When I mention hormones in a workshop or social setting, the men in the room will divert their gaze or make an exit stating, ‘I’ll leave you ladies to it’. It’s assumed that hormonal issues are only a female concern. The men often haven’t considered their hormones and that this discussion is relevant to them. Even if they did, many probably wouldn’t be keen to be part of a conversation on declining testosterone, low sperm count or erectile dysfunction. Hormones, it seems, are a topic that most of us just aren’t that comfortable discussing.
The thing is however, hormones are relevant to us all, from babies to the elderly. Hormones play an important role in controlling so many functions in our body, and are not limited to the sex hormones. Hormones play a role in bone health, absorption of various vitamins and minerals, metabolism, stress response, longevity, organ function, and much more.
Hormones are the messengers of our endocrine system, and work in concert with one another through their feedback mechanisms in the body, which regulate their release from various glands in the body. This concert is like a spider’s web that links many functions in the body. However, when we tweak one thread on that spider we notice reverberations throughout the entire web, aka our bodies.
One of the threads in this spider’s web that is relevant in our modern lifestyles is the adrenals. The adrenals are a small gland on the top of our kidneys that produce adrenaline, cortisol and DHEA. The adrenals play an important role in our flight and fight response to acute stresses, such as running from danger. However, our modern lifestyles can cause this stress response to be activated permanently. Increasingly, in our clinic, we observe clients with adrenal fatigue and dysfunction that we can confirm through tests. Not only do these clients often experience fatigue, poor sleep or muscle tension, the adrenal hormones represent threads in the spider’s web of our hormonal system. Imbalances in the adrenal hormones can have flow on affects for our thyroid and sex hormones, resulting in an insurmountable number of health concerns.
For this reason, stress management is one crucial step in balancing our hormones, and one that is often over looked. When we can start to see how our lifestyles are wreaking havoc on our health, through our hormones, it is much easier to prioritize taking time to relax, to move to reduce stress, to take time out for ourselves and do things that bring us pleasure whether that is going out with friends, engaging in a craft activity, playing a music instrument or meditation. If you have hormonal or health concerns you might like to consider incorporating mindfulness practices into your day.