Hormones play a vital role in the optimal working of numerous bodily functions. These chemical messengers produced by glands in the body’s endocrine system affect everything from our mood and energy levels to our metabolism, sex drive, and growth.
An imbalance in hormonal chemistry can wreak havoc with a person’s mental, physical and emotional health, affecting their overall sense of well-being. In this article, we will consider some of the factors that can contribute to hormonal imbalances within the body.
Stress, if experienced over a prolonged period of time, can result in a hormonal imbalance. The ‘fight or flight’ response induced by stress causes the adrenal glands in the body to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Increased levels of cortisol can increase blood sugar levels, and lead to sleep deprivation as well as the accumulation of fat around the abdomen while high levels of adrenaline can increase blood pressure, anxiety and panic attacks.
By practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and deep-breathing exercises you can learn to lower your stress levels and reduce the risk of hormonal imbalances in this area.
Certain pharmaceutical drugs can cause hormonal imbalances within the body. For instance, birth control pills which are designed to act as a contraceptive by regulating the menstrual cycle, contain synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone which can interfere with the body’s natural hormonal balance.
Steroid-based medications can disrupt the normal production of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen while the heavy use of antidepressants including benzodiazepines can cause imbalances in the production of hormones like dopamine, serotonin and cortisol. The hormonal effect of various categories of medication can be summarized as follows:
- Opioids: These drugs can interfere with the production of various hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, cortisol and luteinizing hormone (LH) leading to imbalances that can affect stress levels, libido and mood.
- Stimulants: These include legally prescribed amphetamines which can cause the release of hormones like adrenaline and dopamine. An overproduction of these hormones can lead to sleep deprivation, loss of appetite and mood disorders.
- Depressants: These include benzodiazepines such as Valium, diazepam, and Xanax which can suppress hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone, stunting growth, lowering the sex drive and causing muscle loss.
Individuals can be predisposed to certain hormonal imbalances due to genetic factors. A person’s genetic makeup can influence a wide range of endocrine functions including the production, release and regulation of hormones.
Hereditary factors that cause hormonal imbalances can be seen in conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Hypothyroidism, and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). Depending on the health condition and the hormonal imbalances caused, individuals may benefit from lifestyle changes such as eliminating certain foods from their diet and increasing their intake of others. They may also consider hormone replacement therapies such as those offered at the TRT Clinic which aim to restore optimal testosterone levels in the body.
If you would like further information and guidance regarding hormonal imbalances in your body it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional who can provide you with personalized advice based on your specific health needs and concerns.