Unfortunately, hormonal imbalance in women is relatively common. Women of varying ages frequently seek help for hormone related issues: period problems, sugar cravings, fatigue, weight problems, fertility issues, low libido, sleep issues, hair loss, etc. Normally these women have had a blood test and their doctor has advised them that everything is ok. So why are they having their symptoms and feeling unwell?
Your endocrine (hormonal) system is very complex, with various glands that produce a wide range of hormones to control your body. The main ones are your
Often the hormones produced by these glands can affect some of the other glands. This means that you may have symptoms that relate to one particular gland, however those might be caused by a problem with another gland instead. So it is extremely important to understand how the different glands interact with each other.
Your pituitary gland is the main hormonal control-centre of your body. It is a small, pea-sized gland at the base of your brain, in line with the top of your nose.
The pituitary releases some hormones that act on the body directly, but its major job is controlling other hormone-producing glands in the body. It releases
Your thyroid gland controls the rate of activity of the cells of your body. So if your thyroid is overactive, most parts of your body speed up. This can cause a variety of symptoms, such as
If your thyroid is underactive, everything slows down. You could develop
As the name indicates, thyroid stimulating hormone is used to make the thyroid more active. So if your TSH levels are high it means your thyroid activity is too low, and vice-versa. However, the accepted medical range for TSH levels is very broad and often what is considered within the normal medical range is outside of what we at CNTC would consider acceptable. We frequently see women with obvious thyroid symptoms, and yet their TSH levels are within the acceptable medical range (although outside of our parameters).
The most common cause of thyroid problems is excess adrenaline.
Your adrenal glands produce adrenaline, which looks after your ‘fight or flight’ response in times of danger or stress. Adrenaline stimulates the parts of your body needed to escape danger, so :
and non-emergency areas of the body are shut down – such as the digestive system, the immune system, and the reproductive system – as these aren’t needed to escape from danger. (You may have heard of high stress situations causing a woman’s periods to stop altogether.)
The adrenal glands also produce a small amount of oestrogen and progesterone. So healthy adrenal glands are important for the balance of these hormones in the body generally.
(The adrenal glands are particularly important around menopause when the ovaries stop producing their hormones. If we look at oestrogen and progesterone as being like the fuel in a car engine, the ovaries would be the accelerator, which is used to produce more or less of these hormones depending on what the body needs at the time. The adrenals are more like the idle for your engine, which puts a small amount of fuel into the engine to keep it running. If your idle is not working properly, your car engine will be very uneven and erratic when you take your foot off the accelerator. In the same way, if your adrenals are not working well during menopause, your oestrogen and progesterone levels could become unbalanced, causing hot flushes, night sweats, and various other symptoms.)
Another way that the adrenal glands affect your reproductive hormones is that they use progesterone to manufacture cortisol, the stress hormone. So high or prolonged periods of stress can cause low progesterone levels, which indirectly causes high oestrogen levels. As we have seen already, high oestrogen levels cause the liver to produce high levels of TBG, which decreases the production of thyroid hormones to the body.
Your ovaries produce most of your oestrogen and progesterone, which are your main reproductive hormones. We have covered how your levels of these hormones can be affected by your pituitary gland and your adrenals. Some of the other causes of an imbalance in these hormones include:
Another rare cause of reproductive hormone imbalances is a misalignment of the pelvis. If the hips are rotated, or one hip is higher than the other, this can cause pressure on one or both ovaries, effecting their hormone production.
It is clear that the balancing of hormones in the body is complex. It is vital that if a woman is suffering with the symptoms of a hormone imbalance, that the wider picture is taken into account to determine what the underlying source of the problem is.
As with any condition, in order to get results it is crucial to first investigate the cause of the problem. We are currently offering a limited number of free Comprehensive Assessments. (Terms and conditions: the Assessment is a completely free service, with no obligations whatsoever.)
The Assessment helps to identify:
If you would like to book in for an Assessment, please give us a call on 3376 6911, or you can book online using the link at the top of the page.
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