and the menopause. But it’s also responsible for reproduction; so it’s not all bad news.

This female hormone is secreted by the ovaries, and an imbalance can cause problems. It’s fairly common for women to have low oestrogen levels, especially if they do not have a good diet, or they exercise to extreme levels. If you have an imbalance of oestrogen, you may notice that you suffer from acne, your skin is thinner or you start to lose hair. Low oestrogen levels can also lead to conditions such as osteoporosis.

Quite often, low levels of oestrogen are dealt with by the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), but improving your diet, and exercising sensibly can also help to alleviate the problem.

  • Testosterone

Testosterone is the main male hormone, but it’s also the sex hormone for men and women. Just like with oestrogen, it’s possible to have an imbalance of testosterone. Also like oestrogen, it’s often lifestyle choices that lead to the imbalance, such as a poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking.

You can often tell if your testosterone levels are not as they should be as the problem can cause weight gain, loss of libido and depression. Men who have a lack of testosterone can also suffer from erectile dysfunction, whereas women who have too much may notice that they have an excess of body hair.

If you suspect that you may have a problem with your testosterone levels, you should speak to a doctor. Tests can be carried out, and you may be advised to change your diet or exercise regime, if the results show that there is a problem.

  • Serotonin

Serotonin is the hormone which affects your mood, the way you sleep and your memory. Sometimes, the brain does not produce enough serotonin, and you may experience symptoms such as depression, panic attacks and insomnia. You may also have too much serotonin in your body; this is especially likely to happen if you take recreational drugs. Excess levels of serotonin can result in symptoms such as agitation and confusion.

If you think that you have a problem, you can be tested, and you may be prescribed anti-depressants, if the problem is extreme. Often, it’s only necessary to change your diet or exercise regime.

  • Cortisol

Cortisol helps to keep up your energy levels, and is the hormone that helps you to deal with stress. The thing about cortisol is that the levels in your body are supposed to change. When you encounter a stressful situation, the levels of cortisol rise, to help you deal with it.

The levels should decrease again once the stress subsides. But, this does not happen for everyone. Some people have high cortisol levels all the time, which leads to problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety and fatigue.

People who have this problem need to learn ways to deal with stress more successfully, and to try and distance themselves from potentially stressful situations.

You can see how important hormones are in every aspect of life. If you think that any of the hormones in your body may be out of balance, it’s a good idea to get the levels tested as soon as possible.

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