Hormone imbalance

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Hormones are the chemical messengers in the body that travel the bloodstream to the organs and tissues. They work slowly via feedback mechanisms with other glands and organs, affecting many of the body's processes over time. Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones.[1]

There are many endocrine glands in the body with the main ones being the pituitary gland, thyroid, hypothalamus, thymus, adrenal glands, and the pancreas. Hormones are dominant, and it only requires a small amount of them to cause significant changes throughout the body. Both men and women produce hormones in the same areas with one exception: the sexual organs. Additional male hormones are produced in the testes while women's hormones are produced in the ovaries. However, 90% of the body's hormones are contained in and controlled by the pituitary (and not the ovaries, contrary to popular belief).

If a hormone imbalance is left untreated, it may result in serious medical conditions such as diabetes, insomnia and major depressive disorder. If the imbalance is taking place in the pituitary gland of a young child for instance, a growth disorder may result, requiring prescription hormone replacement therapy. It is possible that such an imbalance can cause an overproduction of growth hormone and may be the root cause of medical conditions such as gigantism and acromegaly. There are approximately 6,000 endocrine disorders that may result from hormone imbalance[medical citation needed]. An imbalance of hormones is experienced at different times during life. As the body changes from childhood to adulthood, puberty is experienced by both males and females in similar fashion. Women and men alike experience some degree of hormonal imbalance later in life, particularly after their childbearing years have been passed. Hormonal imbalance is defined as chemical messengers which regulate our body's systems which are no longer functioning properly.[2][not in citation given][unreliable medical source?] This dysfunction can be an overproduction or an underproduction of specific hormones. The primary hormone that causes these changes is estrogen[medical citation needed].

Estrogen and progesterone[edit]

A hormonal imbalance most frequently occurs as a symptomatic reaction to elevated levels of estrogen and lowered levels of progesterone[medical citation needed]. Estrogen is naturally produced by the ovaries and is the female hormone necessary for normal sexual development. It also works to regulate the menstrual cycle to prepare and maintain the body during childbearing years. Estrogen is dominant during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone is dominant during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle by the corpus luteum, and is needed for implantation of the fertilized egg and regulation of the menstrual cycle. Later in life, the ovaries begin to naturally decrease production of estrogen and progesterone, which may contribute to symptoms and side effects of estrogen dominance and overall endocrine imbalance. Estrogen replacement therapy is a common treatment for hormone imbalance[medical citation needed]. Frequently, only estrogen is replaced. Some health care providers, especially alternative medicine practitioners, feel it is important to supplement progesterone as well, as the balance between estrogen and progesterone is extremely important. Estrogen dominance[medical citation needed], in which there is too much estrogen (and there are three different types of estrogen, all with varying degrees of bioactivity) relative to progesterone, can cause infertility, PMS, menstrual problems, weight gain around the midriff and possibly increased risk of breast cancer[medical citation needed], particularly if synthetic hormones are used.

Causes[edit]

There are multiple causes for hormone imbalance, but the majority of cases are experienced due to estrogen dominance or increased amounts of estrogen in the body and not enough progesterone. The ideal ratio of Estrogen (E2 or Estradiol) to progesterone in the female endocrine system is commonly known to be in a 1:10 ratio. Common causes of estrogen dominance include birth control pills (which are known to suppress luteal surges), stress, existence or development of ovarian cysts, fibroids and/or overuse of products containing xeno-estrogens and ingestion of plant matter having a high level of phyto-estrogen activity are known to contribute.[medical citation needed]. Other medical causes include genetics, obesity, and inherent production of tumors. Other causes include lack of exercise[medical citation needed], pregnancy, lactation, auto-antibody production, and a sedentary lifestyle (repetitive)[medical citation needed]. Template:Other information deleted as citations are highly subjective and lack any medical data to support

Symptoms[edit]

Template:What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hormones, Dr. John Lee, citation Many of the symptoms experienced during peri- and post-menopause are shared by both males and females, while some are more specific to each gender. Some of the most commonly shared symptoms include fatigue, skin problems or acne, mood swings, weight problems, diminished sex drive, and diminished short-term memory. If symptoms become severe enough to disrupt everyday tasks then additional gender-specific hormone testing may be warranted by a healthcare professional who is able to interpret bio-identical hormone replacement therapeutic ranges through a CLIA-certified laboratory. Disorders and symptoms most frequently mentioned include arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and anxiety disorder. The presence of urinary tract infections, increased dryness in the mouth, eyes, vagina and genitalia or abnormal heartbeat may also be discussed with a physician familiar with hormonal dysfunction.

In addition, hair loss (alopecia) may be attributed to the irregular levels of hormones in the body, particularly due to an increase in levels of testosterone and its conversion to DHT (dihydrotestosterone) via the aromatase enzyme pathway.

Male Hormones and Hair Loss

The process of testosterone converting to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and/or simultaneously to estrogens may affect the hair growth cycle in both men and women. This is due to DHT binding to SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) receptors, rendering it unuseable and protein-bound. This may cause the hair follicle to shrink, often referred to as the "miniaturization process"[citation needed], produces finer, thinner and shorter hair strands, demonstrating low keratinization of protein. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT)is a natural by-product of the male hormone testosterone converting via the 5-alpha reductase enzyme and is currently held to be the primary culprit of hair loss and can be problematic for both men and women throughout adulthood. Though much is known about the DHT receptors of hair follicles, it is also a commonly held belief that this conversion is greatly exaggerated by genetics. When the testosterone levels increase, DHT becomes more of a problem, and more of the known side effects of testosterone dominance develop. [3]

Menopause[edit]

Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after a woman's last menstrual period.[4] It is the time in a woman's life when the ovaries stop producing eggs and the body doesn't produce the same amount of progesterone or estrogen. Menstruation is less frequent and eventually stops altogether. It is a biological process that is natural and is not a medical illness. Hormonal imbalance is the cause for the physical and emotional experiences associated with menopause. These symptoms include hot flushes, broken sleep patterns or insomnia, and changes in sexual response[medical citation needed]. There is no need for prevention of menopause, but there are steps that can be taken to prevent specific side effects. Regular exercise, calcium and vitamin D supplements, a low-fat diet, and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels are recommended[medical citation needed].

Treatment for hormone imbalance[edit]

It is important to understand all the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Patients with a history of active or past breast cancer, blood clots, liver disease, pregnancy, or endometrial cancer should talk with a physician before using an over the counter or prescription therapy[medical citation needed].==Improper use of hormones==

==References==

  1. ^ Hormones Overview Medline Plus. Retrieved on 2010-01-26
  2. ^ Hormonal Imbalance to Cause Endometriosis Steady Health Portal. Retrieved on 2010-01-26
  3. ^ Cause of Hair Loss, American Hair Loss Association, Reviewed by Paul J. McAndrews, MD, Retrieved 03.01.2010
  4. ^ Menopause Overview Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on 2010-01-26