Are hormones really to blame?

December 27, 20120 Comments

Our hormones play a huge role in regulating most of the functions of our body, from eating to sleeping and even falling in love.

But have we been over-estimating their effects?

Our hormones get blamed for a variety of ills including headaches, putting on weight and how easily we get drunk!

But, beware! There could be another cause of your condition rather than your hormones.

Here is the guide to common conditions we blame on our hormones – and whether they really are responsible.

What are hormones?

Hormones are part of your endocrine system and act as chemical messengers. The endocrine system is a series of glands that produce particular hormones.

They are responsible for ‘running’ your body – making you hungry and then processing the food you eat – and regulating your growth, development and reproduction.

Hormones are also responsible for the way our bodies react to any outside stimulus. For example if you are frightened, you produce more of the hormone adrenaline. This makes your heart beat faster, boosting circulation, so your body is ready to fight or run away from whatever is scaring you.

Your hormones are produced by the endocrine glands. These include the pituitary gland in the brain, thyroid gland in your throat, adrenal glands which are found on the kidneys, and the ovaries and testes.

At certain times of the day or month, your

Hormones also help regulate your sleeping patterns

brain sends a signal to the endocrine glands to release the hormones. The hormones are then delivered directly into the blood stream where they travel to specific cells with ‘instructions’.

These instructions could be to grow if it was a growth hormone, to release an egg if it was a female sex hormone, or to release insulin to help break down sugar in your food if it was a metabolic hormone.

The main condition that women will associate with their hormones is premenstrual tension, also called premenstrual syndrome. PMT or PMS is a real condition and can be responsible for many of the things we tend to associate with our periods – mood swings, sugar cravings, headaches and weight gain.

Doctors are still unsure exactly why only some women suffer from PMT and why it causes particular symptoms, but the evidence shows that they do. However, PMT it is not responsible for all of them.

Click below to find out the common conditions blamed on our hormones – and whether the accusation is justified!

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