When it comes to dealing with Menopause, the topic of hormones will come up frequently. Most people know what hormones are, but don't fully comprehend how they work or how vital they are. Let’s try to understand hormones.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that help your body regulate different functions by transporting messages through your blood to your organs, skin, muscles, and other tissues. These messages guide your body on what to do and when. Hormones are essential for life and well-being.
The Role of Hormones
Hormones flow through your bloodstream and organs and regulate critical activities such as:
- Growth and development
- Sexual function and reproduction
- Body temperature and stress
- Sleep cycles and sleep quality
Hormones: Where Do They Come From?
Our Endocrine system has glands that produce hormones. Hormone-producing glands are found all over the body. The following are the primary hormone-producing glands in the body:
Pituitary: This small pea-shaped gland situated in the brain, often called the master gland of the body, monitors other glands and produces the hormones that stimulate growth.
Pancreas: Spaced close to your stomach in your abdominal cavity, this gland produces insulin, which helps in blood sugar regulation.
Thyroid: A butterfly-shaped gland placed in the throat, the thyroid gland produces hormones that play an important role in metabolism, aid in calorie burning and heart rate control.
Parathyroid: Placed behind the thyroid gland, this gland regulates the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
Adrenal: These triangular glands located on the top of your kidneys regulate the stress hormone (cortisol) as also hormones for sexual desire.
Hypothalamus: Placed in the brain, this gland manages body temperature, appetite, and mood. It also regulates the release of hormones from other glands, as well as sleep, thirst, and sexual urge.
Pineal: Located in the brain stem, this small gland secretes the hormone melatonin which plays an important role in the regulation of the circadian rhythm, or the 24- hour cycle to regulate sleep.
Ovaries: These small grape-like structures located on either side of the uterus release estrogen, progesterone, and small amounts of male hormones, or androgens.
Testes: These glands in males, located on either side of the penis generate the male sex hormone testosterone as well produce sperm.
Hormones are a vital part of human life. While your body usually balances its hormones, having too little or too much of one hormone might cause health concerns. If you have any worrying symptoms, you must consult with your healthcare provider.