What Are The Different Types Of Hormones
Endocrine glands are located throughout the body. These glands include the:
- Hypothalamus: controls thirst, hunger, sleep, sex drive, moods, body temperature, and the release of other hormones
- Parathyroid: controls calcium
- Ovaries, in women: controls female sex hormones
- Testes, in men: controls male sex hormones
There are several different types of hormones in the body. When you have a hormonal imbalance, you may have a problem in one of more of these glands. The specific hormone that’s imbalanced will determine the signs and symptoms that you experience as a result. Some of the major hormones found in the body include:
- Estrogen: controls sex drive in both men and women, and regulates the menstrual cycle in women
- Progesterone: influences the body’s changes through pregnancy
- Testosterone: controls sex drive in both men and women
- Cortisol: controls stress
- Melatonin: control’s the body’s circadian rhythm and sleep cycles
- Serotonin: controls sleep cycles, appetite, and mood
- Growth hormone: controls the reproduction of cells and their subsequent growth
- Leptin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re full
- Ghrelin: controls appetite, signaling when you’re hungry
- Insulin: responds to sugar in the bloodstream
If your hormones are well-balanced, you will thrive. An imbalance, however, is something you cannot afford to ignore.
A Hormone Imbalance Can Cause Chronic Health Issues
When your hormones are in proper balance they help the body thrive, but small problems with hormones can cause serious and life-altering symptoms. Specifically, imbalances of sex hormones, thyroid hormones and adrenal hormones are common problems that can contribute to a host of chronic health issues. Unfortunately, conventional medicine often doesnt understand the significant role hormone imbalances play in many health complaints.
How Reliable Is A Salivary Hormone Testing Kit
Saliva hormone testing can give you accurate information about your hormone levels. A large amount of research done in the past decades has shown that hormone levels in saliva correlate with hormone levels in blood . So saliva tests offer a convenient, noninvasive way to evaluate a wide range of hormones, and saliva testing techniques can be just as accurate as blood testing methods.
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Knowing When To Check Your Thyroid
How To Get Your Stress Levels In Check
While a hormonal imbalance can significantly affect your appetite, mood, and overall health, there are plenty of holistic strategies for getting stress levels in check. For starters, eating a stress-friendly diet can do wonders to reduce the impact stress has on your life. “When you eat whole, real foods, you restore balance to insulin, cortisol, and other hormones,” says Hyman. He adds that anti-inflammatory omega-3s, found in foods like walnuts and wild-caught salmon, are especially beneficial.
You could also try to think your way out of stress.;”Stress is a thought, a perception of a threat, even if it is not realthis means we have control over stress because it’s not something that happens to us but something that happens in us,” says Hyman. Meditating or going outside for a walk can help you shift your mindset and regain control.
Supplements that promote calm, like hemp oil, may help too.* Hemp oil has been shown to affect activity in the limbic section of the brain, the part that’s responsible for our “fight-or-flight” response, and help manage the physiological symptoms of stress like blood pressure and heart rate.*
Finally, try ending your day with a hot lavender bath at night, or as Hyman calls it, the UltraBath. “Take two cups of Epsom salts, half a cup of baking soda, 10 drops of lavender oil, and soak for 20 minutes,” he says. “Lavender oil lowers cortisol and helps to balance the whole hormonal system.”
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Which Hormone Tests Should I Ask For
Which tests you undergo will depend on your symptoms and preferences. If youre experiencing hot flashes, irregular periods, and other telltale signs of menopause, it would make sense to have your estrogen and progesterone levels checked. If youre feeling fatigued, depressed, or having trouble with your weight, comprehensive thyroid testing would likely be a good option. If youre a man, you may also want to check your testosterone levels, as low testosterone can produce similar symptoms.
On the other hand, you might simply be interested in a general hormone health check without any specific concerns. This can be useful to establish a baseline that helps you identify hormonal changes in the future or detect asymptomatic health conditions.
Regardless of whether you have specific concerns or just want an overview of your current hormonal health, your health care practitioner can help you determine which tests are most appropriate for your situation.
This Type Of Blood Work Is Key To The Whole Picture Because The Hypothalamus Is Controlling All Of These Endocrine Glands
However, I cant measure the hormones from the hypothalamus. Therefore, I need to look at the function of the glands controlled by the hypothalamus to determine whether or not theres miscommunication with the hypothalamic pituitary endocrine gland axis or not.
For instance, if your fT4 and fT3 levels are low, but so is your TSH, then you have hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid miscommunication.;
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Check Your Hormone Levels From The Convenience Of Home
If youâre concerned about your hormone levels, you can use the information here on how to know if you have a hormonal imbalanceâplus speaking with a healthcare providerâto help inform your next steps.If youâre interested in hormone testing at home, consider the following tests :
- Womenâs Hormone Test – Lets you learn your levels for 10 key hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, and thyroid hormones.
