Seven Important Hormones and Their Effects on the Body -

Signs of frequent hormonal imbalances

Most people have come across the term "hormones", but only a few people know exactly what the different hormones are and what exactly they do in the body. A Hormone Doctor outlines seven important hormones and their roles in the body.

Doctor Divya Yogi-Morren is an endocrinologist at the famous Cleveland Clinic in Ohio (USA). In a recent article from the institution, the expert explains seven hormones often involved in hormonal imbalances.

What are hormones?

About 50 different types of hormones affect our body. Knowing each hormone is, according to Dr. Yogi Morren is not necessary. But according to her, you should know seven hormones, because an imbalance of these can often lead to hormonal disorders.

Hormones are chemicals that the body makes in the glands. These glands are found in many different places in the body. The pea-sized pituitary gland at the base of the brain is one of the main producers of hormones.

"The pituitary gland is responsible for making hormones that tell other glands what hormones to make," says Dr. Yogi Moren. It is therefore a kind of puppeteer among the glands.

If the glands produce too much or too little hormone, an imbalance can occur. The following seven hormones are particularly often responsible for hormonal disorders.

1. Cortisol

Cortisol is a stress hormone. “Cortisol levels increase in response to stress, not just medical and physiological stress, but also psychological stress,” reports the endocrinologist.

Cortisol is involved in many processes in the body, including, for example

in the maintenance of blood pressure, in the sleep-wake cycle, in the regulation of blood sugar, in the utilization of fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

The circadian rhythm of cortisol

According to Dr. Yogi-Morren follows a circadian pattern. Cortisol levels peak in the morning upon waking, then typically drop until early afternoon, then start to rise again.

Cortisol levels reach their second peak in the late afternoon, then drop again until midnight. At this point, the value reaches the lowest point of the day.

An imbalance in cortisol secretion can develop, according to Dr. Yogi-Morren expresses, for example, through the following complaints:

If too much cortisol is released in the body, it can manifest as muscle weakness. "People may have difficulty raising their arms, getting up from a chair, or climbing stairs," confirms Dr. Yogi Moren.

Other signs of cortisol-related conditions include visible red or purple stretch marks that don't heal, muscle wasting in the arms or legs, and psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety.

2. Estrogen

Estrogen is one of the so-called sex hormones. It affects sexual development and function. But it's also important for bone health, says the endocrinologist. In women, estrogen during puberty is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics.

A lack of estrogen can be associated with various symptoms. Women often develop estrogen-related symptoms as they enter menopause. Typical signs are:

Fatigue, hot flashes, increased sweating, vaginal dryness, weight gain.

3. Testosterone

Testosterone is also one of the sex hormones, and like estrogen, it also helps maintain healthy bones. In men, the hormone during puberty is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics.

If the body produces too much testosterone, this can manifest itself, for example, in hypersexuality. However, a lack of testosterone occurs much more frequently, since testosterone levels in men decrease with age.

A testosterone level that is too low is manifested, for example, by symptoms such as

erectile dysfunction, fatigue, loss of muscle mass, low libido, increased accumulation of abdominal fat.

4. Thyroid hormones

As the endocrinologist explains, thyroid hormones control the body's metabolism. They help convert the food you eat into energy. A deficiency and overproduction of these hormones are associated with health problems.

Signs of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) include:

Sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, rapid weight gain, fatigue, hair loss (also on the outer edge of the eyebrows).

According to Dr. Yogi Moren:

increased sweating, nervousness, tremors, loose stools, palpitations, unwanted weight loss.

5. Insulin

This extremely important hormone is secreted by the pancreas and regulates blood sugar (glucose). "It allows muscle, fat and liver cells to absorb glucose absorbed from the blood," explains the doctor. The glucose then provides energy to the cells.

"Insulin also affects other metabolic processes, such as how the body uses fat and protein," adds Dr. Yogi Moren. The most well-known insulin-related diseases are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

When the pancreas cannot meet insulin needs, type 1 diabetes develops. This disease often occurs before adulthood, but can also occur later. Symptoms include:

high blood sugar, increased thirst, excess glucose in the urine (glycosuria), weight loss.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces enough insulin, but the body has developed resistance to the hormone. Symptoms are mostly similar to type 1 diabetes. Also, increased urination can indicate metabolic disease.

6. Melatonin

Melatonin is important for healthy sleep. Like cortisol, the distribution is based on the circadian rhythm. Exposure to daylight affects the amount of melatonin the body releases.

Underproduction of melatonin often causes symptoms because the body produces less melatonin with age. A melatonin imbalance manifests itself in most cases in the form of sleep disturbances.

7. Growth Hormones

Growth hormones influence height and are particularly important during puberty. However, overproduction or underproduction can also cause problems in adulthood. Signs of an imbalance include:

Fatigue, increased belly fat, dizziness, weakness.

However, when it comes to hormonal imbalances, growth hormone disorders are relatively rare and are often only considered after all other hormonal imbalances have been ruled out.

For example, overproduction of growth hormone in adults can trigger a rare disease, acromegaly, which causes enlargement of the jaw and spaces between teeth, swelling of soft tissues and joint pain.

What helps with hormonal imbalances?

If you suspect hormone imbalances, Dr. Yogi-Morren to have hormone levels checked by a specialist. Treatment options depend on the underlying cause and can range from lifestyle changes to medications to surgery. (vb)

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This text corresponds to the specifications of the specialized medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek

Important Note:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot substitute a visit to the doctor.