Understanding The Endocrine System
Your endocrine system is responsible for the production of the various hormones necessary for essential functions; regulating metabolism, maintaining healthy tissues, sex drive, reproduction, sleep cycles, and mood. The endocrine system pairs specific hormone functions to each organ, determining which chemicals need to be released, at what time, and for which purpose. The glands that are part of your endocrine system work together, like a complex hormonal symphony, to control the level of hormones that circulate throughout your body at any given time.
So when just one of these glands is “out of tune,” it creates imbalances and can lead to a variety of health issues ranging from chronic fatigue to low metabolism to reduced libido.
Hormones like as estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin are created by endocrine glands and work as chemical messengers throughout your body to accomplish a wide range of important physical and chemical functions – from turning on/off hunger cues to running your reproductive systems, and even influencing emotional states and mood.
Signs & Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalances
Symptoms of hormone imbalances can manifest in many ways, including:
- Painful or irregular periods or PMS
- Unexplained weight gain/loss and change in appetite
- Depression, anxiety, or brain fog
- Fatigue or low energy
- Insomnia or lack of deep sleep
- Low libido
- Digestive issues, skin issues, or vision issues
- Hair loss and thinning hair
Symptoms of hormonal imbalances can vary widely depending on the role that specific hormone plays in balancing your body. For example, high estrogen levels can contribute to blood sugar imbalances leading to diabetes, unexplained weight gain, changes in appetite, and certain breast issues, like fibrocystic disease and breast cancer.
Issues associated with hormonal imbalances may include:
- Estrogen Dominance: disrupted sleep patterns, weight and appetite fluctuations, increased stress and anxiety, slowed metabolism
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): infertility, weight gain, acne, abnormal hair growth
- Low Estrogen: decreased libido, reproductive issues, loss of menstrual regularity, mood changes
- Hypothyroidism: slowed metabolism and fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, irritability, digestive problems, irregular menstrual cycles
- Low Testosterone: erectile dysfunction in men, loss of sex drive, loss of muscle mass, weight gain, fatigue, and mood issues
- Grave’s Disease: anxiety, hair loss, weight loss, IBS or digestive issues, irregular sleep, and irregular and/or fast heartbeat
- Diabetes: weight gain, neuropathy, vision loss, fatigue, trouble breathing, dry mouth, skin issues
- Overworked Adrenals: muscle aches, fatigue, anxiety and depression, trouble sleeping, brain fog, reproductive challenges, and fatigue
Potential Causes of Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances are created by a combination of lifestyle factors — such as diet, exercise, environment, genetics, stress, and exposure to hormone mimicking toxins from plastics, makeup, cleaning supplies, and even residual pesticides in food. Some of the major causes of hormonal imbalances include:
- Food allergies & gut flora imbalances: latest scientific research shows that the flora in your gut (microbiome) plays a crucial role in regulating hormones and inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic illnesses. If you have IBS, SIBO, leaky gut syndrome, or a lack of healthy intestinal bacteria, you’re more susceptible to hormonal imbalances
- Weight gain or obesity
- High levels of inflammation caused by a poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle along with chronic stress
- Genetic predisposition
- High levels of toxin exposure including exposure to pesticides, harmful bacteria, parasites, viruses, cigarette smoke (even second-hand), excessive alcohol, and other harmful chemicals or compounds like lead and formaldehyde
- High amounts of stress and regular release of stress hormones like cortisol, paired with a lack of rest and deep sleep
Balancing hormones naturally is effective to treat the above issues, and can frequently have additional benefits like increased energy, weight loss, improved sleep, and healthier skin
That’s why at Awaken, we’re focusing on identifying the root cause of your hormonal imbalances so we can craft a personalized plan that addresses your issues for good.
The earlier hormonal imbalances are diagnosed, the sooner you can start addressing them naturally – feel free to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see what the best next steps are for you.
Take The First Step On Your
Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make the decision to become a patient. Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you may have to determine if Awaken Functional Medicine is right for you.