Kristina Janicas,N.P., R.N. (EC), M.N.
Hormone Balance and Optimal Health
by Kristina Janicas, RN (EC), MN
There’s no shortage of quotes and sayings reminding everyone of the importance of good health. What’s often missing, however, is the connection between hormone balance and feeling optimal. Hormones act as chemical messengers. They are present in every tissue and can impact bodily processes and function. Hormonal messengers regulate growth, digestion, inflammation, stress, sleep, mood, energy, and reproduction.
There are approximately fifty different hormones in the body. Some of the common hormones measurable with blood work are insulin, androgens , estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, growth hormone, and thyroid-related hormones. While these are essential hormones, there are many more that influence a person’s well-being. And many are intricately connected. For example, if there is an excess or deficiency of one hormone, it can have a significant impact or effect on another hormone. This synchronicity reinforces the importance of balance. Hormones in balance are not only a factor in good health, they are also a vital component to longevity, maintaining a healthy weight and metabolism, sexuality, mood, and quality of life.
Some people spend an immense amount of time trying to make positive lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. While proper nutrition and exercise can significantly help balance hormones, these measures aren’t always enough. Other factors like environment, mental health, medications, genetics, stress, and autoimmune or inflammatory issues can also wreak havoc on our health.
Endocrine-disrupting agents, for example, are chemicals present in our environment. They can be found in our food, water, plastic, personal care products, and can interfere with the normal function of our hormones. And hormones out of balance can impact and impede the effects of positive lifestyle efforts. The absence of change can cause frustration resulting in a lack of motivation or surrender in achieving a healthy lifestyle. So, while healthy dietary choices, exercise, and a myriad of factors contribute to good health, hormonal balance is imperative to obtaining maximum results.
Hormonal imbalance may present in a variety of ways. Women often experience symptoms related to fatigue, skin issues, stubborn fat deposits, bloating, weight gain, low libido, insomnia, vaginal dryness, infertility, mood-related symptoms, temperature fluctuations, and menstrual irregularities (depending on age).