When it comes to hormones, it gets a bad rap for a variety of conditions. The hormones produced are essential to carry out practically every function in the body, ranging from maintenance of energy levels, metabolism, sexual function, mood, growth, and development. Therefore, having a balance in hormones is crucial.
But maintaining hormonal balance can be tricky most of the time. That’s why we’ve got Dr Madhuri Burande Laha, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi to help us understand all about hormones and to steer clear of misconceptions around hormones.
According to Dr Laha, hormones are the chemical messengers that are directly secreted into one’s blood and are then carried to other body parts in order to discharge their responsibilities.
When it comes to hormones’ effects on our health, she says, “There are various types of hormones that can aid in growth, food metabolism, cognitive function, and mood, sexual function, and reproductive growth along with other duties like maintaining a correct body temperature and regulating thirst. Your hormones tell you how to breathe, drink, and even eat.”
Because hormones are your body’s chemical messenger, they get affected by many body changes such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause or intimate health issues, etc. So when you have too much or too little of a hormone in your bloodstream, it leads to the development of hormonal imbalances.
Now you know hormones play an essential role in the functioning of the body. So a hormonal imbalance can affect a wide range of bodily functions. Dr Laha explains certain health risks here:
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1. Hormonal imbalance due to menstruation or menopause can make it difficult for you to sleep.
2. Those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may have irregular menses owing to high testosterone and lower progesterone, and you may find it difficult to hit the sack.
3. Estrogen plays a pivotal role when it comes to your skin health. And low levels of estrogen can lead to sensitive skin during periods. Hormone levels tend to fluctuate during menopause and you may witness skin issues like acne, sagging, and wrinkling of the skin.
4. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone impact your digestion process, and you will see problems such as diarrhoea, nausea, or stomach pain.
5. Mood swings can be noticed in many women when there is a hormonal imbalance. Even heavy and painful menses can be seen due to hormonal imbalance.
6. Low levels of estrogen and testosterone can lead to lower libido in women.
7. Many hormone-related conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause weight gain.
8. Falling levels of estrogen during perimenopause and menopause can lead to bone loss.
Fact: “Do not blame your hormones for your mood swings every time. Sometimes, you may feel anxious or stressed just because you had a bad day at work or on the personal front,” says Dr Laha.
Fact: Hormonal imbalance is one of the leading causes of weight gain but not the only cause. Your lifestyle habits such as not exercising, overeating, oversleeping, dietary mistakes, certain medical conditions, etc are also responsible causes of weight gain.
Fact: According to Dr Laha, you will be able to understand the functioning of your hormones with a simple blood test.
Fact: Hormones play an important role in maintaining skin health. In fact, any change in hormones can wreak havoc with the skin. However, allergies, irritants, heredity, reaction to makeup products, certain diseases, and immune system problems are also responsible.
Fact: There are so many reasons which can affect your sexual life ranging from loss of sexual attraction, physical sexual problems, medical conditions like depression, diabetes, PTSD, heart diseases, poor communication between you and your partner, unresolved conflicts, or frequent arguments, etc.
Don’t fall for these myths, ladies!