Women are stereotyped to be ‘hormonal’. But have you ever taken a minute to think about what hormones actually are? Hormones aren’t just that imbalance we get when we’re PMSing but have a real and much-needed use in our bodies to help regulate things as essential as hunger, sleep, and sex drive. Most of the urges or sensations you feel are a result of hormones. In this article, we’ll help you understand what hormones are as well as what they are responsible for, what causes hormonal imbalances, and the difference between hormones in your body and external hormones such as birth control.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that are secreted into the blood and are transported to organs and tissues to help them carry out their functions. In fact, they are so important for the body that they play a role in important actions such as:
- Growth and development
- Sexual functions
- Reproductive health
- Cognitive functions
- Hunger, thirst, and body temperature
To make it easier for you to understand just how essential hormones are for your body, here’s a simple example. When you eat a meal, your pancreas releases the hormone insulin to help regulate and maintain blood sugar levels. In order to help you sleep at night, your body produces the hormone melatonin which sends a signal to your brain to shut down for the night.
What happens if you have a hormonal imbalance?
Whether you have too much of a hormone or too little, any hormonal imbalance can be harmful and cause malfunctions or health issues. Diseases can lead to hormonal imbalances such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and PCOS (polycystic ovaries). Hormonal imbalance can not only affect your menstruation but can affect your skin, hair, health, body weight, mood, and even fertility.
Can hormones affect sex and fertility?
The answer is YES! The ovaries produce the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and androgen which help regulate the menstrual cycle and ensure the health of your reproductive system. The testicles in males also produce androgens such as testosterone.
These hormones are responsible for puberty, the development of breasts, the growth of body hair, and the ability to get pregnant or produce sperm. The reproductive hormones also fluctuate through a woman’s menstrual cycle and their production of them gradually declines with age.
When your hormones are imbalanced and you don’t create enough or too many reproductive hormones, it can affect your menstrual cycle, and cause diseases such as PCOS, endometriosis, and other problems that impact fertility and the ability to get pregnant.
What’s the difference between hormones in my body and the hormones in birth control?
When you take birth control, your body regulates the sex and reproductive hormones that fluctuate during the different stages of your menstrual cycle. Most birth control pills contain hormones such as progesterone and estrogen which interfere with your cycle and inhibit ovulation preventing you from getting pregnant. These hormones are designed to interfere with the cycle and produce hormones in a balance to block your body from ovulating and therefore prevent the possibility of getting pregnant. Whereas the hormones in your body are produced to give you the opportunity of getting pregnant each month once you hit puberty.
- Medical Conditions that Impact Female Fertility: PCOS
- 7 Signs of Infertility Women Should Not Ignore
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