When you think about factors, you need to survive and function you likely don’t consider hormones. However, these little chemical messengers have a huge effect on our overall well-being.
Most of the time when people talk about their hormones they’re often blaming them for things like being sad or an emotional outburst, while there is some truth to this our hormones do so much more.
Hormones are created in the endocrine glands and secreted directly into the bloodstream to tissues or organs. The major endocrine glands are Thyroid, Pituitary, Testis, Ovary, Adrenal, Pituitary, Pineal, Pancreas, and Thymus.
Hormones impact different processes of the body that include:
- Growth and development
- Sexual function
Hormonal imbalances can occur from some things like environmental toxins, age, the way we move, what we eat, etc. and affect both men and women.
We don’t want to trash talk hormones, so here are a few interesting facts that may surprise you about our three primary hormones–estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
1. Men and Women Need Estrogen AND Testosterone
Commonly, estrogen is thought to be the “female hormone” while testosterone is the “male hormone,” but men and women need both.
Both men and women’s bodies produce these hormones, and both are important for overall health.
2. Progesterone Helps Maintain Balance
Another misconception is that progesterone is only important when dealing with ovulation and pregnancy, but it serves a higher purpose!
It helps balance estrogen levels, and if a woman has low progesterone, she will likely experience symptoms of an estrogen hormone imbalance called estrogen dominance suffer fatigue, weight gain, migraines, mood swings, thyroid problems, and many other physical and mental conditions.
3. Our Brain Needs Estrogen
This hormone has a big job on a range of brain areas involved in functions like:
- Motor control
- Protecting against stroke damage and Alzheimer’s disease
4. Men’s Brains NEED Testosterone
Ok, men, we know you probably skipped over number 3, so we hope you pay attention here!
Research has shown low testosterone is a risk factor for dementia and also contributes to a decline in brain function. Your brains need testosterone to thrive!
5. Progesterone Wears Many Hats
This powerful hormone isn’t just estrogen’s sidekick, but it also does a LOT more.
Like providing a calming effect on our brains that can prevent seizures and improve sleep, it builds bones, prevents the buildup of plaque formation in the blood vessels, and even increases libido.
When Should You Begin Thinking About Hormone Replacement Therapy?
We generally reserve the conversation around hormones for “older” people, with hormone imbalance in men and women with menopause symptoms age 50.
But, the truth is male and female hormones change much earlier and avoiding the discussion and neglecting to take action can end up hurting you in the future.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is something men and women should have solid facts about and even consider at an earlier age to avoid any lasting and serious health effects.
At What Age Should You Start Thinking About HRT?
There’s no one answer. When discussing HRT and treatment options, we must distinguish between the unique needs and overall bodily changes that exist between men and women.
Women – 30s and 40s
Women typically experience menopause around age 51, but hormonal changes are occurring much earlier than that, like their 30s or 40s.
The lack of conversation around hormonal changes has left society with the idea that only “old” women experience hormonal changes. This incorrect notion is dangerous and leaves younger women open to severe and confusing health consequences.
Regular acknowledgment and tracking of symptoms (change in sexual desire, hot flashes, sleep disturbances, etc.) as well as routine visits to your healthcare provider can ensure you get started on hormone replacement therapy at the right time.
Women – Perimenopause
While all women are different and you should consult with a doctor for a reliable hormone treatment plan, a good rule of thumb for women starting HRT is during perimenopause to help alleviate symptoms.
Men – Late 20s
On the other hand, research has shown men are experiencing dangerous drops in testosterone much earlier, as in their late 20s.
While it is commonly believed men experience symptoms in their 40s and beyond the truth is changes in hormones can occur decades before.
Men most noticeably experience:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Low libido
- Increase in body fat
- Low energy levels
Find Out What’s Going On
We attribute many changes in our body to factors like stress, new jobs, big moves, changes in diets, etc. but the point we wanted to make today is that it’s important to keep your hormones at the forefront of your mind.
While in the past they were considered a problem only for the “older” crowd, individuals in their 20s are increasingly experiencing issues linked to hormonal imbalance.
Even if you don’t tie your health concerns to your hormones, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by staying on top of any potential problems.