What’s happening to my body?

Last week I posted about some of the symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Today I want to talk, without complicating things, about why this may happen.

Before I start its important to define hormones. Simply put, hormones are chemicals produced by glands in our bodies to regulate various bodily functions and behavior. If they’re not balanced then your whole body will lose its balance. Of course not all your hormones will go into total breakdown at once but usually a hormonal imbalance will involve more than one hormone because of their interlinked nature where if one hormone is not right then another will also be imbalanced.

Our bodies are very intelligent and whenever a hormone is out of balance the symptoms will manifest in the areas that the hormone naturally regulates. For example, one of the things that the hormone testosterone regulates is body hair growth. If there is an abnormal increase  of testosterone in the female body than it will manifest as excessive facial and body hair.

You can find a good overview of the different glands and the hormones they excrete here.

But why does this happen?

Apart from genetics many lifestyle factors can affect your hormonal balance. Here are some of the most significant lifestyle factors that can lead to hormonal imbalances:

Poor diet:

Food is one of the most important ways our bodies get there nutrients which among other things help the production and stabilization of hormones. If you are constantly eating a diet that lacks macro and micro nutrients and is high in bad fats and sugar your body will one, not get the things it needs to keep your hormones stable and two, find it very difficult to eliminate excessive hormones that can build up in your body.

Stress:

I know this is an inevitable part of life but the chronic stress we often experience in our modern lives was not something that our hormones were designed to handle. Naturally, the stress hormone cortisol is designed to be high in the morning so that we can wake up and work and low at the end of the day indicating that it’s time to sleep. But if your body is constantly stressed your adrenal glands, the glands responsible for excreting  cortisol, will get tired and lose their natural rhythm leading to adrenal fatigue. This could affect ovulation, libido and energy levels.

Endocrine Disruptors

Many chemicals in our environment mimic our natural hormones which means if they do enter our bodies they can interfere with the functioning of our endocrine systems. The bad news is that we use these chemicals everyday, the good news, that we can actually avoid them. Beauty products, cleaning agents, plastics and hormone fed meat are just some of the sources of endocrine disruptors. Try to avoid hormone fed meat and use natural alternatives for beauty and cleaning products. Another thing is to try to avoid consuming food or drinks that have been in heated plastic containers or in containers that have been left in the sun as this triggers the release of endocrine disrupting chemicals from the plastics.

For more on hormones and hormonal imbalance Natural Fertility Info provides a fantastic overview.

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