Hormones play a vital role in every man and woman’s health and well-being. Hormones are commonly associated with human reproductive cycle but other hormones are produced for other functions. This introduction is concerned with reproductive hormones.
When a female’s hormone levels fluctuate, this can affect her mood, sexual desire, fertility and ovulation. Every month, the hormones (for an adult ‘active’ female oestrogen) and progesterone are produced and imbalance, may have a dramatic effect on her health. Other hormones affect the functioning of the hypothalamus which in turn affects female organs. The imbalance of oestrogen hormones can also cause menopause and all the symptoms associated with it. These hormones are influenced by certain factors such as nutrition, diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress, emotions, age and ovulation.
Hormonal balance is essential for good health and immunity. There are also more natural, gentler ways to treat the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies can be effective and improve your overall health and balance to hormonal levels.
The liver is responsible for eliminating excess hormones (e.g. in the case of oestrogen dominance). In addition, oestrogen-mimicking chemicals found in many products and in the environment would also be eliminated by the liver. Therefore, supporting the liver is an important and essential part of treating hormonal imbalance.
Herbs such as Agnus-castus may promote hormonal balance and health while phytoestrogen herbs can have beneficial effect on hormone functioning and hormone receptors during menopause. In addition, Dong Quai and evening primrose oil may help to regulate the menstrual cycle as well as improve hormone balance and promote fertility.
Testosterone is an androgenic sex hormone mostly associated with “manhood’’ and it also contributes to their muscle mass, hair growth, maintaining bone density, red blood cell production, and emotional health. Women, while having relatively low levels, are more sensitive to its effects. The male prostate gland requires testosterone for it to remain at optimal condition.
Over-action of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which converts testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) decreases the amount of testosterone in men, putting them at risk for prostate enlargement, and androgenic alopecia (hair loss). In women it can cause hirsuitism. Environmental chemicals and oestrogen, as well as certain medicines, can cause increased DHT. The herb Saw Palmetto may reduce some of the effects of DHT on hair growth. Optimum levels of Zinc and Vitamin D are also considered important for regulating testosterone level.