Mind + Body: Hormones

Hormones play an important role the body’s endocrine-function. A simple definition of hormones is “the body’s chemical messengers.” They work hard to send messages through the bloodstream to various parts of your body (organs, tissues) that impact things such as growth, development, mood, metabolism, and sexual functioning

Examples of hormones include reproductive hormones and stress hormones.

Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are the main reproductive-hormones. Sexuality and fertility are impacted by reproductive hormones.

Examples of stress hormones include adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine which are all produced by the adrenal glands.

If you are currently experiencing hormonal-imbalances, you may see changes in your mood, changes in weight or sleep, libido, and menstrual changes such as irregular periods. Additional signs of a hormone-imbalance may include chronic acne, dry skin, vaginal dryness, digestive issues, fatigue, night sweats, headache, thirst, hair loss/ thinning, and breast changes. Mental health symptoms can vary widely and include depression, fatigue, mental confusion or “brain fog”, anxiety, or mania.

If you have been diagnosed with an endocrine disorder such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos), or premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder, then your mind + body will likely be impacted. Also, if your body is currently impacted by a hormonal change or imbalance, the impact can be experienced both in mind + body.

Since there is often overlap between mental health and medical symptoms, it is recommended to consult with medical and mental health professionals on options for care.

An endocrinologist is a great option, since they specialize in disorders of the endocrine system and are very familiar with the role of hormone. They can also help coordinate care with your primary care physician to manage medical symptoms. Working with a mental health professional can help address the mental health symptoms.

One of the best ways to manage conditions that impact both the mind and body is to understand what is causing it. For hormone-imbalance, treatments may involve injections or pills. Maintaining healthy eating habits, getting adequate sleep, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes that can help manage stress and promote good self-care are also beneficial.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson, MA, LPCC

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