- Thyroid Test – Check the 3 main thyroid hormones , plus thyroid antibodies.
- Womenâs Fertility Test – Test your levels for 5 hormones that help support ovarian function and pregnancy.
- Men’s Health Test – Check your cortisol, DHEA-S, estradiol, and testosterone.
Signs Or Symptoms Of A Hormonal Imbalance
Your hormones play an integral role in your overall health. As a result, theres a broad range of signs or symptoms that could signal a hormonal imbalance. Your signs or symptoms will depend on which hormones or glands arent working properly.
Common hormonal conditions affecting both men and women could cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
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Why Is It Important To Keep Hormone Levels Incheck
A balance in the level of hormones in your body is vital to your health. Even a slight imbalance can have adverse effects and cause severe health issues. This is why it is important to keep a keep a track of your hormone levels. Typically, you can visit the doctor every now and then and undergo testing.
But for many, scheduling a doctors appointment is a hassle, and they are looking for ways to check their hormone levels at home. But is this as reliable as a hormone blood test at your doctors office?
When Should You Get A Hormone Blood Test
If you have symptoms of a possible hormonal imbalance, you might need to get a hormone blood test. According to the Society for Endocrinology, it’s usually best to have your blood drawn for a hormone test in the first half of your menstrual cycle, because levels are more distinct at that time. However, if you’re having a progesterone test to see if you’re ovulating properly, it will likely be measured on day 21 of your cycle, which is in the middle of the second half.
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How To Check Your Thyroid
This article was medically reviewed by Ricardo Correa, MD. Dr. Correa is a board certified Endocrinologist. Dr. Correa is the Program Director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and was a previous Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University. He completed his MD at the University of Panama and completed an internal medicine residency at the Jackson Memorial Hospital – University of Miami. He has been voted one of the 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum in 2019.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 40,747 times.
The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck. It is a very important gland that produces a hormone that helps regulate your entire bodys metabolism, temperature, heart rate, growth, and development.XResearch source The thyroid gland can be functionally underactive or overactive. The thyroid can be enlarged, have benign nodules and, more rarely, malignant nodules.
You Gain Weight Around Your Midsection
Hyman says that stress can also be a root cause of an increase in belly fat, thanks, again, to that insulin: “Stressful events and even thoughts can activate metabolic pathways that cause weight gain and insulin resistance. Insulin acts on your brain to increase appetite, specifically an appetite for sugar. Try as you might, as long as your insulin levels are high, you will fight a losing battle for weight loss,” he explains.
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When You Should Consider Getting A Hormonal Imbalance Test
Not everyones symptoms will be the same though, and yes, men can have hormonal imbalances, too! Symptoms of a hormone issue vary in their intensity and severity. You may experience one or all of the below.
- Swelling and tenderness in your breasts
- Fibrocystic lumps in your breasts
- Increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
- Mood swings
- Night sweats or hot flashes
- Weight gain
- Increase in body fat, particularly breasts
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm count
If you have any of these symptoms that youve been unable to resolve, hormone testing could help you get a better picture of whats going on in your body.
Can Hormone Imbalances Be Treated
In many cases, hormonal imbalances are treatable. For example, your healthcare provider may recommend hormone replacement therapy for certain thyroid hormone disorders, menopausal symptoms, and more.
Hormone therapy isnât the only possible way to treat hormonal imbalances, however. For example, your healthcare provider may prescribe medication that blocks the effects of testosterone if your T levels are too high.
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Avoid Sugar And Refined Carbs
Sugar and refined carbs have been linked to a number of health problems.
Indeed, avoiding or minimizing these foods may be instrumental in optimizing hormone function and avoiding obesity, diabetes and other diseases.
Studies have consistently shown that fructose can increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese people with prediabetes or diabetes (
Diets high in sugar and refined carbs have been shown to drive insulin resistance. Avoiding these foods and reducing overall carb intake may decrease insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
How Can I Balance Back My Hormones
If you have been diagnosed with a hormonal imbalance, your doctor can advise you on ways of bringing your body back into proper balance. Typical treatments for improved hormonal balance include hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes, stress management and exercise. In the case of thyroid dysfunction, medications and/or surgical intervention may be necessary to restore health levels of thyroid hormones.
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The More Accurate Test For Sex Hormones Is Looking At The Pituitary Hormones
Measuring pituitary FSH and LH shows if youre making optimal levels of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone for your body. FSH stands for follicle-stimulating hormone, which reflects how much estrogen youre producing. And LH, or luteinizing hormone, reflects progesterone production in women and testosterone production in men.
