The Chemicals That Dictate Almost Everything

Hormones are chemical generals in charge of most body functions. Hormones get produced by the endocrine system. This system is a collection of glands that make and receive hormones in a continuous feedback loop. Each hormone has a job: to tell tissues and organs what to do and how to behave. Hormones control everything from mood, growth, and sexual function, to appetite, metabolism, body temperature, and stress levels.

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Feeling a little off?

Hormones are delicate chemicals. The endocrine glands store the exact amounts needed and releases the hormones at the precise time required. Too much or too little of one hormone can change how someone feels, eats, sleeps, or behaves. Most people will experience a hormonal imbalance at some point. These imbalances may be ignored and blamed on things like aging or stress. However, these 5 signs, in particular, should trigger alarm bells that a hormonal imbalance is happening.

1. Too tired to think

Energy levels are determined by factors like sleep, nutrition, and stress. However, some persons get a full night’s rest then are tired as the day progresses. If an unexplained, drastic dip in energy happens, hormones could be the trigger. Hormones that can affect energy levels include thyroid, cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen. Cortisol manages optimum energy levels, while the thyroid helps turn food into energy. Any imbalance could cause chronic fatigue.

2. Is it hot in here?

Hormones are also responsible for regulating body temperature. Someone with a hormonal imbalance may feel colder or hotter than others in the same space. In some cases, a hormonal imbalance can make someone feel hot when others are cold and vice versa. The body has an internal thermostat, the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus use information from the thyroid to keep the basal body temperature stable. Studies have also shown that thyroid imbalances affect blood vessels, which in turn impacts how much heat can escape. Thyroid checks are the first checks to take with a doctor for hot and cold issues.

3. A little less hanky-panky

Testosterone and estrogen are the main hormones that regulate libido. Men and women blame a lack of sex drive to being overworked, tired, or stressed. While stress can be a factor, dips in testosterone can make couples lose interest altogether. This is different from being in the mood but lacking the energy. Loss of interest should be a red flag. This is especially the case for women with menopause. Check with a doctor to test for optimum hormone levels.

4. Watch that weight

Hormones regulate insulin and appetite, which in turn affects weight. Some persons may have sudden weight gain or weight loss. This could be especially jarring for persons with a healthy lifestyle. Incorrect insulin levels could be toying with the way the body processes fats and sugars.

5. Happy one day, sad the next

Persons with hormonal imbalances can have severe mood swings. Someone can go from happy to sad, to indifferent in an instant. Hormones like estrogen, serotonin, and dopamine affect mood. This could also come from an imbalance of cortisol, often called the stress hormone. Both men and women can experience mood swings. If this feels far from normal, then an imbalance may be at play.

Don’t ignore the tipped hormone scales

Imbalances can be due to lifestyle changes, underlying diseases, or environmental factors. In some cases, there could be an issue with the gland responsible for producing the hormone, like hypothyroidism. While these are 5 common signs, there are several others to be mindful of. Don’t ignore the signs, especially if these issues affect the quality of life. Speak with a doctor immediately for a potential hormone level test and treatment.

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