Hormones are chemical messengers that coordinate and control various body functions and processes. Released by the glands that form your endocrine system, hormones travel through your bloodstream to their predetermined destination (skin, muscles, brain, or other organs and tissues) to keep your body healthy and functioning normally.
Simply put, these vital signals tell your body what to do and when to do it. Although experts are still uncovering more information about the endocrine system and hormones all the time, they’ve identified over 50 hormones in the human body so far.
Read on as our seasoned team of women’s wellness specialists at Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology in Amarillo, Texas, explains how hormones control your body and support your health and explores five signs that can indicate your hormones are well-balanced and working as they should.
Your endocrine system is a complex network of glands, tissues, and hormones that orchestrate a wide range of body functions and processes, including:
Your hormone levels change throughout the day based on both what they’re “supposed” to be doing as well as external factors that affect their activity. They adjust in response to your stress levels, dietary choices, physical activity, overall health, and many other factors.
Your reproductive hormone levels fluctuate naturally through the course of your menstrual cycle as well as through each reproductive stage of life (from puberty to menopause and beyond).
Given that hormones are rarely the subject of conversation when they’re balanced and working normally, many people don’t know how to tell if they’re “healthy in the hormone department.” As such, we wanted to share five strong signs you have fully functioning, balanced hormones.
Several female reproductive hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, are involved in menstrual cycle activity and period regularity. If you have normal periods that don’t deviate much from one cycle to the next, these hormones are probably balanced and working well.
As you approach menopause, your periods begin to change — often becoming shorter and less frequent — because of dwindling reproductive hormone levels.
While this transition is normal, natural, and expected, it’s always a good idea to ask about period changes that concern you. This includes heavy or irregular periods that occur well before menopause, which can be a sign of a hormonal imbalance or gynecological problem.
If your weight tends to remain relatively steady — meaning you rarely or never experience unintended weight loss or weight gain — your hormones are probably healthy too. Along with calorie intake and physical activity, hormone balance is one of the most affecting influences on your metabolism and body weight.
When it comes to hunger and satiation signals, digestive function, and metabolic efficiency, hormones run the show. If you’ve been gaining or losing weight despite a steady calorie intake and unchanging physical activity, a thyroid or reproductive hormone imbalance may be the culprit.
Clear, healthy skin — and normal, healthy hair growth — can indicate that your hormones are balanced and working well. The hormonal activities that control and coordinate metabolic and reproductive functions also support optimal skin and hair health by fostering ongoing collagen and elastin growth, balanced skin oil (sebum) production, and normal hair follicle stimulation.
Certain female or metabolic hormonal imbalances, on the other hand, are associated with thin, dry skin, persistent adult acne, coarse, dry hair, thinning hair or hair loss, and excessive body or facial hair growth (hirsutism).
Many factors — both internal and external — can affect your mood and energy levels from one day to the next, including hormone balance and function. If your sleep-wake cycle, daily energy levels, and overall mood are relatively stable most of the time, chances are your hormones are also mostly stable and balanced.
Low mood, anxiety, depression, irritability, nervousness, and restlessness can be a product of certain hormonal imbalances, including hyperthyroidism (having too much thyroid hormone in your body) as well as the reproductive hormonal changes brought on by menopause.
Reproductive hormones play a central role in sexual response. For women, well-balanced hormones support healthy sexual arousal and its physiological response of vaginal lubrication, which facilitates pain-free intercourse. If this sounds like the norm for you, your hormones are probably working as they should.
But if you’ve been experiencing a loss of interest in sex, vaginal dryness, or vaginal atrophy — or if your body’s arousal responses have been falling short — a hormonal imbalance may be at least partly to blame.
Hormones are usually discussed when they’re out of balance. A hormonal imbalance means your body has too much or too little of one or more hormones. Because hormones are such powerful conductors, even a slight imbalance can cause major physiological changes that lead to health problems or require treatment.
If reading through this list of healthy hormone signs has left you wondering whether you might be living with a hormonal imbalance, we can help you pinpoint the underlying cause of your symptoms and determine if BioTE® hormone replacement therapy may be right for you.
If you have questions about hormones, we have answers. Call our office at 806-359-5468 to learn more or to schedule a visit at Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology today.