“Hormones 101” – Understanding How Hormones Work
At SottoPelle in the greater Phoenix area, our hormone replacement specialists have helped thousands of women and men restore their quality of life by rebalancing their hormones.
Most people are aware that the hormone estrogen in women is related to menstruation, fertility, and menopause. And many people understand that the hormone testosterone is responsible for sexual drive and performance in men. But if you are just now discovering the concept of hormone balancing, you may not be aware of exactly how hormones work in the body, where they come from, or the many other functions of hormones beyond just sex and reproduction.
So, in this article the hormone replacement experts at SottoPelle start from the beginning and explain exactly where hormones come from, how they work and what they do.
What is the Endocrine System?
The nervous system is a network of neurotransmitters (nerves) that send signals throughout the body to communicate about touch, movement, pain, temperature, etc.
Similarly, the endocrine system is also a network throughout the entire body – but it is made up of glands and organs that use chemical messengers to communicate, control and regulate many of the body’s functions.
While the nervous system sends electrical signals (nerve impulses) for communication, the endocrine system produces and distributes chemicals called hormones that deliver messages throughout the body.
What Are Hormones?
The brain, skin, heart, kidneys, digestive system, muscles and even the sex organs all take direction from the endocrine system to perform their specific functions. And the glands of the endocrine system network send out the hormones that tell each part of your body what to do, how and when to do it, and for how long.
These hormones travel in the bloodstream to the tissues or organs – typically working slowly, and consistently over time – to regulate the body’s many different processes, including: growth and fat storage, metabolism (how the body burns calories), energy, sleep, sexual function and reproduction, blood pressure, heart rate, appetite, body temperature, mood, brain function, and much more.
But, often times, hormones get out of balance. The endocrine system can produce too little (or too much) of certain hormones due to age and/or menopause, stress, lifestyle, environmental factors, dietary deficiencies, and more.
And, imbalanced hormones can lead to serious health problems because the body is no longer getting the right “messages”. Hormone imbalance can lead to diabetes, weight gain or loss, sleep problems, infertility, E.D. , low sex drive, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and more.
Where Do Hormones Come From?
The glands of the endocrine system produce, store, and release hormones. Each gland produces one or more different, specific hormones. And each hormone targets specific organs and tissues in the body.
Following is a list of some of the most important glands in the endocrine system, along with what hormones they produce, and what functions they regulate or influence.
The Pituitary Gland
The Pituitary Gland produces several hormones:
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) – which controls the production of eggs and sperm;
- Oxytocin – which helps with lactation, childbirth, and mother-child bonding in women, and assists in sperm production & transport in men. It also affects brain/mood functions;
- Prolactin – which promotes breast-milk production; and,
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH) – which controls estrogen and testosterone production as well as ovulation.
The Adrenal Glands
The Adrenal Glands also produce several hormones:
- Adrenaline – which increases blood pressure, heart rate, and metabolism when under stress;
- Aldosterone – which controls the body’s water and salt balance;
- Cortisol – which affects stress response, fat storage and more; and,
- DHEA – a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen, and aids in the body changes of puberty.
The pancreas regulates blood sugar. It produces the hormone Glucagon, which helps to increase levels of blood glucose. And, it produces and releases Insulin which help reduce blood glucose levels.
Glucagon and Insulin dysfunction and dysregulation underlie Type II Diabetes.
The thyroid gland, located in the front part of the neck, is extremely important in regulating metabolism – including how calories are burned, how energy and body temperature is produced, and how and where fat is stored.
In women, the ovaries produce estrogen to regulate the menstrual cycle, sustain pregnancy, develop female sex characteristics such as breasts, and maintain strong bones.
The ovaries also produce progesterone, which helps to prepare the body for pregnancy when an egg is fertilized.
Also called the testicles, this organ produces testosterone, the male sex hormone that contributes to sex drive and body density in both men and women. It also regulates the development of male sex characteristics, such as body hair, muscle mass, deep voice, etc.
Hormone Balancing | Phoenix Area
As you can see, the endocrine system and its hormones affect nearly every function of the human body. When hormones are in balance and functioning properly they can help ward off many serious diseases, in addition to increasing energy, promoting weight loss, improving sleep, and enhancing sexual performance and enjoyment.
Conversely, hormonal imbalances put women and men at risk for a wide variety of unpleasant side-effects as well as serious diseases.
The first step to ensure that your hormones are balanced and functioning as they should is thorough blood testing by a trained hormone specialist, like the doctors at SottoPelle in the greater Phoenix area.
Once your hormone deficiencies or imbalances are clinically identified, a functional medicine approach that combines lifestyle modifications with hormone replacement where needed, can re-balance hormone levels and improve men and women’s quality of life at every age.
At SottoPelle in the greater Phoenix area our hormone specialists have the experience and the foundational knowledge needed to diagnose, understand and treat hormone imbalances that may be interfering with your quality of life. Schedule a consultation today to see if hormone therapy can help you feel like “yourself” again to get the most out of life at every age and every stage! And if you live outside of the greater Phoenix area, you can find a certified SottoPelle provider HERE.
Hormone Balancing | Phoenix: (323) 986-5100
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as general information only and is not intended to be used as medical advice. While the benefits of hormone replacement are well documented through clinical research, we are not representing that hormone therapy is a “cure” for any disease. Only your treating physician can determine if hormone replacement may be a beneficial part of your healthcare regimen, based on your age, overall health, risk factors, and lifestyle.