FSH is elevated when youre going through perimenopause and menopause because your estrogen levels are low.
Men And Estrogen: What You Need To Know
Estrogen is known primarily as a female hormone that helps regulate menstrual cycles, yet the hormone plays a bigger role in mens health than most people realize. Men produce small amounts of estrogen as part of their normal functioning male reproductive system, along with the male hormone testosterone. As they age, less testosterone is produced.
Yet questions are beginning to emerge as to what specific part estrogen plays in male development, especially as a man ages. Once largely ignored, estrogen levels in men are now under the microscope as researchers are trying to determine this hormone’s role in men and how it affects the body’s different hormone levels.
A decrease in estrogen, for example, may be a factor in fat accumulation in men as well as women. One endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School reported in a 2013 study that some of the symptoms of testosterone deficiency in males, including a decline in libido, were at least partially caused by lower estrogen production.
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Treatment For A Hormonal Imbalance
There are many different treatment options for hormonal imbalances. The treatment you ultimately be given will depend on which hormone exactly is unbalance as well as the underlying cause of the imbalance. Sometimes, a life event might cause such a fluctuation in your hormones, such as menopause. In that case, your treatment would be short term one. However, if you have a genetic disorder that causes a lifelong hormonal imbalance, you will need to pursue a more prolonged course of medications.
Hormone therapy is a common treatment for hormonal imbalances. Women who are witnessing uncomfortable menopausal symptoms may choose estrogen therapy. Testosterone therapy is a common choice for men with low testosterone levels or adolescents facing delayed puberty. Taking thyroid hormones can help individuals with hypothyroidism. Such hormone replacement therapies may come in the form of pills, patches, or even injections. Your doctor will help you choose the appropriate dosage by checking your hormone levels test results. This is how he will determine the right amount of supplemented hormone you will need to recreate the balance.
Bioidentical hormones can be produced by pharmaceutical companies using different doses. Examples include bi-estrogen which is 50 to 80 percent estriol combined with estradiol, or tri-estrogen which is 10 percent estrone, 10 percent estradiol, and 80 percent estriol.
Top Tips For Hormone Testing
- While changes in mood are well recognized symptoms of potential hormone imbalance, other symptoms can also be;foggy thinking,;forgetfulness,;insomnia,;anxiety,;difficulty sleeping.
- This kit is suitable for both men and women.
- Our hormones are like fingerprints we all have different levels and a one-size-fits-all treatment or solution will not work.
- There are several ways to test hormones, including saliva, serum and urine but Ive found that accurate testing can be done easily at home through saliva with this home testing kit.
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What Day Is Best For Testing
It depends on your goals. For fertility, check estradiol and FSH on day 3 of your menstrual cycle. This is a measure of egg quality and drives progesterone levels. For peak estradiol, check on day 12 of your cycle. I use that for bone mass. For progesterone and to check ovulation, I check day 21-22. If you dont know what day, aim for estradiol and progesterone on day 21-22 as most lab data are standardized for those dates before menopause. If your cycles are very irregular, test day 21-22 after a period.
You Feel Tired And Wired At The Same Time
Another sign that stress could be messing with your hormones is if you’re feeling tired during the day and wide-awake at night, often with a consistent level of anxiety and irritability. Hyman points out this could be because your cortisol isn’t aligned with your circadian rhythm the way it should be. “Often people turn to coffee and other stimulants or sleep medications to feel betterbut using these tactics doesn’t work to solve the underlying problem and can even make it worse,” he says.
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Why Cortisol Testing Is Important
Cortisol testing is important because that system does not always function in the normal, healthy manner outlined above. Sometimes cortisone levels can stay too high for too long, which can have far-reaching effects on your health, such as:
- Problems with memory and/or concentration
Issues That Can Cause Abnormally High Cortisol Levels include:
1- Chronic stress: The bodys natural fight-or-flight stress response system is set up to manage short-term stress situations. Stress in todays world is often a longer-term health issue. Rather than being stressed by a sudden encounter with a predator, a situation that can be resolved quickly by running away, we are more likely to face ongoing problems that cause stress, like job pressures, for instance, or financial ones. This can cause long-term activation of the stress response system, leading to chronically high levels of cortisol.
2- Problems with the pituitary gland: Tumors on the pituitary gland or excess growth of the gland can cause it to release too much ACTH, increasing cortisol levels.
3- Problems with adrenal glands: Tumors on the adrenal glands can cause overproduction of cortisol.
4- Other tumors: Growths in other areas of the body can increase cortisol production.
5- Medications: Overuse of corticosteroid medications or long-term use of them can lead to abnormally high cortisol levels.